Deciphering the Feast of Trumpets :: By Matt Leasher

Every year when the Feast of Trumpets (a.k.a. Rosh Hashanah), rolls around, prophecy watchers go into what I call, “high alert” in anticipation for the Rapture of the Church.  I, myself, am one of those watchmen and this year there seems to be extra cause for excitement.

As many people may know, there are several similarities and parallels with the traditional aspects of the Feast of Trumpets compared to the Rapture, especially when viewed from the Jewish perspective.  I recently came across a list of all the different Jewish names for the Feast of Trumpets and their meanings. I’d like to list them here with their meanings and their parallels to the characteristics of the Rapture of the Church and their possible relevance to this year!  But first, please understand that I am not date setting, but rather discerning the times as our Lord calls us to do!

Names Associated with the Feast of Trumpets:

Rosh Hashanah – means “head of the year” and is the New Year on the Jewish calendar (Tishri 1), and is designated by the New Moon.  The last new moon we had was during a solar eclipse over America.  Traditionally a solar eclipse was recognized as a sign of coming judgment.

As I am writing this America is experiencing severe devastation on the west coast with the largest wild fire ever recorded in Los Angeles causing mass evacuations. The gulf coast is recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Harvey and a potential record breaking size hurricane is threatening to possibly strike the east coast sometime very soon.

 Teshuvah – signifies repentance.  The Hebrew month prior to Tishri is Elul and it is designated as the month of repentance. It is customary to blow the shofar every day (except on Shabbat), leading up to the Feast of Trumpets.

Many have talked about the “Sign of Jonah” when the solar eclipse occurred last month and that it happened on the first day of Elul.  Exactly 40 days later is the Day of Atonement and the number 40 in the Bible represents a time of testing or trial.  The Lord instructed Jonah to give the wicked city of Nineveh 40 days to repent before He would judge the wickedness of that city with destruction. Nineveh repented and was spared God’s judgment. Could the last eclipse be a sign that America and/or the rest of the world have 40 days left to repent before Judgment comes?

Yom Teruah – designated as the “Day of Shouting” accompanied by the “Awakening Blast” to call those that are sleeping in the dust to come to life.

At the Rapture the Lord will come with a “shout” and a “trumpet” when He first resurrects those that sleep in Christ and then translates us Christians who are alive to join them!

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Yom HaDin – means “The Day of Judgment”.   The “Judgment Seat of Christ” will likely occur immediately after the Rapture where all believers in Christ are judged for their works and given the crowns that they earned. (see Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:13-15; and 2 Corinthians 5:10)

For those that don’t go in the Rapture, it will certainly be a day of judgment for them as they will have to face the 21 sets of divine judgments that are outlined in Revelation chapters 6 through 18.  It is important to note that the church is not mentioned once in any of those chapters.

Yom HaMelech – relates to the Lord being recognized as King of the universe. The coronation of kings traditionally occurred on this day and we can surmise that the coronation of the King Messiah will occur on a future Feast of Trumpets, perhaps at the Second Coming.

It is interesting to note that Stephen was the first martyr of the Church Age and that the “crown of life” that Jesus offers to the church of Smyrna in Revelation 2:10 is called the “stephanos” in the Greek, likely named after Stephen. This makes Stephen the first member of the “bride of Christ” to enter heaven.

When Stephen was about to die he saw Christ “standing” from His seat next to the Father to welcome him home.  When the Rapture occurs Christ will once again leave from His seat next to the Father to come and get the last remaining members of the bride of Christ.  There are some theologians that believe Stephen was martyred on the Feast of Trumpets, possibly even as early as the same year that Christ was crucified.

Chevlai shel Mashiach – is a Hebrew phrase meaning “birth pangs of the Messiah” and is recognized as “the time of Jacob’s Trouble.”  Jacob’s name was changed to Israel after he wrestled with God (Genesis 32:28).

When Jesus was asked by the disciples about the end of the age, He told them that those days would be the beginning of “sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). The Greek word for sorrows is “odin” and it means “birth pangs.” The prophet Jeremiah spoke of the birth pangs of the Messiah in Jeremiah 30:6-7:

“Ask now and see,

Whether a man is ever in labor with child?

So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins

Like a woman in labor,

And all faces turned pale?

Alas! For the day is great,

So that none is like it;

And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble,

But he shall be saved out of it.”

The “time of Jacob’s trouble” is synonymous with “Daniel’s 70th Week” and the seven year Tribulation period. After the Rapture of the Church, the Lord’s attention will return to Israel as she suffers through the afflictions of the Tribulation period.

Kiddushin / Nesu’in – is the wedding ceremony and implies that the wedding of the Messiah will take place on the Feast of Trumpets.  When the Rapture occurs, Christ the Bridegroom will come to receive His bride and take her to His Father’s house. (John 14:1-4)

All of the similarities and parallels between the ancient Jewish wedding traditions and the Rapture of the Church are too extensive, to go into all of the details here. I highly encourage you to do a study of it on your own and you will be sure to be blessed!

Natzal –  or “the day of the natzal” and also refers to the resurrection of the dead.  Natzal in the Hebrew (Strong’s H5337), means “deliverance, to deliver, to snatch away,  take away, to rescue.”  Basically, “natzal” is the Hebrew correspondence to the Greek “harpazo” which means “rapture”!

Shofar HaGadol – refers to the “last trump.” The last trump blown after a series of trumpet blasts on the Feast of Trumpets is a long bellowing blast.  Paul referred to the “last trump” when he described the Rapture in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

Yom Hakeseh – means “the hidden day”. Isaiah 26:19-21 mentions God’s people “hiding themselves” after the dead are raised and the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.

Psalm 27:5 also reminds us:

“For in the time of trouble

He shall hide me in His pavilion;

In the secret place of His tabernacle

He shall hide me;

He shall set me high upon a rock.”

Rosh Hashanah has also been referred to as the “hidden day” because it is the only Feast of the Lord’s seven Feasts given in Leviticus 23 that begins on a New

Moon.  The start of the Feast can’t be determined until the first sliver of the moon reappears, after it has come out of “hiding”, and is seen by two witnesses. Because of this there is a two day window when the Feast can begin, so no one knows the day or the hour!

Lastly, the Feast of Trumpets has also been termed as “The Day of the Opening of the Gates.”  In Jewish tradition the gates of heaven would open up on Rosh Hashanah allowing the sinner to repent before God and have his name written in the Book of Life that would then be sealed on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).

During this time the High Priest would go into a chamber in the Temple and “hide himself” from the people (Israel), until the Day of Atonement when he would then come out and determine whether Israel had been forgiven of sin or whether Israel would suffer judgment.

Currently our High Priest, Christ Jesus, is in heaven making intercession for the saints (Hebrews 4:14), and will soon be coming out of His place to judge the world for their iniquity (Isaiah 26:21).

In Revelation 4:1 the apostle John is raptured up to heaven to be shown the things that must come afterward, meaning after the Church Age that was outlined in the previous chapters 2 and 3.  When John is taken up it mentions that “a door was opened in heaven.”

Jesus said of Himself:

“I am the door, if anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9)

If the Feast of Trumpets is known as the “opening of the gates”, then it certainly could apply to the Rapture of the Church where the Lord descends and the church ascends in and out of heaven!

With all of these parallels and similarities between the multiple meanings of the Feast of Trumpets and the Rapture of the Church followed by the Tribulation period, is it any wonder why prophecy watchers get excited when Rosh Hashanah comes around!

Before I close this commentary I would like to address the ever so common misusage of the verse that no one can know the day or the hour.  When Jesus made that reference in Matthew 24:36 and also in Mark 13:32, the preceding verse in both of those passages says,

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”

Then, Jesus said, “but of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

With that in context, when will the heavens and earth pass away? After the 1,000 year Millennium reign of Christ.  So Jesus was clearly not talking about the Rapture at all.  The context of both of those chapters is the Tribulation and His Second Coming.

Furthermore, our Lord is very orderly and the Church and her Great Commission had not yet been ordained when He made that statement. So why would He tell them they would not know the hour that it would end when He didn’t even commission it yet.  The disciples would have no idea what He was talking about.

However, they would understand that He was talking about the Tribulation period because the Tribulation is spoken of all through the Old Testament, (referenced as the Day of the Lord).  The new heavens and the new earth was also already written by Isaiah as well. (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22)

That verse is the most misquoted verse in the Bible and used as an excuse to not be watching by far too many people that should be watching.

Jesus’ words in Revelation 3:3 clearly imply that the church IS supposed to be watching and knowing the “hour” of His return.

“Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” (Revelation 3:3)

All of the seven letters to the churches end with the admonition:

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Notice churches is plural.  So that message about watching and knowing the hour of His return applies to the entire Church Age. What we never want to do is be dogmatic about any certain date, but there is nothing wrong with being on high alert on one of the Lord’s feast days that He has ordained to be  His appointments.

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”  (Hebrews 10:24-25)