Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles …what Does it All Mean?

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If you study Jewish culture and tradition, you are likely aware that we’re in the midst of the fall feasts of Israel.  There are 7 major feasts, originally prescribed in Scripture, but lived out in either secular context or rabbinic context by most Jews.  The first three (Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of First Fruits) are bunched tightly together in the spring, Pentecost follows 50 days later, then three more feasts (Feasts of Trumpets, Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles) are bunched tightly together in the fall.  Jewish feasts and festivals follow a lunar calendar, so do not occur on the same day each year on our Gregorian calendar.  Also, days on the Hebrew calendar begin at sundown.

This year, the Feast of Trumpets commenced at sundown on September 10.  It is also known as Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish civil new year, so is marked by celebration and great joy.  That feast is followed by 10 “days of awe” when Jews fast, pray, examine their lives, repent, forgive and prepare for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  It is a very somber day for Jews, as many wail in repentance, attempting to insure their names are written in the Book of Life.  This year, Yom Kippur occurred between sundown on September 18 and sundown September 19…just a few days ago!  Next up is the Feast of Tabernacles, which is a 7-day feast, beginning on September 23 this year.

But what does it all mean?  Well, on more than one occasion we have discussed each feast and provided Biblical evidence that Jesus is the fulfillment.  (Here and here, for example)  Today, we’ll go a different direction.

Among believers, there are different ideas about Jesus’ fulfillment of the feasts and what it means for us as Christians.  Some of those ideas are just plain wrong.  For example, some say, because the Jews rejected Jesus, the church has replaced Israel and Jesus’ fulfillment of the feasts now applies to the church.  WRONG!  God has not rejected the Jews (read Romans 11:1-2), and the feasts still apply to Israel.

Another common misconception among believers is that, because a trumpet will sound at the rapture, it will occur on the Feast of Trumpets.  But we must understand at least two simple things:

  1. Trumpets are mentioned many times in Scripture, not simply at the rapture.  Thus, the Feast of Trumpets cannot be limited simply a signal of the rapture.
  2. The feasts are Jewish and apply to Israel…not Christians!  God did not implement the feasts as a “Christian thing,” but rather a “Jewish thing!”  Thus, it is highly unlikely the rapture will happen on the Feast of Trumpets!

At the rapture, the trumpet will sound from heaven, but only believers will hear it as we are snatched rapidly from this earth.  However, another trumpet will sound at the Second Coming of Jesus…when He physically returns to earth, stepping foot on the Mount of Olives at the end of the Tribulation.  Revelation tells us that we (“saints,” believers) will be with Him.  Thus, that trumpet is meant for unbelieving Jews, and WILL occur on the Feast of Trumpets, as Jesus fulfills that feast!

The progression of feasts will follow.  The trumpet will announce the coming of Jesus (Feast of Trumpets). Jews will “mourn for Him” and “weep bitterly” (Zechariah 12:10), fulfilling the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).  Then, Jesus will tabernacle with them (Feast of Tabernacles).  By God’s grace, all the nations of the world will be invited to go up to Jerusalem to worship at the Feast of Tabernacles, making that the only feast not fully Jewish!  (Zechariah 14:16-18)

Image result for feast of trumpetsNow, one last thing.  In Numbers 10, God commanded Moses to make 2 silver trumpets, then gave him instructions for using them.  Trumpets were sounded to gather and assemble the congregation.  That’s what the trumpets will do for both Christians at the rapture and Jews at the Second Coming!

But why two trumpets…and why silver?  The Old Testament (Isaiah 43:8-13) indicates Israel will gather the nations together and will be a witness.  The New Testament (Acts 1:6-8) identifies Christians (the church) as a witness.  Thus, two trumpets…Israel and the church…are blown to warn the world of what is to come.

Interestingly, silver is precious, but not perfect.  Such is the case with Israel and with the church….precious in God’s sight, though not perfect!

There is so much more to the feasts, the trumpets and all  the other symbolism God has given us in His Word to help us understand the days and times in which we live!  Over the past few days, we have focused on world events that assure us we are living in the last days.  Isn’t it good to know that, despite what might seem “scary” to some, God has laid out His plan for us and it cannot be thwarted!  We are safe in the plans of the One who fulfills those feasts!

I hope you are encouraged by these things!  Check back tomorrow, as we’ll talk more about the Feast of Tabernacles, which is quickly approaching on the Hebrew calendar!

Shalom!

Russia is Furious! What Does that Mean for Israel?

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Russian IL-20 (Photo credit: Avionews)

Major news outlets have confirmed Israeli airstrikes in and around Latakia, Syria on Monday.  In the midst of the attacks, a Russian-made S-200 anti-aircraft defense system activated by Syrian forces, inadvertently shot down a Russian IL-20 that was on reconnaissance over the Mediterranean Sea.  While Russian President Vladimir Putin cited “tragic chance events” publicly, Russia’s Defense Ministry clearly blamed Israel for irresponsible actions that led to the downing of the Russian aircraft.  In fact, Israel’s ambassador to Russia was summoned and rebuked for the action taken by Israel.

But here is what the media will not tell you: potentially, there are significant Biblical implications to what is happening in and around Syria.  Let’s set the stage:

Syria serves as host to many nations, rebel groups and terrorists vying for power in that war-torn land.  Not surprisingly, the Bible is more accurate than today’s news!  Ezekiel 38 describes a coalition that will invade Israel in what is known as the War of Gog and Magog.  A trio of modern-day nations, currently entrenched in Syria, will lead that coalition: Russia, Iran and Turkey.  Verse 4 says God Himself will put a “hook in the jaw” of Gog, a Russian czar who will lead the invasion, and drag him down from the “remote parts of the north” (verse 6).

Today, Russia patrols the Syrian-Israeli border, Iran has very actively moved weapons and troops into Syria (which may be what prompted Monday night’s attack), and Turkish President Erdogan is marking his territory with troops and bluster in Syria as well.  One could make a strong argument that the “hook in the jaw” has already been set, God has drawn Gog and his allies down to Israel’s border, and will soon draw them to the mountains of Israel (where they will ultimately be defeated by the Lord).

But tensions ratcheted up on Monday, leaving Russia embarrassed and furious.  Why?

  • The Russians claim Israel did not provide sufficient warning before launching airstrikes.  Thus, furious at Israel.
  • A Russian plane, along with 15 airmen, was shot down…by a Russian-made defense system fired by Syria.  Thus, furious at Syria, but embarrassed that their own defense system did not identify the aircraft as Russian.
  • Israeli F-16’s are accused of having “hidden behind” the Russian IL-20 to avoid return attacks from the S-200 defense system.  Thus, embarrassed, yet furious at Israel for those tactics.  (It is unclear if the allegation is true, as reports indicate IAF F-16’s were back in Israeli airspace when the Russian plane was hit.)

Though not widely reported, undertones suggest Russia views the US as the instigator behind Israel’s attack (or at least very much in favor of it), and is viewing Israel as a US “proxy.” Thus, Putin is hinting that any action taken by either Israel or the US may result in direct attacks upon Israel.  To make matters worse, a very significant influx (perhaps doubling or more) of Russian fighter jets, cargo planes and other military equipment has occurred at bases not only in Syria, but in Iran as well, just since the Latakia attacks!  They are preparing a multiple front against Israel.

If all is accurate, the gravity of the situation is extreme.  Imagine Israel continuing to take preemptive action in Syria.  While Russia has allowed them to come in and take care of business in certain areas, Russia is now thoroughly embarrassed and likely not in a cooperative mood.  Yet, Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have consistently said they will not allow Iran to build up their military in Syria and threaten Israel’s security.  At the moment, Idlib is the focus of attention in Syria (at least in the media), as that is the last rebel stronghold.  However, Damascus is the real barometer.  Interestingly, Israeli officials just released a satellite photo of Assad’s palace in Damascus.  Why?  Who knows!

Secondly, imagine Russia declaring war on Israel.  They are certainly laying the foundation of their rationale when they imply that Israel will be the whipping boy if the US or its allies take action.  A French warship apparently fired off missiles during the attack on Latakia.  The Polish president requested the US to build a large military base in Poland (a former Russian ally!)  Israel is cutting deals with Greece, Cyprus and others to supply oil and gas to Europe (in place of Russian exports). There is plenty of activity taking place by US-NATO allies.

Is it conceivable that Russia could declare war on Israel?  My answer is this: the Bible is more accurate than today’s headlines.  Through the prophet Ezekiel, God has warned that Gog (Russian leader) will indeed lead a coalition into Israel “to capture spoil and to seize plunder” (Ezekiel 38:12).  Vladimir Putin is very “Gog-like,” and is certainly in a position and has all the necessary motivation to fulfill what the Word of God says will one day take place.

The question is: Could it be soon?

So, here is my challenge to you:  Pull up and read any news article about what is happening with Russia and Iran inside Syria right now, then slowly and carefully read Ezekiel 38.  See for yourself if the headlines or the Bible is more accurate.

As a believer, these are exciting times, as we know our time on earth may be coming to an end.  For others, these are dreadful times, as the Bible describes the terrible days of the tribulation that will follow our departure in the rapture.  It is time to wake up, and to determine on which side of the fence we stand!

Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.  The night is almost gone, and the day is near.
~Romans 13:11-12

…and the Shofar Blows!

 

This evening at sundown the shofar will blow, signaling the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish civil New Year.  Jewish people around the world will celebrate one of the most joyful days of the year.

Biblically speaking, though, it is the Feast of Trumpets…also a most joyful time!  If you follow this blog, or have heard Biblical teaching regarding the seven major feasts of Israel, you know that each feast points to Jesus, the Messiah…and Jesus fulfills each one.

But consider this: the four spring feasts…Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost…have already been fulfilled.

  • Jesus was the Passover Lamb, sacrificed for our sins.
  • Jesus was striped, bruised and pierced for our transgression, symbolized by unleavened bread.
  • Jesus was the First Fruit, raised from the dead to redeem us from the curse of death.  We will follow Him in resurrection.  (Keep reading to understand!)
  • Jesus ascended to heaven, leaving us the Holy Spirit to guide us.

Yes, Jesus has fulfilled those feasts!  However, the feasts of Israel are God’s calendar, so we need to examine what comes next.

The Feast of Trumpets, the celebration of which begins at sundown, is highly significant.  The Bible tells us:

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
~1 Corinthians 15:51-57  (Emphasis mine)

Dear friends, when that trumpet sounds, we (believers) will be snatched out of this world to meet Jesus in the air. (That is called the rapture.)  Death has no reign.  Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, so we who die before the rapture will be resurrected to eternal life.

God’s calendar is 100% accurate.  Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb, He was pierced and bruised for our transgressions, He was the first to raise from the dead (preparing the way for us), and He left the promised Holy Spirit to guide us.  We are awaiting the next event…the trumpet, signaling the rapture!

If you are reading this and do not know Jesus as your savior, today is the day.  We don’t know when the rapture will occur, but it could literally be any moment.  It is the next thing on God’s calendar, and those who miss it will be left to endure the tribulation…hell on earth, followed by eternal hell in a place beyond what can even be imagined.  Don’t miss your opportunity.

The Bible says:

There is someone reading this RIGHT NOW who is struggling to find meaning in life.  If that is YOU, stop what you are doing and read each of the verses linked above.  Then, pray this simple prayer, inviting Jesus to be your Savior:

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.  Amen

Those words are not magic, but if you prayed sincerely, asking Jesus to do those very things, you ARE now a child of God!  Welcome to the family….and keep your ears open for that trumpet sound!

PS: The best thing you can do now is tell a Christian friend, or go to a Bible-teaching church and let them know that you prayed that prayer.  We all need help to grow in our new lives and that’s where you will find it!

Be blessed my friend!

Is Revival Happening in Israel?

The Christian community in Israel is still a small one, but believe it or not, it has grown in similar proportion to population growth.  Moreover, Romans 11:26 tells us that, one day, all Israel will be saved.

Indeed, much must happen before that occurs, but there are certainly signs that growing numbers of Jewish people are contemplating Jesus as Messiah.  Check this out:

 

Let’s embrace Paul’s yearning for his fellow people in Romans 10-11, and follow the lead of the psalmist in Psalm 122 as we pray for Israel.