When people ask me if I believe in the 'rapture', I ask them, "Which one? There are 7."
That shakes them up a bit, and I'll explain below, but usually the next question if they believe in a rapture, is something like: "Will we all go, because I'm doing my best to live for the Lord but my friends live like the world. Why should they get raptured?"
Before I can answer that question, I need to share about the 7 raptures...
Which rapture? There are 7
I can state right from the start, going in chronological order I can prove raptures 1 thru 3 and raptures 5 & 6 with just 1 verse per rapture. And bad news - 1 thru 3 have already happened and 5 & 6 aren't for us. :(
The 4th rapture, speaking chronologically, is what I will prove to you in this series.
Here are the 3 we missed
1) Enoch - Genesis 5:24: "And Enoch walked with God and he was not, for God took him."
2) Elijah - II Kings 2:11: "And it came to pass as they went on and talked that behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."
3) Jesus - Acts 1:9: "And when He had spoken these things, while they looked on, He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight."
Here are raptures 5 & 6 that don't include us
5) The 2 witnesses - Revelation 11:12: ("And after 3 1/2 days the Spirit of life from God entered into them)...and they heard a voice from heaven saying to them, 'Come up here', and they ascended to heaven."
6) The 144,000 male Jewish evangelists seen in Revelation 7:1-8, then raptured in 14:3: "And they sung a new song before the throne, and before the 4 beasts, and before the elders..."
In my mind, honestly, I'm not convinced the 144,000 are raptured - they could be martyred and find themselves suddenly before the throne. But I'll give the benefit of the doubt to a rapture.
7) U-turn rapture of the saints at Jesus' return. Some believe we go up at His return, meet Him in the air, reverse course to return to earth. I understand some would believe this if they don't understand rapture #4, but all I've read of those who believe #7 is simply a misunderstanding of #4, so I don't see a U-turn rapture.
But since I can't explain what I don't know, I'll stick to the grace given to me and share what I do know. And let me say doctrinal differences should not divide us - we should celebrate Jesus whom we have in common - but I need to share what I know in scripture and by revelation, and when we all get to heaven Jesus can straighten us all out on any part of our understanding that needs rearranged. :)
That leaves us with rapture #4
The 4th rapture in chronological order is the one that concerns us today. It is not based on a 19th century preacher nor a sick girl's mystic vision nor a best selling book, nor "I want out of here" theology. It is based on a feast given by the Lord to Moses in Leviticus 23.
My purpose in this series is to explain the feast that teaches there is a rapture, when it will happen, then who can expect to be raptured. So buckle your seat belts boys and girls 'cause here we go.
Leviticus 23 lists 7 festivals given by the Lord: The 4 spring feasts were fulfilled on their day. They are Passover (cross), Unleavened Bread (cross/sinless life), First Fruits (resurrected) and Pentecost (Acts 2:1). The 3 fall festivals are: Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles.
Zechariah 14:16 says the whole earth will celebrate Tabernacles, God living with man, in the Millennial reign of Jesus. So we know 5 of the 7 festivals were or will be fulfilled on their exact day as outlined in Leviticus 23. It is reasonable to assume the remaining 2; Feast of Trumpets and Day of Atonement will be as well. The Day of Atonement is a type of the return of Christ, while the Feast of Trumpets is a type of...
The Feast of Trumpets is also called Rosh haShanah (Head of the Year), Yom Teruah (Day of Awakening Blast), Yom haDin (Day of Judgement), and Yom haZikkaron (Day of Remembrance).
Why these different names for the same feast? Because of what happens at this time: The New Year, the coronation and wedding of Messiah, the resurrection of the dead, the opening of the books of remembrance, the rewards of the court, the gathering of the royalty of the kingdom.
Before we get into detail about all these events occurring at Feast of Trumpets, know that this feast is the only one of the 7 that starts on the New Moon - the phase where the moon is not seen, hidden from view in the shadow of the earth. Psalm 81:3 references this: "Blow the trumpet in the New Moon, the time appointed on our solemn feast day." The other festivals are on the Full Moon phase when it is full and bright- so why did God start the Feast of Trumpets on the New Moon phase when the moon can't be seen on earth?
The New Moon
Paul wrote in Colossians 2:16-17: "Therefore let no man judge you about food or drink, or holy days, or of the New Moon, or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come..."
We can understand how food and drink are a shadow of the marriage supper of the Lamb yet to come, and how holy days and Sabbath days are fulfilled in Christ who is also our rest, and when He reigns the earth will have a time of rest. But why is the New Moon a shadow of something to come?
In Judaism the sun stands for the Lord, and the moon is a type of believers, the accompanying stars represent the angels. The moon has no light of its own but reflects light from the sun, it was made to rule the darkness assisted by the stars. So a new moon is a type of believers hidden from view, and the Feast of Trumpets begins at the new moon.
According to Rabbi Gaon who lists 10 things that will happen at the Feast of Trumpets, the horn blown is the right horn of the ram caught in the bush when Abraham offered Isaac. God provided a Substitute, and to commemorate the resurrection of his son in type*, Abraham blew the ram's horn - (shofar). (*Hebrews 11:19)
The Talmud therefore, the collection of Rabbinic writings which along with the Mishnah provide teachings and oral traditions of Judaism, says the resurrection of the dead will occur at the Feast of Trumpets at the new moon. (Rosh haShanah 3:3, 16a, 16b)
This horn which is only blown at the Feast of Trumpets, is called 'The Last Trump'. It is the 'last' because it resurrects the righteous dead, transforms the living, and hides them away with Messiah. (The High Holy Days, Herman Kieval, pg120)
The Last Trump
Paul taught the Feast of Trumpets: "Behold, I show you a mystery: We will not all die, but we will all be changed. In a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the Last Trump, for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we who are alive will be changed." I Corinthians 15:51-53
By using the term 'last trump' Paul ties the 'rapture' to the Feast of Trumpets which is the feast that occurs at the new moon phase, when believers will be hidden from earth with Messiah. If your spirit is rejoicing right now as mine is it is because the Spirit of Truth within bears witness to these truths...and we've only just begun...
Until next week, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org