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The Rapture

Look, I will tell you a secret — not all of us will die! But we will all be changed! It will take but a moment, the blink of an eye, at the final shofar. For the shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised to live forever, and we too will be changed. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Six days later, Yeshua took Kefa, Ya‘akov and his brother Yochanan and led them up a high mountain privately. As they watched, he began to change form — his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became as white as light. ~ Matthew 17:1-2, CJB

There is nothing in the Holy Bible that is there just to take up space. The entire Holy Bible was given to believers in Christ Jesus so that God’s Holy Spirit could teach them God’s Truths, correct their human errors (including any misunderstandings they might have about biblical passages), convict them, and give them training in right living (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16). Now ALL Scriptures would mean that in order for the Holy Spirit to teach, to correct, to convict, and to train effectively, He must use even those verses that deal with those Jewish traditions, which God Himself established (i.e., Jews’ customs, culture, mandated biblical feasts, and etc.).

Furthermore, it is important to note here that one of the major problems most believers have with understanding, for example, when The Rapture of Christ’s Bride will take place is that they forget the Holy Bible basically is about what happens to God’s chosen Jewish people. That’s right! Most believers forget that the first-century apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers preached the Good News (Gospel) about salvation first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles (cf. Romans 1:16).

Most of today’s believers also have forgotten that God established the Jewish culture; the Jewish nation; the Jewish wedding customs, service, and ceremonies; the Jewish kosher foods, and that includes which food is sold, cooked, and/or when and where that food is eaten; the Jewish/Mosaic Law, which includes, but is not limited to, instructions about Sabbath-day observances and annually mandated seven feasts (cf. Colossians 2:16-17); all of the end-time prophecies concerning Israel and Christ Jesus, and so forth.

Moreover, in what has become the Holy Bible, God inspired mostly Jewish writers to record what thus saith God about His established Jewish customs, culture, commanded feasts, etc. Be that as it may. The sad truth is that more Gentile than Jewish believers do not carefully study Jewish customs, Jewish culture, Jewish history, Jewish feasts, and so on, before they try to understand the meanings of the literal and figurative words (language) used in any given biblical passage. By figurative language, this blogger means the copious figures of speech, such as idioms, imagery, metaphors, similes, symbols, hyperboles, allegories, parables, and so forth, which are used in the Holy Bible to explain or describe spiritual truths, prophetic events, and head-scratching mysteries about God and His chosen biblical men and women.

Case in point, there are so many published Christian and secular prophetic end-time studies, discussions, opinions, interpretations, understandings, and so on, about when The Rapture of Christ Jesus’ Bride will happen. Unfortunately too many of these parabiblical or extra-biblical sources (secondary writings; external commentaries on and paraphrases of the God-breathed, God-inspired Holy Bible) have confused, and continue to confuse, many believers, who consequently end up misunderstanding and misapplying God’s Truths.

For example, there are countless web pages and blog entries devoted to “trying” to prove that the apostle Paul’s last trump (last trumpet), which he mentions in 1 Corinthians 15:52, is the same as apostle John’s seventh trumpet, which he mentions in Revelation 11:15-19. In other words, these individuals do not believe in the pre-tribulation rapture. Instead, they believe that the day of The Rapture AND the Day of the Lord or Christ Jesus’ Second Coming are one in the same. Many if not most of these individuals believe that the Bride of Christ goes through the entire seven years of the Tribulation Period, even though the apostle Paul tells the Thessalonians that God never intended for Christ Jesus’ followers to experience God’s wrath (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:9), and even though apostle John writes that Christ Jesus will keep His faithful, obedient, patient, prepared, and watchful Bride of Christ from the Antichrist’s persecutions and God’s wrath (cf. Revelation 3:10). Without doubt these apostles are saying that the Body of Christ believers who are in Him are inside a kind of Ark that hasn’t been made by human hands, and this Divine Truth is why the Bride of Christ is allowed to escape the Tribulation Period!

For sure, there are many Messianic Jews and Christ-believing Gentiles who agree that the Feast of Trumpets primarily is a picture of The Rapture—the “snatching away” of the alive Bride of Christ. Yet, despite the fact that biblical Scriptures and Jewish traditions are in harmony with each other about the “last trump” or last trumpet being the shofar blast that marks the start of Yom Teruah or the Feast of Trumpets/Rosh HaShanah, many people still want to claim that the “last trump” is the seventh judgment trumpet in Revelation.

Then too, despite the fact that the Holy Spirit guided the many believers who have produced a wealth of parabiblical or extra-biblical sources that clearly show how God uses the Jewish traditions that He established to connect the dots, complete the pictures, of the controversial biblical passages that divide believers, many Christians still seem to gravitate toward only those understandings that are in harmony with theirs instead of toward the understandings that God wants them to have. Some of those controversial biblical passages are the ones that deal with the apostle Paul’s use of the phrase—the last trump.

For the record, according to Father God’s established Jewish traditions, there are three shofar (trumpet) sounds/blasts that indicate three specific days on the Jewish calendar. These three shofar sounds/blasts are called the First Trump, the Last Trump, and the Great Trump.

1. The First Trump is blown on the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost) [Exodus 19:18-19], when God gave Moses the Law. The First Trump also symbolizes God’s betrothal to His Bride, who is all of the Jewish people. Where the Bride of Christ is concerned, on the Day of Pentecost, Christ Jesus also becomes betrothed to His Bride, who is the Jews and the Gentiles in Christ.

So then, the First Trump signifies the beginning of the betrothal periods for both God’s Bride (Israel, the nation as a whole) and Christ Jesus’ Bride (every believer who will become a member of the Body of Christ, a member of Christ Jesus’ ekklesiai (assemblies), a member of The CHURCH). Indeed, the 6th of Sivan, which is the Feast of Weeks/Feast of Pentecost, pictures the descent of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Bride of Christ/Body of Christ/The CHURCH.

2. The Last Trump is blown on the Feast of Trumpets, which is the 1st of Tishri. In fact the Last Trump is synonymous with Rosh HaShanah, as the Last Trump is a Jewish idiom for Rosh HaShanah, which originally was called Yom Teruah (the Hidden Day/the Day of the Awakening Blast/the Day of Shouting (Crying Voice; Loud Noise)/Feast of Trumpets). This feast day came to be called the Feast of Trumpets, thus, primarily because the “Teruah” sound of the Shofar is based on the sound of a cry or shout.

Moreover, the last trumpet blast on Rosh HaShanah, which actually is the last of the blasts made during the 30 days of Teshuvah (calls to repent or calls to return to God) that began in the preceding month of Elul, also is the first blast on Rosh HaShanah that begins the first day of the month of Tishri. Now, because this Last Trump actually is not blown on the last day of Elul, but rather on the first day of Tishri, this is why Rosh HaShanah is called the hidden day—the significance of this day is hidden primarily from Satan, which is why God does not give definitive reasons or detailed observance instructions for the Feast of Trumpets.

Then too, this Last Trump symbolizes the time when the resurrection of the dead will take place. On this day, the apostle Paul declares that the dead in Christ would be resurrected and their bodies would be changed (glorified), and then the alive in Christ believers would be snatched away off of this Earth, receiving their glorified bodies as they travel upwards to meet Christ Jesus and the resurrected dead in Christ believers on the clouds in the air (1 Corinthians 15:51-55; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Perhaps the above reasons also are why this last trump of the Shofar, on Rosh HaShanah, is meant to jolt Jewish people from their sleep—to awaken them to spiritual maturity, because after the next seven days comes the Day of Atonement. On the Day of Atonement, based on those decisions God made on the Feast of Trumpets, the destiny of every Jewish person, mainly if someone would live or die during the new year, would be sealed! For these reasons, Jewish people see the Feast of Trumpets or Rosh HaShanah as the rehearsal for the resurrection of the righteous dead and The Rapture.

Lastly, according to Jewish traditions, Genesis 22 is part of the Torah reading on Rosh HaShanah. This chapter deals with the Akedah, when Abraham bound Isaac and the ram caught in the thicket. This ram is important because its two horns have come to be called the Shofar’s “first trump” (left horn), and the Shofar’s “last trump” (right horn). Moreover, it is the ram’s horn that becomes the shofar blown on the Feast of Trumpets, which also is why Akedah is associated with Rosh HaShanah.

3. The Great Trump is blown on Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement, and it eventually will herald the coming of the Messiah Yeshua to Earth (cf. Matthew 24:29-31). In Jewish traditions, this literal coming of the Messiah, which we now know is His bodily return or Second Coming, is shown by Christ Jesus to be associated with the Jewish idiom for Yom Kippur. This time in the end times is the Day of the Lord, or the Day of Judgment—the day when judgment would be sealed!

For the Jews, the annual Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement has been a rehearsal for when Satan finally is defeated and bound in the bottomless pit at the end of the seven year Tribulation Period, and a rehearsal for when the Antichrist and his armies are destroyed, with the Antichrist and False Prophet being thrown into the Lake of Fire (their final judgment). The Day of Atonement also is a day of national atonement for the nation of Israel, which is why when the two days to the Feast of Trumpets are added to the seven Days of Awe leading to and including the Day of Atonement, their total (2 + 7 + 1) equals the 10 Days of Awe or the time of “affliction of the soul,” which prophetically seem to point to the last 10 days of the Tribulation’s horror (cf. Revelation 2:10-11)—a time when persecution and the threat of physical death will tempt the Tribulation’s believers to abandon Christ Jesus, out of fear and love for their own lives.

Consider these biblical similarities: There are seven years to the entire Tribulation Period, which ends with the Day of the Lord or Judgment Day (the Second Coming of Christ Jesus). There are seven Days of Awe, after the second day of the Feast of Trumpets, and these seven days lead to the Day of Atonement, which traditionally has been the Day of Judgment/Day of the Lord/Second Coming of Christ.

Additionally, think about this: When a Jewish Bride and Groom united in marriage, it was customary for them to remain in their wedding/bridal chamber for seven days, or 1 week. In the Hebrew language, shavuah is the word for “week,” but shavuah (week) can mean 7 (24-hour) days, 7 months, or 7 years. Therefore, it is very believable that the Bride of Christ would remain in Her bridal chamber with Christ Jesus, Her Jewish Groom, for the seven years of the Tribulation Period—the time of the increased and intensified birth pangs that Christ Jesus prophesies about in Matthew 24:8, 21.

Important to note here is that the wheat/sheep gathered from the four corners of the world are those elect or “choice” Tribulation survivors (Jews and Gentiles) who will enter into the 1,000 years of Christ Jesus’ kingdom reign on Earth, as those humans who repopulate the Earth. They are able to have children, because they do not have glorified bodies!

Those believers who already received their glorified bodies will no longer have the “human” capability to procreate, as the Lord Himself says that in Heaven neither men nor women would marry (cf. Matthew 22:30). Since God’s Law only permits MARRIED men and women to have intercourse, either that or the Holy Spirit overshadows a woman thereby impregnating her with a God-child, it should be clear that glorified individuals will not have children during the Millennium. Their bodies will be like Christ Jesus’ resurrected body (cf. Philippians 3:21), which allowed Him to appear before His disciples, minus Thomas, who out of fear met behind locked doors (cf. John 20:19).

Returning here to apostle Paul’s last trump, it should be noted that as a Jewish Pharisee and a descendant of Pharisees, Paul definitely would have understood that the phrase “last trump” is an idiom for Rosh HaShanah. Be that as it may; there are many Jewish and Gentile scholars who have concluded that the last trump or the Trumpet of God is only mentioned twice in the Holy Bible: 1. at Mount Sinai during the giving of the Law (Exodus 19:13, 19), when God called Moses UP to meet Him on top of the mountain. The Voice in v. 19 means God’s VOICE, which in Hebrew is qowl, a word that means “sound,” and, “like an instrument”; here a trumpet is understood, based on context; and 2. for the Rapture (in 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16, as the Last Trump and the Trumpet of God are seen as being the same, since they both are blown right before the dead in Christ rise and receive their glorified bodies. After which the alive in Christ are caught up, and they receive their glorified bodies).

For the above reasons, many Jewish and Gentile scholars do not believe this Last Trump that apostle Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 15:52 is the same as the 7th Trumpet of judgment in Revelation 11:15-19, since this 7th Trumpet brings death, and not life! This 7th Trumpet actually is seen as the Great Trump! For sure, if the Rapture’s Last Trump were the 7th Trumpet of Revelation, then that would be a rather peculiar situation for the Bride of Christ, as there would be no way that She could be seen as being delivered, saved, or rescued from the wrath of God at this point, no matter how His wrath is defined. Remember, in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, the apostle says that God did not foreordain Christians to suffer through the “wrath” of God, which primarily is the Great Tribulation or the second half of the seven-year Tribulation. Then too, the 7th Trumpet in Revelation is not even a literal last trumpet to be blown, as throughout the Lord’s reign for 1,000 years, many trumpets will be blown during the celebration of the Feast of Trumpets in the Millennial Temple.

Lastly, notice, too, that in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, there are three loud sounds. In Jewish traditions, these three sounds the apostle Paul speaks of in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 pertain to The Rapture. These three sounds are:

1. Symbolic of the herald who cries out that the Bridegroom is coming, which is confirmed by Jesus the Christ in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (cf. Matthew 25:1-13), is the loud cry heard as the Lord descends from Heaven. This loud cry awakes the sleeping virgins and lets them know it is time for them to get up and get dressed so that they’ll be ready to go, when the Bridegroom gets to their homes. Now the apostle says in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 that the Lord comes with a loud command, or a rousing cry, but he never says that it is the Lord Himself who makes the cry. Perhaps this ambiguity is why, in Jewish traditions, this cry is the equivalent of the awakening Shofar blast blown on the Feasts of Trumpets, which is the first trumpet sound heard on that day, of 100 blasts. Again, the first cry/shout in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is to get those alive members of the Bride of Christ who have been sleeping to awake, get up, and be ready for the Groom’s return.

2. Symbolic of the voice that resurrects the dead is the shout from the ruling angel, or Archangel. His shout is similar to the same loud VOICE Christ Jesus uses in John 11:43-44 to call Lazarus from the grave. Thus, the second voice/shout is to resurrect the dead in Christ—those believers who are sleeping in their graves, like Christ said Lazarus was doing in his grave (cf. John 11:11). In essence, the voice of the Archangel will be shouting: Live! Arise! Ascend!

3. Symbolic of the last-blast sound of the shofar/trumpet, at the end of 30 days of Teshuvah, which also is the first-blast sound, at the beginning of Rosh HaShanah, calling the Jewish people to the Feasts of Trumpets (to their Wedding Feast), is the Trumpet (VOICE) of God or the Last Trump. The Trumpet (VOICE) of God or the Last Trump, hence, is the opposite of the First Trump. The First Trump signals the time when the Bride of God and the Bride of Christ became betrothed, which again was on the Day of Pentecost or 6 Sivan—Israel to God (cf. Exodus 24:3; Jeremiah 2:2; and Hosea 2:19-20); the Body of Christ to Christ Jesus (the moment each believer accepts Him as his or her Lord and Savior; cf. Romans 10:8-10). In other words, the First Trump sounds on 6 Sivan or the Day of Pentecost to signify the time when Israel, as an entire nation, and when the Body of Christ, with its many members, initially accepted their marriage contracts—said “I do.”

In contrast, the Last Trump sounds on the Feast of Trumpets, or the 1st of Tishri. This Last Trump signals the time when the alive Bride of Christ will be called (invited) to come through the open door of The Rapture in Matthew 25:10—called (invited) to the Wedding of Messiah (after which the open door shuts so that the marriage can be consummated in the bridal chamber, where the Bride and the Groom stay for seven days). The Trumpet (VOICE) of God or the Last Trump, thus, is blown on the day of The Rapture or Rosh HaShanah, which is the day and the hour that no one knows, because it is the day God Himself decides when it will begin. In other words, if He wants to, God will obscure the crescent moon (the sliver of the moon) of Rosh HaShanah from mankind’s view until He is ready for the crescent moon of this New Moon to be seen.

Put differently, it is after the first sliver of the New Moon is seen that the last trump (first blast of the Rosh HaShanah shofar/trumpet) is blown. This truth means that sometimes the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh HaShanah or Yom Teruah) could begin when the day is almost half over. So because the Feast of Trumpets is the only one of the Jewish moedim (holidays) that begins on a New Moon, which falls 29.5 days after the last New Moon, this truth also is why Rosh HaShanah is the hidden day, the day no humans, no angels, and not even Christ Jesus Himself would know when it will begin. In other words, because this New Moon of Tishri comes 29.5 days after the last New Moon, this 29.5 days’ fact is why this New Moon of Tishri could occur on the 29th or 30th day of Elul.

Now the 29th of Elul really is the 28th day of that actual month, and the 30th of Elul really is the 29th day of that same month plus the 1st of Tishri. God designed it that the Jewish season of Teshuvah (a total of 40 days) would start on the last day of Av (1 day of Av + 29 days of Elul = 30 days). The remaining 10 days of Teshuvah are the 10 Days of Awe! Thus, it should be easy to see, then, how the 1st of Tishri truly is a hidden day, as it isn’t the 1st of Tishri until the crescent moon of the New Moon is sighted. For sure, God’s plan of concealment, hiding this day primarily from Satan, is the main reason why nobody knows for sure when Rosh HaShanah would actually begin, which is why Rosh HaShanah, or the Rapture, happens on the first day of the New Moon, which once again is concealed, hidden, covered most of that first day. Remember here too that a Jewish day is from sundown to sundown!

Once again, no man knew for certain when the day of Rosh HaShanah would begin, because the moon is concealed, hidden, covered.  This fact is why in ancient times the Jews had to wait until two witnesses saw the first sliver of the New Moon. Once the Sanhedrin Court leaders received the report from these two witnesses, they then would declare the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets.

The Feast of Trumpets also happens on a very historic date, as the 1st of Tishri is when the 6 days of Creation were completed, when Adam and Eve were created, when Sarah conceived Isaac, and so forth. More important, according to Jewish traditions, it was on Rosh HaShanah that Enoch was raptured—received his glorified body. It also is on this feast day that the Jews believe the day of the resurrection of the righteous dead happens. Perhaps these last two reasons, the day Enoch was translated and the day of the resurrected dead in Christ, are why God doesn’t give any specific reasons for celebrating this Feast of Trumpets, or The Rapture, and why both of these events are supposed to happen on a day and at an hour that no man knows.

Then too, according to rabbinical tradition, Rosh HaShanah is the day that the destiny of the righteous is written in the Book of Life, while the destiny of the wicked is written in the Book of Death. However, scholars say that most of the people’s names aren’t written in either book until Yom Kippur (the day when destinies are sealed), which is 10 days later.

Finally, since Rosh HaShanah is the time of the Messiah’s Wedding and the Day of Concealment (the hidden day), the Trumpet of God or Last Trump, which blows at the time of The Rapture, clearly is God’s VOICE sounding like the last or final shofar blast, or more important the last reminder to the Bride of Christ that She needs to be ready to receive Her glorified immortal body, which happens when She meets Her Lord on the clouds in the air. From there they enter into their Bridal Chamber in Heaven, where they’ll remain for seven years.

The bottom line is that even though God is the only One who knows for certain when the Rapture and every Feast of Trumpets actually begin, He uses plenty of Rosh HaShanah idioms, which clearly depict the same concealed, hidden, covered New Moon images. Thus, the Trumpet of God in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Last Trump in 1 Corinthians 15:52 are God’s Way of verifying that while no one will know the exact day or the exact hour when The Rapture will happen, the Bride of Christ has been given enough Rosh HaShanah idioms for Her (every member in the Body of Christ) to know that The Rapture of the Bride of Christ will happen on some future Feast of Trumpets or Rosh HaShanah.

Indeed, when Christ Jesus says “…concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matthew 24:36), He is using a very common Hebrew idiomatic expression that no doubt confirms for His disciples that their Lord will keep His promise to cover/conceal and keep His faithful, obedient, patient, prepared, and watchful Bride safe from the time of wrath that is coming soon upon the Earth. When He also tells His Jewish disciples to “…be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44), Christ Jesus is using just another idiomatic expression that lets them know that He’s coming to “snatch away” His Bride on a future Rosh HaShanah. The Lord left no doubt that He was describing for His disciples the day of Rosh Hashanah, which they knew was the rehearsal for the prophesied Natzal—the resurrection of the righteous dead, the “snatching away” (rapturing) of the Bride, the glorifying of mortal bodies, the Wedding of the Messiah, the consummation of the marriage, and the coronation of the King of kings. Their Jewish traditions clearly helped then to understand that Christ Jesus definitely is referring to the hidden day, which is Rosh HaShanah.

For sure, the Trumpet of God or Last Trump clearly also sets in order the end-time events that remain after The Rapture takes place. These are those prophesied end-time events that pertain to God’s final dealings with mankind on this present Earth. The Trumpet of God or Last Trump, then, is God Himself heralding those days to come that parallel the 7 Days of Awe (the Tribulation Period), which come before the annual Day of Atonement (the Day of the Lord or the Day of Judgment for Israel, and the entire world), and the Feast of Tabernacles (the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, which is organized and hosted by Father God).

Therefore, the meat and potatoes of why knowing Jewish traditions is necessary for understanding difficult and controversial biblical passages would be that not knowing the God established Jewish customs, culture, and mandated annual Feasts is a very big mistake, and an equally huge error is to not seek the Holy Spirit’s help in understanding how said traditions are related to the Holy Bible’s prophetic end-time events. It is obvious that having a working knowledge and understanding of these traditions will help believers, especially Gentile believers, to interpret correctly many if not all of the Holy Bible’s controversial passages that currently have too many different versions to yield any kind of harmony . . . oneness. A word to the wise should be sufficient! Amen!