Rapture – Part 4

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)

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Let It Go

Prior to making our recent big move out of state, my wife and I would get together with two other couples to play some games and fellowship with each other. These would be times filled with a lot of laughter, talking, and joking around.  At times someone would share an experience that was or could be hurtful to them, experiences by people within our little group or by others we would cross paths with from day to day.  As time went by a particular catch phrase began to be echoed more and more amongst us, and that catch phrase was “let it go”.  The idea behind this little phrase was simple, let go of that hurt or hurtful situation before it has a chance to breed bitterness and resentment.  The last thing any of us wanted for ourselves or each other was to be hurt and offended in any way that could harden our hearts and hurt the witness of Christ in our lives towards others.


What a phrase! Recently, while preparing to teach an adult Sunday school class before our big move, I was remembering this phrase in light of our relationship with Christ.  More specifically, our relationship with Christ as we see the day of His return for His bride approaching more and more closely each day.  In my preparations I was specifically looking at the Jewish feast, Rosh Hashanah, or as some know it the Feast of Trumpets, and the 30 day period of time that precedes this feast each year.  For those who are not aware of it, Rosh Hashanah for the Christian represents the rapture of the church, the bride of Christ.  A lot can be said of this feast and also of the rapture of the church, but that is not the focus of this post.  What I want to focus on is the period of time that precedes this feast and how it relates to the Christian.


The 30 day period of time that precedes Rosh Hashanah is called Teshuvah. Actually, this period of time actually lasts for 40 days, but the last ten days follow Rosh Hashanah and end on the next Jewish feast, Yom Kippur.  The word Teshuvah is often times translated as repentance, and while repentance is the theme of this 40 day period of time, the tone changes significantly after Rosh Hashanah.


The first 30 days of Teshuvah is a time when people are to re-evaluate their lives, repent and turn from sin and wrong living, forgive and seek forgiveness from others, all in preparation for the judgment that was to come on Rosh Hashanah. Judgment on Rosh Hashanah?  Yes.  For the Jew, Rosh Hashanah is when God separates the wholly righteous from the wholly wicked and the intermediates, or those who are lukewarm and on the fence.  The idea of the first 30 days of repentance was to be judged worthy to escape the remaining 10 days of Teshuvah, days that no one would want to willingly go through if they really knew what was in store for those who remained.  Jesus tells us as His followers to do the same thing in Luke 21:34-36, to watch and pray that we are counted worthy to escape that which is coming.  On several occasions Jesus tells us to watch and pray, and in Revelation 16:15, right in the middle of John’s account of the judgments of the tribulation period, Jesus tells us that those who watch are blessed and not ashamed and found naked.  As Christians we are to be making sure we are ready for when Jesus comes for His bride, which is imminent and can happen any day.  When I think of this I am reminded of the parable of the 10 virgins, where five were foolish and five were wise.  In this parable it is mentioned that there was a time when the 10 virgins needed to trim their lamps.  This trimming of the lamps is closely associated with this first 30 days of Teshuvah, and because the five foolish were not prepared they were left behind and denied entrance to the wedding.


The remaining 10 days of Teshuvah, known also as the “days of awe”, for the Jew is a time when people through their works can either get their names changed and entered into the book of life, or seal up their fate of eternal death and damnation. For the Christian, this is a time when those who want to have relationship with God and spend eternity with Him in heaven must literally give their lives unto death for Jesus and His kingdom.  The parallels between the Jews observance of these feast days and the Christians view of end time events is amazing.


Okay, back to the phrase “let it go”. In looking at the first 30 days of Teshuvah, a period of time when we are to prepare for Rosh Hashanah or for the Christian the rapture of the church, I’m reminded of the words of the writer of Hebrews.  In Hebrews 12:1-2, the writer tells us to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us.  Basically, he is telling us to “let it go”.  As we prepare for the return of Christ for His bride, we need to let go of anything that weighs us down and the sin that so easily trips us up.  We all have areas that we struggle with.  It could be areas that are easily seen by others, or it could be the secret sins we hide.  It could be misplaced priorities and loyalties in life, or it could be the hidden attitudes of hatred, prejudice, and jealousy.  It could be critical and judgmental attitudes, or the “big” sins of alcoholism, drugs, and sexual immorality.  It could be that of complaining, murmuring and gossip, or it could be attitudes of greed, self-centeredness, and pride.  Whatever it is, as we see the ever approaching time of His return it is vitally important for us to “let it go”, whatever that “it” is in our lives.


For the Jew, the 40 days of Teshuvah begins in just a few days, but for the Christian we are in that period of time now. This isn’t the time to be playing Russian roulette with eternity by not taking this seriously and risk being unprepared for His return.  Even the Jews recognize they need to be prepared so that they will not have to experience the remaining 10 days of Teshuvah, and like them we don’t want to be left to go through the tribulation period that is soon to come.  The theme scripture the Jews have for these 40 days of Teshuvah is found in Isaiah 55:6.



6 Seek the Lord while He may be found,

Call upon Him while He is near.


Isa 55:6 (NKJV)

A Wake-up Call to Prepare

I just recently heard that Russia has practically bailed out the economies of Greece and Cyprus, which I admit was a surprise for me.  This apparently was done through the acquisition of some of these countries natural resources.  The European economy is struggling with the financial collapses of some of its member states, and some even predict its collapse within months.  The United States economy is teetering on the brink of collapse as well, with various city and county governments declaring bankruptcy, the increase of unemployment and the spiraling, out of control debt we are experiencing nationwide.  I’ve even heard some experts to say that if the European economy collapses so will the United States that is how much the two economies depend on the other.

Here in America we are experiencing some extreme weather conditions that have threatened our economy, our energy resources, and our food supplies significantly.  The price of so many things, including food, has begun to rise as a result.  The cost of obtaining an education has also begun to skyrocket which either prevents some from pursuing an education, or for others obtain financial assistance they may never be able to repay because of the cost and lack of employment opportunities we are now facing.  We are also facing an election in November that will determine the future of our country in ways that it may never be able to recover from.  A lot is at stake with this election not just on a federal level, but also in the varied levels of government.  A lot is happening.

All eyes are on the Middle East right now.  Can’t say it is for any one particular reason as there are many.  For quite a while there has been a focus on Iran and its nuclear pursuits coupled with their determination to wipe Israel off the face of the world.  We’ve seen how different countries have gone through what has been labeled as an “Arab Spring”, using force to remove the current leaderships of those countries, and how the Islamist extremists are seizing power wherever they can.  Just these two issues alone scream out for attention, creating instability to the region, but it doesn’t end there.  Currently a lot of attention is on Syria and its neighboring countries.  Syria is going through a civil war between the established government regime and rebel forces made up of Syrians and others from other countries, including various terrorist groups.  Syria has the attention of the world right now not only because of the violence and loss of life that has been experienced there, but also because they possess possibly the world’s largest stockpile of chemical and biological weapons.  There are a number of reasons for the concern in that there is a fear Syria’s government will begin to use them against their own people, or perhaps against Israel or one of its other neighbors.  The fears don’t stop there as many fear these weapons of mass destruction will fall into the hands of the rebels, of terrorist groups like Hezbollah which can then use it against others.  If that isn’t enough, Russia, China and Iran have made it clear that they will defend Syria if there is any attempt by outside forces to undermine or replace the current Syrian regime.  Needless to say, there is a lot going on in that region.  Even now various governments are looking and preparing for a major war to break out in the region in just weeks, not months or years.  Some even believe it is very possible and maybe even probable, that this war will turn nuclear because of the issue with Syria’s chemical and biological weapons.

All of these things, as well as others I haven’t mentioned, have gained the attention of many.  People are wondering what is going on, and more importantly what is in store for us within the next several weeks.  Remember I told you that there is the preparation of a major war in the Middle East within weeks, only to be followed by the elections in November?  Well, I’m noticing something that I want to briefly share with you, something that could have eternal ramifications for you.

I want to start off by reiterating the fact that no one knows when Jesus will return for His bride, and to declare a date for His return is foolishness.  However, Jesus does tell us to be watching for His return pointing out many different signs that would indicate His return being extremely close.  I notice that not only do the signs we currently see scream that His return is very near, but I find it interesting that many of these same signs point to a climaxing period of time that coincides with a particular event.  What is that event?  It is Rosh Hashanah, the fifth of seven feasts the Jews remember each year.  Rosh Hashanah is also known as the Feast of Trumpets.  For 30 days preceding this feast a trumpet is blasted once each day.  The day before this feast no trumpet is sounded so people will know Rosh Hashanah is next, but on Rosh Hashanah there are 100 blasts of the trumpet with four different sounds.  Three of the four sounds are blasted 33 times, and the fourth sound is only blasted on the 100th blast.  The trumpets being used for Rosh Hashanah and the preceding 30 days is not a metal trumpet, but instead a shofar which is made from an animal horn, usually a ram.  These 30 days are set apart by the Jews as a day to repent, remember their sins and to prepare for the judgment.  The Rosh Hashanah feast has many parallels to what we refer to as the rapture, but I’m only going to highlight a few.  This feast is known as the day of the awakening blast, the day of the resurrection.  It is also identified as the day of the coronation of the King; the King takes His bride, and the day of the Kings wedding.  The 100th blast of the shofar is known by Jews as “the last trump”, the same one that the Apostle Paul referred to when addressing the rapture of the saints.  This is also the day that God divides mankind into three groups, the wholly righteous, the wholly wicked, and those who are in the middle.  There is one more element to this feast that has my attention and screams out to me, and perhaps it will for you as well.

When referring to Rosh Hashanah, the Jews knew it by another name.  Before I tell you what that name was let me give you some background.  Of the seven feasts God instituted for Israel, this is the only one that the Jews never knew when it was to take.  They were able to pinpoint a 48 hour period of time each year for when it was to start, but that was it.  They knew it was to start with a new moon, but they didn’t know which of two days that would be.  As a result, they would be watching for the new moon, and when it was seen then two witnesses had to go and testify of this to the priests who would then declare the start of the feast.  Because of this what was instituted by God as a one-day feast turned into a two-day feast referred to as one long day, but that is not the name I’m referring to.  With the uncertainty of when it was to start, the feast became known by ancient Jews even in Jesus’ day as “the day no man knows the day or hour”.  Do those words sound familiar?  They should be.  This is the words of Jesus that people use to argue that we can’t know when Jesus is returning.

So, when is this feast?  Well, in 2012 it starts on the eve of September 16th and extends to September 18th.  Whether or not Jesus is returning during that time only God the Father knows, but I find it ironic that it seems things in our world seem to be climaxing around the same period of time, and it behooves us to make sure we are ready if that is the case.  Just as the Jews are using this time to prepare themselves and make themselves ready, so must we.  There’s more I could share but in the attempt to keep this from getting too long, if it isn’t already, I’m going to go ahead and finish this.

The fact is that Jesus is coming back, and all indications are that it is very near, perhaps nearer than we realize.  Make sure you are right with God and ready for Jesus’ return.  Let go of any unforgiveness of any kind.  Rid yourselves of any sin or sinful thinking, and embrace Jesus and His word as never before, more than just the standard by which we are to live by.  Make sure He is your one and only and not your one of many.  Be a follower of Jesus and not just a passionate fan.  BE READY!!!!!

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