23 September 2015
NO TRUMPETS RAPTURE
A SCRIPTURAL CASE FOR A PENTECOST RAPTURE
A majority of Christians today are looking for a Trumpets rapture event. However, there is very little scriptural support for this proposition.
The Feasts of the Lord are Prophetic
The Levitical festivals of the Lord are a prophetic picture of God's redemptive plan. Paul says as much in Colossians 2:16-17. This truth has been demonstrated in Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits with the crucifixion death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Pentecost was partially fulfilled by the gift of the Holy Spirit. (See Note 1)
Trumpets vs. Pentecost Rapture
Why do I say that Pentecost was partially fulfilled ? A majority of Christians say that Pentecost was fulfilled with the "giving of the Law" at Mt. Sinai and the gift of the Holy Spirit in 32 A.D. They treat Pentecost as completely fulfilled. I simply question the general belief because I cannot find any Scriptural support for the Law being given on Pentecost. We are called to "prove all things". (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
There is nothing in the Old Testament which even remotely connects Pentecost with the giving of the Law at Sinai. Moses did not associate any historical event in Israel's early history with Pentecost, as he did with Passover and Tabernacles. The name the Pentecost Feast (Shauvot) does not define its essence, as do the other festivals of the Lord. There is a teaching in Jewish tradition which connects Pentecost with the giving of the Law. It may be possible to estimate that the law was given about 53 days after the first Passover in Egypt, but it is not an event that the word of God chooses to emphasize or associate with this Feast.
The Jewish traditions about the memorial day for blowing Trumpets are enticing to associate with the rapture event. Jewish tradition teaches that it will be the final gathering of Israel when the Messiah comes. It is taught as a symbol of the resurrection of the dead. They teach that the book of life will be opened on this day. There are to be 100 trumpet blasts, with the last blast the longest.
The fact that the two principal rapture verses, 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17 refer to the "last trump" and "trumpet of God" are the emphatic points of interest and what connect the majority belief that the rapture is associated with the Festival of Trumpets.
Paul never teaches or associates the rapture with the festival of Trumpets. However, Paul teaches that the rapture of the "Christ's own" is associated with His resurrection and first fruits. Christ was risen from the dead on the festival of First Fruits during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (1 Corinthians 15:20)
The Three Orders of Resurrection
Paul teaches that there are three orders of the resurrection. God has an ordered redemptive plan. By inference, we are lead to consider that Israel's three pilgrimage feasts, (1) unleavened bread, (2) Pentecost, and (3) Tabernacles are "shadows" of the resurrection of the dead. (Exodus 23:14)
Christ was raised at First Fruits, during the feast of Unleavened Bread. He is the first order of the resurrection. Then, afterward, they that are Christ's at His coming. If Christ is coming for His own, we know that this is the promise of John 14:3, 1 Corinthians 15:51 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17. It is the rapture.
Christ's own is the second order of the resurrection. When is the second order of the resurrection ? On Pentecost, the next feast or on Trumpets ? Trumpets is not a pilgrimage feast.
Christ's own have the first fruits of the Spirit. (Romans 8:23) So, Christ's own are associated with His first fruits resurrection. When he comes for His own, our bodies will be redeemed. (Romans 8:23) Our bodies will be transformed. (Philippians 3:20) The complete redemption of Christ's own involve two stages. First, the guarantee, the deposit of the Spirit, then second, "at His coming", the redemption of the body. The Holy Spirit was given as a deposit the moment we believed. It is a guarantee, an earnest deposit of His Spirit in our hearts until He comes for us. For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy. (Romans 11:16) Christ's own are the lump. The simple inference is that Christ's own will follow Him as a first fruits type of resurrection. If stage one occurred on Pentecost, as a deposit of guarantee, why should we not expect the Lord to complete His redemptive plan for "His own" on the same feast, the feast of conclusion. Curiously, the rabbinic name for Shauvot (Pentecost) is Hag ha-Azereth, or Azereth, meaning the "Feast of Conclusion". They also refer to Pentecost as Hag ha-Bikurim, meaning the Feast of First Fruits".
The Feast of Pentecost is a harvest feast, a pilgrimage feast which follows First Fruits. This is supported by Leviticus 23:10-11; 16-17. So, if Jesus was resurrected on First Fruits, He will come for His own at the Feast of Pentecost. Here is the reasoning. The picture at the Temple at First Fruits is the priests offering God the "Sheaf of Grain". They waved the sheaf of grain before the Lord. This was a pre-harvest waving of a sample of the harvest. The priests were doing this the morning that Jesus was resurrected. Imagine that ! While they were waiving the grain sheaf up to the Lord, the Lord was being lifted up out of the grave. God accepted Jesus' sacrifice. He is the first fruits of the resurrection.
Now, 50 days later, the grain crops were mature and were harvested. On Pentecost the priest were charged to make two loaves of bread from the harvested grain. These loaves contained leaven. Then they waived the two loaves in the air as an offering to the Lord.
The "wave sheaf offering" symbolizing Christ's resurrection as the basis for understanding the "wave loaf offering" at Pentecost. The sample of grain sheaf which is waved before the Lord anticipated the grain harvest 50 days later where the harvested grain would be baked into loaves of bread. The two acts of waving the sheaf and the loaves are necessarily related. The latter is dependent on the former. They are so related that there is a countdown in anticipation of the seed grain being transformed into loaves of bread. Jesus is the Lord of the Harvest. (Matthew 9:38) Trumpets is not a harvest festival.
I believe that the two loaves made with grain represent Christ's own, not Jew and Gentile because there is neither Jew, nor Greek, for all are one in Christ. (Galatians 3:28). For God made "one new man" in Himself. (Ephesians 2:15)
The two loaves represent (1) the resurrected dead, and (2) the transformed living in Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:52) These two loaves are contextually related to the second order of the first fruits resurrection.
In addition to all of this, Paul says that he ministered the Gospel to the Gentiles, that the "offering up of the Gentiles" might be acceptable being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:16) Paul's offering up description is consistent with the two loaf offering of Pentecost. He speaks the words of a priest making an offering up to the Lord.
The third order of the resurrection is at the end of the Tribulation when the Tribulation and Old Testament saints will be resurrected for the Millennial reign of Christ. (Job 19:25-26; Daniel 12:13). The third order of the resurrection occurs on the Feast of Tabernacles, the third pilgrimage feast. It is the harvest of fruits. It is noteworthy that there is no offering up by the priests. It would appear that only Jesus and His own are lifted to heaven.
Mysteries Associated with Pentecost
Pentecost is also associated with the Mysteries of God, as taught by Paul. For me, this is an additional reason that I favor Pentecost, rather than Trumpets for a future rapture event. Paul does not each any mysteries associated with Trumpets. But of Pentecost, there are many:
· At the fullness of the Gentiles (rapture), the mystery of Israel's blindness will be removed. Romans 11:25 The number fifty is associated with fullness or completeness. The 50 day countdown speaks to completion of the harvest.
· The second order of the resurrection which includes the rapture is a mystery. 1 Corinthians 15:51 It is related to Christ's first fruits resurrection and completes the two stage redemption of spirit and body.
· Christ and the Church is a mystery. Ephesians 5:32 Christ's own were indwelt by His Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
· Christ indwelling the believers, the hope of glory is a mystery. Colossians 1:27
All of these mysteries have an intimate relationship with the Lord and His Own. I believe it is reasonable to associate the Feast of Pentecost with these mysteries.
I believe that it is prudent to teach all aspects of reasoned seasons for the rapture of the true Church, Christ's own. While I believe Trumpets is interesting, I am compelled to view that Pentecost is a more reasonable feast to associate with a possible rapture event.
I believe that our Lord wants us to know the season of His return. We are children of light, not darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:5) He does not want us to be sleeping, but watchful. (1 Thessalonians 5:6). He has made His planned order known. (1 Thessalonians 1:1) (Amos 3:7) (Proverbs 25:2)
Chapter 15 of First Corinthians is about the resurrection of the dead and the rapture. There is no hint of teaching that the Festival of Trumpets is associated with the rapture.
I believe that bible teachers should include the possibility of a Pentecost rapture when they teach about the possibility of a Trumpets rapture.
Note 1: The Age of the Law commenced on Passover in Egypt and ended with the crucifixion of our Lord on Passover A.D. 32. The Age of Grace (Indwelling) began on Pentecost A.D. 32 and will end on Pentecost A.D. 20xx with the rapture, the second order of the resurrection. This is a pattern. While I think that associating the giving of the Law at Sinai is reasonable, it is not emphasized purposefully by God. In fact, Pentecost would appear to have no application to the Jew, except the remnant Jewish believers in this Age. (blindness in part Romans 11:25) The sting of death is sin and its strength is the law. (1 Cor. 15:56). No man is justified by the law. The works of the law are under a curse. (Galatians 3:10) The law is not of faith. (Galatians 3:12) If the law were given on Pentecost, it would seem to be a contradiction to the Spirit of Pentecost which is faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:28) It is for this reason that I believe that the Lord God did not emphasize the giving of the law at Pentecost. Pentecost is about faith and life...in Christ, the Spirit of Prophecy, the author and finisher of our faith.
Sincerely, In Christ, Greg