Could the Rapture happen on the Feast of Trumpets?
Nathan Jones: Another Rosh Hashanah has come and gone this year, leaving a lot of disappointed Christians behind who have been anxious for Christ’s return. Some have already begun looking to October 2-4, 2024, which is the next Feast of Trumpets, as a possible return. Are they justified in putting any hope on that date?
Tim Moore: I find out of the seven Jewish feasts the most exciting to be the Feast of Trumpets. This feast in particular is something that many Christians have been looking forward to for a long time. We are joined by Dr. David Bowen and our Jewish expert, Dr. Richard Hill, who is the messianic Jewish pastor of Beth Yeshua Messianic Congregation in Las Vegas, to help us better understand if the Feast of Trumpets is significant to the Rapture. Should Christians be excited about the Feast of Trumpets?
David Bowen: I don’t know about the Jewish side of this feast, but from the Gentile side, when we Christians all hear a trumpet blast, then we know that something good is about to happen — the Rapture of the Church.
Richard Hill: As a Messianic Jew, I too am looking forward to the Rapture.
Tim Moore: Okay, Richard, as our Jewish expert, where did we get this idea that the Feast of Trumpets is tied to the Rapture of the Church? What references in Scripture point to this conclusion?
Richard Hill: We have to turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”” There’s that little blessing at the end in verse 18, “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
Tim Moore: That does sound comforting, but I don’t read the word “rapture” in that verse.
Richard Hill: “Rapture” may not be written there, but in verse 17 we read “caught up” or “snatching away.” That term is harpazo in the original Greek. The word “rapture” comes from the Latin translation of the Greek which is rapio or rapturo, and transliterated into the English word “rapture”. So, this passage in 1 Thessalonians 4 contains the teaching about being taken or snatched away from this earth. Critics will claim the word “rapture” is not there, but the meaning is. And, if anyone wishes to read the Latin translation of the Bible — Jerome’s language — they will find the word spelled out.
David Bowen: Will there be a one-world government someday? Will there be a one-world monetary system? Will there be a one-world religion? Yes, there will, but the Bible doesn’t use those words, and yet the teaching is there. You cannot find the word “trinity” in the Bible. Nor is the word “Bible” in the Bible. And yet, these are words we use to explain concepts in or about the Bible.
When it comes to understanding the concept of the Rapture, it’s important that we understand its roots in the Jewish feasts. When the trumpet was blown during the Feast of Trumpets, the blowing signified repentance and pointed to the covenant relationship the Jewish people had with God.
So, concerning the Church, how does one get raptured? We have to repent. We have to be in that right relationship with God. If we don’t have repentance and relationship, as the Jewish roots of the Feast of Trumpets teach us, then we’re not going to hear the trumpet blast associated with the Rapture.
Nathan Jones: Dr. Hill, how then does the Rapture tie to Rosh Hashanah? Many Christians are waiting to be raptured, but why are some considering the Feast of Trumpets — Rosh Hashanah — as the event that points to the Rapture?
Richard Hill: Rosh Hashanah is the term that is used by the rabbis today for Yom Teruah. We go back in the Scriptures to Leviticus 23 where we see this mystery feast that involves a day for blowing the trumpets. Does anybody really know why they blow the trumpets? Yes, the blowing of the trumpet is a call to repentance for the Jewish people who actually repent later on Yom Kippur. So, we have one feast looking forward to the next feast. What do you do on this feast? You blow the trumpet, you rest, and you worship God.
Hearers of the Trumpet Blast
Nathan Jones: Likewise, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 teaches that during the great catching up — the Rapture — a trumpet is blown calling those saved up to the clouds to meet Jesus in the air and who will take them to Heaven. I’ve always wondered, though, if the Rapture trumpet when it is blown only heard by believers in Christ, or will all people on the earth hear it. I don’t think the Bible addresses this question, but what’s your take?
Richard Hill: There’s nothing really in the Scripture that indicates that the shofar blast will be heard by the whole world. I do personally believe that it will be heard by just believers and that the trumpet is actually going to be blown from Heaven. And so, it’ll be a call just for Christians — just the believers in Christ — the Church. The trumpet calls Christians up to meet Jesus in the air.
David Bowen: Remember that the Jewish people alone heard the call of the trumpet as they were the only ones celebrating Rosh Hashanah. Hearing the trumpet was part of the celebration. And, the key to this feast was listening to the trumpet. It was an obligation to be fulfilled. They had to hear it with the right heart and the right attitude. Once they heard the trumpet, they also had to willingly obey it by repenting. Christians, too, have to be willing to obey God’s word and repent. This concept ties together both the Old and New Testaments.
Tim Moore: I’m reminded of Jesus who said, “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27). Not everyone hears Christ’s voice as He calls, but his sheep certainly can hear His voice. That’s why I believe the Rapture trumpet will only be heard by believers in Christ.
Richard Hill: There’s a second fulfillment to this feast as well for the nation of Israel and that involves a future repentance. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Jewish people have to hear a trumpet from Heaven, as they’re blowing the shofar here on Earth and all over the world. They’re calling to national repentance is going to occur during the Tribulation time period.
Nathan Jones: Is that why there are the “Ten Days of Awe” that follow the Feast of Trumpets? After the Rapture, there will be a short gap of time followed by seven years of the Tribulation?
Richard Hill: Likely, yes. That’s why the Tribulation primarily prepares the Jewish people to come to repentance at the end of the Tribulation period — that “time of Jacob’s trouble.” At the end, coinciding with the Feast of Atonement, that is when the Jewish people as a nation will be saved (Romans 11:26).
A Marriage Restored
Tim Moore: I think it’s important for Christians, both Gentile and Jew, to realize that we’re looking forward to the Feast of Trumpets because it does indeed symbolize Jesus Christ coming for His Bride, the Church. The Rapture first takes place before the Tribulation. Christ collects the Church and brings us to the place that He’s prepared for us — Heaven.
But, that’s not the end of the sequence of the feasts or of redemption. There’s another feast that follows, that is the Feast of Atonement, also called Yom Kippur, for the redemption of Israel and the Tribulation Saints. The Rapture, therefore, is only a part of Christ’s redemption story. God’s promise and provision to the Jewish people continues after the blowing of the trumpet and the collecting of the Church as described in 1 Thessalonians 4.
Richard Hill: But, that’s not the end of the story. God has a plan for the redemption of Israel. You could say that God “remarries” His “divorced wife” Israel, at the end of the Tribulation period. That’s when God’s redemptive plan all comes together as Jesus returns with the Church and together we enter into the Messianic Kingdom.
Tim Moore: This glorious Good News is not just for the Gentile, but for the Jew as well. God has not forgotten His promises to redeem His people. Christians can serve as a conduit of God’s blessing by sharing the glorious good news of our Jewish Messiah and how once saved they will participate in the Rapture. We hope that believers in Christ are looking forward to our blessed hope and listening for the sound of a trumpet to rapture the Church up to Heaven.
Nathan Jones: And perhaps during one of the upcoming Feast of Trumpets; we shall see.