These are the Lord’s appointed times, holy assemblies, which you must proclaim at their appointed time. (Leviticus 23:4 NET)
Historical Background of the Feast of Trumpets
God gave the following instructions concerning the Feast of Trumpets in 1446 B.C.:
The LORD spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you are to have a day of complete rest, commemoration, and joyful shouting —a sacred assembly. You must not do any daily work, but you must present a fire offering to the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:23–25 HCSB)
The Feast of Trumpets is the first day of the seventh month on the Hebrew religious calendar. (1) This is the Hebrew month of Tishri, the post-exilic name (Ethanim was the pre-exilic name), which corresponds to the Gentile months of September through October. Tishri is also the first month on the Jewish civil calendar and is the Jewish New Year. (3)
The seventh month of the Jewish calendar stood out above the others in the eyes of Moses and Israel. As God announced the order of the Hebrew calendar, He instructed the people to punctuate the arrival of each new month, which started with a new moon (1), with a celebration and a blowing of trumpets (1). (5)
But He emphasized the seventh month when from the foot of Mount Sinai He said through Moses the lawgiver: (5)
“Tell the Israelites, ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you must have a complete rest, a memorial announced by loud horn blasts, a holy assembly. (Leviticus 23:24 NET)
Blow the horn [shofar] on the day of our feasts during the new moon [Feast of Trumpets] and during the full moon [Feast of Tabernacles]. For this is a statute for Israel, a judgment of the God of Jacob. (Psalm 81:3–4 NET)
Again, the first day of each month was a new moon day, but the only time that the new moon day was also a festival was on the day of the Feast of Trumpets, the first day of the seventh month. Note, the Hebrew here does mention the shofar and that blowing it is a statute for Israel.
Names Given for this Day
So a feast was decreed on the first of the seventh month. But what was it to be called? When He gave the calendar, God named the appointed feasts—the Sabbath, the Passover, the Day of Atonement, etc. However, this feast received no title from Yahweh. (5) Consequently, several names have been given for the beginning of the new year.
Scripturally Derived Names
Yom Zicharon Teru’ah
Yom means “day,” Zicharon means “memorial,” and Teruah (1) in this context means “loud horn blasts” (cf. Numbers 23:21;31:6; 2 Chronicles 13:12; Jeremiah 20:16;49:2; Ezekiel 21:22; Amos 1:14) or “shouting for joy” (cf. Job 8:21; 1 Samuel 4:5,6; Ezra 3:11–13; Job 8:21;33:26; Psalms 27:6;33:3;89:15)
Taken together they mean a day [yom] of “Memorial of Loud Horn Blasts and Shouting for Joy.” (2)
The LORD spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites, ‘In the seventh month, on the first day [yom] of the month, you must have a complete rest, a memorial [zicharon] announced by loud horn blasts [teruah], a holy assembly. You must not do any regular work, but you must present a gift to the LORD.’ ” (Leviticus 23:23–25 NET)
The LORD spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you are to have a day [yom] of complete rest, commemoration [zicharon], and joyful shouting [teruah] —a sacred assembly. You must not do any daily work, but you must present a fire offering to the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:23–25 HCSB)
The concept of shouting for joy is based upon the book of Job, which states that when God created the heavens and the earth, the sons (i.e., the angels (cf. Job 1:6))(4) of God shouted for joy. (2)
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you possess understanding! Who set its measurements—if you know— or who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its bases set, or who laid its cornerstone— when the morning stars sang in chorus, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:4–7 NET)
Judaism, not the Bible, teaches that God created the heavens and the earth on the Feast of Trumpets, so it was on this occasion that the angels shouted for joy. The Feast of Trumpets, therefore, is known as the shouting for Joy. The horn that is used on this day is not only to be remembered but also to be blown. Whenever the Feast of Trumpets falls on a weekday the ram’s horns are blown inside and outside the Temple. In ancient times the shofar was sounded only within the Temple and not the synagogues when the Feast of Trumpets fell on a Sabbath. (2)(7) In modern Judaism the shofar is prohibited from being blown on the Sabbath. (12)
Again, Yom means “day” with teruah again meaning “loud horn blasts” or “shouting for joy.” Together they mean “Day of Loud Horn Blasts and Shouting for Joy.” (2)
“ ‘On the first day of the seventh month, you are to hold a holy assembly. You must not do your ordinary work, for it is a day [yom] of blowing trumpets [teruah] for you. (Numbers 29:1 NET)
“You are to hold a sacred assembly in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, and you are not to do any daily work. This will be a day [yom] of joyful shouting [teruah] for you. (Numbers 29:1 HCSB)
Realize in Leviticus 23:24 and Numbers 29:1 that the Hebrew word for the instrument to be blown is Teru’ah which means “loud horn blasts,” specifically the shofar, and not the silver trumpets (1). Therefore this feast day would more accurately be called “Feast of Horns” instead of “Feast of Trumpets.”
Nevertheless, it came to be called the Feast of Trumpets. And the blowing of the Shofar became the distinguishing characteristic of the day, calling the people’s attention to the awesome festival that was to soon follow—the Day of Atonement on the 10th of Tishri. (5)
This is the most common Jewish term for this feast today. Very few Jewish people today talk about the Feast of Trumpets; rather, they mention Rosh Hashanah, which means “the head of the year.” This has become the most common term for this feast in Judaism.
However, this designation was not applied to this feast until at least the second century A.D., more than 1500 years after the institution of the holiday. Following the A.D. 70 Destruction of the Temple, its observance was radically altered. For the holiday, it was a matter of survival in the midst of tragic circumstances Continued observance of the Feast of Trumpets was threatened due to the absence of the Temple and its sacrificial system. As a result, synagogue liturgy was enlarged, new traditions were suggested, and emphases were shifted in an attempt to preserve and adapt the observance of this holiday for a people scattered outside their homeland and stripped of their temple. The timing of the ancient Feast of Trumpets coincided with the beginning of Israel’s civil New Year. After the A.D. 70 destruction of the second Temple, the two observances became inseparably connected. Over time, the Feast of Trumpets was largely overshadowed and assimilated by the Jewish New Year, becoming known as Rosh Hashanah. (15)
The biblical holiday, Yom Teruah, was a one-day festival that had other purposes than Rosh Hashanah; that is celebrated for two days and focuses on the onset of a year, repentance, and commitment to live the next year properly. These ideas are not suggested in Yom Teru’ah that concentrated on months and the number seven (i.e., seventh month), rest, joy, and blowing the shofar. (14)
The expression “Rosh Hashanah” is found in Ezekiel; however, it is not associated with this particular feast day. (2)
In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning [rosh] of the year [hashanah], on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was struck down, on this very day, the hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me there. (Ezekiel 40:1 NET)
The reason Jewish people call this feast Rosh Hashanah or “the head of the year” is for five reasons. It is the head or beginning of the year because:
- Judaism teaches that God created the heavens and the earth on this feast day (Tishri 1),
- It is used for the Sabbatical Year count,
- It is used for the Jubilee Year count,
- It is used for the fruit tree count. When a new fruit tree is planted, rabbinic law forbids the eating of the fruit for the first three years of its growth. One begins the count for this on the Feast of Trumpets,
- Is it used for the laws pertaining to vegetables in that ten percent of all produce is to be given to the Levites on this particular occasion. (2)
Therefore, this feast has become known as the beginning of the Jewish Civil year. (2)
Non-Scripturally Derived Names
Which means “the day of remembrance.” This is a rabbinic name for the feast because the rabbis teach that on this day there is a call to all Jews to remember their sins before the next holy day, the Day of Atonement. On this day, it is believed that God remembers His creatures and shows them mercy. Thus it is called Yom Hazicharon, the day of remembrance. (2)
Which means “the day of judgment.” This is a name from Jewish beliefs that all Jews on this day are to pass in judgment to see if their sins will be forgiven or not. (2)
The Purpose of the Feast
The main purpose of the Feast of Trumpets was initially to be a joyful day of celebration of a divine mystery. However, it has now become the announcement of the arrival of the seventh month, and this was to prepare the people for the Day of Atonement, which was ten days later on the 10th of Tishri. The seventh month was special because it was the last month of the religious festival season. It was the time when God would complete His dealings with the people for that year. (3)
The Feast of Trumpets was not one of the three pilgrimage feasts (i.e., Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks, and Feast of Tabernacles were pilgrimage feasts) when all Jewish males were required to go to Jerusalem to “appear before the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 16:16. Exodus 23:14-17). However, the sound of trumpets of the Feast of Trumpets would announce to those living outside Jerusalem that the Day of Atonement, followed by the Feast of Tabernacles, a pilgrimage feast, would soon occur.
There were Five Unique Features of the Feast of Trumpets:
- It was to be observed for one day only (However, it became a two-day festival possibly to ensure the correct day was celebrated due to the inaccuracy of visually determining the new Moon in inclement weather including the time to evaluate the testimony of the witnesses).
- It is a day of rest, a day of no labor.
- The blowing of the shofar (1) was a memorial, but a memorial of what? The Scriptures do not say. Whereas in other feasts, reasons were given for the different actions, on this feast God chose to give no reason for blowing the trumpet. He left it as part of the divine mystery to be revealed later. (3) Perhaps the shofar was blown in remembrance of the ram that was sacrificed in place of Isaac (Genesis 22:13). The ram that was a type of the Lamb of God! (John 1:29,36)
- Certainly the call of the shofar reminded Israel that the seventh month had begun. It was distinctive from that of the silver trumpets blown on other new moons. Silver trumpets were sounded at the daily burnt offering and at the beginning of each new month (Numbers 10:1-10), but the shofar specifically was blown on the beginning of the month of Tishri. (5) The silver trumpets were probably blown as well as it was also a new moon. (6)
- It was a day with many animal, grain, and wine sacrifices and offerings.
“ ‘On the first day of the seventh month, you are to hold a holy assembly. You must not do your ordinary work, for it is a day of blowing trumpets for you. You must offer a burnt offering as a sweet aroma to the Lord: one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs one year old without blemish. “ ‘Their grain offering is to be of finely ground flour mixed with olive oil, three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths of an ephah for the ram, and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs, with one male goat for a purification offering to make an atonement for you; this is in addition to the monthly burnt offering and its grain offering, and the daily burnt offering with its grain offering and their drink offerings as prescribed, as a sweet aroma, a sacrifice made by fire to the Lord. (Numbers 29:1–6 NET)
A burnt offering (1) consisting of a bull and seven lambs were required. The appropriate meal (grain) (1) offering of wheat flour (1), olive oil (1), frankincense (1), and salt (1) were placed on top of the sacrificial animals, followed by the drink offering of wine (1). In addition, a kid for the sin offering (1) was required with no grain or drink offerings accompanying it. (3) These sacrifices and offerings were in addition to those required daily (1) and for the 1st of the Month (New Moon).
The animals to be sacrificed had to have the following four general characteristics. The animal had to be:
- ceremonially clean,
- utilitarian, meaning “usable for food” or sustenance,
- domesticated (i.e., those that obeyed their master’s will and more or less were endeared to the offerer), and
- types of animal sacrifices (see “Sacrifices and Offerings of the Old Covenant” table immediately below)
In addition, the animal to be sacrificed had to meet the following three criteria:
- Condition – perfect without spot, blemish, disease, or deformity (cf. Malachi 1:8)
- Gender – Male (6) and
- Age – generally, the lamb or kid had to be one year old [i.e., a lamb or kid at the peak of life and health]. Sometimes, it could be as young as eight days old (Leviticus 22:27) or as old as three years (Genesis 15:9). The bull and ram must be older than seven days (Leviticus 22:27) or as old as three years. (2)
The Feast of Trumpets in the Scriptures
There are two specific places where the Feast of Trumpets is alluded to in Scripture. They are both in the Old Covenant; however, the feast’s name is not mentioned. The Feast of Trumpets is never mentioned as a feast in the New Covenant.
The Only Recorded Observation of the Feast of Trumpets in the Old Covenant (circa 536 B.C.) (6)
When the seventh month arrived and the Israelites were living in their towns, the people assembled in Jerusalem. Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his priestly colleagues and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his colleagues started to build the altar of the God of Israel so they could offer burnt offerings on it as required by the law of Moses the man of God. They established the altar on its foundations, even though they were in terror of the local peoples, and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and the evening offerings. They observed the Festival of Temporary Shelters as required and offered the proper number of daily burnt offerings according to the requirement for each day. Afterward they offered the continual burnt offerings and those for the new moons and those for all the holy assemblies of the Lord and all those that were being voluntarily offered to the Lord. From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord. However, the Lord’s temple was not at that time established. (Ezra 3:1–6 NET)
The priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, and all the rest of Israel lived in their cities. When the seventh month arrived and the Israelites were settled in their cities, all the people gathered together in the plaza which was in front of the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly which included men and women and all those able to understand what they heard. (This happened on the first day of the seventh month.) So he read it before the plaza in front of the Water Gate from dawn till noon before the men and women and those children who could understand. All the people were eager to hear the book of the law. Ezra the scribe stood on a towering wooden platform constructed for this purpose. Standing near him on his right were Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Masseiah. On his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. Ezra opened the book in plain view of all the people, for he was elevated above all the people. When he opened the book, all the people stood up. Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people replied “Amen! Amen!” as they lifted their hands. Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah—all of whom were Levites—were teaching the people the law, as the people remained standing. They read from the book of God’s law, explaining it and imparting insight. Thus the people gained understanding from what was read. Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priestly scribe, and the Levites who were imparting understanding to the people said to all of them, “This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping when they heard the words of the law. He said to them, “Go and eat delicacies and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Then the Levites quieted all the people saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy. Do not grieve.” So all the people departed to eat and drink and to share their food with others and to enjoy tremendous joy, for they had gained insight in the matters that had been made known to them. (Nehemiah 7:73–8:12 NET)
The altar was rebuilt on this occasion. When the altar was rebuilt, the sacrifices were resumed before the Temple itself was actually completed in 516 B.C. On this occasion Ezra read the Law of Moses before the Jewish people. Out of this arose a Jewish custom to stand up and read the entire Mosaic Law.
The Feast of Trumpets during the Time of Jesus the Messiah on Earth
The Feast of Trumpets was observed as a “Sabbath” and a “holy convocation,” in which “no servile work” might be done. The prescribed offerings for the day consisted, besides the ordinary morning and evening sacrifices, first, of the burnt-offerings, but not the sin-offering, of ordinary new moons, with their meat- and drink-offerings, and after that, of another festive burnt-offering of one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs, with their appropriate meat- and drink-offerings, together with “one kid of the goats for a sin-offering, to make an atonement for you.” While the drink-offering of the festive sacrifice was poured out, the priests and Levites chanted Psalm 81, and if the feast fell on a Thursday, for which that Psalm was, at any rate, prescribed, it was sung twice, beginning the second time at verse 7 in the Hebrew text, or verse 6 of our Authorized Version. At the evening sacrifice, Psalm 29. was sung. For reasons previously explained, it became common early to observe the New Year’s Feast on two successive days, and the practice may have been introduced in Temple times. (9)
During the whole of New Year’s Day, trumpets and shofars were blown in Jerusalem inside and outside the Temple from morning until evening. Again, if Tishri 1 fell on a Sabbath then they were only blown inside the Temple during this time period. (However, after the destruction of Jerusalem this restriction was removed, and the horn is blown in every synagogue, even if the feast falls upon a Sabbath. Today the shofar is not blown at all on a Sabbath) Again, the instruments used were not the ordinary priests’ silver trumpets, but shofars. The Mishnah (10) holds that any kind of horns may be blown except those of oxen or calves, in order not to remind God of the sin of the golden calf! The Mishnah, however, specially mentions the straight horn of the antelope and the bent horn of the ram. The latter with special allusion to the sacrifice in substitution of Isaac, it being a Jewish tradition that it was on New Year’s Day in which Abraham, despite Satan’s wiles to prevent or retard him, had offered up his son Isaac on Mount Moriah (1). The mouthpiece of the shofar for New Year’s Day was fitted with gold (1) and those used on fast days was fitted with silver (1). (9)
Another distinction in this period was that on New Year’s Day, those who blew the shofar were placed between others who blew the silver trumpets, and the sound of the shofars with the gold mouthpieces was prolonged beyond the sound of the silver trumpets. However, on fast days those who sounded the silver trumpets stood in the middle, and their blast was prolonged beyond those standing on the outside sounding the shofars with silver mouthpieces. (11)
For the proper observance of these solemn seasons, it was deemed necessary not only to hear but to listen to the sound of the shofar, since, as the Mishnah adds, everything depends on the intent of the heart, not on the mere outward deed, just as it was not Moses lifting up his hands that gave Israel the victory, nor yet the lifting up of the brazen serpent which healed, but the upturning of the heart of Israel to “their Father who is in heaven”— or faith. (11)
This remark is one of the comparatively few passages in the Mishnah which reveal the true essence of religion. It gives an insight into the most ancient views of the Rabbis on these types and reminding us of the memorable teaching of our Lord to one of those very Rabbis, Nicodemus. (9)
Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:14–15 NET)
The Shofar Blasts on New Year’s Day
There was to be a total of one hundred blasts of the Shofar, and these one hundred blasts came in four different categories of sounds. (2)
The first category of sound, known as the tekiah, is a long, single blast. This is a straight, plain, smooth, continuous note and it is to symbolize the expression of joy and contentment. (2)
The Truah (teru’ah )
The third category of sound is known as the truah. These are extremely short blasts that combine nine staccato notes in a very quick succession of short trills. This symbolizes trepidation, sorrow, and sobbing. (2)
The second category, known as the shevarim, is three short blasts. This is a combination of three broken notes to symbolize weeping. (2)
The Tekiah Gedolah
And the fourth category is known as the tekiah gedolah, which means “the great tekiah” or “the last trump.” This one symbolizes the hope of redemption. It is a very long, final note. (2)
In these one hundred blasts, the first three categories are combined back and forth until there is a total of ninety-nine sounds. Then comes the one hundredth, the tekiah gedolah, a very long-sustained note—as long as the trumpeter had breath to hold it — and again, it is known as “the last trump.” (2)
Old Covenant Prophetic and Messianic Significance of the Feast of Trumpets
At that time a large trumpet will be blown, and the ones lost in the land of Assyria will come, as well as the refugees in the land of Egypt. They will worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem. (Isaiah 27:13 NET)
This passage speaks of the regathering of Israel. In relationship to the regathering of Israel, a great trumpet shall be blown. The Hebrew word used here is shofar, the same word used in the passages previously studied in conjunction with the Feast of Trumpets. This verse states that a great trumpet, the shofar or ram’s horn, shall be blown that will signal the final return of Israel for the purpose of worshipping God in the Kingdom. Insofar as Israel is concerned, the significance of Feast of Trumpets is the final return. It signals the final return to take place some time after the blowing of the trumpet. The regathering does not take place before the trumpet is blown nor does it take place during the blowing of the trumpet, it is only after it is blown. (2)
New Covenant Prophetic and Messianic Significance of the Feast of Trumpets
The prophetic and messianic significance of the Feast of Trumpets in the New Covenant has two purposes.
1. To Signal the Regathering
Just as in the Old Covenant, the Feast of Trumpets signals the regathering of Israel. Again, the Old Covenant verse:
At that time a large trumpet will be blown, and the ones lost in the land of Assyria will come, as well as the refugees in the land of Egypt. They will worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem. (Isaiah 27:13 NET)
the corresponding passage in the New Covenant is:
And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet [shofar] blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31 NET)
This verse is very similar to Isaiah 27:13 and with four points:
- And He will send His angels… The means of the regathering is that God is going to use angels to bring the Jewish people back into the Promised Land.
- …with a loud trumpet blast,… Here, the similarity of the language with Isaiah 27:13 should not be missed. There is going to be a regathering after a great sound of a trumpet.
- …and they will gather His elect… Sometimes the word elect refers to all believers, but sometimes in any given context, it applies only to a specific group of believers. In the context of Matthew 24, especially verses 15–22, Yeshua (Jesus) was dealing specifically with the Jewish elect. So, they shall gather together his elect meaning the Jewish elect. That is, it is the Jews that are going to be gathered from all parts of the world.
- …from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. It is going to be from all over, from the four winds. It is going to be a great worldwide regathering of the Jewish people in conjunction with the blowing of the trumpet. The actual regathering takes place after the blowing of the trumpet, but how long after? That is the right question!
2. To Announce Coming Judgment
Just as in the Old Covenant, the blowing of the trumpets was often used by the prophets to announce a coming judgment; God is going to use trumpets again to announce judgments, especially the specific judgments of the Great Tribulation. These are the specific trumpet judgments that God speaks of in the Book of Revelation 8 and Revelation 9. For example: (2)
Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. (Revelation 8:2 NET)
Now the seven angels holding the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. (Revelation 8:6 NET)
In the Book of Revelation, trumpets play a major roll in conjunction with the judgments of the Great Tribulation, especially in the realm of announcing these particular trumpet judgments. In that sense, then, the blowing of trumpets in particular play the same or a similar roll that they played in the Old Covenant when it was often used as a warning of coming judgment. (2)
The Fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets
The fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets is going to be the Rapture of the Church (1). Three main passages deal with the details of the Rapture, and in all of those passages, there is the presence of a trumpet, the trumpet (shofar) of the Feast of Trumpets. (2)
The First Main Passage with details of the Rapture
The first passage deals with the question: “Do believers who die miss out on the benefits of the Rapture?” Paul had taught them some truths about the Rapture. He did not have time, however, to teach the whole counsel of God because of the persecution that arose in Thessalonica. Paul had to leave the city and leave the church to take care of itself, thereby leaving many of their questions unanswered. (2)
One of the questions that remained unanswered concerned believers who had passed away. They already knew that when the Lord returns they would be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. What they did not know was about those believers who had already died. In these verses, Paul comforts the bereaved members with the truth: dead believers will not miss out on the benefits of the Rapture. In fact, they are going to receive these benefits first. (2)
Now we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep as Christians.For we tell you this by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thessalonians 4:13–15 NET)
Paul spells out the process of the Rapture in seven specific steps:
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet [shofar] of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 NET)
- For the Lord himself will come down from Heaven… At some point in the future, the Lord will come out of the Heaven of heavens and descend into the atmospheric heavens. That is, He will come out of the third heaven, pass through the second heaven and come into the first heaven—into the air, into the atmosphere. (2)
- …with a shout of command,… The Greek word translated shout is a word that is used about a command of a military leader. The shout is a command for the resurrection of dead believers and the translation of living believers to occur. Paul put the whole sequence of events very much in specific military terms. The Messiah will shout the shout of a military commander ordering the Rapture to begin. (2)
- …with the voice of the archangel… Angels (1) are often used to put God’s plan into motion. In this case, it is not going to be just any angel, but Michael the Archangel. The word archangel means “chief angel” and there is only one archangel: Michael. He is the one in authority over the other angels. It is Michael the Archangel who will be used in conjunction with the Rapture. Again, it states: with the voice of the archangel. If one follows the military pattern that Paul used, after the chief commander gives the shout of command, that command is repeated by the sub-commander. So after Jesus the Chief Commander, issues the shout, Michael, the sub-commander, will repeat the order. Jesus will give the shout or command for the program of the Rapture to begin and it will be Michael’s task to set it in motion, so he will repeat the command of the Messiah. (2)
- …and with the trump of God… A trumpet of some kind is going to be involved in the program of the Rapture. As pointed out earlier, the sound of a trumpet was used as a summons either to battle, to worship, or to come together. With Michael’s repetition of the Lord’s command, the trumpet sounds. Again, this follows the regular military procedure: first, the chief commander gives the shout; next, the sub-commander repeats the command of the chief commander; and then the trumpeter sounds the specific note so that the soldiers will know exactly what the command is. Hence, the trumpet sound will trigger the Rapture itself. This trumpet will serve as a summons for the Rapture to move into action. Consequently, the Rapture of the Church will fulfill the Feast of Trumpets. (2)
- …the dead in Christ will rise first. This is the Resurrection of dead believers, which is why they will not miss out on the benefits of the Rapture; they will actually begin to enjoy the benefits of the Rapture first. (2)
- Then we who are alive, are left, will be suddenly caught up with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. This step in the Rapture program concerns the living believers: The resurrection of the dead saints is followed by the translation of the living saints. Every believer, without exception, will be removed from the earth and reunited with the Lord in the heavens. The living believers will be caught up or “raptured” with the dead ones to meet the Lord in the air. (2)
- And so we shall always be with the Lord. The final step is the guarantee that once we have been united with the Lord in the air, we will permanently remain with the Messiah and return with Him into Heaven. (2)
Paul admonishes his readers:
Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:18 NET)
Not Once, but Twice
Part of the confusion about Jesus’ return is that we interpret the scripture as if He will be coming back once, but it is two different times in reality.
The First Return of Jesus the Messiah
The first time will be to rapture or “take away“(1) the Church, thus rescuing it from the pouring out of God’s wrath during the “Day of the Lord.” (13) During this return, Jesus will come with all the Christians that have died, from Adam to the time of His coming, and will not set foot on Earth but rather descend only into the lower atmosphere (3). Realize, to those that are lost (i.e., have not accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord), this return will be as a thief in the night.
Now on the topic of times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night. Now when they are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape.(1 Thessalonians 5:1–3 NET)
To those that are not saved, Jesus’ first return will be like a thief in the night. However, to those saved, Jesus’ first return will NOT be as a thief in the night.
But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would. For you all are sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness. So then we must not sleep as the rest, but must stay alert and sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:4–6 NET)
Christians can and should recognize the signs that His return is drawing near; however, the exact timing of this first return of Jesus is only known by God the Father.
“But as for that day or hour no one knows it—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son—except the Father. Watch out! Stay alert! For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey. He left his house and put his slaves in charge, assigning to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to stay alert. Stay alert, then, because you do not know when the owner of the house will return—whether during evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows, or at dawn—or else he might find you asleep when he returns suddenly. What I say to you I say to everyone: Stay alert!” (Mark 13:32-37 NET)
“But as for that day and hour no one knows it—not even the angels in heaven—except the Father alone. For just like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away. It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man.Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one left.There will be two women grinding grain with a mill; one will be taken and one left. “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have been alert and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:36–44 NET)
During this first return, He will:
1. Resurrect and transform the decayed bodies of those that have already died into perfect glorified bodies. Then reunite these glorified bodies with the spirits of the saints that have come with Him from Heaven. Saints are those that have a personal relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son, including:
- all that died in the Lord from the time of the first Adam and went to Paradise in Hades (1) (after the resurrection, Jesus moved Paradise (1) and its occupants to Heaven), and
- all that have died in the Lord after the resurrection of Jesus and went to Paradise in Heaven.
Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51–52 NET)
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep as Christians. For we tell you this by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (1 Thessalonians 4:14-16 NET)
2. Transform the bodies (i.e., pass them through death to glorification, thus complying with Hebrews 9:27) of the Christians alive on Earth at His appearing.
And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation. (Hebrews 9:27–28 NET)
That is, those who are alive and have a personal relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son.
Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:17–18 NET)
But our citizenship is in heaven—and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20–21 NET)
3. Draw both groups that now have glorified bodies to Himself and transport them (us) to Heaven.
Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that whenever it is revealed we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is. And everyone who has this hope focused on him purifies himself, just as Jesus is pure). (1 John 3:2–3 NET)
We Christians will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, where our works will be judged.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:10 NET)
If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw,each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done. If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:12–15 NET)
This is a judgment for what we have done (i.e., our works, including our motive for doing them) for the determination of any reward and NOT a judgment of whether we can be with the Lord forever (the latter has already been decided based on our belief or faith in Jesus’ completed work on the cross (1)).
because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation.For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9–13 NET)
The Second Return of Jesus the Messiah
I was watching in the night visions, “And with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man was approaching. He went up to the Ancient of Days and was escorted before him. To him was given ruling authority, honor, and sovereignty. All peoples, nations, and language groups were serving him. His authority is eternal and will not pass away. His kingdom will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13–14 NET)
“Immediately after the suffering of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet [shofar] blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29–31 NET)
But Jesus was silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:63–64 NET)
Jesus is the prophesied “Son of Man,” the God-Man, the Cloud-Man, the Messiah, and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah coming on the clouds to judge the nations and establish His physical Kingdom on the earth.
The second time Jesus will come to the Earth to defeat the Antichrist, destroy evil, and establish His millennial or thousand-year kingdom on Earth.
Now Enoch, the seventh in descent beginning with Adam, even prophesied of them, saying, “Look! The Lord is coming with thousands and thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all, and to convict every person of all their thoroughly ungodly deeds that they have committed, and of all the harsh words that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”These people are grumblers and fault-finders who go wherever their desires lead them, and they give bombastic speeches, enchanting folks for their own gain. (Jude 14–16 NET)
Then I saw heaven opened and here came a white horse! The one riding it was called “Faithful” and “True,” and with justice he judges and goes to war. His eyes are like a fiery flame and there are many diadem crowns on his head. He has a name written that no one knows except himself. He is dressed in clothing dipped in blood, and he is called the Word of God. The armies that are in heaven, dressed in white, clean, fine linen, were following him on white horses. From his mouth extends a sharp sword, so that with it he can strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and he stomps the winepress of the furious wrath of God, the All-Powerful. He has a name written on his clothing and on his thigh: “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:11–16 NET)
This return is referred to as the Day of the Lord in scripture. But, again, a day with the Lord is a thousand years (1)
Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day. (2 Peter 3:8 NET)
That is, the DAY of the Lord encompasses the defeat of the Antichrist and evil and then the THOUSAND-YEAR reign of Jesus on Earth!
Recall that the Scroll of Authority (1) leased to man the rule over Earth for a finite period of time. The man then made a covenant with Satan by sinning, thus giving Satan the right to rule over his world system for the same finite period of time. This period of time is known by both God and Satan.
When he came to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were extremely violent, so that no one was able to pass by that way. They cried out, “Son of God, leave us alone! Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:28–29 NET)
Therefore you heavens rejoice, and all who reside in them! But woe to the earth and the sea because the devil has come down to you! He is filled with terrible anger, for he knows that he only has a little time!” (Revelation 12:12 NET)
However, so that some people (i.e., those not raptured or martyred for their faith in Jesus after the Rapture) that go through the Great Tribulation period on Earth might remain alive, the lease is interrupted before its time is fulfilled.
For then there will be great suffering unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen. And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. (Matthew 24:21–22 NET)
Satan is then imprisoned in the Abyss during these thousand years of Jesus’ reign on Earth.
Then I saw an angel descending from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a huge chain. He seized the dragon—the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan—and tied him up for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:1–2 NET)
Nevertheless, God being just, will release Satan for the balance of the time of the lease (i.e., a brief period of time), as specified in the Scroll of Authority, after the thousand-year reign of Jesus.
The angel then threw him into the abyss and locked and sealed it so that he could not deceive the nations until the one thousand years were finished. (After these things, he must be released for a brief period of time.) (Revelation 20:3 NET)
Then Satan and all his evil will be removed forever! Hallelujah!
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are too, and they will be tormented there day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10 NET)
Jesus does give us a clue to the approximate length of the church age (Luke 13:32). Remembering a day with the Lord is a thousand years (1) (2 Peter 3:8) then Jesus was telling Satan (the spiritual “fox” that was working through King Herod) that for approximately two thousand years (two Heaven days), the church will be alive on Earth with deliverance and healing. Then in the third thousand years (the third Heaven day), Jesus will start His millennial reign on Earth! (4)
This fits the pattern of God, who never changes (Malachi 3:6. Hebrews 13:8). In Genesis 1, the Earth was restored in six Heaven days (1) (six thousand Earth years), and God then rested on the seventh day (seventh thousand Earth years). There are four thousand years (four Heaven days) from Adam to Jesus’ birth; add two thousand years (4) (two Heaven days) of the church age for a total of six thousand years (six Heaven days). Then rest will come in the seventh thousandth years (Seventh Heaven day) – the thousand-year reign of Jesus on Earth called the Day of the Lord!
Another clue is given in the purification of those made unclean (1) by contacting anything associated with human death (i.e., a corpse, bones, and grave). Recall, we are dead in our trespasses and sin until we are born again from above (1).
“ ‘Whoever touches the corpse of any person will be ceremonially unclean seven days. He must purify himself with water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and the seventh day, then he will not be clean. (Numbers 19:11–12 NET)
Again, this refers to Heaven’s days of one thousand years each and the same time period from two different perspectives. The third day is from the perspective of starting the count from the birth of the church. Meaning that at the end of the two-thousand-year church age, or the beginning of the third day, some people will have been purified with the water of the word (i.e., born again) and raptured. The seventh day is from the perspective of the restoration of the earth. Then some will be found purified with the water of the word out of the Great Tribulation and brought to Heaven on the Seventh Heaven day, which is the beginning of the millennial reign of Jesus!
Another clue is given in the transfiguration of Jesus.
Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John the brother of James, and led them privately up a high mountain. And he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. Then Moses and Elijah also appeared before them, talking with him. (Matthew 17:1–3 NET)
The transfiguration was a preview of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:27–28 NET)
We know the disciples have died for almost 2,000 years, and Jesus has not yet come into His kingdom. And yet Jesus said some were standing there and would not see death until they saw Him coming. What was He talking about? Jesus here talked about the Transfiguration, for the Transfiguration was a preview of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Transfiguration was a foretaste of glory; the Transfiguration was a glimpse into the future. And indeed, some were standing there—Peter, James, and John—who did not taste death until they saw the Son of man, the Lord Jesus Christ, in His glory, in His kingdom, because that is what the Transfiguration was. (6)
Now, what is the significance of “after six days?” Six is the number for man, and it speaks of failure. Seven is the number for completion. Man is a six; he is one less than seven. And so, six days represent 6,000 years of human history. Man’s recorded history on this globe has been 6,000 years. But there’s a new day—a great day coming—and after six days of failure will come the perfect day, the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. After 6,000 years of failure, there is coming 1,000 years of peace and righteousness when the Lord Jesus Christ shall rule and reign. Just as the Transfiguration was the Second Coming of Jesus in miniature—six days, or the history of man in miniature, foretelling that our Lord will come after six days—and the seventh day will be the millennial rest of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (6)
Then one of the elders asked me, “These dressed in long white robes—who are they and where have they come from?” So I said to him, “My lord, you know the answer.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb! (Revelation 7:13–14 NET)
In conclusion, we should not be complacent or anxious about our Lord Jesus’ return. Rather we are to be faithful in doing what the Lord asks us to do moment by moment and living a life that will allow us to look forward to His return with unashamed joy (1 John 2:28), but letting Him “worry” about the bigger picture of bringing everything to its rightful end – Maranatha! (5) (Romans 13:8-14. Ephesians 5:1-18. 1 Corinthians 4:2. Luke 12:22-32. Philippians 4:6. Matthew 25:1-30).
The Second Main Passage with details of the Rapture
The second passage deals with the details of the Rapture and also mentions the role that the shofar will play. It declares the necessity of a change in the nature of the body of the raptured living and dead believers. (2)
Now this is what I am saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (1 Corinthians 15:50 NET)
The background to this statement is found in this verse:
but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:17 NET)
And these verses:
But to Adam he said, “Because you obeyed your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground thanks to you; in painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, but you will eat the grain of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat food until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17–19 NET)
Because of sin, man has become subject to corruption and mortality. Our bodies are mortal bodies, subject to death. Our bodies are subject to corruption, sickness, and illness. Upon death, these bodies are destined to become dust because this kind of body cannot enter Heaven itself. (2)
All men are guilty by the accusation of participating in Adam’s sin according to these verses:
So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned—for before the law was given, sin was in the world, but there is no accounting for sin when there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam until Moses even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam (who is a type of the coming one) transgressed. (Romans 5:12–14 NET)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23 NET)
According to this passage, mankind is living under the sentence of death in that his physical body is subject to corruption and mortality. The sin-nature is in it and the results of sin are evident in the death of the body. This kind of body, subject to sin, mortality, corruption, and death, cannot enter into Heaven. Therefore, a change will be necessary, either by means of resurrection or by means of translation, before the bodies can enter into Heaven.
The change itself is described in these verses:
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet [shofar]. For the trumpet [shofar] will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51–53 HCSB)
Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a moment, in the blinking [see NET Note 31 below] of an eye, at the last trumpet [shofar]. For the trumpet [shofar] will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51–53 NET)
NET Note 31 tn The Greek word ῥιπή (rhipē) refers to a very rapid movement (BDAG 906 s.v.). This has traditionally been translated as “twinkling,” which implies an exceedingly fast—almost instantaneous—movement of the eyes, but this could be confusing to the modern reader since twinkling in modern English often suggests a faint, flashing light. In conjunction with the genitive ὀφθαλμοῦ (ophthalmou, “of an eye”), “blinking” is the best English equivalent (see, e.g., L&N 16.5), although it does not convey the exact speed implicit in the Greek term. (8)
The emphasis is on the quickness and rapidity of that change. It will be done …in a moment… The Greek term translated moment is the word from which the English word “atom” comes. It is going to be in the “atom” of time. Furthermore, it will also be as fast as …the twinkling of an eye… (2)
This is not the blinking of an eye, but a reference to a sudden flash of recognition. It is like seeing a person one knows but does not immediately recognize. Then suddenly, that sudden flash of recognition is what is meant by the twinkling of an eye. This, too, emphasizes the quickness of that change. (2)
1 Corinthians 15:52 also points out that this event is going to happen …at the last trumpet.; at the time of the blowing of the trumpet: the trumpet shall sound. The trump here is the same as the trumpet of the 1 Thessalonians passage. That trumpet begins the process of the Rapture itself; it begins the process of both the resurrection of believers that have died and the translation of living believers. (2)
Paul’s point was that the Rapture would be the fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets
This trump is the same as the trump of God in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. At the sound of the trumpet, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and the living will be changed. The problem of corruption that keeps the bodies of dead believers out of Heaven will be solved through resurrection; the result will be incorruption. The problem of mortality that keeps living believers out of Heaven will be solved by translation; the result will be immortality. (2)
The first four festivals come close together within fifty days of each other: the Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First-fruits, and Weeks. All four of these were fulfilled in the program of the First Coming of Jesus the Messiah. (2)
- The Feast of Passover (1) was fulfilled by the death of the Messiah.
- The Feast of Unleavened Bread (1) was fulfilled by the sinlessness of His body and blood-offering upon His death.
- The Feast of First Fruits (1) was fulfilled by the Resurrection of the Messiah.
- The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) (1) was fulfilled on the day of birth of the Church. (2)
Following the first cycle of feasts came a three-month interval separating the first cycle from the second cycle of feasts. (2) These were the long summer months of Tammuz, Ab, and Elul. (3)
Recall that the feasts were religious seasons (1) or holy convocations representing God’s dealings with the Jewish people as a nation. They symbolized major encounters between God and His covenant people. The long, hot summer months when there was no feast served as a prophetic picture to the Jewish people of a future time when God would not be dealing with them nationally. He would still be redeeming individual Jews, but His attention would be directed toward the Gentiles. (3)
God chose the Jews as the nation of people through whom He would work out certain of His divine plans and purposes. (3)
God would use them to:
- write down and preserve the Scriptures,
- bring Messiah into the world, and
- proclaim the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah to all nations [Gentiles].
The Jews fulfilled these first two callings but failed on the last because their leaders rejected Jesus as the Messiah. (3)
Jesus spoke of a physical kingdom as well as a spiritual kingdom. But the physical kingdom could only be established by accepting the spiritual kingdom. Although tens of thousands of Jews acknowledged Jesus as Messiah, the leadership in Jerusalem rejected Him. Jesus then offered the spiritual blessing of the Kingdom of God to Gentiles as well as believing Jews. While the physical kingdom will be realized at the coming of Messiah Jesus, believers presently live in the spiritual realm of the Kingdom of God. (3)
Again, when the Jews as a nation rejected Jesus, God directed His attention primarily toward the Gentiles. (3)
John said of Jesus,
He came to what was his own [Jews], but his own people did not receive him. But to all who have received him [Gentiles]—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God’s children—children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God. (John 1:11-13 NET)
For approximately 2,000 years, God has blessed the Gentiles, not Israel. While God’s covenant with the Jewish people is unconditional and forever in time, the Gentiles have been the ones to spread the Gospel of Jesus to the world.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations [Gentiles], baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19–20 NET)
Therefore, the three long summer months where there is no feast corresponds to what is the “Times of the Gentiles” or is sometimes called “the Church age or period.” (3)
They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away as captives among all nations. Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24 NET)(cf.
For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25 NET)
When God completes His time of calling the Gentiles to Himself, He will once again turn His attention to the Jewish people on a national basis. The Jewish people as a nation will acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and King (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:25-26). Jesus will then return to earth to defeat the enemy nations who will be seeking to destroy the Jews (Zechariah 14:1-9). At that time, God will rule as King over all the earth through Messiah Jesus. Both the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of David will be united in His rule (Isaiah 9:6-7). Now that we see Israel reborn as a nation, we know the coming of the Messiah is near. (3)
Now that Israel has been restored as a nation and the Jews once again control Jerusalem, we can be assured that God is even now dealing with the Jewish people as a nation to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah Jesus. This is what is happening in our world today. As we see Israel in the spotlight of world news, we know that the return of the Messiah Jesus is near even if the nations force Israel to divide Jerusalem. (3)
So also you, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, right at the door. (Mark 13:29 NET)(cf. Matthew 24:33)
God amazingly revealed that this was His plan by strategically placing a comment about Gentiles in Leviticus 23. God put this comment right between the last verse of instruction on the Feast of Pentecost and the first verse of instruction of the Feast of Trumpets, which is part of the Feast of Tabernacles. Perhaps God did this as a sneak preview of what He had in mind all along. Here is the comment, (3)
When you gather in the harvest of your land, you must not completely harvest the corner of your field, and you must not gather up the gleanings of your harvest. You must leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God.’ ” (Leviticus 23:22 NET)
The keyword for this discussion is “foreigner,” which refers to Gentiles. The story of Ruth and Boaz was written in the Bible as an example of this particular instruction from God being obeyed. (3)
Boaz was a rich Jewish landowner. Ruth was a Gentile (Moabite) who gleaned in his fields. Ruth married Boaz and, as a result, became a partaker in the covenant promises God had made to Father Abraham (Genesis 17). Likewise, the Gentiles have become partakers in certain of the covenant promises to Abraham through their spiritual marriage to Jesus. (Boaz is a type or shadow of Jesus our husband redeemer, while Ruth is a type of the Gentile Church.) (3)
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”) in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. (Galatians 3:13–14 NET)
The Gentile Church period fills the great time gap between the two comings of Jesus. He came the first time as the Passover Lamb who died for our sins. Then He sent the Holy Spirit to initiate the age of the Gentile Church. When the Gentile Church age is over, He will come a second time as the Lion from the tribe of Judah to rule, not only as King of the Jews but also as King of kings and Lord of lords. (3)
Lastly, just as the first four festivals come close together, so do the last three—within two weeks of each other. The last three will be fulfilled by the program of the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah!
The Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled by the Rapture of the Church. The Feast of Trumpets precedes the Day of Atonement by ten days which occurs on the 10th of Tishri. The Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled by the Rapture, while the Day of Atonement will be fulfilled by the pouring out of God’s wrath during the great Great Tribulation. And, just as the Feast of Trumpets occurs before the Day of Atonement, even so, the Rapture will occur before the outpouring of God’s wrath during the Great Tribulation. So while the expression the last trump reveals nothing about the timing of the Rapture, the very sequence by which the feasts of Israel will be fulfilled teaches that the Rapture will occur before the outpouring of God’s wrath during the Great Tribulation just as the Feast of Trumpets comes before the Day of Atonement. (3)
The Resurrection Body
A major Jewish emphasis concerning the Feast of Trumpets was on the resurrection. It is no accident that the Rapture, which fulfills the Feast of Trumpets, involves not only the “catching up or away” of the living saints but also the resurrection of dead saints. (2)
Again, the kind of bodies that believers now have cannot enter into Heaven:
Now this is what I am saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (1 Corinthians 15:50 NET)
So changes are necessary. These changes will occur at the Rapture when “corruption puts on incorruption and mortality puts on immortality.” (2)
While this new body for believers is not the subject of many revelations, a few things are revealed. The largest single passage about the resurrection precedes the discussion on the Rapture and the role of the trumpet in the Rapture:
But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” Fool! What you sow will not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare seed—perhaps of wheat or something else. But God gives it a body just as he planned, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh is not the same: People have one flesh, animals have another, birds and fish another.And there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. The glory of the heavenly body is one sort and the earthly another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars, for star differs from star in glory. It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable.It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living person”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven. Like the one made of dust, so too are those made of dust, and like the one from heaven, so too those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:35–49 NET)
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:53 NET)
From this one passage, six things can be learned about the nature of the resurrection body:
- It is going to be a body that is incorruptible in verse 42: It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. it will no longer be subject to corruption.
- It is going to be a glorified body in verse 43a: it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. This same point is made by: who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:21 NET)
- It is going to be a body of resurrection power in verse 43b: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power; it is going to have power that our bodies do not have at the present time.
- It is not going to be a blood-sustained body, but a spirit-sustained body, it is going to be a spiritual body in verses 44–46: it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living person”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and then the spiritual. (cf. Luke 24:39 where Jesus’ resurrected body was flesh and bone with no mention of blood)
- It is going to be a heavenly body in verses 47–49: The first man is from the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven. Like the one made of dust, so too are those made of dust, and like the one from heaven, so too those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven, and
- It is going to be an immortal body in verse 53: For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. The resurrection body will no longer be subject to mortality or corruption. That is why this type of body will be able to enter Heaven itself.
The Resurrection Body of Jesus
As far as direct statements of Scripture, this is all that God has chosen to reveal about the nature of the resurrection body. There is another possible source of information that can be used to try to discover things about the nature of the resurrection body: the resurrected body of the Messiah. However, this must be done with caution. One cannot always be sure that everything that was true about the resurrected body of Yeshua (Jesus) will necessarily be true of the believer’s body. Nor is it not always easy to determine if something that was true of the body of the Messiah was true because of His Resurrection or because of His deity. Yeshua was not only resurrected, He is God and perhaps some things are true because He is God and not because He had a resurrected body. Certain things that were true of His resurrected body will not be true of ours. For example, after His Resurrection Jesus still had the wounds in His hands and in His side. Yet the believer’s resurrected bodies will have no evidence of this kind of corruption such as wounds or scars. Yet for some reason, the resurrected body of Jesus did have the wounds and scars, though it is not known if He still has them today. Perhaps when He was glorified upon His entry into Heaven at the Ascension, the scars of the Crucifixion were removed. One thing that is known is that when He first arose, He did have the scars of the Crucifixion. When believers are raised from the dead, they will not have any scars whatsoever. So it must not be assumed that everything that was true of the body of Jesus at His Resurrection is necessarily going to be true of us. Again, it is not always easy to determine if what He did was because of His resurrected body or because He is God. (2)
Six observations can be made concerning Jesus’ resurrected body:
- It is known that Messiah’s voice was recognized as being the same one that He had before His death and Resurrection (John 20:16). It was when He said, Mary, that Mary Magdalene recognized that the One speaking to her was none other than Yeshua. Whatever accent He had—and He probably had a Galilean accent; whatever tone of voice He had—since everyone has a unique tone of voice; Mary recognized His voice. Possibly, our voice is going to be recognizable because it will be much the same.
- His physical features were always recognized, but not always immediately (John 20:26–29; 21:7). There were enough changes in His resurrected body that recognition was not always immediate. But some things remained the same so that the people who knew Him eventually recognized Him. (2)
- It was a real body and not a phantom body, because His body was embraceable (John 20:17, 27). (2)
- He was able to appear and disappear (Lk. 24:31). But the question is: “Was the Messiah able to appear and disappear because He had a resurrected body or because He is God?” There is no guarantee that believers will be able to do the same thing. (2)
- He was able to go through walls (John 20:19). Here again, believers cannot be sure that their resurrected bodies will be able to do the same,(2) and
- He was able to eat food (Luke 24:41–43). Believers will certainly be able to do this much in their resurrected bodies because they will participate in the Marriage Feast, and there is no sense in coming to a feast if one cannot eat and feast. The resurrected body will be immortal, not subject to death. So they will not have to eat in order to survive; it will be purely for pleasure. The nature of the resurrected body will be such that believers will be able to eat all they want and never gain an ounce of weight. (2)
Are You Rapture Ready?
If the Lord’s Shofar were to blow today, would you be among those caught up (i.e., raptured) to meet Him in the air? If you do not know, then know that you can know. Please click here to know. (1)
Feasts, Festivals, and Important Occasions of the Biblical Covenants Series:
- The Feasts of Israel – Introduction
- The Feasts of Israel – Hebrew Calendars, New Moon, Sabbath Year, and the Jubilee Year
- The Feasts of Israel – Sabbath
– The Spring Festivals:
- The Feasts of Israel – Passover
- The Feasts of Israel – Unleavened Bread
- The Feasts of Israel – Firstfruits
- The Feasts of Israel – Weeks (Pentecost)
– Seven Church Conditions during the Church Age:
- Jesus the Messiah!
- The Legalistic Congregation (Ephesus)
- The Persecuted and Faithful Congregation (Smyrna)
- The Persecuted and Compromised Congregation (Pergamum)
- The Licentious Congregation (Thyatira)
- The Dying Congregation (Sardis)
- The “Canceled” and Faithful Congregation (Philadelphia)
- The Dead Congregation (Laodicea)
– The Fall Festivals:
- The Feasts of Israel – Trumpets
- The Feasts of Israel – Day of Atonements
- The Feasts of Israel – Tabernacles
Biblical Typologies, Metaphors, & Similes Series:
- The Old Leaven of the Kingdom of Darkness
- The New Leaven of the Kingdom of Heaven
- Finely Sifted (Wheat) Flour
- Olive Oil
- Waving and Heaving
- Shofar and Trumpet
(Security, Wholeness, Success)
Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. (3 John 1:2 NET)
(1) Select the link to open another article in a new tab with additional information.
(2) Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Messianic Bible Study Collection, vol. 118 (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1983).
(3) Richard Booker, Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts Expanded Edition: Discovering Their Significance to You as a Christian (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image, 2016).
(4) The “sons of God” in the OT is generally taken to refer to angels. They are not actually “sons” of Elohim; the idiom is a poetic way of describing their nature and relationship to God. The phrase indicates their supernatural nature, and their submission to God as the sovereign Lord. It may be classified as a genitive that expresses how individuals belong to a certain class or type, i.e., the supernatural (GKC 418 §128.v). In the pagan literature, especially of Ugarit, “the sons of God” refers to the lesser gods or deities of the pantheon. See H. W. Robinson, “The Council of Yahweh,” JTS 45 (1943): 151–57; G. Cooke, “The Sons of (the) God(s),” ZAW 76 (1964): 22–47; M. Tsevat, “God and the Gods in the Assembly,” HUCA 40–41 (1969/70): 123–37.
Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005).
(5) Mitch Glaser and Zhava Glaser, The Fall Feasts of Israel (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1987).
(6) Rusten, S. with E. Michael. (2005). The complete book of when & where in the Bible and throughout history (p. 47). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
(7) Schaff, P., ed. (1880). In A Dictionary of the Bible: Including Biography, Natural History, Geography, Topography, Archæology, and Literature (p. 882). Philadelphia; New York; Chicago: American Sunday-School Union.
(8) Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (1 Co 15:52). Biblical Studies Press.
(9) Edersheim, A. (1959). The Temple, its ministry and services as they were at the time of Jesus Christ. (p. 294). London: James Clarke & Co.
(10) Neusner, J. (1988). The Mishnah : A new translation (pp. 303–304). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
3:2 A All shofars are valid, except for that of a cow,
B because it is a horn.
C Said R. Yose, “But are not all shofars called horns,
D “since it is said, When they will make a long blast with the horn at the Jubilee [when you hear the sound of the shofar] (Josh. 6:5)?”
3:3 A The shofar for the New Year derives from an antelope.
B It is straight.
C Its mouth is overlaid with gold.
D And at the sides [of the one who blew the shofar] are two [who blow] trumpets.
E The shofar is sounded for a long note, and the trumpets are sounded for a short note [so the shofar is heard over the trumpet],
F for the religious duty of the day applies to the shofar.
3:4 A [Those used] on fast days are rams’ horns.
B They are curved.
C Their mouth is overlaid with silver.
D And in the middle [of those who blew the shofar] are two [who sound] the trumpets.
E The shofar is sounded for a short note, and the trumpets are sounded for a long note,
F for the religious duty of that day applies to the trumpets.
(11) Neusner, J. (1988). The Mishnah : A new translation (pp. 304–305). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
3:8 A Now it happened that when Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand fall, Amalek prevailed (Ex. 17:11).
B Now do Moses’s hands make war or stop it?
C But the purpose is to say this to you:
D So long as the Israelites would set their eyes upward and submit their hearts to their Father in heaven, they would grow stronger. And if not, they fell.
E In like wise, you may say the following:
F Make yourself a fiery serpent and set it on a standard, and it shall come to pass that every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live (Num. 21:8).
G Now does that serpent [on the standard] kill or give life? [Obviously not.]
H But: So long as the Israelites would set their eyes upward and submit to their Father in heaven, they would be healed. And if not, they would pine away.
I [The shofar blasts of] a deaf-mute, idiot, and minor do not fulfill the obligation of the community.
J This is the governing principle: Whoever is not obligated to carry out a particular deed cannot effect the obligation of the community either.
(12) Glaser, M., & Glaser, Z. (1987). The fall feasts of israel. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
(15) Howard, K., & Rosenthal, M. (1997)The Feasts of the Lord. Thomas Nelson, Inc.