A Type of the Rapture of the Church
By Thomas S. McCall, Th.D
Rosh HaShana. These are two Hebrew words that mean "the head of the months," or New Year. In the Scriptures, this holy day is called the Feast of Trumpets, the great convocation. This was one of the seven feasts the Lord gave Israel in the 23rd chapter of Leviticus, the third book of Moses. These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. (Leviticus 23:4)
In our Western culture, there are no holidays instituted by God. But Israel has at least these seven feasts designed and ordained by the Almighty, and they have been observed annually for some 1,500 years. These seven feasts were actually divided into three festival periods:
Passover, which included the three individual feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits, was in the first month of the year, that is in March-April.
Pentecost, which stands alone, was in the third month of the year, May-June.
Tabernacles, was the third period and fell in the seventh month of the year, our September-October, and includes the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles.
For these three festival periods, every Jewish man in Israel under the Mosaic Law was to leave his pursuits, his agriculture, and whatever else he was engaged in, and make the journey to Jerusalem to worship the Lord in His Temple. After each festival period, he would return home, taking up his pursuits again until the time he was to go back to Jerusalem for the next festival period.
The Feast of Trumpets
The Tabernacles Festival begins with the Feast of Trumpets, sometimes called Rosh HaShanah, or the New Year. On the first day of the seventh month, which occurs sometime in our September-October, trumpets would be blown, and the Feast of Trumpets would occur:
And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. (Leviticus 23:23)
On the first day of the seventh month, just as for Passover and Pentecost, Israelites would come from their businesses, from their agricultural work, from their various locations, and they would ascend the hills of Jerusalem.
There would be a great blowing of the Shofar, the ram's horn, by the priests on the wall of the Temple, and they would gather in Jerusalem to prepare for the important days ahead. It was a great convocation, a great coming together in Jerusalem. The harvests were over and had been laid aside in the storehouses. The approaching fall and winter were coming; it was a time of celebration in the Holy City.
In modern Judaism the Feast of Trumpets is not called that any more; it is called instead Rosh HaShana, "the head of the months," but it still has the blowing of the trumpets. This is actually considered the beginning of the year in the Jewish calendar. Jews send New Year's cards and wish for one another that they should be inscribed in God's book of life for the next year.
Rosh HaShana, is the beginning of the Days of Awe, the ten days leading up to the Day of Atonement. In Rabbinic theology, it is during these ten days that God weighs every man in the balance - his good deeds versus his evil deeds. Then God determines whether or not the person will be permitted to go through another year.
To the believer in our Messiah Yeshua, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Feast of Trumpets has great prophetic significance. We are told in I Thessalonians 4:16, 17: The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
This event is known as Harpazo, the Rapture, the Catching Up. It is the time when the Lord will come for His own, when Jesus will descend through the stratosphere and take those of us who have trusted in Him to be with Himself. It is imminent, it can happen at any moment; it can happen today, it can happen ten years from now. We do not know when it will be, but it could happen at any time. And so, the prophecy of the Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled in the Rapture of the Church. It has not yet been fulfilled. We are still in the period between Pentecost and Trumpets in God's prophetic calendar.
The Feast of Trumpets not only has reference to the Rapture of the Church, but also has a prophetic reference to Israel. In Isaiah 27:12 and 13, the Lord promises Israel: Ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel, and it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria,and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.
There will be a time in the future when the Lord will blow a trumpet for Israel to be regathered back in the land, and so the fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets will have to do with not only the calling of the Church to its home in glory, but also calling the Jewish people back to their home in the Land of Israel. We are seeing the beginnings of this even now. When the Lord blows the trumpet, the migrations back to Israel will be on an even greater scale than they are now, and will be complete.
The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh HaShana, New Year), then, both looks back to the ancient days of Israel's past, and looks ahead to our Redeemer's return. The blowing of the trumpet signifies the Rapture of the Church (composed of believing Jews and Gentiles of this age) to its home in Heaven, and the calling of Israel back to its home in the Promised Land. Let the trumpet blow!
(Contributed by David & Josie Silver, Out of Zion Ministries; A Member of Tents of Mercy Network of Congregations and Ministries. Mt Carmel, Haifa, Israel. Website: www.out-of-zion.com
More on Rosh Hashana
By Beth Ann Williamson
Much interest has been rekindled in the past few years, in regard to Israel, and her devotion to God. Hart Armstrong wrote of the Festivals of Israel, and here is an excerpt from his book; "Sacred Festivals of the Lord," for your enjoyment and education in God's Plans, laid out for Israel in Festivals.
"The Festival of Trumpets" or Yom Teruach, is currently celebrated as "beginning of a new year" in modern Israel, and called Rosh Hashana (head of the year). Christianity hardly remembers the day, but is becoming increasingly aware of its significance. Hart referred to this feast day as the most likely day in ANY calendar year, to fulfill I Thessalonians 4:16, which describes the Coming of Jesus at "the Last Trump."
THE FESTIVALS OF THE LORD
By Hart R. Armstrong:
THE DIVINE COMMAND:
"The command of God to Israel concerning this Festival is very brief. It is found in Leviticus 23: 24,25, and reads: "Speak unto he children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein; but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord."
We first notice the day is to be considered a Sabbath ... a day of rest and worship. Then God calls it a 'memorial of blowing of trumpets.'
What is it a memorial of?
Opinions differ: some think it was of the creation of Adam, others of the creation of the Earth. It seems most likely to me it was a memorial of that great day in the wilderness of Sinai when the people of Israel heard the mighty sound of the trumpet of God at the time the Law was given to Moses. This was a tremendous experience as we read that God commanded Moses: "When the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceedingly loud, so that all the people that were in the camp trembled. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice" (Exodus 19:13, 16 19).
Certainly this day at Mt. Sinai was one of the greatest experiences the nation of Israel had in all its history, so it would seem the 'memorial celebration' of this fifth Sacred Festival must have been in honor of the giving of the Law by God at Sinai.
HOW THIS FESTIVAL WAS CELEBRATED
[The time of the Festival. It was to be on the first day of the seventh month of the Jewish year, which was Tishri. This comes this year on September 6,7,8. While the original first month of the Jewish year is Nisan, the Jews began their year on Tishri 1, at the Festival of Trumpets, and began to consider it to be the first day of the year - or head of the year, Rosh Hashana.]
"The blowing of trumpets for Rosh Hashana began one month before, for each morning during the month Elul (the 6th month) a trumpet was blown. On the day before Rosh Hashana no trumpet was blown, but on the two days which marked Rosh Hashana."
"Also we should point out that the next day after the Festival of Trumpets the Jews began a seven-day period of "affliction," called "Days of Awe," (Yom Kippur). We also should note that ever since the blowing of the trumpet at Mt. Sinai, the Jews considered the trumpet sound was to announce the presence of God, and also it was to summon the people to leave their fields and gather for worship before God.
SPIRITUAL MEANING OF THIS FESTIVAL
The Apostle Paul, speaking of these Jewish Festivals, declares, "Which are a shadow of things to come" (Colossians 2:17).
First, the Rapture Coming of Jesus to take His children home is depicted and prophesied by Christ Himself as the final "harvest of the wheat" in the story He told of the tares and the wheat. Jesus said, "Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of harvest I will say...gather the wheat into my barn" (Matt. 13:30).
The Apostle John, in the Book of Revelation is given a vision of how Christ Himself will come to "harvest His wheat," in Rev. 14.
John says, "And I looked and behold, a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat, like the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped" (Rev. 14:14,16).
How logical and fitting that this fifth Festival, which is dedicated to and a celebration of the final harvest of Israel, is used as a picture of the Coming of Jesus Christ to "harvest the righteous," and take His children home. The blowing of a trumpet is an important part of the event.
In I Corinthians 15:52 we are told Christ will come, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound." Notice this is spoken of as the last trump, and this may remind of the last trump of Rosh Hashana, the "Teki'ah Gedolah."
In another description of Christ's coming for His Bride, Paul speaks of the trumpet of God (I Thess. 4:16). This is not a trumpet blown by a man or even by an angel. Like the trumpet which sounded at Mt Sinai, this is one which is the trump of God...doubtless God Himself blows it." (End)
Here are some additional thoughts regarding the Festival:
The Jews believe that Rosh Hashana is the anniversary of the creation of the world, and the beginning of the kingdom of HaShem (God). On this day they reaffirm their acceptance of HaShem as their King. HaShem judges all of His creations on this day, and decides on their fate in the coming year. It is a day of intense and lengthy prayer and restrained rejoicing. They rejoice in their acceptance of HaShem's kingship but their rejoicing is subdued by their recognition that the great judgment is taking place.
They sound a shofar on the holiday, and a person can hear 100 blasts from the shofar on each day of Rosh HaShana. The shofar is made from an animal horn, preferably from a ram. A cow's horn is not acceptable. Nor are the antlers of a deer of similar animals whose horns are a solid piece.
There are three sounds made with the shofar:
Tekiah - One long blast.
Shevarim - Three shorter blasts.
Teruach - A series of quick blasts.
There are many meanings and messages which are present in the blowing:
Call to arouse one's souls to repentance.
To show that they accept the one true God as King.
To strengthen their commitment to the Torah, (the Word of God).
That one must be willing, as Abraham and Isaac were, to make great sacrifices to serve the true God.
I hope that you enjoy this message, and that you will be ready for the Trumpet to Sound!
(Beth Ann Williamson is president of Christian Communications, Inc., P O Box 1601, Wichita, KS 67201.