The most popular end time theology going around today is called 'preterism'. From the Latin, praeter, which means 'past', preterism believes all prophetic words in the New Testament have already been fulfilled. This is based on the belief it was all fulfilled in the year 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed.
Preterism sees The Revelation as a historical document and full of symbolism of things that have already happened. The foundational verse for preterism is Matthew 24:34: "Truly I tell you, the generation that sees these things will not pass away until all these things have happened."
The error is that they read the verse as one reading it nearly 2000 years later rather than one listening to Jesus speak it live. If you put yourself into the conversation you see the context Jesus is talking about. He had just gotten through telling of anti-Christ in the temple at the mid point (3.5 years) of the treaty prophesied by Daniel, and then said THAT generation that sees that won't pass until all is fulfilled.
If someone fully believes preterism
They believe Jesus' return in The Revelation is merely a spiritual return, which is closely related to 'Dominion theology'. Dominion theology also believes end time prophecy is spiritual rather than actual. It believes that Christians will come to dominate the world in the '7 mountains' or 7 areas of worldly influence, bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth.
The 7 Mountains are:
Religion, education, family, media, business, government, arts & entertainment. It was started in 1975 by Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright and YWAM (Youth with a Mission) founder Loren Cunningham. It was later popularized by Peter Wagner in his 'New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) which taught there would be 'apostles and prophets' and the rest of the ministry gifts in each of the 7 areas, bringing them under the dominion of Christians.
Because preterism (and Dominion theology) believes everything in The Revelation is symbolic of events that have already happened, they view things we've covered in the previous series like the double asteroid hit, as having already happened - and not a literal asteroid hit that literally blots out the sunlight - but somehow, spiritual...I know, preterism falls apart rather quickly...
There are other end time beliefs making their case for no rapture, or perhaps a U-turn rapture in which the saints go up into the sky, meet Jesus, then turn around for His 2nd coming. Those who believe preterism or dominion theology may be forced to believe some of it and not the rest - which is what happens when someone believes error - not all of it fits so they have to believe part and not believe the rest. That should be a clue that what they believe is error, but for most, they don't recognize that.
None of these theories are based on the Jewish teaching of a catching away of the saints.
That's the error of all those other beliefs about end times - None of them consider the Jewish teaching about the Feast of Trumpets, which God gave to Moses. They haven't studied Judaism which is the context from which Jesus and Paul taught, so they build an incorrect foundation of beliefs about end times. In this part 1 I will briefly summarize what God gave Moses below, and in parts 2, 3, and 4 go into detail.
I will provide a lot of Jewish sources in this series including the Targum (translation and commentary), Torah (written law), Mishnah (oral law), Gemara (commentaries) and Midrash (Rabbinical study). I only do this because the Jewish belief in a pre-tribulation rapture as we would call it, is so strong, so well documented, I don't want people to think I'm making it up.
The 7 God-given festivals of Leviticus 23
The 7 are known in Judaism as 'rehearsals' and kept as 'divine appointments' on their day, looking to a future fulfillment. For that reason we find the 4 spring festivals were fulfilled exactly on their day. Unleavened Bread and Passover were fulfilled on their day by Jesus' sinless sacrifice on the cross. Jesus was resurrected that Sunday which was also the Feast of First Fruits (of the barley harvest). Jesus is the first born from the dead, we believers are the first fruits of the earth offered to God as they waved a sheaf of grain to Him in thankfulness.
Fifty days later is Pentecost (Pente, or 50) which celebrates the 50th day after passing through the Sea, when God gave Moses His law (Exodus 19). Judaism teaches on that day the Spirit of God went into the 70 known languages on the earth and gave all mankind the 10 Commandments in their own language. (Which is why man is born with the inner knowledge it is wrong to lie, to steal, to murder, to commit adultery, and that there is a God who created them/purpose to their life.)
This is why tongues is an ongoing fulfillment of God giving His Word to mankind, for in tongues we speak God's Word in the languages of earth, and heaven. That is why tongues continues to this day - as long as God's Word is spoken among the nations, so is Pentecost in a state of ongoing fulfillment. Just like Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is continually in effect, and His resurrection on the Feast of First Fruits is ongoing and in effect.
The 4 spring festivals were fulfilled on their exact day. The 3 fall festivals have yet to be fulfilled. They are Rosh Hashanah/Feast of Trumpets (which includes the rapture), Yom Kippur - the day of atonement (Jesus' return), and the Feast of Tabernacles (God living with man, to be celebrated annually in the Millennial age with Jesus, according to Zechariah 14:9-16).
This means 4 of the 7 were fulfilled on their day, and the 5th, Tabernacles, will be. That leaves only Yom Teruah/Feast of Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah (the rapture) and Yom Kippur (Jesus' return) in question. It seems reasonable that some September the rapture will happen on the appointed feast day...
A summary of the Jewish teaching of 'the rapture'; to be covered in detail starting next week
The Feast of Trumpets is the only festival that starts on the New Moon phase, which is when there is no moon, it is hidden out of view. The moon stands for believers, who get their light from the sun. They will be hidden at the blowing of the Last Trump. Paul taught the new moon is a shadow of something to come.
The Last Trump is a very specific trumpet blown only at the Feast of Trumpets; to bring the righteous dead to life to be gathered together with Messiah. The Last Trump is the right horn of the ram caught in the bush which Abraham blew to celebrate Isaac raised from the dead in a figure, that he did not have to sacrifice him. Judaism teaches at the blowing of the Last Trump the righteous will be judged, followed by a celebratory feast in heaven with Messiah.
Judaism teaches the blowing of the Last Trump raises the righteous dead to go to Messiah, while the earth enters into a 7 year period of Daniel's 70th week, known as the Time of Jacob's Trouble. Also known as the Day of Wrath. Paul wrote in I Thessalonians 1:10 and 5:9 God has not called us to wrath - if you do't know the Jewish teaching you don't realize its significance in Judaism and tie to the Feast of Trumpets.
All these things God gave Moses and they are written about extensively in numerous rabbinical works. There is much more, and these details will be outlined over the next 3 weeks, so stay tuned! Until then, blessings,
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