Question / Comment - If the rapture occurs on the feast of trumpets how can it be imminent, at 'any moment'?
Greetings brother JPN,
If the rapture happens on the divinely appointed feast of trumpets, Tishri one or two, then it can only be imminent at that time, not at "any moment. 10 days after trumpets is the day of Atonement which is the Lord’s second coming in judgment. How could there be seven years between the rapture and second coming?
yeah it is a fair question because anytime you say that the rapture can only happen on one particular day of the year you break the 'at any moment' imminent aspect of Jesus' return. Some believe that the rapture can only come on a feast day with Trumpets and Pentecost being popular. Others say the feasts are to be fulfilled with Israel only and not the Church. I've seen some say that the rapture has to occur on the same day that Jesus ascended into heaven. So those that hold to one particular day, whatever day it is, look for that one day and then, somewhat disappointed, have to wait till the same time next year! For the record I'm not one of those that says it has to be one particular day even though I do believe the rapture is at least 'a' fulfillment of the feast of Trumpets. But I am mindful of four things:
- There is no verse that says His return is definitely on the feast of trumpets
- That we are dealing with 'types' and 'patterns' here, not implicit doctrine
- Jesus told us to always be watching and ready because we do not know the day
- That we see through a glass darkly... and this is true concerning the day of His return (by design!)
Always watch and be ready
Based on this, I have never been dogmatic on 'when' the rapture occurs in terms of a day of the year (or an actual year for that matter). From what is taught in the New Testament I think the believer should always be watching and ready and that it can happen on any day. Jesus Himself gave the parable of a master going on a journey and stressed several times the importance for his servants to always watch because they don't know when he will return. This is the overriding principle in my mind even if one leans towards a certain fulfillment. There is never any indication given in scripture to only look on one or two days of the year!
Mar 13:32-37 No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (33) Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. (34) It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. (35) Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. (36) If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. (37) What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!' "
Mat 24:42 Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
So if Jesus' command then was to watch and be ready for we do not know the day, and the early Church lived in this manner (which they did), then we need to do the same... watch and be ready all the time!
Feast of trumpets
Now when I studied the feast of trumpets and wrote my studies on it (several years back now) I could see a lot of similarities in what the Rabbi's/ancient Jewish teachers believed about this feast and what the New Testament teaches will occur at the rapture. Based on those patterns, the general use of trumpets in the Old Testament, and the mention of the last trump at the rapture, I do believe that the rapture is at least 'a' fulfilment of the feat of trumpets. However there were also some other events in Jewish thought surrounding the feast of trumpets, like the 'crowning of Messiah' that lend themselves more to the second coming of Jesus when He rules and reigns so I wrote (in the following study) "It is quite likely that the 7th trumpet which announces that the 'kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Christ' will also fall in the final year of that period on the feast of trumpets."
It may be that the rapture is 'a' fulfilment of it, on the day God chooses, and it will find it's final fulfillment in those last days at the end of the tribulation. So will that day of the rapture be on the day of the feast of trumpets? Could well be. Wouldn't be surprised at all if God did that! Is that for certain? No, not at all. That is why I wrote at the end of footnote 2 in this study that: "For me personally, I look for the blessed hope all the time. But from what I have learned of the feast of trumpets, all the aspects of this feast do point to the rapture as the fulfillment. So while I'm always watching, I will be watching even more intently during those fall (Sept - Oct) months : )"
Jewish scholar Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum, writing on 1 Cor 15:51-52, believes Paul is alluding back to the feast of trumpets by using the term 'the last trump' - but he writes that it doesn't say anything about the timing of the rapture.
1Co 15:51-52 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- (52) in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
'It is evident from the fact that Paul used the definite article 'the last trump' that he expected the Corinthians to know what he was talking about. The only knowledge they would have of trumpets are those spoken of in the Old Testament, especially those of the Feast of Trumpets. The last trump refers to the Feast of Trumpets and the Jewish practice of blowing trumpets at this feast each year. During the ceremony there are a series of short trumpet sounds concluding with one long trumpet blast which is called the Tekiah Gedolah, the great trumpet blast. This is what Paul means by the last trump. As such, it says nothing concerning the timing of the rapture; only that the rapture, whenever it occurs, will fulfil the feast of trumpets.'
Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah
Concerning your second question:
"10 days after trumpets is the day of Atonement which is the Lord’s second coming in judgment. How could there be seven years between the rapture and second coming?"
Hopefully this is answered above. I touch on this in footnote 3 of the above study. It could be that the rapture is a partial fulfillment of the feast of trumpets with its final fulfillment in a literal 10 day period with Christ's coming at the end of the tribulation. But even if we were to say that the rapture is the final and only fulfillment of trumpets it could easily be separated from the fulfillment of the day of Atonement. There is nothing in scripture that says they have to be fulfilled in the same year. We do know that the Spring feasts in Jesus first coming (Passover, Unleavened bread, Pentecost, Firstfruits) were all fulfilled in the one year... so it is likely that they will again and we may lean that way (based on expecting God to work in a similar manner)... but it is still an assumption and not something specifically stated in scripture.
Personally, based on the Jewish understanding of that day, I would expect that trumpets will have a fulfillment at both the rapture and in those last literal days surrounding the events of the second coming. But how the feasts are fulfilled is one of those areas that we can hold different opinions on and we shouldn't be dogmatic on. Especially when it comes to the rapture 'having' to occur on any one particular day of the year. Whatever that day one holds to. Jesus and the New Testament is clear that we don't know the day and should always be watching. That overrides any other thought we should have.