The Rapture in the
Light of Tabernacles
By Dr. Stephen E. Jones
The Feast of Trumpets
We have shown earlier that Israel had two sets of feast days, one in the spring and one in the autumn. The spring feasts centered around Passover and Pentecost, both of which were fulfilled at the Cross and at the coming of the Spirit in Acts 2. The second set begins with the Feast of Trumpets in September, and this begins the prophecy surrounding the second coming of Christ.
The Feast of Trumpets signifies the resurrection of the dead, for we read in 1 Thess. 4:16, " the Lord Himself will descend... with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first." This is confirmed in 1 Cor. 15:52, "for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable."
The origin of the Feast of Trumpets, like all of Israel 's feast days, is in the story of Israel in the wilderness under Moses. Passover commemorated Israel 's departure from Egypt, Pentecost commemorated the giving of the law at Sinai, and the Feast of Trumpets commemorated the construction of the two trumpets of silver in Numbers 10:2.
God explained to Moses in verse 3 that to assemble the congregation [kahal, "church"], they were to blow BOTH trumpets. But to assemble only the rulers of the people, they were to blow just ONE trumpet (vs. 4). The third use of the trumpets was to "blow an alarm" for war. Verse 9 says,
9 And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who attacks you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets.
These three instructions prophesy of the purpose of the Feast of Trumpets, and so these things tell us about the prophetic events that are yet to occur on this feast day. When we read 1 Thess. 4:16 and 1 Cor. 15:52, we cannot fail to notice that there is but ONE TRUMPET prophesied in these passages dealing with the resurrection of the dead.
Who, then, is raised? According to the law, it is the rulers of the people—NOT THE CHURCH as a whole. Rapturist teachers today know not the law, and so they commonly teach that the whole Church will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air in the first resurrection. This is not so. The first resurrection is limited to the rulers—that is, the "overcomers." Rev. 20:4-6 says,
4... and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in this first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
It is clear that the first resurrection includes only those who will reign with Christ during the Tabernacles Age to come. As a child, I was taught that the Church would be raised at the first resurrection, and the unbelievers raised at the end of the thousand years at the Great White Throne. But this is not what Jesus said in John 5:28, 29,
28 Do not marvel at this; for AN HOUR is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice 29 and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.
This resurrection includes "all who are in the tombs." Which resurrection is this? It cannot be the first one, because that one is clearly limited, saying "the rest of the dead did NOT come to life until the thousand years were finished."
So Jesus was clearly speaking of the second resurrection. Yet Jesus said that believers will be given LIFE at the same time that unbelievers are judged. The plain fact is this: The Church is looking for a "rapture" that will include all believers, when in fact, this will be limited to the few. The Church is looking for a great escape from "the great tribulation," when in fact, if there is any escaping to be done, it will be limited to the few.
The third prophecy of the Feast of Trumpets is that the trumpets were to be blown to signal war against "the adversary" (Num. 10:9). I suspect that this prophesies the timing of Jerusalem 's destruction, when God goes forth against His adversaries.
Once again, the Church assumes that anyone fighting the Jews are God's adversaries. These religious leaders have never studied the law. Isaiah 63:9, 10 says,
9 In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them [Israel]; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them; and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. 10 But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy. He fought against them.
Thus, God tells us that even if pure-blooded Israelites rebelled against Him, He would become their enemy and fight against them. They could not appeal to their genealogy to get God's backing. So even if we were to consider today's unbelieving Jews to be pure-blooded Israelites, it would not make God their friend or prevent Him from fighting against them.
Keep in mind that Jesus Christ is the Yahweh of the Old Testament, the giver of the law to Moses. To rebel against Him is to rebel against God Himself, for we read in Exodus 15:2,
2 Yahweh is my strength and song, and He has become my Yashua [Jesus' Hebrew name]; This is my God, and I will praise Him; my father's God, and I will extol Him.
This is repeated in Isaiah 12:1-3, which Jesus applied to Himself in John 7:37-39. The true water of life was to be drawn from the wells or springs of Yashua. So Jesus said, " If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink."
The name Yashua literally means "salvation," and so when Jesus was taken to the temple as a baby, Simeon was watching for the Messiah. He knew His name would be called Yashua. Thus, in Luke 2:30, Simeon says, "For my eyes have seen Thy SALVATION [Yashua]."
And so, when the evil figs of Judah rejected Jesus as the Messiah and usurped His scepter, they rebelled against the God of the Old Testament. The only way to become a "good fig" is to repent of this rebellion. Until that happens, they are God's adversaries.
In the law of tribulation in Leviticus 26, we read about the judgment that would occur upon Israel and how He would bring them captive into foreign lands. The solution is given in verses 40-42,
40 If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me— 41 I was also acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies—or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, 42 THEN I will remember My covenant...
While there are certainly individual Jews who have repented of their hostility against Jesus, the Israeli state as a national unit will not repent before its destruction (Is. 29:1-6; Jer. 19:10, 11). In fact, that nation is NOT under God's covenant, because according to the law above, they must first repent before God remembers His covenant. They did not do this before 1948 and are even today outside the covenant.
Isaiah 29:1-6 makes it clear that God considers Jerusalem to be His enemy and adversary. He is the one who will lay siege to the city and will destroy it by the hands of men.
Ten Days of Awe
In Numbers 10, the stated purpose of blowing the trumpets is to gather the people (either the leaders or the congregation itself) and to muster the people for battle. We showed how this speaks prophetically of the Feast of Trumpets in two ways: (1) gathering the people to meet the Lord, and (2) a call to battle, which may possibly point to the day of Jerusalem 's destruction in God's battle.
We do not know, of course, if these two events are to occur in the same year. That seems likely, but it is not stated in Scripture.
When the Feast of Trumpets is fulfilled, and the first resurrection occurs, only a limited number of believers will be raised from the dead. It will NOT include ALL of the believers, because there must yet come an hour in which ALL who are in the tombs will be raised. This other (later) resurrection will include both believers and unbelievers (John 5:28, 29).
This is confirmed by Paul's testimony before Felix in Acts 24:14, 15,
14 But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law, and that is written in the Prophets; 15 having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.
Paul was not referring here to the first resurrection that is limited to only a few believers. He was referring to the second resurrection mentioned in Rev. 20:11-15, which includes all who are yet in the tombs.
Likewise, Jesus spoke of this general resurrection in Luke 12:42-49. The faithful servant, He says, will be given authority (12:44), but if His servants (believers) oppress the other servants (congregation), they will be given their reward (Life) at the same time that the unbelievers are judged (12:46). " He will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers." (Obviously, the rewards will not be the same; but they will be dispensed at the same time.)
Furthermore, Jesus says, those oppressive servants will be judged according to the law found in Deut. 25:1-3, for those who knew the Lord's will and did not do it will be "beaten with many stripes." Those who oppressed out of ignorance will be beaten with few stripes.
This is not talking about unbelievers, but believers who will be held accountable for their level of divine revelation. The more they know, the more accountable they are. But the law limits the judgment to 40 stripes (Deut. 25:3). This is, no doubt, what Paul meant when he says in 1 Cor. 3:15, " he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire."
This is also why Jesus concluded His teaching in Luke 12 with the statement in verse 49 equating the beating with "fire." The fire is a symbol of the judgment of the law and of the character of God, who appeared on Sinai only as a consuming fire to give Israel the law.
When the soon-coming Feast of Trumpets is fulfilled, and the overcoming dead are raised, many Church leaders will be greatly surprised to find that they were not called to meet the Lord in the air. In fact, this will precipitate a time of great repentance, once the reality hits them.
This repentance will be compounded if Jerusalem and the Israeli state are destroyed on the same day, for they will then realize that they were viewing Hagar as their mother, refusing to cast out the bondwoman and her son (Gal. 4:30). They will also realize that their contributions to finance Jewish families moving to the Israeli state only served to get more Jews killed.
And so, the days between the Feast of Trumpets (7/1) and the Day of Atonement (7/10) have been called in Jewish circles the Ten Days of Awe. It was and is still a time of introspection, repentance, and preparation for the Feast of Tabernacles. I believe that the events of the Feast of Trumpets will cause many to keep the Day of Atonement and the Ten Days of Awe. They will not keep it by killing a goat or leading a goat into the wilderness, as they used to do prior to the New Covenant. But they will certainly be in a state of shock and repentance, and many will even fast at that time.
Many of them will also be like the five foolish virgins, who lacked sufficient oil in their lamps to attend the wedding at the Feast of Tabernacles (Matt. 25:1-13). At the Feast of Trumpets, the "shout" will be made, " Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him." But only the overcomers will be qualified to actually meet Him, even though all of them (believers) were waiting expectantly for Him.
Yet all is not lost. Only the greatest reward will be lost, which has to do with authority and reigning with Him. This is a reward that goes beyond salvation itself. All of the believers will be saved, but not all will rule the nations with Christ. Further, they will have to wait for another thousand years to receive their immortal bodies.
Though life spans will be increased to the point where men will be considered young if they die at 100 years old (Is. 65:20), they will not yet be immortal in the Tabernacles Age to come. They will not yet be clothed with that tabernacle from heaven (2 Cor. 5:1-4). They will not yet be ready or prepared to experience the Feast of Tabernacles, because they had made no preparation for it during their allotted time on earth.
They will surely be saved, but they will not receive the "better resurrection" (Heb. 11:35) of the overcomers. It is for this reason that Paul disciplined himself, so that in the end, he would not be disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27). Paul did not doubt his salvation, but he remained unsure of being qualified as an overcomer. Only at the end of his life did he know that he had endured to the end and would receive the "crown of righteousness" (2 Tim. 4:7, 8).
Many have wrongly interpreted Paul's misgivings to mean that he was unsure of his salvation. Such teaching produced a wave of uncertainty and fear in the Church, which was then used to put men into the bondage of works. This fear was used by unscrupulous Church leaders to motivate men to give more money to the Church as proof of their sincerity.
But the truth sets men free. When Christians learn the revelation of the feast days, they can then easily see the difference between a Passover believer who is justified by faith, a Pentecostal believer who is sanctified by the Spirit, and a Tabernacles believer who will be glorified to reign with Him.
This is the path toward the full salvation of spirit, soul, and body (1 Thess. 5:23). Passover saves your spirit; Pentecost saves your soul; and Tabernacles saves your body. We call it Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification (or the redemption of your body—Rom. 8:23).
Of course, understand that the glorified body will not be like the present body with its limitations. Those who fulfill Tabernacles will have a body like that of Jesus after His resurrection. Because He had authority in both heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18), He was able to move with ease in both realms. All of this is prophesied in Scripture, and we will cover this later when we speak more fully of the Feast of Tabernacles.
It is sufficient for now to
understand the Feast of Trumpets and its relationship to the Day of Atonement
and the Days of Awe. Meanwhile, I advise all believers to start purchasing your
oil today. Do not wait for the Feast of Trumpets, for that will be too late.
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