Last week I gave a brief look at other rapture opinions, and the thing in common among them is that none consider that maybe God gave Moses the teaching on the rapture. In fact, He did, and that is what we will look at in these next 3 weeks.
Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets
It is also called Rosh Hashanah (the head of the year, the Jewish new year). It teaches about the coronation and wedding of Messiah, the resurrection of the righteous dead, the gathering of the nobles (you and me), the giving of rewards to His court (the nobles/kings/priests of His kingdom), the day of judgement, the start of Jacob’s Trouble (the tribulation), and the anniversary of the start of the world.
The original instructions about the blowing of the trumpet are found in Leviticus 23: 23-25, and mentioned later in places like Numbers 29:1 and Psalm 81:3 (“Blow the trumpet in the new moon”. It is the only 1 of the 7 festivals that starts at the New Moon phase, when there is no moon, for the moon is hidden. The moon has long been a type of believers in Messiah, as it has no light source of its own, but relies on the sun – that’s Judaism not Christianity making that symbolism. So at the rapture the believers are hidden from view in the heavens, like the moon at the new moon phase.
Paul would later write in Colossians 2: 16-17 that the new moon is a ‘shadow of things to come’, alluding to the Feast of Trumpets and the resurrection of the dead.
If you look up Yom Teruah, the Hebrew Lexicon tells us the word ‘teruah’ means ‘an awakening blast’. This ‘awakening’ or rising from the dead is found throughout rabbinical teachings on the Feast of Trumpets. What trumpet is used to awaken the righteous dead?
According to Pirke deR’ Eliezer (Rabbi Eliezer’s writings)
He says the left horn of the ram caught in the bush in Genesis 22 when Abraham nearly sacrificed Isaac but found a substitute, is the ‘first trump’. It was blown on Mt Sinai when Moses received the Law.
The right horn or ‘last trump’ will be blown to announce Messiah. It was blown by Abraham in connection with Isaac raised from the dead – he received him raised in a figure Hebrews 11: 17-19, so he blew the horn in celebration. It has been used at the Feast of Trumpets since. (Though the original ram’s horn is long gone)
There is also ‘The Great Shofar’ which is reserved for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when Messiah comes and the end of the age is announced. That is blown as the final call to receive atonement for one’s sin.
Paul wrote of this last trump in I Corinthians 15: 51-53: “Behold, I show you a mystery. We won’t all die, but we will all be changed. In a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we all will be changed.”
If you are reading that and have never studied the Jewish teaching about the last trump, then all you read is some trumpet will sound and not know why it is called the ‘last trumpet’, that will cause the dead in Christ and those alive at that time to be changed to join the Lord. But if you know what Judaism teaches, then you realize Paul’s great revelation that differs from Judaism, is that those alive will also be changed – that is the mystery, that is what is new and not taught in Judaism.
This is important because it shows Paul believed the traditional Jewish teaching about what we call the rapture; That it is a Jewish teaching from the Feast of Trumpets. The last trump will be blown at the New Moon phase, when the moon is hidden from view, as a type of believers being raised and changed to be hidden in Messiah.
This is from a teaching and (Jewish) temple prayer prayed during the Feast of Trumpets:
“Awake you sleepers from your sleep, arise from your sleep, examine your life and repent and remember your Creator. Forsake vanity, look into your souls and improve your ways, forsake your evil thoughts and your path…”
Paul paraphrased this same Feast of Trumpets temple prayer in Ephesians 5:14-17: “Therefore as he says; ‘Awake you who sleep and rise from the dead, and Messiah will give you light. See then that you live rightly, not as fools, redeeming the time for the days are evil. Therefore don’t be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.’”
Most readers of Ephesians have no idea Paul is paraphrasing the temple prayer about the rapture here in Ephesians 5:14, the raising of the righteous dead…they don’t know who the ‘he’ is at the start of Paul’s quote, that it would be the priest praying that prayer at the Feast of Trumpets in the temple. Now you know.
During this time in the Jewish festivals, even in our day, Psalm 27 is read daily. Verse 5 says this: “For in the time of trouble (time of Jacob’s trouble, or the tribulation) He will hide me in His pavilion. In the secret of His tabernacle He will hide me. He will set me upon a Rock.” Also v10: “When my father and mother reject me, the Lord will take me up.” (receive me to Himself)
This confirms the Jewish belief that in the time of trouble, Jacobs’s trouble or the Day of Wrath, He hides us in Him. Again, if you didn’t know this Psalm is read in association with the Feast of Trumpets about the rapture, you’d just be reading an interesting Psalm.
This is why Paul wrote in I Thessalonians when teaching about the ‘rapture’, he told them in 1:10: “…to wait for Jesus who has delivered us from the wrath to come” and in 5:9-10: “For God the Father has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, for whether we have died or are awake, we will live together with Him.”
If you are just reading the word ‘wrath’ without understanding in Judaism that refers to the tribulation or time of Jacob’s trouble, then you wouldn’t understand. But the use of ‘wrath’ in context, sets it to mean the days following the blowing of the last trumpet.
The days of wrath?
“…Three books are opened on Rosh Hashanah: One for the wholly righteous, one for the wholly wicked, and one for the intermediates. The wholly righteous are at once inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life; the wholly wicked are at once inscribed and sealed in the Book of Death; and the intermediates are held suspended from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). If they are found worthy, they are inscribed for life.; if found unworthy, they are inscribed for death.” Rosh Hashanah 16b
The Intermediates are those undecided about the Lord and will have through the end of the Tribulation, or days of wrath, to decide for Him, or not.
Joel 2: 1, 11 writes of the day of wrath, the wrath of the Lord to come. Also Zephaniah 1: 14-17. Isaiah 13: 6-9 and 34: 1-8 talks of the time of indignation of the Lord, the wrath to come. Jeremiah 30: 4-7 speaks of the time of Jacob’s trouble. Revelation 6: 14-17 says they wanted to hide from the ‘wrath of the Lamb’ for the great day of His wrath has come.” The concept of the day of wrath, what we call the tribulation, is throughout the Old Testament. Paul told the Thessalonians to comfort one another, for God has not called us to (the day of) wrath.
Even with Noah, who went into the ark when he was 600 years old, escaped the flood waters of judgement. It’s long been understood there will be 6,000 years of modern man in the earth, then Messiah the Ark will cause His people to enter into Him, will be sealed by the Spirit (the Lord shut the door on Noah’s ark), thus hidden in Messiah/Ark, rise above the flood waters of wrath and judgment.
The tribulation or time of Jacob’s trouble is also called the Days of Awe, the Day of Wrath, the Indignation, and the Birth pangs of Messiah. Those are the days Paul told the Thessalonians we are saved from. Those are the days Psalm 27 says we will be hidden with Him in His tabernacle.
Birth pangs of Messiah
“It was evidently expected these ‘pangs’ would be understood of the travail in which the new age (Millennial age with Messiah ruling the earth) would be born. The corresponding phrase in the Rabbinical text is ‘the travail of Messiah’, that is, not the sufferings of the Messiah Himself…but the throes of mother Zion which is in labor to bring forth the Messiah to the Jewish people.” Judaism in the First Century Christian Era, George Foot-Moore.
This shows the earth will go through ‘birth pangs’ to ‘birth’ the Messiah into the earth – that is what we call the tribulation, the last and most violent ‘birth pangs’ before Messiah is revealed to mankind – when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.
Understanding the terms like ‘wrath’ and ‘birth pangs’, we can now understand Matthew 24 in its Jewish context, and that is for next week. Until then….blessings,