Hurray … It’s a Holiday!
Most of us love the holidays!
Each one of them provides a purpose for celebration, a cause to pause and ponder. Whether it be two days of thanksgiving in November for anything that generates gratitude, including the food with which we stuff ourselves; or the delightful days of Christmas to exchange gifts in honor of the greatest gift ever given by God to the world—Messiah Jesus. Or Easter Sunday to rejoice in the risen Messiah; to remember what he said he would do and then did for us:
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
“Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?’” (John 11:25-26).
Put your name in place of Martha. Do you believe Jesus? Do you believe in him?
Despite the sometimes hectic preparations, we relish the reasons for the seasons and can’t wait for the next holiday to interrupt the daily routine of our lives and enhance the quality of life.
Though holidays mean different things to different people, they all have one common value: time off from work! Even those of us who are officially retired from the everyday working world still fondly remember the week days when we didn’t have to work. Or for those required to work on a holiday, they get equivalent days off. There is one holiday fittingly designated just for that … Labor Day.
I would dare say that time off from work is the main, if not only, reason many look forward to the holidays. That is not necessarily meant to be a negative observation; I, too, valued my “extra” days off from work. In fact, Webster’s Dictionary defines holiday as: “a day on which one is exempt from work; a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event; a period of relaxation.”
Nonetheless, holiday is in the dictionary as a concession to the secularization of the original word, holy. More specifically, Holy Day(s). Which is the English translation from the Hebrew word (kadash—verb; kadosh-adjective; kodesh-noun, all beginning with the kah sound) that goes back thousands of years to when God gave the Torah—Old Testament, beginning with the five books written by Moses–to the Jews. In fact, holy day has been changed in our pronunciation from a long “o” vowel (as in wholly) to a short “o” sound (as in holly …deck the halls with…) and the “y” substituted with an “i” to make one word out of two.
The meaning of Holy, then and especially now that Christ Jesus has set apart the New Covenant from the Old Covenant and changed time itself (BC to AD) is to: “set apart to the service of God (the priesthood); commanding absolute adoration and reverence (the Trinity); evoking or meriting veneration or awe (the cross)” (Webster’s Dictionary, parenthesis part of the text itself).
[*Note: Webster’s definition of holy tracks fairly close with the Biblical meaning. With one major distinction to be made. The “priesthood” is no longer the Jewish priestly system and certainly not the Roman Catholic priesthood. When our High Priest, Messiah Jesus, sacrificed his blood and life once for all time, he gave all who believe and receive him the awesome privilege of approaching God directly. All believers in Christ are now priests. (See Hebrews 4:14-16).
Listen to this remarkable truth given by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter to all believers:
“And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God” (I Peter 2:5).
And, “…You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (I Peter 2:9).]
Then Webster defines holy day as: “a day set aside for special religious observance.”
It’s just that our Holy Days such as Christmas and Resurrection Day have become holidays to so many. And there are many of the many that won’t even use those terms. So it’s Happy Holidays and Happy Easter.
For the one or two out there that harbor some degree of guilt over celebrating any Holiday, except Labor Day—especially the true Holy Day(s) like Christmas—just to get out of work, don’t be too hard on yourself! Did you know that God, himself, originally ordained the Jewish Sabbath and Festivals (which became the forerunner prototypes of holy days (holidays) to Gentile nations, with instructions that the Jews desist from their daily work in observance of these most Holy Days?
Yet the cessation from work was not an end unto itself; rather, it was a special day or days that were sanctified as holy—set apart to focus on the Lord and what he had miraculously done and would do for his people in the future. And, now for the whole world through Messiah Jesus.
All Jewish Festivals Portray and Point to Messiah (Jesus)
As demonstrated in the last two Eye of Prophecy articles, Messiah Yeshua’s (Jesus) completion and perfection of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits Harvest Festivals was nothing short of amazing. He is the Passover Lamb slain on the cross for forgiveness of our sins and the once for all pardon from the penalty of those sins. He arose from the dead with the first (fruits) resurrected body to seal the New Covenant between God and mankind, which one day soon will mean a brand new resurrected body for all of us who believe in Christ and have received him as personal Savior. With the first three Festivals accomplished by Jesus in the same time frame (8 days … Palm Sunday through Resurrection Sunday) as these three feasts are commemorated. Then the fourth festival Shavuot (Pentecost) taking place 50 days later; with the Holy Spirit coming to earth to indwell New Covenant believers 50 days after Jesus ascended back to heaven.
There’s more to come! Upon his stunning return at the appointed time, Jesus will fulfill the final three Jewish Feasts ordained by God. Collectively, they are called the High Holy Days of the Fall Festivals. All will be accomplished during the great and glorious (terrible for unbelievers) Day of the Lord, precipitated by the catching up (Rapture) of believers to be spared from the catastrophic carnage of the Great Tribulation.
Let’s take an up close and personal look at these three festivals, the first of which occurred this past Monday (Rosh Hashanah). The second (Yom Kippur) will take place this coming Wednesday October 12, and the third (Sukkot) beginning on October 17 lasting through the 23rd. Then, as was done in/with the first four festivals, to see the remarkable correlation of Messiah Jesus to these milestone monuments of Jewish heritage, as well as their connection to all Gentiles who have been grafted as wild branches into the roots of the olive tree of Israel.
“But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree … those branches (the Jews) were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe… And if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them back into the tree … I want you understand this mystery dear brothers … Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of the Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved…” (Romans 11:17-26).
The New Year Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah in Hebrew)
Beginning with a belated, but hearty Shana Tova: “Happy New Year” … Jewish style!
And not just any new year. Last Monday the Jewish calendar turned to the year 5777. What a significant set of numbers! Five is the Scriptural number representing God’s grace. Three sevens is the divine (Trinity) perfection of the number seven, which also represents completion of God’s ultimate plan for the human race. Will this Jubilee year be THE YEAR? (See Eye of Prophecy article, Jubilee and Messiah … They Go Together! Posted 1-23-16)
Literally, Yom Teruah means the “the day of blowing the shofar.” The first month of the Jewish calendar was designed by God to begin as Nissan (March/April on the Gregorian calendar), and the Feast of Trumpets was to be held on the first day of the seventh month, Tishrei (September/October). Many Jewish rabbis believed that God created the world on the first of Tishrei; thus, that day subsequently became the civil new year in Judaism—Rosh Hashanah, or “the head of the year.”
“Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘in the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord’” (Leviticus 23:23-25, NASB).
Other translations say, “…a memorial of blowing of trumpets” or “blasts of trumpets.” Whatever translation you prefer, the text is crystal clear that there are trumpet blast(s), plural … as in many. In ancient Israel there were 100 blasts of the shofar so that all the people could hear, and shouts of praise to the Lord on Rosh Hashanah.
Unlike the first four festivals and the final Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement that follows were not designated by the Lord to be a memorial for any past event or series of events as such. Also, there were trumpet blasts to signal every new month on the Jewish calendar.
Thus, Judaism incorporated Rosh Hashanah into the Feast of Trumpets, which gave them a more celebratory reason to sound the shofar with many blasts; even though the Lord clearly indicated that this was a special kind of Sabbath (High Sabbath) whether the 1st of Tishrei might fall on a regular Sabbath day or not.
Jewish Rabbis added their own interpretations as to the purpose for, significance of, and activities on Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). They are oral traditions handed down and then contained in written form in such texts as the Talmud. Even in the context of the Mosaic Covenant of the Law, the traditions remain speculative. Only when examined in the light of the New Covenant of Grace and the equally God-inspired New Testament, can the connection be fully comprehended. Because that correlation is linked to spectacular events that have yet to take place. In that regard, they are like all the other festivals: pointing to the first coming (first four festivals) and second coming (last three festivals) of Messiah Jesus.
Yet, it’s obvious that the Festival of Trumpets was a special occasion made holy (set apart) by God.
Why? What was its ultimate significance?
Why didn’t the Feast of Trumpets (and the Day of Atonement) symbolically memorialize a milestone in Israel’s national history? Why was there was no specific explanation given by God to Moses that would link either the Feast of Trumpets or the next festival, the Day of Atonement, to any past momentous event?
Answer: Both of these festivals were to be kept on the basis of unwavering faith in God that their ultimate significance would be revealed in due time. It actually began before Moses, with Abraham’s explicit trust in God’s perfect plan and will even though the Lord had commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. God graciously provided a ram in Isaac’s place. Not only was this the first and greatest object lesson of the coming Messiah to be offered for the sins of the world, but thereafter the blowing of the ram’s horn (shofar) was a signal of both warning and announcement of very special times and events.
Subsequently, through some of the prophets, God made it clear to Israel and Gentile nations that the sounding of trumpets would usher in the end times.
Such as: The passage depicted in the following photo:
*Note: Any “alarm sounding” was always done with trumpets or shofar.
And, “That terrible day of the Lord is near. Swiftly it comes—a day of bitter tears, a day when even strong men will cry out … a day when the Lord’s anger is poured out … a day of darkness and gloom … a day of trumpet calls and battle cries…” (Zephaniah 1:14-16).
Also, “In that day the great trumpet will sound. Many who were dying in exile in Assyria and Egypt will return to Jerusalem to worship the Lord on his holy mountain” (Isaiah 27:13). Here, Assyria and Egypt are representative of all Gentile nations, particularly those who have harmed Israel.
When answering the question of his disciples concerning the end of the age, among many things Messiah Jesus said: “And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven” (Matthew 24:31).
In the final revelation of Jesus Christ as recorded in the book of Revelation, seven of God’s judgments are preceded by the sounding of trumpets.
Some Jews and their rabbis think (hope) that Messiah will appear on Passover, Yom Kippur, or Sukkot. But most believe that he will arrive on Rosh Hashanah, to usher in a new year (age) of redemption and restoration. So, too, do many Messianic Jews and evangelical Gentiles endorse the idea that Jesus will return on the Feast of Trumpets or perhaps the Feast of Tabernacles, with the difference, of course—that this will be Messiah’s second coming.
If Jesus should return during one of these (or other) festivals, I, too, believe it will be on the Feast of Trumpets. However, it’s unlikely our Lord will appear precisely on any of these High Holy Days. If for no other reason than his statement that he will return when “least expected.”
For that matter, it would be extra special (for me) if the Rapture took place on my birthday, September 28th—which often arrives during the Fall Festivals of the Jewish calendar. (I’m sure many believers out there like the idea of Jesus returning on your birthday … why not!). On the other hand, my birthday came and went recently, and I don’t want to wait another year for the Lord to take me/us home!
In the final analysis, it really doesn’t matter what day or hour it is. What is supremely important is the very fact that he will return! And soon!
Messiah’s actual arrival on earth will take place at the end of the Great Tribulation to rescue Israel from the armies of the Antichrist and the world from annihilation. Seven years before that he will appear in the clouds to take home all Jew and Gentile believers (Rapture), which will initiate the awesome Day of the Lord. The sound of trumpets will be heard around the world when the Rapture occurs.
This will be the climatic fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets!
*Note: When I say that Messiah Jesus most likely will not return on a High Holy Day (rather, when least expected, i.e. an ordinary day), I’m referring to the Rapture. Not to his physical return to earth when he steps foot on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). That could very well be on one of the Festival Days. Those left behind at the Rapture who care at all will know the approximate day or week as it will be seven years (give or take a few days or even weeks) after the Rapture that our Lord triumphantly and majestically appears on the earth to set all things right.
Listen to the splendid promise given by the Lord to Paul concerning the Rapture of and for all believers, Jew and Gentile alike:
“We tell you this directly from the Lord. We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever” (I Thessalonians 4:15-17, italics for emphasis).
Then 3-4 years later Paul writes to the believers in Corinth:
“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed” (I Corinthians 15:51-52, “it” italicized for emphasis).
That, my friend, is what the Feast of Trumpets is all about!
In A Moment … In the Blink of an Eye
I think it’s important enough to (once again) clarify the misinterpretation that most Christians have made concerning the Rapture.
The Misunderstanding: the entire sequence of events during the Rapture will take place in a nanosecond.
The Clarification: The descent of the Lord in the clouds, his shout, the voice of the archangel, the blasts of the trumpet (shofar), the resurrection of the dead in Christ, then finally those alive being supernaturally transfigured with new everlasting bodies will NOT take place in the “blink of an eye.”
To confirm this clarification, I will provide a few excerpts from the fifth article ever posted in Eye of Prophecy, which was also the final in a series of five articles on the Rapture (What, Why, When, Who, and How of the Rapture, published 7-26-13 through 8-24-13). I would encourage you to read one or more of those articles (which are fairly short). If you want to graduate from the class of All You’ve Ever Wanted to Know about the Rapture, But Didn’t Know What to Ask, then read all five of these articles on the Rapture! Seriously, I’m convinced you’ll have a much better understanding of this glorious event if you do.
First, however, an apology is in order. I’ve heard that writers should never make apologies for their work; hence, this is my first and last apology!
The Confession: this week’s article was intended to be the third in a trilogy of posts on the Seven Jewish Festivals and Messiah Jesus’s fulfillment of each one. With today’s post designed to cover the last three feasts, all of which will be perfected at Christ’s magnificent return to the earth. But there just isn’t enough time/space to examine all three. Thus, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and Festival of Tabernacles (Sukkot) will come next week. Which makes this Trilogy of articles whatever “ology” four articles make!
Is that okay?
Good … I see heads nodding!
So let’s continue with some excerpts from How the Rapture, posted 8-24-13 (in italics): *Note, You might first want to scroll back a few paragraphs and read again the passage of I Corinthians 15:51-52, paying special attention to the one italicized word.
To Exactly What Does the Blink (Twinkling) of an Eye Refer? (Back to I Corinthians 15)
Here is where we students of the Bible (I’m including myself) overlooked or took for granted one little (impersonal) pronoun. Because we skimmed over this two-letter word, we missed or dismissed the important textual relationship of this pronoun to the antecedent that immediately precedes it. And shame on me in particular, as my major in college was English/Literature! I’m sure you just thought or said something to the effect, “What in the world is he talking about?” Very reasonable question; I’ll answer it, by first defining “antecedent.” Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines antecedent as: “One that goes before … a substantive word, phrase, or clause referred to by a pronoun …a word or group of words replaced and referred to by a substitute…”
The substitute is almost always a pronoun found immediately after the “substantive word or phrase”, which is the case in I Corinthians 15: 51-52. So let’s break it down.
First, the phrase in this passage: “…but we will all be transformed!”
Second, the pronoun, “It“, which begins the very next verse, “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye….” Can you make the connection? What specifically is “it” referencing or taking the place of in the text? You got it: It is referring to and the same thing as what Paul just said would occur which is, “…but we will all be transformed.”
Next, the Apostle Paul elaborates on “it” (meaning the actual transformation itself, which as you already know is the transfiguration of our earthly body to that of our brand new heavenly, resurrected body) by explaining how it (the transfiguration) will take place. What does he say? He says, “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye” When will it happen? “…when the last trumpet is blown.” For added emphasis and understanding, what will happen in the blink of an eye? You’re right: “It.” And again, what does it refer to? Right again: It refers exclusively to the just mentioned clause, “we will all be transformed!”
In the New American Standard translation, we read, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet….” (I Corinthians 15: 51-52). Notice, that the pronoun (it) is not found in this translation. Why? Because the connection between the action of “changed” (transformed) and the how of the change (twinkling of an eye) is inseparable, irrefutable, and exclusive. Both passages contain essentially the same composition; with the New Living Translation and other translations (such as the Jewish Bible) accurately and emphatically reinforcing the translation from Greek to English, by use of a pronoun that substitutes for the mystery of the transformation itself.
Please bear with me … I hope you see this as much more than just a boring exercise in grammar and syntax. It is exceptionally significant that we understand what is going on in this passage. Saying it another way: The only thing that will happen in a moment or blink of an eye (at the instant the last trumpet is blown) is the actual physical transfiguration of our earthly bodies. The “it” does not apply to anything else in this passage; nor can “the transformation” specifically apply to the events so majestically portrayed in I Thessalonians Chapter 4. In fact, I Thessalonians 4 doesn’t say anything about the blink of an eye transformation at all. But we’ve inadvertently extended or expanded the instantaneous change found in I Corinthians 15 to include the entire sequence of events described in I Thessalonians 4.
…It’s fairly simple: Think about it for a couple of minutes (or longer). Does it make any sense that the entire sequence of events … could happen in “the blink of an eye?” …Or, how could we as believers possibly “process” and experience in real-time (not virtual time or reality) the entire progression –the Lord descending, the trumpet call of God, the dead rising first, then those alive being caught up in the air—in a tiny fraction of a second?
There is no evidence, whatsoever, in these two passages that the Lord will set aside time, or otherwise stop the clock. In fact, wouldn’t the Lord want us to absorb (take it all in) the majesty and wonder of the whole thing in real-time? If the sequence of I Thessalonians is over in the twinkling of an eye, then why would the Lord even bother to explain the amazing order or arrangement as described in Chapter 4?
Of course, the Lord could do all this in a split second, if he wanted to. But why would he inexplicably reduce such an astonishing and majestic event to a microsecond and, thereby, deprive us of the awesome splendor of his glory and the ensuing sensory, spiritual, mental, and emotional real-life, real-time experience? (If the Lord does temporarily change the hands of time, I actually hope that it might be in slow-motion!) Wouldn’t you agree: It makes much more sense that these events–from the moment Christ descends from heaven to the instant our bodies are transfigured and everything in between–would transpire in actual time, i.e. at least a few minutes? Yet, the prevailing consensus in the Church is that all these things are over in an instant…
The Shout Heard Around the World:
Most know about, “the shot heard around the world,” that started the American Revolutionary War. At the Rapture, it will be the “shout heard around the world.” The shout of Christ, the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet call of God will shake the world like it’s never been shaken before. It will give a whole new meaning to “shock and awe.” And, the entire sequence of events involving Jesus descent from heaven, loud shout, voice of the archangel, trumpet call(s) of God that lead to the last blast of the trumpet, will take several minutes. This literal lapse of time needed for a literal series of visual and audio events to occur will NOT take place in a blink of the eye. Only the grand finale of it all will happen in the twinkling of an eye. Which is, as you know by now, the supernatural transformation of our earthly body.
*Note: In the article, How the Rapture, quoted today, I explained in detail how the Old Testament sounding of the shofar took several minutes, with four basic phases of blowing the Shofar to announce a momentous event. This will also happen during the Rapture, i.e. several blasts of the trumpet. Which is why Paul says the actual transformation of believer’s (bodies) will take place, “when the last trumpet is blown.” (Emphasis on “last”).
*At the end of this week’s article, please click on to the link that will take you to a short video of these shofar blasts.
Continuing with the excerpts:
In fact, the more I think about it, the more inclined I am to propose that those left behind may even witness our newly resurrected (the dead) and transformed (the living) bodies ascend to heaven. Why not? Isn’t that part of the whole sequence? We’ve mistakenly (meaning without any direct support or evidence from Scripture), assumed that the microsecond change of our bodies’ means that those bodies instantly vanish or disappear from sight. Since the blink of an eye phenomenon relates only to the actual transfiguration itself, why do we also equate that with a split second disappearance?
I Thessalonians 4 tells us that we will be “caught up” in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Why would caught up necessarily equate to an instant vanishing? Remember how Jesus ascended to heaven as described in Acts 1: 9-11? All who were with him saw him rising into heaven, until they could no longer see him. One of the two angels who showed up even said, “Why are you standing here staring into heaven?” There was no vanishing going on. Picture watching a hot-air balloon ascending. Why wouldn’t our meeting Jesus in the clouds be just like His ascension to heaven? Our transformed bodies will be like his … why not our rising to meet him be similar or identical?
*At this point in the article quoted, a summary is provided.
Thus, I believe that common sense, reinforced heavily by Biblical precedents and even more so by accurate examination of the Rapture passages (that we’ve done in this article) lead to a very convincing conclusion: The entire episode of the Rapture from start to finish will take several minutes. This will allow time for such things as: pulling cars over to the side of the road; awaking in the middle of the night from a deep sleep; turning off the T.V or loud music; stop the yelling at someone; hugging your un-believing spouse or friend good-bye; the short, but most intense praise and worship ever experienced by Christians on this earth; and, hopefully, a few minutes for some foxhole conversions all over the world.
Do you see what difference it would make and how it could enhance and expand our view of and increase even more our enthusiasm for the Rapture, if the order of events in the Rapture took place over several minutes? It would be far more than just a “poof” one second here, next second gone type of experience. Next to the triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ, it will be the greatest celebration of joy ever experienced by believers in Christ. And in real-time and space no less; no special effects, no suspension of time, no virtual reality … just the real thing. None of which (except for the transfiguration of our bodies) can or will take place in the twinkling of an eye.
This is the way the Lord intended it to be, and this is the way that the Bible passages on the Rapture tell us it will be. I believe the evidence—as summarized in this article—conclusively demonstrates that the blink of an eye relates only to the miraculous transfiguration of our mortal bodies. Whereas, the progression of events that culminate in this instantaneous change will take several minutes of actual time.
Things to Ponder
All Jewish festivals point to Messiah Jesus, as do hundreds of Old Testament prophecies.
As so succinctly summed up in the last book of Scripture, Jesus is the very essence of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).
If you look carefully, you can also find him in every American holiday. Please see the Eye of Prophecy article, Merry Christmas … What’s It All About, posted 12-20-14, which also connects the meaning of other holidays to Christ.
To quote from last week’s Eye of Prophecy article, Passover & Messiah Are Inseparable:
“All of the Seven Festivals were extraordinary events under the Old Covenant. But they were also shadows, patterns, and preview types of what was to come. When Jesus initiated, executed, and sealed the New Covenant with his sacrificial blood, the new replaced the old. The shadow became the real image. The type yielded to the Archetype. The pattern turned into the finished product.”
“All you inhabitants of the world and dwellers on earth, as soon as a standard is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and as soon as the trumpet (shofar) is blown, you will hear it” (Isaiah 18:3, NASB).
At the Rapture, I believe each of the four phases of the Shofar blasts will take place three times or more.