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Rosh HaShanah - The Feast of Trumpetsby Patrick Flanigan
We find in Leviticus 23 that the Festivals of the Lord were appointed times established as yearly rehearsals that taught both historically and prophetically the whole plan of God concerning the coming of Messiah and the redemption of man. The first four feasts have been fulfilled and we celebrate them historically. They are Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. These four Spring Feasts are considered to be an interrelated whole where Pentecost is the completion of the process begun at Passover.
Looking at the table below, it is significant that the events that are associated with those feasts are considered a unit and are quite distinctive from the Fall Feasts. The last three feasts; Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles are celebrated in the Fall season and are yet to be fulfilled so they remain prophetic in nature.
Rosh HaShanah is the fifth of seven feasts and it begins the High Holy Days or the Days of Awe. We know that from the time of the rapture to the end of the tribulation will certainly be days of awe! The final seven days in the Days of Awe correspond prophetically to the time of Jacob's trouble or the tribulation. The final three feasts are Trumpets (Rosh HaShanah), Atonement (Yom Kippur), and Tabernacles. Prophetically, the feast of Trumpets is tied to the coming rapture of the church. Yom Kippur will find its prophetic fulfillment when all Israel is saved at the end of the tribulation. Tabernacles will find its prophetic fulfillment when God once again tabernacles or dwells in the midst of His people at beginning of the millennial reign.
Below is a table where the Feasts are listed with their messianic significance.
There are four months that separate the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) or the Spring Feasts unit from the Fall Feasts. Historically, it seems that the last two thousand years have been relatively quiet prophetically. That is changing significantly and has been since this century began. I believe that we are entering the season of the Fall Feasts. The month prior to the High Holy Days is called Elul and is used to call people to repentance and to prepare to enter the Days of Awe. There is a growing sense of the approaching Days of Awe on a worldwide scale and many are getting serious about God and personal holiness.
The Feast of Trumpets will soon find its prophetic fulfillment. Why do we associate the Feast of Trumpets with the rapture of the church?
The Hebrew name for Rosh HaShanah is Yom Teruah or the day of the awakening blast. Following are the Days of Awe. This in itself presents a strong case for a pre tribulation rapture. The coronation of the King, the resurrection of the dead, the joy of the Messianic kingdom, and the wedding of the Messiah are among the many themes associated with Rosh HaShanah. A strong theme associated with Teruah is to "awake." Teruah can also be translated "shout". These themes are reminiscent of 1Thessalonians 4: 15-17,
"According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."
This passage is filled with Hebrew idioms that are expressly associated with Rosh HaShanah, the Feast of Trumpets and therefore this passage lends itself as cultural evidence that Rosh HaShanah will be the appointed day of the rapture of the church and the resurrection of the dead.
Since a significant theme of Rosh HaShanah is that of the wedding of the Messiah, let us now examine the ancient customs associated with the Jewish wedding ceremony to see if there are practices that correspond with many themes of this festival. Prior to the actual betrothal (a serious legal transaction), the woman indicated the acceptance of the man's proposal of marriage by drinking a cup of wine. This is why Jesus passed the cup of wine at the Last Supper. When we drink the wine of communion we are accepting Him as our future groom. We are to remember Him, and not prostitute ourselves and soil our wedding garments. The man would then pay a bride price. Jesus paid for us with His life. The man would then give his betrothed gifts. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit. The man would then leave for a period of one to two years to go build a place for us - a wedding chamber.
Note that 1000 years is like a day to the Lord. Within 2 days or 2000 years Jesus will return for His bride! Upon completion of the wedding chamber, the bridegroom goes to get his bride at midnight with a host of people with him both shouting and blowing the shofar. He takes the bride to the wedding chamber. Notice that the bride is taken from her familiar surroundings to a place she has never been - the home of the bridegroom. They would immediately go to the marriage supper and then enter the bridal chamber for a period of seven days to consummate the marriage. Rosh HaShanah is also known as the Day of our Concealment. Note that the seven days that we are concealed within the bridal chamber correspond with the seven years of tribulation that will be unleashed by God the Father upon an unbelieving world. Notice again the strong evidence for a pre tribulation rapture based on the Jewish wedding ceremony. When the seven days are completed, we will return with Jesus and then Yom Kippur and Tabernacles will find their prophetic fulfillment.
One final word concerning Rosh HaShanah: Many people believe that we "will not know the day or the hour of His appearing". They fail to realize, however, that this phrase taken from Matthew 24:36 is an actual common Hebrew idiom for Rosh HaShanah. Jesus' audience fully understood that what Jesus was saying was "I will come again on Rosh HaShanah at some point in the future". It would be like saying in America, "I'll see you again when we gather together to exchange presents." We automatically know that we are referring to Christmas. In like manner, we can expect to see our Messiah on some future Rosh HaShanah.
I believe that all end time events are divinely planned and are not occurring randomly. Furthermore, I believe that the rapture will occur at an appointed time and God has revealed to us what the appointed times were and are in Leviticus 23 in His Festivals. I believe that we will, on some Rosh HaShanah, hear the awakening blast of the shofar and the shout of the archangel and we will dwell intimately in the presence of our Savior while the Days of Awe are unleashed upon the earth.