The Rapture: Part 4
Aug 02, 2006
We have shown earlier that Israel had two sets of feast days, one in the spring and one in the autumn. The spring feasts centered around Passover and Pentecost, both of which were fulfilled at the Cross and at the coming of the Spirit in Acts 2. The second set begins with the Feast of Trumpets in September, and this begins the prophecy surrounding the second coming of Christ.
The Feast of Trumpets signifies the resurrection of the dead, for we read in 1 Thess. 4:16, "the Lord Himself will descend. . . with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first." This is confirmed in 1 Cor. 15:52, "for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable."
The origin of the Feast of Trumpets, like all of Israel's feast days, is in the story of Israel in the wilderness under Moses. Passover commemorated Israel's departure from Egypt, Pentecost commemorated the giving of the law at Sinai, and the Feast of Trumpets commemorated the construction of the two trumpets of silver in Numbers 10:2.
God explained to Moses in verse 3 that to assemble the congregation [kahal, "church"], they were to blow BOTH trumpets. But to assemble only the rulers of the people, they were to blow just ONE trumpet (vs. 4). The third use of the trumpets was to "blow an alarm" for war. Verse 9 says,
"And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who attacks you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets."
These three instructions prophesy of the purpose of the Feast of Trumpets, and so these things tell us about the prophetic events that are yet to occur on this feast day. When we read 1 Thess. 4:16 and 1 Cor. 15:52, we cannot fail to notice that there is but ONE TRUMPET prophesied in these passages dealing with the resurrection of the dead.
Who, then, is raised? According to the law, it is the rulers of the people--NOT THE CHURCH as a whole. Rapturist teachers today know not the law, and so they commonly teach that the whole Church will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air in the first resurrection. This is not so. The first resurrection is limited to the rulers--that is, the "overcomers." Rev. 20:4-6 says,
". . . and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (5) The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. (6) Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in this first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years."
It is clear that the first resurrection includes only those who will reign with Christ during the Tabernacles Age to come. As a child, I was taught that the Church would be raised at the first resurrection, and the unbelievers raised at the end of the thousand years at the Great White Throne. But this is not what Jesus said in John 5:28, 29,
" (28) Do not marvel at this; for AN HOUR is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice (29) and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment."
This resurrection includes "all who are in the tombs." Which resurrection is this? It cannot be the first one, because that one is clearly limited, saying "the rest of the dead did NOT come to life until the thousand years were finished."
So Jesus was clearly speaking of the second resurrection. Yet Jesus said that believers will be given LIFE at the same time that unbelievers are judged. The plain fact is this: The Church is looking for a "rapture" that will include all believers, when in fact, this will be limited to the few. The Church is looking for a great escape from "the great tribulation," when in fact, if there is any escaping to be done, it will be limited to the few.
The third prophecy of the Feast of Trumpets is that the trumpets were to be blown to signal war against "the adversary" (Num. 10:9). I suspect that this prophesies the timing of Jerusalem's destruction, when God goes forth against His adversaries.
Once again, the Church assumes that anyone fighting the Jews are God's adversaries. These religious leaders have never studied the law. Isaiah 63:9, 10 says,
" (9) In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them [Israel];In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them; and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. (10) But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy. He fought against them."
Thus, God tells us that even if pure-blooded Israelites rebelled against Him, He would become their enemy and fight against them. They could not appeal to their genealogy to get God's backing. So even if we were to consider today's unbelieving Jews to be pure-blooded Israelites, it would not make God their friend or prevent Him from fighting against them.
Keep in mind that Jesus Christ is the Yahweh of the Old Testament, the giver of the law to Moses. To rebel against Him is to rebel against God Himself, for we read in Exodus 15:2,
"Yahweh is my strength and song, and He has become my Yashua [Jesus' Hebrew name]; This is my God, and I will praise Him; my father's God, and I will extol Him."
This is repeated in Isaiah 12:1-3, which Jesus applied to Himself in John 7:37-39. The true water of life was to be drawn from the wells or springs of Yashua. So Jesus said, "If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink."
The name Yashua literally means "salvation," and so when Jesus was taken to the temple as a baby, Simeon was watching for the Messiah. He knew His name would be called Yashua. Thus, in Luke 2:30, Simeon says, "For my eyes have seen Thy SALVATION [Yashua]."
And so, when the evil figs of Judah rejected Jesus as the Messiah and usurped His scepter, they rebelled against the God of the Old Testament. The only way to become a "good fig" is to repent of this rebellion. Until that happens, they are God's adversaries.
In the law of tribulation in Leviticus 26, we read about the judgment that would occur upon Israel and how He would bring them captive into foreign lands. The solution is given in verses 40-42,
" (40) If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me-- (41) I was also acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies--or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, (42) THEN I will remember My covenant. . ."
While there are certainly individual Jews who have repented of their hostility against Jesus, the Israeli state as a national unit will not repent before its destruction (Is. 29:1-6; Jer. 19:10, 11). In fact, that nation is NOT under God's covenant, because according to the law above, they must first repent before God remembers His covenant. They did not do this before 1948 and are even today outside the covenant.
Isaiah 29:1-6 makes it clear that God considers Jerusalem to be His enemy and adversary. He is the one who will lay siege to the city and will destroy it by the hands of men.
This is the fourth part of a series titled "The Rapture." To view all parts, click the link below.