The Feast of Trumpets and The Rapture: Connections and Assumptions

Each year, the end of summer means the Jewish High Holy Days are just around the corner. Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) are upon us. These Fall feasts are very meaningful to the Jewish people and have great significance, prophetically speaking. When we look at Leviticus 23, we can see all the feasts of the Lord given to the children of Israel in a particular order. All six feasts (or seven feasts, since some people separate Passover and Unleavened bread) are called yearly convocations and are divided into two distinct categories:

Spring Festivals
Pesach - Passover: Leviticus 23:4-8
First Fruits: Leviticus 23:9-14
Shavuot - Pentecost: Leviticus 23:15-21

Fall Feasts
Rosh Hashanah: Leviticus 23:23-25
Yom Kippur: Leviticus 23:26-32
Sukkot: Leviticus 23:33-44

We can also derive a prophetic significance from these festivals, as they pertain to the redemptive career of Yeshua the Messiah. This can be both a blessing AND a curse depending on how we establish the prophetic connection and how much we assume. The study of biblical prophecy can suffer from friends and foes, and yet, it is critical that as modern-day disciples of Yeshua, we study the prophetic words of the Bible. The connections exist, and they are strong.

The Spring Festivals have been fulfilled by the First Coming of Yeshua the Messiah:
• Passover: Leviticus 23:4-8 - Death of the Messiah (Isaiah 53:5-8; 1 corinthians 5:7-8)
• First Fruits: Leviticus 23:9-14 - Resurrection of the Messiah (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17, 20-24)
• Pentecost: Leviticus 23:15-21 - Birth of the Body of Messiah (Exodus 19:1, 3-8, Acts 2:1-4)
Prophetically speaking, these festivals are behind us, and there are three more to look forward to. They are known as the Fall Feasts and,

The Fall Feasts will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Yeshua the Messiah:
• Rosh Hashanah: Leviticus 23:23-25 - The Regathering of the Saints (Isaiah 27:12-13 - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18;  1 Corinthians. 15:15-58)
• Yom Kippur: Leviticus 23:26-32 - The Great Tribulation (Ezekiel 36:24-25; Zechariah 13:8-9, 12:10, 2 Corinthians 5:10)
• Sukkot: Leviticus 23:33-44 - The Ingathering of the Messiah and the Believers (John 7:38-39, 8:12; Zechariah 14:16-19; Matthew 17:4)

Based on several biblical reasons–the Levitical Feasts of the Lord not being the least of them–I adhere to a pre-tribulational, pre-millennial view of the end times. In other words, Rosh Hashanah comes before Yom Kippur, which comes before Sukkot, so logically and biblically, we can look at the Regathering of the Believers, the Great Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom in that order. These connections can be made on a biblical foundation, but how does that help us with the timing of the Rapture, or does it?

More books, articles and videos have been produced to prove that the Rapture will take place on Rosh Hashanah that I can count. There is no doubt that people are very interested in the Rapture, and they should, but can a date be set? The extent to which people go to calculate the date of the Rapture is mind-boggling. Let's try to connect some dots.

• Connection between Rosh Hashanah and the Rapture:
The Blowing of the Trumpet in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
 

Paul's Jewish audience couldn't have known about the trumpets of Revelation since the book had not been written when he addressed the Corinthians. They would know about the last trumpet of Rosh Hashanah, known as the "Tekiah Gedolah." When God brings an end to the Church age–which is the fulfillment of the interval of several months between Shavuot and Rosh Hashanah (Leviticus 23:22)–He will send Yeshua to gather the saints (dead and alive.) Shofars were used to call to battle, announce a new moon or call a gathering of people. So, there is a thematic connection between the Last Trump and the Rapture since it will be the time chosen by God to regather the Saints to Himself.

• Assumption between Rosh Hashanah and the Rapture:
Because of the Last Trumpet connection, many have come to place the Rapture on Rosh Hashanah, using other "proofs" from numerology, Talmudic writings and other sources. Could the Rapture happen on Rosh Hashanah? ABSOLUTELY! But, if it does, it will not be BECAUSE it is Rosh Hashanah, but because that will be the day God has picked in His infinite wisdom.

If we seek passages about Yeshua's return to get us, we cannot find a specific date, so the Rapture is signless. Nothing needs to happen before the Rapture takes place...NOTHING! We know that Yeshua is preparing a home for us and that He will return to get us all as we read in  Yet, the Bible doesn't tell us when by date, but it tells us that it will be before Yom Kippur since Rosh Hashanah always comes ten days before the Day of Atonement.

Rabbis teach that the fate of all Jews is decided on Yom T’ruah (The Day of Trumpets), but it isn’t sealed until Yom Kippur. This is a time of introspection and repentance when Jewish people go out of their way to seek forgiveness from anyone they might have hurt throughout the year. The sabbath that falls within these ten days is known as Shabbat Shuvah (the Sabbath of repentance.)

An event in Yeshua's redemptive ministry doesn't have to happen on the exact day of a feast to fulfill that feast, but the event's meaning and symbolism suffice to fulfill one of the Levitical feasts. That will be true for the Rapture, the Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom. If Rosh Hashanah, the Great Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom are the fulfillment of the last three Fall feasts, while they do not require to happen on the exact day of each feast–but they could–they still will occur in the immutable order of the feasts found in Leviticus 23: Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot...That we know!

So, the real question is not "When will the Rapture take place?" but, "When the Rapture takes place, am I going to be taken up or left behind?"

If you have placed your trust in the death and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah for your sins, you have eternal life in God's presence and YOU WILL BE RAPTURED. Don't speculate on dates that cannot be calculated, but invest your time in boldly sharing our hope in Yeshua with the lost. You never know... The Rapture could happen before, during, or after Rosh Hashanah, but after it happens, our influence on those who don't know Yeshua will be gone. Let's use the time we have left wisely.

Are Sukkot, The Millennial Kingdom and Ezekiel's Temple Connected?

We can learn a lot about God's character, His promises, His relationship with Israel and with us by studying the Levitical Feasts of the Lord as they are listed, organized and described in Leviticus 23. They are divided into two groups, the Spring Festivals (Passover, First Fruits and Shavuot) and the Fall Feasts (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot). They respectively connect to the first and second coming of Yeshua the Messiah. The Spring festivals were fulfilled by His death, resurrection and birth of the Body of Messiah, while the Fall Feasts take us to a future time of fulfillment with the Rapture (thematically, not by exact date), the Great Tribulation and our ingathering and dwelling with Messiah in the Millennial Kingdom.

Based on several biblical reasons–the Levitical Feasts of the Lord not being the least of them–I adhere to a pre-tribulational, pre-millennial view of the end times. In other words, Rosh Hashanah comes before Yom Kippur which comes before Sukkot, so logically and biblically, we can look at the Rapture, the Great Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom in that order.

After the Rapture, the world will go through a tremendous time of hardship and the death of billions who were left behind after rejecting Yeshua. That time is known as the Great Tribulation or the Time of Jacob's Trouble when God focuses on the chastisement of Israel and brings all surviving Jews at the end of the Tribulation to cry out "Baruch Haba Bashem Adonai" (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:26; Matthew 23:37-39). Let's not overlook the biblical fact that Yeshua's Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation is triggered by a corporate Jewish acceptance of His messiahship. This is hugely important, especially in light of the fact that Satan's career of lies and deceit will then come to an end and He will be relegated to an eternity of suffering away from God and without relief. If the Jewish people were not to call upon Yeshua, Satan's position as the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:1-2) would be secure. That is why Satan has been so busy going after the Jews through creative antisemitism for millennia. As we return with Messiah to inaugurate His messianic kingdom, we will join those who have survived the Tribulation and participate in the 1,000-year reign of Messiah on earth from the throne of King David in Jerusalem. How does that connect to Sukkot and Ezekiel's Temple?

Let's start with the Feast of Sukkot or Feast of Booths (Sukkot is the plural of the Hebrew word sukkah, which means "temporary dwelling or tent.") It is also known as the Feasts of Tabernacles. The reference is found in Leviticus 23:33-44. Additionally, it is detailed in two other passages of Scripture, Nehemiah 8:13-18 (re-established after the Babylonian captivity) and Zechariah 14:16-19 (celebrated in the millennial kingdom). Sukkot follows Yom Kippur and is a time of great rejoicing after the solemn time of affliction of the body and the soul. It also marked the time of the first fruits of the fall harvest. The feast lasts for seven days and revolves around building temporary booths to eat in, live in and sleep in, reminding the Jewish people of the wilderness wanderings and of God's provision and protection. At the time of sukkot in  biblical days, two important ceremonies took place.

The first one was known as “the outpouring of the water” when the priests marched down from the Temple to the bottom of the City of David at the pool of Siloam to fill water jugs and go back up through the “Water Gate.” Most of Psalms 120-134 were recited (The Psalms of Ascent.) As they arrived at the Temple, they poured out water at the base of the altar. This symbolized the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Israel in the last days.

The second ceremony was known as “the kindling of the lampstands” when the priests descended to the court of the women where four very tall lampstands were lit. This symbolized the Shekinah glory of God, and rabbis associated this ceremony with the Messiah, probably because of Zechariah 14:16-21.) Rabbis also applied Daniel 2:22 to the Messiah “The light dwells with Him.”

An eighth day was added by the rabbis to Sukkot, known as Simchat Torah or “Rejoicing over the Torah”. This is the time of the year when Jewish people finish reading the last weekly portion of the Torah known as a weekly Parasha, and start the cycle again. (Deuteronomy 33:27- 34:12 is read as well as Genesis 1:1-2:3.)

In the New Testament, it is mentioned in a long passage in John 7:1-10:21 when Messiah Yeshua observed the Feast and made some very profound statements. John 7:37-39 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Yeshua stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Yeshua was not yet glorified.
This was Yeshua’s response to “the outpouring of the water” ceremony. He was looking at the leaders and basically saying: “if you are looking for the Spirit of God, look no further, I am here!”

Then, in John 8:12 Yeshua again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
Again, this is Yeshua’s response to the second ceremony known as “the kindling of the lampstands” when He is basically saying: “You are waiting for “The light that dwells with Him”, the Messiah… I am here!”

Yeshua was ready to tabernacle with His people at His First Coming, but He also knew that to validate His office of Messiah, He would have to be rejected by the majority of His people. Even though He knew that His death was part of the divine decree, He still brought up His messiahship to His own people.

What is really exciting though, is the fact that according to Zechariah 14:16-19, we will celebrate the Feast of Sukkot in the 1,000 messianic kingdom of Yeshua on earth.

Zechariah 14:16-19 Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. 17 And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. 18 If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the Lord smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.

Zechariah makes it clear that Sukkot will be fulfilled by the messianic kingdom which will be a time of rejoicing after the terrible afflictions of the Great Tribulation (Yom Kippur). In the Millennium, the Feast will be obligatory for all people, Jews AND Gentiles alike. All gentiles who survived the Tribulation (the sheep Gentiles of Matthew 25:31-46) will send a delegation to Jerusalem each year to celebrate Sukkot, to worship King Messiah and celebrate the Feast. This is also a time when Messiah will “tabernacle” on earth with His subjects.

In Matthew 17:1-4, Peter who knew from Zechariah 14 that the kingdom of Messiah would be fulfilled by Sukkot, immediately asked the transfigured Yeshua if they should build three tabernacles or sukkahs. Peter was convinced that Yeshua was about to inaugurate the messianic or millennial Kingdom at that time. He understood the fulfillment, but his timing was off, and he was jumping the gun as Sukkot was the last of the Levitical feasts. Yeshua would have to die, rise again, start the Church, rapture the Church and allow for the affliction of Israel before returning and establishing His kingdom so that Sukkot could be fulfilled.
Sukkot will be fulfilled by the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom on earth. The Feast of Tabernacle will be fulfilled when all saints tabernacle with the living Word on earth.

During the millennial reign of Yeshua from Jerusalem, the fourth Temple will stand in Jerusalem. The third Temple or Tribulation Temple–never condoned by God–would have been destroyed and the fourth Temple also known as the Ezekiel Temple (Ezekiel 40-48) will come down from heaven. All believers who would have been raptured will return with Yeshua at the Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation to join those who would have survived the Tribulation and to enter into the Millennial Kingdom in all its beauty, including the breathtaking final Temple and fellowship with Yeshua Himself.
There has never been a more important and exciting time to know Yeshua personally. The Spring festivals were fulfilled literally and so will the Fall ones be. By trusting Yeshua today we secure our place in the Rapture (if He doesn't call us home personally before), we avoid the tragic seven-year Tribulation and we return just in time to celebrate Sukkot for 1,000 years before we enter the eternal order in God's presence.

Yom Kippur, The Great Tribulation and the Antichrist...How Soon?

The Jewish civil new year 5783 has come and gone, and to many, it was a bit of a disappointment that the Rapture didn't take place on Rosh Hashanah (Yom T'ruah or the Day of Trumpets) this year. I am of those who expect the Rapture imminently, but I also understand that we cannot know the day or the hour of that event when Yeshua will come in the sky and call the believers up before the Tribulation. But after Rosh Hashanah comes Yom Kippur, and we should continue to pay close attention. So, how does that relate to Yom Kippur, the Great Tribulation and the Antichrist?

As I have explained before, I see a connection between Rosh Hashanah and the Rapture, Yom Kippur and the Great Tribulation and Sukkot (Tabernacles) and the Millennial Kingdom. The Fall Feasts have a thematic connection to the end times not necessitating an exact day fulfillment. In fact, all the Levitical Feasts of the Lord found in Leviticus 23 have a prophetic significance as it pertains to the redemptive career of the Messiah. It is quite beautiful to behold when we connect all the dots. But again, Rosh Hashanah is behind us, and we are now in the ten days of awe in preparation for the most solemn day of Yom Kippur known as the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16).
Rabbis teach that the fate of all Jews is decided on Yom T'ruah (The Day of Trumpets), but it isn't sealed until Yom Kippur. This is a time of introspection and repentance when Jewish people go out of their way to seek forgiveness from anyone they might have hurt throughout the year. The sabbath that falls within these ten days is known as Shabbat Shuvah (the Sabbath of repentance).

Leviticus 23:26-32 tells us that the Day of Atonement is all about repentance, humility and affliction: 26 "The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 27 “On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord. 28 You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God. 29 If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30 As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 32 It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath.”
Yom Kippur 
is a very serious and solemn day on the Jewish calendar, possibly the most important of the year for Jewish people. It is never referred to as a feast but rather, as a fast. It is known by several names, including Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement, Shabbat Shabbaton: The Sabbath of Sabbaths (Leviticus 16:31), and Yom Hakippurim: The Day of Atonements (Leviticus 23:27). It is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar and is the only time that a day other than the Sabbath is also called a sabbath.

Biblically, Yom Kippur is never connected to a fast, but based on Leviticus 23:27-29, the rabbis decided that the "affliction" of the soul must refer to abstinence from food. According to Judaism on this day of judgment, all deeds–good or bad– are weighed in heaven and God inscribes one's name in one of three books (Wicked, In-Between or Righteous), sealing their fate for the next year until the next Yom Kippur. The basic rabbinic principle of Yom Kippur is that man can atone for his own sins through works. It relies heavily on the affliction of the body. Yom Kippur is a time when Jewish people experience affliction of the body more than the traditional affliction of the soul. It includes no eating or drinking. No washing or bathing. No anointing (creams, ointments, perfume). No leather shoes (luxury items). No sexual relations with spouse.
Yom Kippur is a day of repentance and expiation of sins by God, also based on Ezekiel 33:19: But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and practices justice and righteousness, he will live by them. The book of Jonah is also read to teach that you cannot run from God and that God will forgive whoever repents like the Ninevites. It is found in three passages of the Torah: Leviticus 16:1- 34; Leviticus 23:26-32 and Numbers 29:7-11. In the Torah, it served three purposes: To cleanse the people and the Tabernacle, to remind Israel of her national standing before God, and to call for individual repentance.

Leviticus 16:1-34 details the duties of the High Priest and serves as the foundation for 16:11, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement."

Yom Kippur will be fulfilled by the Great Tribulation also known as The Time of Jacob's Trouble and will culminate with Israel’s national Atonement in the Tribulation.

Ezekiel 20:33-38 sets the stage, “33 As I live,” declares the Lord God, “surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out, I shall be king over you. 34 I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; 35 and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. 36 As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you,” declares the Lord God. 37 “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38 and I will purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the Lord.

God will purge rebels and regenerate willing unbelievers who seek the righteousness of God through Yeshua the Messiah. This will bring about Israel’s national regeneration. The key word biblically and rabbinically is “affliction,” both of the soul and the body. On Yom Kippur, atonement was made for the nation, not the individual through the sacrifice of the two goats. But national atonement was not achieved unless there was an affliction of the soul at the individual level. Two other key passages to be considered for Yom Kippur’s fulfillment are Hosea 5:15-6:3 and Zechariah 12:10-13:1.

During the seven-year Great Tribulation, "left behind Israel" will suffer the affliction of the body as two-thirds of all Jewish people alive at that time will perish (Zechariah 13:8-9; Hosea 5:15). Additionally, Zechariah 12:10 and Hosea 6:1-3, speak of the spiritual affliction of Israel that will lead to a corporate acceptance of Yeshua as the Messiah of Israel and will usher the physical Second Coming of Yeshua.

There is a beautiful prophetic connection between all the feasts of the Lord and the end times. Believers should really be excited about what is to come and how God has perfectly linked it to His "yearly convocations" but when it comes to Yom Kippur, we all need to reflect. What is so exciting about billions left behind to suffer and die, including half of the world population and within those numbers, two-thirds of the Jewish people alive at that time?

We look forward to the Rapture and rightfully so, and we look forward to the 1,000-year Messianic kingdom on earth when we will tabernacle with God in the flesh. Accordingly, none of us look forward to the Tribulation since we will be taken out before it starts. Yet, we need to think of all those left behind at the mercy of the Antichrist. Things will start with a promising peace treaty (Daniel 9:26-27), but soon the Antichrist will turn on people and demand to be worshipped as god. People will either take the Mark of the Beast and survive the Tribulation, only to be doomed to eternal torment in the Lake of Fire for rejecting Yeshua, or they will reject the Mark and become Tribulation martyrs.

The Tribulation is as certain to happen as the Rapture will. We are still here on earth, and people who don't know Yeshua are also around us. Now is the time to be bold with the Gospel because the clock is really ticking. If any of the five red heifers turn out to be kosher, we could see the ashes of that animal come to Jerusalem within one year (a plot of land on the Mount of Olives has already been purchased for the sacrifice of the animal). Then, all we need is for the Temple to be rebuilt, and I believe that the Antichrist and his peace treaty with Israel will be instrumental in that part.

Be encouraged to know that any Jewish man you share the Gospel with now could potentially become one of the 144,000 Jewish men used by God to change the world during the Great Tribulation. Now is not the time to be quiet. We know the whole story; we know the players and we know the end. The victory is ours, so, let's share the Gospel with those who need to become members of the blessed Body of Messiah!