In a previous blog I briefly touched on what is the rapture. We covered where the word “rapture” came from, and some of the reasons why some discount it as a Biblically sound teaching. We also touched on the three primary views surrounding its timing; pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, and post-tribulation. Among the three different views, I believe that the pre-tribulation position is the strongest of the three, and I want to cover why that is.
As I stated in the first blog of this series, there are some who discount the rapture as a Biblically legitimate view. They either take the position that there is no Biblical evidence of a rapture, which we’ve already proved to be incorrect, or they take the position that all Biblical end time prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D. Those that take the position that all end time prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D. also believe that God has been done with Israel since then, and that the law found in the Old Testament is null and void, completely done away with for all mankind. This is a scary position to take. We’ve already showed in the Old Testament individuals that had been raptured to heaven, a shadow of what God has in store for the Bride of Christ. What about the other references in the Old Testament to a rapture yet to happen?
In Leviticus 23, God lays out to Moses feasts that he is to proclaim to be holy convocations, feasts that are Gods. Many people tend to view the seven feasts that God instructs Moses on as feasts for Israel and the Jews to abide by, but this is incorrect. While it is true that the Jews are instructed to keep and observe these feasts, God makes it clear that they are His feasts and not theirs. God established these feasts in part so the Israelites would remember what He had done for them in times past, but they were also set up to mark future points in time relating to His plan of redemption for humanity. When we take a look at these feasts we see that Jesus fulfilled the first three feasts on the actual day of each feast, and then the birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost marks the fulfillment of the fourth feast. If what God laid out in the Old Testament was done away with and made null and void with Christ and the subsequent destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., then when and how were the last three feasts fulfilled? If these feasts were not fulfilled prior to 70 A.D., and now they are of no importance to us, then does that mean God didn’t know what He was doing when he established them? Or that He made a mistake in His calculations of time, which seems rather odd to think considering He’s the creator of time itself. To say that those feasts are of no relevance to us, especially if they hadn’t been fulfilled, that is to say God is not all knowing or in control of times and events, especially ones that He has established for Himself.
Are these feasts something that we don’t need to be concerned with, or is there something about them we do need to be aware of? The Apostle Paul writes to the church in Galatia that he is concerned about them and how they were becoming legalistic in their observations of the days, months, seasons and years (Galatians 4:9-11). Paul isn’t saying it’s wrong to keep the feasts, as he even told the Corinthian church to keep the feast in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, but that we shouldn’t be in bondage to them. Later in Colossians 2:16-17 Paul tells us that they are a shadow of things to come. This would indicate that future prophetic events can be identified through the feasts, and that it is important for us to be aware of them to properly discern what is and will be happening in the future.
So, what are the feasts we are referring to, and how did Jesus fulfill the first three? Can we find evidence within them not only of a rapture, but also a pre-tribulation rapture? Let’s take a brief look at them.
1) Passover (Leviticus 23:5) – Pointed to the Messiah as our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover at the same hour that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening (John 19:14). 2) Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6) – Pointed to the Messiah’s sinless life (as leaven is a picture of sin in the Bible), making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life. 3) First Fruits (Leviticus 23:10) – Pointed to the Messiah’s resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the “first fruits from the dead.” 4) Weeks or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:16) – Occurred fifty days after the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and pointed to the great harvest of souls and the gift of the Holy Spirit for both Jew and Gentile, who would be brought into the kingdom of God during the Church Age (see Acts 2). The Church was actually established on this day when God poured out His Holy Spirit and 3,000 Jews responded to Peter’s great sermon and his first proclamation of the gospel. 5) Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24) – The first of the fall feasts. Many believe this day points to the Rapture of the Church when the Messiah Jesus will appear in the heavens as He comes for His bride, the Church. The Rapture is always associated in Scripture with the blowing of a loud trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:52). 6) Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27) – Many believe this prophetically points to the day of the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth. That will be the Day of Atonement for the Jewish remnant when they “look upon Him whom they have pierced,” repent of their sins, and receive Him as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10 and Romans 11:1-6, 25-36). 7) Tabernacles or Booths (Leviticus 23:34) – Many scholars believe that this feast day points to the Lord’s promise that He will once again “tabernacle” with His people when He returns to reign over all the world (Micah 4:1-7).
We can see from above that the first four feasts have already been fulfilled through Jesus and the birth of the Church. We can also see that those feasts were fulfilled in the order that God established them. If God continues to fulfill the feasts in the order that He gave them, then it only makes sense that the next feast to be fulfilled would be the Feast of Trumpets. The Feast of Trumpets, also known as Rosh Hashanah, is the feast that represents the rapture of the Church to Christ. Everything about this feast and what it represents screams rapture. I’m not going to go into all the details of this feast in this blog, but the period of time between it and the sixth feast, the Day of Atonement, represents a seven-year period of time that we identify as the seven-year tribulation period.
I will go into more depth regarding the Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah, in the next installment of this rapture series of blogs. In the meantime, no matter what your position is with the timing of the rapture, the most important thing is that you are ready for it no matter when it takes place. If you’re not ready for it, today is the day to get ready. Time is short, and the rapture is just around the corner.
John Johansson (Pastor John)