Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Ezekiel 37 Valley of the Dry Bones

One of the most confusing passages to me has been that of Ezekiel 37 and the prophecy of the dry bones. It is not long, so I will just post it here before discussing it.

[1] The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
[2] And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
[3] And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
[4] Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
[5] Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
[6] And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
[7] So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
[8] And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
[9] Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
[10] So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
[11] Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
[12] Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
[13] And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
[14] And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

Growing up, every pastor that I ever heard refer to this, referred to it in the context of talking about the end times. And rightly so, for it is about the end times. But the way they interpreted it was always in a spiritual sense. In the hindsight of Israel becoming a nation on May 14, 1948, it was interpreted as meaning that God would restore the Jewish people to a nation and put them back in their country, meaning the living people of that event of 1948. But is that the way that God intends it to be interpreted, or as He wants us to interpret prophecy, with no personal interpretation (which then sort of precludes spiritualizing it), should we interpret it in the most face value or literal way possible? I believe the latter is the way we are to interpret it, but for a long time, I couldn’t quite figure out exactly what was going on. It took a question by a friend to cue me into what possibly might be going on here.

The question that my friend asked was essentially the following, “What happens to the Jews who believe in and worship God, (the same way as the righteous Jews did before Christ came), who are looking forward to their Messiah, but do not accept Jesus as their Messiah and Savior?”

This was a question I had never considered. As most Christians believe, it always seemed an easy answer to say that if a person does not accept Jesus as their Savior, then there is no other way to heaven. But this posed a dilemma in this case, for these people do believe in a Messiah that will come to save them. They do worship and believe in the one true God. They simply do not understand that the Messiah which they look forward to has already come. That God is looking out for these people cannot be denied, for there are miraculous stories that come from these righteous, God-fearing Jews that demonstrate that He has not forsaken them. And we know that God will choose to bring a remnant of them through the great tribulation and Day of the Lord to enter into the millennium, all without having accepted Christ as their Savior beforehand.

When I looked at this passage my first reaction was to believe that Israel (and this is speaking of the whole house of Israel, including the ten lost tribes, not just the Jews) was being resurrected, but how could that be? The resurrection when Christ returns is for those who die in Christ and are the Bride of Christ. A closer look showed that this passage is not speaking of resurrection. Resurrection is not a restoration of the mortal body. It is taking the seeds of the corporeal body and creating an entirely new type of glorified body, as Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 15:35-44.

[35] But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
36] Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
37] And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
38] But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
39] All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
40] There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41] There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42] So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
43] It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
44] It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

The body of the resurrection is not formed the same way the natural body is. It is a glorified body. When we look at this passage in Ezekiel we find that these bones are being taken out of the grave and restored from the inside out as normal bodies. First bones are connected, then sinew (tendons and ligaments which joins bones, and muscle to bones, etc) and flesh is put upon them, then skin on top of that. Then the breath of life is given to them. None of this describes the resurrected body and how it comes about. It is an instantaneous change to a completely different type of body. The bodies being described are more similar to the way Adam came into being. First formed, then given the breath of life. They are not occurring as the resurrection bodies will occur – in the twinkling of an eye.

When this is completed, there stands an extremely large army of people. It is interesting that the word “army” is used. The Hebrew word means a “force” or in this instance a force of people. The use of the English word “army” was not used to necessarily imply a military might, but that the sheer number of the risen will be a formidable force of people. When you have that many people gathered who are in one accord, you actually do have an army of people, even if they are not military people.

This army of people declare that they are dry bones (dead for a long time), that all hope is lost to them, (they feel they have missed the boat for the promise of the covenant) and that they are cut off from their parts, which may mean that they believe they are cut off from their people, their salvation, and God’s promises. They say this, because they have died without their Lord and Savior, and in death they most likely have realized that Christ was the Messiah.

In Scripture we are told that when Christ ascended, he took captivity captive, Ephesians 4:8-9 [8] Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9] (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

We are told that Christ did not ascend to heaven when He died, but descended into the lower parts of the earth. Paradise was in the lower parts of the earth. Paradise was a part of Hades, the abode of the dead. It was separated from hell by a great gulf, as shown in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, which I believe was less storytelling and more truth than people realized. To understand more about paradise and hell, which both comprise Hades, I will put in a link to my article on that here on hell and I will explain about paradise.

When Christ died, he told the thief that he would join Christ in Paradise. They descended to Hades, which as mentioned earlier is the abode of the dead. Hades had two compartments separated by a gulf. One was Paradise which was where the righteous went. God had probably made sure that people understood about the afterlife, for we find references to it in the Old Testament of the dead being conscious there. And when Christ told the parable, it was obvious the listeners knew about it. The ancient Greeks and other cultures would have also known, but they had different names for it. The Greeks called it the Elysian fields. They called their version of hell, Tartarus, which is what the Bible also calls a particular section of it, the deepest and worst part. So when Christ arrived in Paradise He would have presented himself to the righteous dead as the Messiah for whom that had been waiting. Hebrews 11:13-16, the faith chapter, tells us that they were looking forward to His coming and that the city has been prepared for them, as well as for the church.

[13] These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14] For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15] And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16] But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

The city that has been prepared for them is New Jerusalem, and it is where the resurrected will dwell for all time. (Rev. 21-22) When Christ ascended and led captivity captive, it appears He led those in Paradise to heaven with Him. They now were able to go there, as Christ had to be the first to ascend, but then after He ascended, those who are His can enter into heaven. Not in their resurrected bodies, of course, for the resurrection has yet to occur, but their souls went there, as they had to Paradise beforehand, and just as ours do when we die. As those in Paradise were already dead, and now would have accepted Christ, they qualified for entrance into heaven. The righteous Jews who died after Christ’s death and resurrection, who did not know or accept Him (it took a while for the Gospel to reach out into all the world, indeed it still is reaching into places), but did love and serve God, did not qualify for entrance into heaven due to not knowing Christ as their Savior, but neither do they deserve hell, having faith in God and looking forward to and believing in the Messiah (whom they missed). What is to be done with them? Paradise was emptied when Christ left it, but Paradise was a location and must still exist. Is this where the souls of the righteous Israelites since Christ’s time have gone? Or do they remain in the graves in an unconscious state? I have yet to find any Scripture that would tell me what the condition of these souls are at this time, and where they reside, but I would guess it must be one or the other and my inclination based on Scripture is to deduce that consciousness does not go away at death., therefore they probably are in Paradise. I cannot see God sending to hell those with whom He made a covenant and promise to give them a nation under His dominion, if they were to walk in His precepts and commandments and love Him, and there are Jews (and possibly Israelites who do not even know they are of the chosen people) who do this., while not knowing Christ as their Savior.

What is interesting is that it is said that these are those who have been slain. They have been killed, because they are Jews. Because they represented God and were His chosen people. Because they refused to renounce their faith in God. Usually when a person dies for God, they get to be with God. Naturally this is assuming that all those in this prophecy are not wicked, but righteous people.

The fact that these seem to be raised from the dead, as opposed to resurrected, and are put in the land of Israel, which is for mortal people, not the resurrected who will live in New Jerusalem, seems to indicate that this is God’s way of fulfilling the covenant He made with Israel and those who have honored Him, the Father, over the millennia. For this covenant was made with the nation of Israel and the Father, not Christ. Christ gave us a new covenant. The new covenant is not a national covenant, but a personal one.

Lastly it says that when God does this - raises them from the dead, gives them life again, puts them in the land, and finally puts His spirit in them - they will know that the Lord is the one who has done this. They will recognize Him and worship Him. But more than that, they will recognize and worship Jesus as their Messiah, for when the end comes, when Christ returns, it says that all Israel will be saved. The timing of this, putting them in their land, indicates that this happens when Christ returns. So just as the living of Israel will see Him whom they pierced and mourn, (Rev. 1:7, Zech 12:10-11) these who are raised will also see Him and realize that He was the Messiah that had been prophesied. The key here is the phrase “puts His spirit in them.” He will put His spirit in them or as it says in Zech. 12:10, "He will pour out His spirit of grace and supplication upon the house of David and all Jerusalem." We receive the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus as our Savior. While in the Old Testament there were a few individuals who were given the Holy Spirit for a time in their lives, it was not the normal thing for everybody. Yet this entire group will receive God’s spirit in them. One only does this when one is alive (not resurrected for the resurrected already accepted Jesus and received His spirit before they died). This is another indication that they are not resurrected but raised from the dead.

While the idea of this may seem strange to us, this would be a way of God keeping the promise of His covenant to the nation of Israel and those who have worshiped Him and died for Him. For in dying without Christ, they are left in a limbo, and the promise they looked for of the covenant of a nation under the Messiah going unfulfilled.

The above passage is then followed by the following:

[15] The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
[16] Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
[17] And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
[18] And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?
[19] Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
[20] And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
[21] And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
[22] And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
[23] Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
[24] And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
[25] And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
[26] Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
[27] My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
[28] And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

God will take the chosen of the house of Israel, which is not lost, but lost within the heathen lands, and He will bring them out of those lands and along with the house of Judah He will turn them back into one nation under David, as their national prince/king, during the millennium, and they will have one Shepherd and King of Kings, Jesus, who will reign over the world from the temple in Jerusalem. God will make a new covenant of peace with them and fulfill His covenant that He made with the nation of Israel, and He will dwell with them forever. They will be the priests to the world, bringing God’s message to the rest of the nations. This passage shows that all 13 tribes (for there actually are 13, not 12) will be reunited for the millennium. The significance in this is that the 10/11 tribes hidden in the heathen worlds are not hidden from God, but still exist although they probably do not know who they are themselves. (The Levitical tribe was divided between the northern and southern kingdom, so some were of the House of Israel, and some of the House of Judah. They were the 13th tribe as Joseph got a double portion through Ephraim and Manasseh.) So when one sees in Revelation the listings of the 144,000, it is not all Jews as some believe. Only three tribes qualify as being Jews, Judah, Benjamin, and the Levites. The other ten tribes were Israel, along with some of the Levites. The importance here is that the vast multitude of the 144,000 are not coming out of the Jews, They are coming out of the heathen nations, but not as Jews. This is a fact that many a prophecy teacher or student misses.

So while this interpretation cannot really be proven in any way, and therefore is hypothetical, it seems the most probable explanation of what this passage means. Often we get so caught up in the dogmas of tradition rather than really looking to the Word to guide us, that we get into a very narrow mindset that does not allow for any flexibility, when God is often very flexible. We need to be careful not to become too rigid in our traditional thoughts that we dismiss what God is trying to teach us, because it doesn't set well with our traditions.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Where Is the Wilderness That the Woman Runs To In Revelation 12?

There is much speculation about a couple of related verses in Matthew 24 and Revelation 12. It has to do with the woman fleeing to the wilderness for protection and where that wilderness is. For years many teachers have taught that it is the city of Petra. They base this on some oblique verses in the Old Testament. The woman is Israel, and we know that at least 144,000 of original Israel – the twelve tribes – will be protected, and beyond that the Scriptures indicate another remnant is saved, so the number should be more. But is it practical to think all those people could run to and survive in the city of Petra? Had they done their homework, they would have found the answer to that question is “no.” At its top population, it is estimated that Petra could hold 20,000 people. That is a great deal short of a couple hundred thousand people. And not all of the Jews (not to mention the unknown Ten Lost Tribes) are in Israel. A great part of the world's population live in America. Roughly a little more than a third live in Israel, and roughly an equal amount of that live in America. Less than a third live scattered throughout the rest of the world. The world's Jewish population is roughly 15 million. Even if God only brought a tenth through (which is one of the prophecies) that is 1.5 million which is far beyond the 20,000 that Petra could hold. There is another verse that mentions bringing one third through. If we took a third of 1.5 million, we end up with 500,000. That is still way over the limit and more than 3 times the 144,000. So obviously they are in some other wilderness. So what wilderness could handle that many refugee Jews and Israelites?

When Christ was giving the Olivet Discourse, He said that those in Judea should flee to the mountains when the abomination of desolation occurs. So where does Israel go when it happens? In Revelation 12:14 we read, “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” As anyone who reads my blog knows, I am a great proponent of taking Scripture at face value whenever possible. In this case clearly that cannot be done, so we have to find another explanation of what is meant here. The woman (Israel) is given two wings of a great eagle to fly away. Now I don't care how big eagles are, even if an eagle could carry a full grown human, it most certainly could not carry more than one. So we are not speaking literally here. We need then to look to what this might symbolically refer. Often the metaphor of an eagle is used to symbolize swiftness and in this case I think that probably is one of the meanings behind the use of the word, for Israel will be under siege of the beast's armies and as Christ said in Matthew, they are not to even take the time to go back in the house for anything. They are to run for their lives. So swiftness is definitely one of the indications from this word. Another meaning might be the symbol of the country which is the helper, who flies Israel out of the land. Scripture, especially in prophecy, does refer to nations in terms of animals at times. In Daniel chapter 8 we see the story of the ram with two horns (Medo-Persia) who was conquered by the goat (Greece) with a notable horn (Alexander the Great) which was then divided into four horns (the splitting of Alexander's kingdom into four sections after his death) followed by a notable horn that comes up among them (initially Antiochus Ephiphanes – ultimately a final fulfillment in the person of the antichrist). It is easy to see from history to whom these animals referred, Medo-Persia and Greece. In Daniel 7, I hypothesized that the animals in that prophecy were not the same nations as the statue in Daniel chapter 2, as traditional interpretation presents, but that due to certain phrases, it indicates that these animals represent nations who are currently part of our world system. As such, the lion is Britain and the eagle wings on its back represent America. The wings are plucked off the lion's back, which would seem to indicate a separation - the Revolutionary War - which allowed America to become its own nation. More explanation about this passage can be found at this post

Given that it would seem that the eagle's wings in this passage might well refer to America, it seems also possible that the wings of the eagle in Revelation also refer to America. And the fact that Israel flies on those wings might indicate American planes. The woman is flown to the wilderness. Now while America is not exactly a wilderness, she was at the time this was written, and as a country she is a vast area of open land from coast to coast. There are many cities and small communities, but overall, we are a great deal of open land. A wilderness so to speak. Israel is kept safe in this wilderness away from the reach of the beast for three and a half years.

Now, again, if one has followed my blogs, they will know that I believe America is Babylon. Reading the rest of my endtimes blog referenced above will show why I believe that. One should look in the archives to find the relevant passages in Revelation, as well as later posts that I wrote on Babylon, if one is interested in that information. If, as I believe, America is Babylon, and Israel is brought to Babylon for safety reasons, then it stands to reason that it should follow that we will find passages in the prophecies of Israel being in Babylon and having to “come out of her” as God tells His people to do in Revelation 18:4 “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” And indeed, we can find some prophecies that point to this being the case.

In the book of Jeremiah we find a lot written about Babylon. However, there are some differences between some of the writings. Up to Chapter 50 we find that God is very specific in having particular kings and people mentioned by name, and the actions of those individuals. In this case, one has to understand that these prophecies were for those specific people and situations. When we get to Chapters 50-51 we find that the prophecy is no longer specified to particular people by name for most of the prophecy. It is more generalized, which allows it to be either one of the “two fulfillment” types of prophecies that we find in the Bible, where there is a near fulfillment and a far fulfillment, or one which is strictly a latter days fulfillment. In this case we can almost immediately see that this is an endtimes prophecy for the nation of Babylon during our time, for in verse 4 we find the following: “In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.” Now the thing which stands out that makes this verse strictly an endtimes prophecy is the part about the children of Israel and the children of Judah going together to seek the Lord their God. Israel has not existed as a people since they were assimilated by Assyria. This occurred over 2700 years ago. So clearly this was not a prophecy that could have been fulfilled any time since then, as Israel, or the Ten Lost Tribes as they are known, will not exist again until the end of days. Also as Jeremiah prophesied roughly a hundred years after the captivity and assimilation of Israel, it clearly has to be a latter days prophecy as there was no Israel in his time.

The next verse also gives away the timing of this prophecy for verse 5 says, “They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.” Israel will not be joined in a perpetual covenant again with the Lord until they look upon Him whom they pierced and recognize Him as their Savior. This will not occur until the end of Daniel's 70th week. There is more in the passage about their spiritual condition and then in verse 8 we read, “Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the flocks.” Both Israel and Judah are in the midst of Babylon. The Babylon of the end of days. If America is Babylon, then Judah (the woman who now lives in the land of Israel) and Israel (the Ten Lost Tribes which were assimilated and whose whereabouts are unknown) are in America. This would seem to confirm the passage in Revelation that the wings of the eagle might very well stand for the planes of America.

As we know God will have Babylon destroyed, naturally the prophecies go on to describe that. There is an interesting phrase used in verses 12 and 13 that again point to America being Babylon. “Your mother shall be sore confounded; she that bare you shall be ashamed: behold, the hindermost of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert. Because of the wrath of the LORD it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues.” Babylon has a mother. Most nations are not said to have a mother, but there are some present day ones who have. Canada, Australia, and America all were birthed by the nation of Britain. And this goes along with the prophecy in Daniel 7 of the lion (Britain) who has the wings of an eagle which are plucked off. Then Babylon is referred to as the hindermost of the nations. The Hebrew word “achariyth” or as it is translated “hindermost” means the last or the end one. This particular Babylon will be the last great nation on earth for this present world. This most certainly can be said of America, for we are the youngest or the last nation that has become a great or the greatest world power. This is followed by the verses outlining some of God's wrath, which is repeated in other places including Revelation, that befalls her. This further identifies that this section is an endtimes prophecy.

The verses then change slightly and specific reference is made to Nebuchadnezzar which would seem to indicate that verses 16-18 refer to the Babylon of that king. But verse 19 again picks up with God saying that He will bring Israel back to their land (which won't happen until the end) and verse 20 starts with the phrase “in those days, and in that time” which generally is an indicator that we are going back to end of days prophecies. The entire verse is “In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” That the verse is indeed an endtimes verse is proven by the statement that the iniquity of Israel and the sins of Judah will be sought, but will not be found. Clearly that is not the case yet, nor has it ever been. They are in diaspora due to their sins. Only when Christ returns will their sins be purged. God says that He will pardon those whom He saves. God is planning on saving a remnant and that remnant will be forgiven and brought back into a covenant. Specifically we know the 144,000 and the woman in the wilderness are a remnant. Whether they are the same group or not, I do not know. Personally I do not think they are. As God does not pardon Israel's sins until the end, when they seek Him and repent and acknowledge whom their Savior is, we see this prophecy is again a future one.

In verse 28 we see something that is missed by most prophecy teachers. “The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance of his temple.” Now this could be only the prophecy about the destruction of the first temple by Babylon, but possibly it is about the tribulation temple, and the president of the United States (I do not at this time think it is Trump, for those concerned about that) being guilty of doing something that causes the abomination of desolation by the antichrist. This verse is followed for a number of verses by the description of the wrath of God that matches His wrath at the end, so it is likely that this is also about the endtimes temple. The part that is pertinent to Israel taking refuge in America is that those who flee (God has already told Israel to get out of Babylon) are to go to Zion, or Jerusalem, and declare that God is going to avenge what has occurred. So again we see that an endtimes prophecy has Israel in Babylon.

In Jeremiah 51:6-13 we read, “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies. The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God. Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple. Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the LORD hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon. O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.”

In this passage in Jeremiah 51 Israel is again told to flee out of Babylon. That Babylon is about to be punished for her iniquity. She was a a golden cup in God's hand, but has made the whole earth drunk on her wine of sin. People will hope to heal her, but she cannot be healed. Everyone must run for their lives back to their own countries. This would seem to imply a country that is a country of immigrants. What better description is there of America? We are a nation of immigrants from people all over the world. It is the mark of our country that we have a statue of Babylon in New York City harbor that welcomes the immigrants. Israel is told to declare the work of the Lord in Zion when they get there. Once more it is said that God is avenging His temple. He holds Babylon responsible for what the beast does. While the beast is the one who is the source of the abomination of desolation, clearly Babylon has done something which has caused this to happen.

In verse 50 it says, “Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.” There will be a time of affliction for God's people (Christians and possibly Jews) in Babylon at some point, for we know from Revelation that she is drunk on the blood of the saints, but there will be those who escape. Just as God earlier told them through Jeremiah to go to Zion, here they are told to let Jerusalem come to mind as they are fleeing. They are to make their way there.

Isaiah also has much to say about the endtimes. In Isaiah 47, the chapter deals with the destruction of Babylon, which again parallels the other passages that tell of God's wrath and the consequences of it upon Babylon. Chapter 48 deals with Israel and how God is going to refine them in the furnace of affliction. In verse 20 it says, “Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; say ye, The LORD hath redeemed his servant Jacob.” When the name Jacob is used, it refers to all twelve (or thirteen) tribes, so while they were to go to Zion and declare God's vengeance, now they are to leave Babylon and declare to the whole earth that God is redeeming Israel.

Now again when we read in Revelation 12 that the woman is to flee on the wings of an eagle to the wilderness, and in Revelation 18:4 “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” we can see from knowing the prophecies in the Old Testament that God is not just speaking to Christians to get out of Babylon (America), but He is also telling the Jews and the people of the Ten Lost Tribes, who may not even realize that is who they are, to get out of Babylon. In Jeremiah 50:8 it told some to be as the he goats who go ahead of the flock. As the rapture does not occur until the seventh trumpet judgment at the end of Daniel's 70th week, it is quite likely that some Christians will survive the time of tribulation in Babylon, as they are the ones who will understand from the command in Chapter 18 that they are to leave before Babylon is destroyed. Revelation was written for Christians, but they should also know from Jeremiah that they are to be the he goats who lead Israel out of Babylon and back to Jerusalem, for Israel will not know exactly what is going on, given that they do not know the New Testament and Revelation. I believe it will be the mission of those Christians who escape, to gather Israel and lead her back to Zion or Jerusalem when the time is right. As to exactly when that will be, at this time I could not say. I believe God will make that clear to the people who need to know when they need to know it.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Who Gets to Go in the Rapture?

There are a number of beliefs as to when the rapture is going to occur - Pre-trib, Mid-trib, Pre-wrath, Last Trump, and Post-trib. In the case of Pre-trib a new belief has emerged that says that there is a partial rapture instead of a complete rapture, with God leaving behind those who are not believers in the Pre-trib theory. Essentially they are saying that if you believe anything other than Pre-trib, God is going to punish you for that by making you go through the tribulation. The fact that they claim that Christians are not appointed to wrath, then leave a whole lot of them behind to suffer what they say is wrath, along with what they call tribulation saints is a little contradictory to say the least. It is unfortunate that they cannot see how illogical their belief is.

As those who read my blog may know, I do not adhere to the Pre-trib view, I believe what the Scriptures teach, that the rapture will happen at the last trump, when the mystery of God is finished. The question in this article is, who will be in that rapture and why?

Knowing that the rapture is not only after the great tribulation is cut short (and it would seem unlikely that many would survive that), but that it also comes after the six trumpets in which many die, it would seem unlikely that many would reach that point having survived. Especially considering that the people being killed in the worst holocaust ever are the Christians.  In spite of that, it seems that many pre-wrath and post-trib people believe that nearly all Christians will make it to the rapture. At least they always believe that they themselves will. When reading their articles and comments it seems that they have the idea that God is going to protect all Christians through all of this and that there will be a great host of people being raptured at the Lord's Coming. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When the disciples asked Jesus what the signs of His coming were,  He said to "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass." Luke 21:36. The first thing He did was give some instructions on making it to the rapture. You have to pray to be worthy to escape the tribulation and what follows it. That requires three things. First you have to pray, and second you have to pray specifically to be worthy, and third you have to strive to be worthy, for in this case it is not about salvation, for which we will never be worthy no matter how much we strive. Salvation only comes through Jesus' worthiness. This is about escaping tribulation, or the wrath of Satan, or the chastisement of God, for as Peter said, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"  1 Peter 4:17. This is more than Satan's wrath, this is about God's chastisement on an apostate Bride. Judgment will begin with us, for we have strayed far from God. That is what the seven letters to the churches in Revelation are all about. Two of those churches pass His inspection, but even one of those is destined for martyrdom. The other five must be purged and refined. Daniel 11:35 "And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed." So what you are striving to do is to be living in such a way that you do not need God's chastisement.

The next verse is one that pre-tribbers like to grab onto to show that they won't be here during the tribulation, but that is not what it says. Revelation 3:10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."  First of all to keep us from something does not mean to remove us from it. It means to keep us through it. Jesus said this in John 17:15 "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." If there is any question as to whether "keep them (or thee) from" means to take out of, Christ clearly is stating here that He does not mean to take them out of the world. He wants them kept safe while in the world. So we can see that this promise is to keep us safe within that time of temptation or the tribulation, for the same exact words are used in both passages, and the one passage defines what is meant by those words.

The next thing that most people seem to miss, because they are so busy being hung up on the phrase "keep them from" is that this says the "hour of temptation", not wrath. The temptation is a testing. God has a practice of testing our faith, for our faith needs testing. This is not an uncommon thing to have happen. And especially when the Church has become apostate and has fallen away as mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition," and in the letters to the churches in Revelation. So only one out of seven churches qualifies. That is only 14% of the churches, and it does not necessarily mean everyone in that church either, for only those who keep the word of God's patience, are given the promise. What does that mean, keep the word of God's patience? I believe it means to keep and hold to the truth of when the rapture really is going to occur, at the Second Coming at the last trump. It will require patience to wait through all of this and stay faithful in the face of the persecution. This is verified by two verses later in Revelation 13:10 "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." and 14:11-12 "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."  The patience of the saints is to not take the mark, and watch others be killed when they don't, and be willing to be killed yourself.

So far we have that we must 1) pray 2) pray that we are worthy to escape 3) strive to be worthy by living in holiness and faithfulness and 4) hold to the truth of the Scriptures that we must go through this and endure to the end.

The last instruction having to do with the survival guide for the tribulation is found in the previous verse of Revelation 14:12 "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."  It is specified that not only is keeping the faith in Christ alive and patience necessary, but keeping the commandments of God is also a requirement. It is mentioned also in Revelation 12:17 " And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."  Satan is going to go after those who keep the commandments of God who are also followers of Christ. It is not Jews this speaks of, but Christians who follow the commandments.

So many Christians these days say that the Ten Commandments are irrelevant, or that Christ reduced them to two, so only love is necessary, but that is not what the Bible teaches. Much is said about us keeping the Commandments of God in the New Testament.

Matthew 5:19 "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

Christ is talking about the kingdom of God, the one over which He shall be king. And that is the kingdom which all the Old Testament and New Testament saints expect to be living. And what does He say? He does not say that the Old Testament saints had to follow the laws, but through grace through faith in Him the commandments are now irrelevant. He says that if you break even one (and there are ten, not nine) of these commandments and teach someone else  to break them, He will not be shut out of the kingdom, but he shall be the least in the kingdom. So for Christians who teach that we are not under the law (and especially that the Sabbath is not required anymore), that is not true. God's moral laws are eternal. However God will forgive the breaking of the commandments, because of Christ's sacrifice and their faith. They will not lose their salvation over breaking them as long as they repent. Their loss however will come in the way of protection and rewards. Protection because only those who keep the commandments will run in the competition to be among the protected, and rewards because those who do not keep them or teach others to keep them will not be important in the kingdom. On the other hand, those who do keep and teach that the commandments must be kept, will be great in the kingdom.

Matthew 19:17 "And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."

Here Christ is telling someone that following Him is not enough, but if this man wants to enter into eternal life, he must keep the commandments.

Mathew 22:40 "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

In this verse, Christ says that all the law is summed up in the word "love", love to God and love to others, but He does not say that the Ten Commandments are no longer valid. It is merely that the Ten Commandments detail the important command, that we love God and others. They are the rules that we follow to be able to love God and our neighbor in the proper way that is acceptable to God. Love simply summarizes what they represent. Christ did not mean just to have fuzzy feelings toward God and others. We are to act out our love by following the rules in the Ten Commandments, for faith without works is dead.

John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

Again, Christ is speaking of the entire Ten Commandments, (not nine) not just to have warm fuzzy feelings of love toward people. The verse where Christ reduced the Ten to two is not a new idea, for He is quoting the Old Testament which says the same thing. Yet even though the two commandments were given to love God and love your neighbor in the Old Testament, it did not do away with the Ten.

John 14:21 "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."

We are told again to keep the commandments. Keeping them is the sign that we love God. But wait, if just love was necessary, this verse would not make sense, for love can't be the sign of love. Something else has to be a sign or the evidence of love. In other words, there is some action that must be done, that will be the evidence that the person is motivated by love. Love the feeling is not an evidence of love. There has to be a tangible something for people to see, an action that proves that love is behind the action. The Ten Commandments are the behaviors which exemplify love, and keeping them are the evidence of our love for God and our neighbor.

John 15:10 "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

Again, we are told to keep the commandments to be able to abide in Christ's love.

1 Corinthians 7:19 "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God."

Here it is made plain by Paul that it does not matter if you are  Jew or a Gentile, keeping the Commandments is for everyone. If it were just for the Jews, Paul would not have said what he did.

1 Corinthians 14:37  "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord."

Now not only are we told that the Ten Commandments are incumbent upon us, but Paul says that the things which he has taught them are as much behaviors to be observed as the Ten Commandments.

1 John 2:3 "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments."

We can know whether or not we have a real relationship with Christ by self-examination to see if we are keeping the Commandments. If we are not, then we need to consider that we do not really know Him.

1 John 2:4 "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

Again, keeping the Commandments is a sign that we know Christ. If we are not keeping them, then we are liars about our relationship with Him.

1 John 3:22 "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."

Keeping the Commandments results in having a more effective prayer life.

1 John 3:24 "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."

Once more we are told that if Christ dwells in us, we will be keeping the Commandments. It is how we and others know that we truly have a relationship with Him for the Holy Spirit is the one who enables us to keep the Commandments.

1 John 5:2 "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments."

How many times must Christians be told that keeping the Commandments is the evidence that we are the children of God.

1 John 5:3 "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous."

Need I say it again?

2 John 1:6 "And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it."

Love is the reason we are able to keep the Commandments. Love makes us want to obey the Commandments. Love is the source, but the behaviors showing obedience to the Commandments is the evidence of that love.

So now we see there are a list of requirements that must be met to even qualify to be in the running to be in the group that is able to forego the testing or time of tribulation.  But is there any indication that many will not be doing that? Well, yes and some of them have already been mentioned. In 2 Thessalonians we are told that there will be a falling away or apostasy of the church. Then the letters to the churches show Christ's displeasure with the state of the churches and their sins, and He rebukes five of them and tells them they had better repent or else. In fact Thyatira is told that He will throw them into the Great Tribulation. He is very specific about that. Even the Smyrnans with whom He has no issue are told they will be martyred for Him. Then there is that very large group on the sea of glass in Revelation 7:14 "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." As the rapture comes later and those who make it to the rapture are seen on the sea of glass later in Revelation 15, we know that these have not come out of the tribulation by rapture. They have come out of it through death, and they are a great multitude which no man can number. Millions upon millions will be killed in the tribulation. It will far surpass the holocaust of Hitler. The martyrs in the fifth seal were told that they had to wait for those who had to be killed as they were, before God would begin His wrath, and then here we see that group whom they have been waiting for soon after.  If there is any doubt, we are told in  Revelation 12:11 " And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."  People will redeem themselves from their apostasy by giving their lives for Christ.  This is not about salvation, this is about disobedience and making the Bride pure, for she has made her garment very dirty. She needs cleaning up, because she has dirtied the clean garment she was given upon accepting Christ.

Christ also told us that  "then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." in Matthew 24:21.  If this holocaust is worse than any other holocaust in the history of the world, and the only people being killed are basically Christians who will not take the mark, guess what, there are going to be a whole lot of Christians being killed. That means that very few will be left to make it to the rapture. In fact Christ says He has to cut short the length of time of the tribulation, as if He let it run the entire three and a half years, there would be no flesh saved at all, for everyone who did not take the mark would be killed, and those who did would go to hell, so there would be nobody left to go into the millennium.

So we can see that very few Christians will make it to the rapture. Jesus even asked, " And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:7-8.  There will have been so much apostasy, and so few true faithful and obedient believers left that Christ was wondering if anybody will be left to be raptured when He returns.

If you want to be in the running to be in that elite, tiny group of believers that find themselves on the sea of glass in Revelation 15 singing the song Moses and the Lamb (notice that they obey the Law - Moses - and the Lamb - are Christians) having had victory over the beast, then you must at least be doing what is required to get onto the team. 1) Pray that you might be worthy to escape. 2) Strive to be worthy by obeying the Ten Commandments (which includes the Sabbath) and 3) keep the patience of God - remember that you must have enormous faith and patiently endure through not only the tribulation, but the six trumpet judgments and wait for the Second Coming of the Lord. You must have extra oil for your lamp, as in the parable of the Ten Virgins.  The first five did not expect to have to persevere and wait an inordinately long time, so did not prepare adequately for that. The last five knew they would have to have patience and had prepared in advance to do so. That is what this parable is all about. Most people interpret it in an entirely different way and miss the very point of what it is teaching - the same thing that Christ taught in Matthew 24 and in the letter to the Philadelphians in Revelation when He said to pray to be worthy and keep the patience of God. And also what He and the apostles taught throughout Scripture, that we must keep the Commandments of God. Even then there is no guarantee you will be in that elite group. You can only pray that you may be worthy.

So who gets to go in the rapture? Nobody can know if they are going to make it to that point, but you can make sure that you are in the qualifying heat, as they say in races. At least you should try to be in the running by following the instructions. Those who are not following the instructions, figuring that they are destined to escape it either because they are pre-trib or they don't think God will let any Christians suffer can probably figure that they are going to be one of the first group on the sea of glass, who come out of the tribulation long before the rapture. And the only way that is happening is through death. For those who are striving, the good news is, the number of people you are competing with to get on the team seem to be a small number, so your odds are good. May God bless your striving and may you find yourself a Philadelphian who overcomes.

Is the Rapture Going to Be on the Feast of Trumpets or Yom Kippur?

It is finally understood by many prophecy teachers that the fall feasts are to the Second Coming as the spring feasts were to the first. As such, there is a desire to understand what each feast or holy day represents. Before looking at how the feasts relate to the Second Coming we will merely look at the Scriptures and some of the traditions that surround them.

There are three feasts, however we will only concern ourselves with the first two in this article. The first is the Feast of Trumpets. It is better known as Rosh Hashanah, but that is not what the Lord calls it. In Hebrew this would be Yom Teruah - Day of Blasts (or Trumpet Blasts) hence the Feast of Trumpets.

Leviticus 23:24-25 "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD."

Numbers 29:1-6 "And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you. And ye shall offer a burnt offering for a sweet savour unto the LORD; one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of the first year without blemish: And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram, And one tenth deal for one lamb, throughout the seven lambs: And one kid of the goats for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you: Beside the burnt offering of the month, and his meat offering, and the daily burnt offering, and his meat offering, and their drink offerings, according unto their manner, for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD."

This is all that is said about the Feast of Trumpets. There are three things required, 1) it is a Sabbath, so there will be no work, it is a day of rest, 2) it is a day of sacrifices and offerings, and 3) it is a day of blowing of trumpets. This is what we are told about this feast. Along with what the Bible tells us about this feast, which is very little, we know that the seventh month, Tishri, was originally the first month of the year. When God created everything, this was the first month. God changed the numbering of the months when He established Israel after the exodus from Egypt. Exodus 12:2 "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you." What had been the seventh month became the first month of the ecclesiastical year, and what was the original first month became the seventh in that calendar. However Judaism also still observes a civil calendar, and it still begins with the month of Tishri. As it is the original first month and considered to be the anniversary of creation, it is considered the New Year and hence the man-made celebration of Rosh Hashanah, which is the New Year's celebration. This is not spoken of in Scripture in relation to this day though. It is merely the Feast of Trumpets as designated by God.

As for trumpets themselves, there were two kinds which were used, a shofar or ram's horn, and silver trumpets. There were a number of ways they were used, each having its own purpose.They were used to announce the beginning of festivals, to muster troops, to warn of danger, to assemble the people, in the midst of battles, at the year of Jubilee, for coronations, at the daily burnt offerings, and for music in the temple.

There was another use which is pertinent to this feast. On the first day of every month, trumpets were blown. Numbers 10:10 "Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God." The seventh month was designated as a Feast to celebrate the blowing of trumpets.

There are also a number of traditions associated with this day. The first is that this is the anniversary of creation. I am not sure whether they measure this from the first day God spoke, or the day He created Adam. Another tradition calls this day "the day that no man knows the day or hour." The reason it is called this is because the first day of every month in Judaism is determined by when the new moon is first seen. In ancient times two witnesses had to see the first sliver of the new moon and report it to the temple. This was not a rule given by God, this was just a rule they adopted. Then the first day of the month could be declared. As nobody could be sure when this would occur, the first day of the month would be a day which no man would know the day or hour. Another tradition is that this day will be the coronation day of the Messiah. Lastly there is a tradition that this day is the beginning of a ten day period called the Days of Awe.  During this time God judges people and they fall into one of three categories. They either have their names written in the Book of Life, they are condemned, or they are given ten days to escape judgment by repenting. The books are sealed on Yom Kippur. 

The second fall feast is Yom Kippur, although it is not really a feast. It is instead a fast. The only one mandated by God. It occurs on the tenth day of the seventh month and is known as the Day of Atonement.

Leviticus 16:29-34 "And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest's office in his father's stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses."

Leviticus 16:7-10 "And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness."

Leviticus 23:27-32 "Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath."

Numbers 29:7-11 "And ye shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month an holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls: ye shall not do any work therein: But ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD for a sweet savour; one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of the first year; they shall be unto you without blemish: And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals to a bullock, and two tenth deals to one ram, A several tenth deal for one lamb, throughout the seven lambs: One kid of the goats for a sin offering; beside the sin offering of atonement, and the continual burnt offering, and the meat offering of it, and their drink offerings."

This day is a Sabbath of rests or literally a Sabbath of Sabbaths. The most important Sabbath in the entire year. They are to have a holy convocation (a gathering of the people together), and do no work, (this rule includes any strangers among them). They are also instructed to fast and offer sacrifices.  The high priest puts on white linen garments and makes an atonement for the people by going into the holy place and sprinkling blood upon the ark of the covenant. Two goats are chosen. One is offered as a sin offering and the other has the sins of the people symbolically laid upon him and he is turned loose into the wilderness. In reality, the people threw this goat off a cliff so that it would not come back. It was said to be offered to Azazel, a demon chained to the area of the wilderness.

The Bible does not mention in these verses that a trumpet should be blown on this day, but that is what is traditionally done. Yom Kippur ends with the blowing of the shofar, which is supposed to herald the coming of the Messiah. It also symbolizes the closing of the gates of heaven. Yom Kippur tradition says this is the day when God closes the books after the ten days of awe or repentance, and He decides people's fates. Tradition also says it is the day that the Day of the Lord or God's wrath will begin. This has some basis in Scripture. Joel 1:14-15 "Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,  Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come." The only required fast day is Yom Kippur, and they are to have a holy convocation or solemn gathering on that day, which is what this verse instructs them to do. The resurrection is also expected to occur on this day, as it precedes God's wrath. It also is said that this was the day of the fall of man by Adam and Eve. This was the first atonement in the history of the world when God killed animals to cover their sins, for He made them coats of skins. It would make sense, for it could not have been a long time between their creation and the fall, for there was no time for children to be conceived, and God had ordered them to get busy in that respect. Also, though it is only a few days, Satan would have had time to fall, when he saw God had created man in His image and got jealous and full of pride, and of course immediately he would have aimed his anger at God's creation to corrupt it.

While the trumpets are traditionally blown at the end of Yom Kippur, the only time that God has said that a trumpet is to be blown on Yom Kippur is when it is the year of Jubilee. This would be the last trumpet blown in God's calendar of time keeping, for God measures time by weeks of days (7 days with the 7th being a Sabbath), by weeks of years (7 years with the 7th year being a Sabbath) and by weeks of Sabbath years (7 groups of 7 year periods - 49 years) with the 50th year being a Jubilee and a Sabbath year. Then the count begins again.

Leviticus 25:8-55 "And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.

A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession. And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour's hand, ye shall not oppress one another: According to the number of years after the jubile thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God. Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety.

And the land shall yield her fruit, and he shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store. The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it; Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession. But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubile: and in the jubile it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession. And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year may he redeem it. And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be established for ever to him that bought it throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the jubile. But the houses of the villages which have no wall round about them shall be counted as the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall go out in the jubile. Notwithstanding the cities of the Levites, and the houses of the cities of their possession, may the Levites redeem at any time. And if a man purchase of the Levites, then the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, shall go out in the year of jubile: for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel.  But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold; for it is their perpetual possession.

And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase. I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God. And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile: And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return. For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen. Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shalt fear thy God. Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour. And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger's family: After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself. And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubile: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him. If there be yet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for. And if there remain but few years unto the year of jubile, then he shall count with him, and according unto his years shall he give him again the price of his redemption. And as a yearly hired servant shall he be with him: and the other shall not rule with rigour over him in thy sight. And if he be not redeemed in these years, then he shall go out in the year of jubile, both he, and his children with him. For unto me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God."

The Jubilee year is the year when everyone from Israel goes free, both from servitude, and from financial problems. They regain what they have lost in the way of land. Israelites who were sold into servitude due to financial problems could be redeemed during the fifty years by kinsmen for a price, dependent upon how many years until Jubilee, but whether a servant of an Israelite or a stranger, he was set free at Jubilee. The heathen bondsmen. however, remained forever as a servant of the family to be inherited as property. Property whether farmland or village land reverted back with the same rules of redemption as people. The exception was that houses inside walled cities had one year to be redeemed after being sold, and after that they were lost. The Levites could redeem anything at any time for they were to keep their land and houses for perpetuity. The land was not to be sown or reaped on the Jubilee year which also followed a Sabbath year. God's way of handling that was to give them three years worth of food on the sixth year in the seven year cycle. He guaranteed that they would be eating it not only through the seventh year, and Jubilee year (8th) year, but also into the ninth year.

When Christ first began His ministry, He stood up and read a passage from Isaiah in the synagogue. Luke 4:17-21 "And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."

The passage in Isaiah says a little bit more. Isaiah 61:1-3a "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion"

Christ was reading a passage which referred to the ultimate Jubilee when the Messiah would come and fulfill those things in the greatest possible way. Israel would be set free for all time, they would redeem the land they had lost, their spirits would be set free from sin.  He stopped short of the end of the passage about the day of vengeance, because at that time, He was there to preach the gospel. Had they been willing and accepted Him, the day of vengeance would have followed, but they rejected Him. So Christ indicated by this passage that His coming had to do with Jubilee, which is announced with a trumpet blast at Yom Kippur, as the captives were liberated, not only physically from servitude and their ailments, but spiritually too as they were set free from the bonds of sin.

So now that we have looked at the Scriptures and traditions surrounding these two holy days, let us look to see what each one may represent.

First, not relying on the traditions, but keeping it strictly to Scripture we see that when we look at the feast of trumpets, as these feasts are foreshadowing things symbolically through whatever actions the Lord tells the people to take, we see that there are only three things He asks of them on this day. Blow the trumpets, observe it as a Sabbath, and offer the usual sacrifices of the month along with a few more.  If we look to the New Testament, the only thing we see that might refer to this day that doesn't have to do with a tradition is the seven trumpet judgments. Trumpets are blown on the new moon of every month and then there is the Feast of Trumpets on the seventh month. This gives us seven trumpets up to this point. It is signifying that seven trumpets are important, and the seventh one especially is the cause of a Sabbath.  So the Feast foreshadows the importance of the trumpet judgments in Revelation and especially designated the seventh or last trumpet as the most important. And in Revelation we see that seven trumpets are sounded, and the last trumpet is the most important. It symbolizes what is to come. As the day is also declared to be a Sabbath, we see a foreshadow of the Sabbath rest of the millennium.

When it comes to the traditions associated with the day, there is the phrase "nobody knows the day or hour" that Christ says in Matthew 24:36 "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." It is thought that since He said that He would come back at a time when nobody would know the day or hour,  many assume that this must be the day of the rapture, but this is not necessarily true. Every first day of the month would be a day which no man would know the day or hour, not just this day, although this day has a feast on it. And as it wouldn't matter what hour they saw the sliver, it was really that nobody would know the day. The hour wouldn't really be relevant. And it would seem that Jesus should know what God knows as they are of one mind, and as they are in charge of nature and the appearance of the moon, it seems unlikely that Christ wouldn't know the day or hour. There happens to be another event of which this is also said, but it fills what Christ said in a more complete way.

While people may not know the day of the Feast of Trumpets, (the hour being irrelevant as no matter what hour the sliver was seen, it was the day that mattered) Christ specifies that only God would know the day and the hour.  The event of which only a father would know the day and the hour would be the time at which he would send his son forth to get his bride. In the traditions of the culture, when a man was betrothed (as Christ is to the Church) he would leave her behind while he went back to his father's house and built a place for the newlyweds to live (New Jerusalem). When his father examined the structure and decided it was complete, he would give his son permission to go get his bride. (The groom would know it was time, but he had to await the actual permission to go). The groom would then make a noisy parade of it, probably with instruments (maybe a trumpet?) alerting all that he was on his way to pick up his bride and take her home. Now, in this case, the son would know that everything was ready for his departure, but he would not be able to leave, or know the day or hour in which his father would actually say the words, "Go get your bride." It would seem that since Christ is a groom, who has made a place for his bride to live and needs to wait for His Father to tell Him to go and get her, making a loud triumphant event of it, that when Christ said nobody knows the day or hour but the Father, refers to the resurrection/rapture at His Second Coming, but it does not mean that it has to occur on the Feast of Trumpets. It simply means that His Coming is the Bridegroom coming for His Bride and He can't know for certain when the Father will say "go", down to the hour. This seems made clear when He follows it up with the parable of the ten virgins, and how five were not ready for the groom's return and so missed out. It would seem that the point of His statement is not to point us to the Feast of Trumpets, but to alert us to the fact that this is about a wedding and it will be at a time when the groom and father know all is ready, but everyone else will be caught by surprise, unless they are vigilant and watching.

Finally another tradition associated with this holiday is a coronation. Trumpets were also sounded at coronations, and Christ must be crowned King before He returns. This would seem to be a good time to do it.

When it comes to Yom Kippur we know that in particular the most important Yom Kippur is the announcement of the year of Jubilee. We see that Christ read the Scriptures about the Jubilee when He announced that the ultimate day of Jubilee had come, if they would accept it. This would seem to indicate that Christ will come on a Jubilee year to set the captives free and declare the acceptable year of the Lord. Jubilee begins at Yom Kippur with the last trumpet blast of the year according to God's ordinances.

Yom Kippur is about atonement or redemption, fasting and mourning over ones sins with repentance, and Israel being given forgiveness as a nation. When Christ returns, it says that all Israel will see Him and mourn, as they realize their mistake. Zechariah 12:9-14 "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem." Revelation 1:7 "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."

When the Church is raptured, it is the end of the time of the Gentiles, and the time when all Israel will be saved. Romans 11:25-26 "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:" Zechariah 13:1 "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." On the day the Church is raptured, atonement will be made for the sins of Israel and all Israel will be saved. Yom Kippur is the day when Israel as a nation is given atonement.

It is a day when the priest puts on white (as we all will upon the resurrection/rapture) to go before God. It is a day when one goat is exiled (the first man, Adam) and the other is sacrificed (the last Adam, Christ). 1 Corinthians 15:45 47 " And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.... The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven."  Yom Kippur is the Sabbath of Sabbaths, and this Jubilee of the Lord's return would be the mega Sabbath of all time. Which is what the millennium is.

According to tradition, it is the day when the books are closed and it is decided who is in the Book of Life, and who goes into God's wrath. When the Church is raptured, God's wrath is poured out on the rest of the world. According to tradition, Yom Kippur is that day when God's wrath begins to be poured out.

Joel 2:11-18 "And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD (the Day of the Lord will occur when the following occurs) is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?  Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, (repentance) and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: ( Yom Kippur) And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.  Who knoweth if he will return and repent, (Christ will return for them at Armageddon) and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? (marriage supper of God, Rev. 19:17*)  Blow the trumpet (last trump) in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:   Gather the people, (holy convocation) sanctify the congregation, (Israel's sins forgiven, all Israel saved)  assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.  Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?  Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people."  Christ will redeem Israel and the land.

*Rev. 19:17 "And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God."

In the above passage Yom Kippur is clearly tied to the Day of the Lord.  And the Day of the Lord is preceded by the resurrection and rapture.

Ephesians 4:30 "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." We are sealed unto the day of redemption. Yom Kippur is the day of redemption for Israel, which means it is also the day of redemption for the Church as when their time is fulfilled, the time of Israel's redemption begins.

We see the events outlined in Isaiah 58:1-14 "Cry aloud, spare not, (Feast of Trumpets) lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and (Days of Awe) shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. (Yom Kippur) Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen?(Jubilee) to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? (Second Coming) Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, (All Israel is saved) and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee;  the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul;  (Restoration of the people and nation) then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Restoration of land) And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. (Millennium) If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it."

Just to follow up with the third feast, five days after Yom Kippur is the Feast of Tabernacles. It is Scripturally a time of celebrating the memorial of the people in the wilderness under God's protection after leaving Egypt. And it could just as easily stand for the protection in the wilderness during the second half of Daniel's 70th week. Revelation 12:14 "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."

It is also Scripturally the feast celebrating among other things, the harvest of grapes, which has a significant parallel in Revelation 14:14-20 "And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs."

It is also called the "Season of Our Joy."  A wedding feast generally lasted a week in Biblical times. This feast is eight days long. Five days might be sufficient time for the Bema Seat awards to be given and have the Bride prepared for a wedding ceremony. It is this feast which is mentioned in Zechariah 14:16, which all people are required to come to Jerusalem to celebrate during the millennium. What better feast to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's marriage to His Bride than this one? "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles."

While many will want to cling to the Feast of Trumpets as the rapture, due to the two premises 1) the phrase "nobody knows the day or hour" and 2) the trumpet blast, I think those two things can be explained away (the marriage tradition and the Jubilee trumpet actually being the last trumpet, not the one on the Feast of Trumpets) which leaves no other evidence for that day. I believe the preponderance of Scriptural evidence clearly indicates that Yom Kippur, and in particular the Jubilee Yom Kippur, is the day which will see the Second Coming of Christ and the resurrection/rapture, and Day of the Lord's wrath. The evidence of the traditional beliefs seems to weigh in that favor also. However, it is up to the reader to decide what they will believe.