Greetings to all:
On September 26, 2011 I sent you one of my articles entitled “The Coming Feast of Tabernacles, in which I presented an erroneous conclusion. Then on October 14th I sent you a second letter correcting the error.
I have recently merged these two articles into a single document entitled "God’s Next Visit to Earth," a copy of which is attached for your consideration and use.
Blessings to all,
God’s Next Visit to Earth
In one of my previous articles entitled God’s Three Special Levitical Feasts” it was shown that the first major event of the coming tribulation period, the partial rapture, is likely to occur around the time of the Hebrew Feast of Tabernacles on Oct. 13-19, 2011. According to 1 Thess. 4:16-17 this rapture event will be conducted by God Himself during His next visit to earth, and the purpose of this article is to determine what the scriptures of the Bible have to say about this event and its timing.
God’s commandment to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles is given in Lev. 23:33-36 as follows:
(33) Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
(34) "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord.
(35) On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it.
(36) For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it.
The purpose of this celebration is to remind the Israelites of the forty years that they spent in the wilderness after being released from Egyptian bondage. That was a time in which they lived in small booths or tents (tabernacles) and were totally dependent upon God for their welfare and protection.
From this Leviticus passage it is significant to note that this feast was to begin each year on the fifteenth day of the seventh Israeli month. Since the total length of the feast was to be seven days, plus one day of convocation, the final day would then come on the twenty-third day of the seventh month. Note also that the Jews were forbidden to do any work during the days of this feast. These facts will be useful in reaching the conclusions that are presented in the following text.
A Previous Visit of God to the Earth
The sixth chapter of 2nd Chronicles discloses the priestly prayer that Solomon prayed, dedicating the new temple that he had just completed to God. Then the first few verses of Chapter 7 show how God entered the new temple and made His presence known to His people. Verses 1-3 and 8-10 of Chapter 7 read as follows:
(1) When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
(2) And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house.
(3) When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying: "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever."
- - - - - - -
(8) At that time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt.
(9) And on the eighth day they held a sacred assembly, for they observed the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.
(10) On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the good that the Lord had done for David, for Solomon, and for His people Israel.
From these verses it is apparent that God’s entry into His temple was a very magnificent and glorious event. He came in the form of a consuming fire (see Heb. 12:29) that consumed the bodies of the animals that had been offered as sacrifices. Then the Israelites feasted for seven days before being sent back to their tents at the end of the eighth day.
Note that their feasting ended on the twenty-third day of the seventh month, which is the same day that the annual Feast of Tabernacles comes to its end. Therefore we may conclude that Solomon’s feast subsequent to the temple dedication ceremony was actually a Feast of Tabernacles celebration, and it is quite likely that many of the supernatural events that were experienced at that time will be repeated at the time of His next visit to earth.
God’s coming visit seems to be described very briefly in Rev. 8:5, which reads as follows: “Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.” The events described in
this verse indicate that God will be present on the earth at that time; and since this event immediately precedes the sounding of the first tribulational trumpet in Rev.8:7, it can be regarded as a pre-tribulational event. At that time it is likely that we will see a repetition of many of the miraculous events that Solomon witnessed when he dedicated the new temple.
The Timing of the Partial Rapture
The scripture passages given in Matt. 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-36 both pertain to the partial rapture, and they indicate that this event will occur during a normal work day. Therefore it could not possibly take place during the week of the Feast of Tabernacles, for everyone has been forbidden to work at that time. Also, the days immediately preceding this feast are not days in which the partial rapture could occur for the following reasons.
First of all, it is apparent that when the partial rapture does occur it will have a very disturbing effect on everyone who has been left on the earth, so that almost everything will be completely disrupted at that time. Since the Feast of Tabernacles is a holy feast in which all devout Jews are required to participate, the partial rapture could not occur prior to the beginning of this feast without completely disrupting the procedures prescribed for the ceremony. This is the primary reason that the partial rapture can not be allowed to precede the Feast of Tabernacles.
In this regard let us also reconsider the timing of the Pentecost event around 2,000 years ago. According to Acts 2:5-12 the arrival of the Holy Spirit to administer the Holy Spirit baptism was also a disrupting event for those who did not receive this baptism; therefore this event had to be delayed until after the Jewish Sabbath had passed by. Consequently it seems reasonable to conclude that the partial rapture will also be delayed until all of the events of the Feast of Tabernacles have been completed.
The Feast of Tabernacles is described in Lev. 23:33-44, and Verse 39 of this passage reads as follows: “Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the Lord for seven days; on the first day there shall be a Sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a Sabbath-rest.” From this verse it is apparent that both the first and the last days of this feast have been designated as Sabbath days, therefore the partial rapture should not occur until after the last Sabbath day has occurred on October 20th.
Considering all of these facts, It seems quite apparent that the partial rapture is very likely to occur at some time during Friday, October 21st. Of course it is possible that it could take place a few days after this date, but since the Pentecost event came on the day immediately following the Sabbath, it is probable that October 21st will in fact be the date for the partial rapture. In any case, let us all be ready to recognize this event whenever it does occur.
E. “Berk” Hammond