In my last blog we covered the seven feasts that God established for Himself, feasts that were to mark future points in time in God’s plan of redemption for mankind. While these feasts were God’s feasts, they were given to the Jews to keep and observe every year, and the Apostle Paul told us in Colossians 2:16-17 that they are a shadow of things to come. It hasn’t been until recent years that the Christian community has even stopped to consider the possibility that in these feasts Biblical end-time prophecy can be found, much less that it had anything to do with us. In these feasts we can not only see the rapture of the church, but also that the rapture is a pre-tribulation event.
Of the seven feasts that God established for Himself, one of them clearly represents the rapture of the Church, and that is the fifth feast known as the Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah. It is in learning more about this feast that the words of the Apostle Paul regarding the rapture of the Church begins to make more sense.
So, what do we know of the Feast of Trumpets? The Feast of Trumpets represents a day of the blowing of trumpets. On that day the shofar, a trumpet made from the horn of an animal, is sounded 100 times. There are four distinct sounds it makes, and three of those sounds are blown 33 times each, with the fourth sound only being blown one time after all others have sounded. Each of the four sounds represent something different. The first is called Tekiah, a long single blast, which represents “the sound of the Kings coronation”. The second one is called Shevarim, three short wail-like blasts, which represents “repentance”. The third sound is the Teruah, nine staccato blasts of alarm, which represents “to awaken the soul”. The fourth, and final, sound is the Tekiah Ha-Gadolah, a great long blast, which represents “for as long as you can blow”.
Here is a list of some of the things this feast represents.
– The day of the blowing of trumpets
– The day of the awakening blast
– The day of the resurrection
– The day of the coronation of the King
– The day the King takes His bride
– The day of the King’s wedding
– The day God divides mankind into three groups, the wholly righteous, the wholly wicked, and the intermediates (those in between)
Do you see the parallels between this feast and the rapture of the Church? The resurrection of the dead, Jesus receiving His bride, the Church, and the wedding between Christ and the Church? Or, what about God dividing mankind into three groups, taking the wholly righteous while leaving the wholly wicked and those Christians unprepared for His coming for them?
There are two phrases from both Jesus and the Apostle Paul that alludes to this Feast of Trumpets. The first one is by Jesus in Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32, “but of that day and hour no one knows”, referring to the rapture of the Church. Of all the seven feasts, it was only this one that no one knew when it would take place. Oh, they knew it would be within a 48-hour span of time, but when exactly they did not know. There would be at least two witnesses set to observe the phases of the moon, and when the moon reached a certain phase they would report to the priests what they had seen. Once the priest got word from the witnesses that they had seen the specific moon phase, then the priest would declare when the Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah would begin. Until that moment, they never knew when it would start as it was dependent upon the “new moon”, and as a result ancient Jews identified this feast as “the day and hour no one knows”.
The second phrase alluding to this feast was by the Apostle Paul, referring to the rapture of the Church in 1 Corinthians 15:52. It was the phrase “last trump”, or in some translations “last trumpet”. Some people argue that the trumpet Paul is alluding to is the last of the seven trumpets sounded in the book of Revelation, but this is not the case. To begin with, the book of Revelation was written about 35 years after Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, and there is no indication that people questioned what he was even talking about. However, ancient Jews in Paul’s day were well aware of the phrase “last trump”, and that was in direct connection to the Feast of Trumpets. Remember I mentioned there were four distinct sounds on Rosh Hashanah, and the first three were blown 33 times each, and that the fourth sound was only blown once and after all the others had been sounded? That fourth sound, the final blast of the shofar on that day, was known by all Jews as the “last trump”, or “last trumpet”. A definite connection to the Feast of Trumpets.
Another facet of this feast that corresponds to the rapture is what is called the Teshuvah season. The Teshuvah was a period of time that spanned 40 days, starting 30 days before the Feast of Trumpets. Teshuvah is translated “repent” or “repentance”, and it is believed to stem from the third time Moses ascended Mt. Sinai for 40 days and nights to get the second set of tablets. The theme of this season is repentance, and Isaiah 55:6 is considered thematic of the season.
The first 30 days of this season of repentance are set aside for soul searching, repentance, and forgiveness, and it ends on Rosh Hashanah, the Feast of Trumpets. This is a period of time when people are to repent of sin in their life, give and seek forgiveness of those we’ve wronged seeking to make things right with them, and finally to prepare for judgement. The primary motivation for them is to be found worthy to be resurrected and called up by the King so they won’t have to go through the remaining ten days of this season. We can see the scriptural parallel with this period of time in Luke 21:36 and Mark 13:32-33, where we are told to watch and pray to be counted worthy to escape that which is coming to the world, knowing that the day He returns will be the “day and hour no one knows”. Other scriptures that should be noted with this time are Matthew 24:36-38 and Luke 17:26-30.
The last ten days of the Teshuvah season are called “Days of Awe”, which ends on Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement. These last ten days directly correspond with the tribulation period, and it’s a time of serious introspection and opportunity to change the books your name is written in. This is a period of time Jews know they do NOT want to go through because it will be that bad. Only the righteous who are resurrected and called up on the Feast of Trumpets will escape this period of time. Jesus mentions this in Revelation 3:10-11. Those who were not wholly righteous or are wholly wicked that are left behind are given an opportunity during this period of time to solidify their eternal destination in heaven or hell by their works during this time. Even those who were wholly wicked will have an opportunity during this time to get their names in the Book of Life by works starting with repentance, works that will probably include giving their very lives for the name of Jesus Christ.
In the middle of the judgments being poured out in the book of Revelation is a scripture that almost seems out of place, Revelation 16:15. It’s like Jesus is popping in for a quick news flash making sure people know that they are blessed who are watching for His return and keep their robes of righteousness, otherwise they will be found walking naked and people will see their shame. This is also why it is so important for us to consider what the writer of Hebrews tells us in, Hebrews 12:1-2, to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily trips us up. This is not the time to playing with eternity nonchalantly. If you haven’t been taking your walk with Jesus seriously, now is the time to start as His return is imminent as the signs of the times are so clearly screaming out to us. Even the Jews, and I’m not talking about Messianic Jews who accept Jesus as the Messiah, know that the period of time between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement are not anything anybody in their right mind wants to go through. If they recognize that, how much more should we when we see God’s plan of redemption for mankind unfold before our very eyes?
John Johansson (Pastor John)