Continuing on from Part 2 of this End Times Series, we can see that there are three remaining feasts that point to events yet to be literally fulfilled at Christ’s reappearance. They are the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Remember, we cannot be predictors of when God will move, but considering His previous actions, it is possible that Christ will literally fulfill these events on the days that they occur as he has in the past. This is not to mean that all the law was not fulfilled on the cross, but that the events that these feasts represent have yet to occur. Moving forward, we see the following:
The Feast of Trumpets. In the Old Testament, there was an ingathering of the tribes of Israel in the fall at Mount Sinai for a time of repentance and to witness the power and awe of God (Exodus 19; Leviticus 23). God called the people with 100 trumpet blasts. The last long trumpet blast was the culmination of the ingathering of the tribes of Israel and the anticipation of judgment on the Day of Atonement to occur in 10 days (Leviticus 23:23-25; Numbers 29:1-6; Psalms 81:3-4; Ezra 3:1-6; Nehemiah 8:1-12).
There are two aspects to prophecy related to this event. One is the ingathering of the tribes of Israel to the land of Israel. The second is the resurrection and rapture of believers to heaven. Since there are two aspects to this event, there is a lot of confusion by people in the Church over what happens to the Church. The Bible teaches us that there are three groups of people in the world – Jews, Gentiles, and the Church (1 Corinthians 10:32-33). Jews and Gentiles whom have trusted Christ as their Savior are part of the Church (Acts 14:27; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 2:11-22). Each of these three groups will experience the end times differently. Therefore, it is very important when studying God’s Word that the context of passages must be heavily considered so that it can be known who is being discussed in these prophetic passages.
In Matthew 24, Jesus told the disciples what would be the signs of His coming. Jesus was speaking to Jews about His second coming. They knew nothing about a church age when Gentiles would be given the gospel and access to salvation through Christ (Acts 10:1-11:18). In fact, you see this in Acts 1:2-7 when the disciples saw the risen Christ and thought that He had returned to restore the kingdom to Israel. They thought that the coming of the Messiah to set up His kingdom on earth was being fulfilled before their eyes as they looked upon the risen Christ. Jesus told them that it was not for them to know the times or seasons of things to come (Acts 1:7-8). Instead they were to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to empower them to be witnesses of the Lord to the world.
Therefore, the Matthew 24 reference is referring to the fact that the Jews, who rejected Christ at His first coming, would be blinded until just before His second coming (John 12:40; Romans 11:7; 2 Corinthians 3:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Therefore, they will be totally surprised when the resurrection and rapture of all believers, the Church, takes place. A remnant of Jews however, will start seeing the signs of the coming of the Lord as described in Matthew 24 and other passages (Isaiah 1:9; Isaiah 10:20-22; Jeremiah 23:1-8; Ezekiel 14:12-23). These Jews are described as a true remnant of Jews who are holding fast to the coming of a Messiah to rescue them. They will be saved and rescued at the end of the seven-year tribulation period (Isaiah 1:4-9; Isaiah 10:20-22; Jeremiah 23:1-8; Matthew 24; Romans 9:1-11:36; Revelation 12:17).
Unfortunately, some Christians confuse the second coming of Christ with an alleged post-tribulation resurrection of the Church. The confusion is because in Matthew 24, Jesus is describing the ingathering of and rescue of the remnant of Jews awaiting a Messiah (Matthew 24:36-42). Therefore, these passages are not describing a post-tribulation rapture, they are describing a post-tribulation rescue of a remnant of Jews. To say that there is a post-tribulation resurrection and rapture of the Church also conflicts with the events in Revelation 19, which describe the Church that is already in Heaven attending the marriage supper of the Lamb then returning to earth with Christ at His second coming to rescue the remnant.
On the other hand, there are also other passages that tell us that twill not be on earth during the tribulation period because the Church is in heaven with the Lord. We see the calling of the last trumpet in 1 Thessalonian 4:13-18. However, we know that this is not at the end of the seven-year tribulation period because we are told in 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 and 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 that God has not appointed he Church to experience His wrath during that time. Of particular note is in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5, which teaches us that the Church will be very aware that the coming resurrection is about to happen along with the second coming of Christ soon to follow.
As we just learned, Revelation 19 describes the Church in heaven with Christ (Revelation 19:5-10) and returning with Him to rescue the remnant of Jews (Revelation 19:11-16). Note: Revelation 19:21 is not talking about a remnant of Jews, but the remaining people who are still alive at His second coming that rejected the Lord. Therefore, the Jewish people will experience the tribulation period on earth and the Church will already be in heaven with the Lord awaiting the time to return to earth to rescue the remnant of Israel crying out to their Messiah for salvation.
Most Jewish people along with the world will be blinded as to the signs of the times before the resurrection. However, the Church will recognize the signs from Scripture that the season is near for the fulfillment of the end-times events. Likewise, the remnant of Jews alive at that time will recognize the signs that their Messiah is coming to rescue them and their generation that sees these signs will be alive to see Him (Matthew 24:32-42; Mark 13:24-37; Luke 21:20-32). As for the unsaved masses? They will be totally oblivious to these signs (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).
Continue with Part 4 of this series to read about the last two feasts.
Read full series here: End Times Events Series Page
Resources – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, King James Version. Williams, Michael, (2013). Bible Doctrines. Albuquerque, NM: Selah Mountain Bible Institute. Chapters 15-16. Image courtesy of twobee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net