Rosh Hashanah and the Gap Between the Rapture and the Tribulation
Jesus perfectly fulfilled His first coming at the four spring festivals – Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks. These are God’s “appointed times,” also called “holy convocations.”
After the spring feasts, there is a period of time before the autumn feasts begin. This time is spiritually symbolic of the church age in which we live today. Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection are past, we have received the promised Holy Spirit, and now we await His second coming. Just as the spring feasts pointed toward the Messiah’s ministry at His first coming, the autumn feasts point toward what will happen at His second coming.
Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Feast of Trumpets, is a picture of the ‘catching away’ of the bride of Christ. The significance for ‘the believer’ is that the blowing of the ‘shofar’ is prophetic to the rapture of the church and will inaugurate the ‘End of days,’ the coming Day of the Lord – The Great Tribulation (also called Jacob’s Trouble, the day of wrath, day of desolation, day of the Lord, the wrath of God, the wrath, the tribulation and many more).
1 Corinthians 15:51-54 “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (NASB).
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (NASB).
Rosh Hashanah also commemorates the creation of the universe. Jewish tradition links Adam and Eve’s creation to 1 Tishri as the day of creation from Adam’s perspective – but how? The first words of the Hebrew Bible say “In the beginning.” By rearranging the Hebrew letters, the phrase “aleph b’Tishri” is formed, meaning “on the 1st of Tishri.”
Rosh Hashanah is also known as the head of the year – Jewish New Year’s Day.
Rosh Hashanah therefore represents the day that God began to rule as King of the Universe. It also anticipates the prophetic fulfillment of the Lord’s covenant faithfulness to Israel in Daniel’s 70th week when all of Israel will repent and their Messiah will return to restore Israel as Saviour, Lord and Deliverer.
According to Jewish tradition, on Rosh Hashanah the destiny of the righteous are written in the Book of Life, and the destiny of the wicked are written in the book of death. However, most people will not be inscribed in either book, but have 10 days until “Yom Kippur” (Festival of Atonement) to repent before sealing their fate. Hence the Ten Days of Repentance (days of Awe). At the Feast of Atonement, then, everyone’s name will be sealed in one of the books. [source Hebrew4Christians, Seven Feasts of Israel]
The Day of Atonement is the next of the three autumn festivals. It is the holiest day of the Jewish year, and it reveals the Priestly work of Jesus – Our High Priest. This festival, also known as Yom Kippur, provides prophetic insight regarding the Second coming of Messiah, the restoration of national Israel and the final judgment of the world.
The Day of Atonement marks the high point of the 10 days of Awe and is regarded as the day when Israel will seal her fate. It is the only day of the year when the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and offer blood sacrifices and prayer for the sins of the people. Their sins were ‘covered’ for one year only.
Only at Christ’s death on the cross were sins forgiven “by grace through faith.”
The Rapture of the Church and the relevance of the gap between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement:
Why did God place 10 days between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement? Does it mean anything? Is it part of His perfect will? Would it make any difference if it were 5 days or 20 days or 30 days? I believe that God in His perfection has a perfect meaning for every letter and number that appears in His word.
Does the rapture of the church take place before the Tribulation or in the now-popularized Rapture at the mid-tribulation point before “The wrath”?
How is it possible that anyone in their right spiritual mind would consider, even for a moment, that the Rapture could take place during the 7-year Tribulation?
There are many scriptures both in the Old and New Testament that prove that the church will not go through the Tribulation. How can it be that some are still going down this dark rabbit hole?
I offer just one Old Testament and one New Testament scripture that prove beyond a shadow of doubt that the church will NOT enter the Tribulation.
Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.”
Daniel’s people and Daniel’s holy city can only be the Jewish nation and Jerusalem. The church is not Israel and it does not have a capital. The church is the Temple of God; we are priests and we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
Nobody disputes that God has perfectly fulfilled 69 weeks at Jesus’ first coming and death on the cross and we now await the final week which will commence with “a firm covenant.” In the middle of the 7-year Tribulation, the “Abomination of desolation” will take place (see Daniel 9:27).
The purpose of the last 7 years is twofold – for the restoration of Israel (God’s “elect,” His covenant people and the “apple of His eye”) and the wrath of God to a sinful, unrepentant Gentile world.
2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.”
According to Paul, the “lawless one” (the Antichrist) will only be revealed after the “Restrainer” is taken out of the way. Who is the restrainer? It’s not me or you, or Donald Trump or any other world or religious leader. So who can it be? Who has the strength to restrain evil, the devil and the Antichrist?
Surely it can only be the person of The Holy Spirit. So, if the “Restrainer” is taken out of the way, does that mean that Jesus says to His bride – ‘I have carried you in my hand for long enough – now you are on your own. Survival is now in your hands, so be careful. See you later.’ Is that the message of the Bible as you read it?
Or is it “…I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
The Holy Spirit is in us. If the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way – then so are we – it is called the Rapture of the Church.
We can only conclude that we will not be here during the 7-year Tribulation. So, if we are raptured before the Tribulation – is it possible that there is a gap between the rapture of the church and the start of the Tribulation?
The rapture of the church does not start the 7-year Tribulation. According to Daniel, the signing of a “covenant” does. So, yes, there must be a gap – but how long? It could be a few days, weeks, months or years. Since every word in the Bible is significant, we do indeed question the reason for a 10-day gap between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement.
The book of Revelation follows a progression of future events. Most commentators see the letters to the seven churches as representing actual churches that existed at the time that the book of Revelation was written, but it also represents the seven church ages – ending with today’s church, the church of Laodicea, the lukewarm church.
Revelation 4:1 alludes to the possible rapture of the church: “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’”
John then sees in heaven the things that follow. He sees the “scroll” that is sealed with seven seals. Inside the scroll are the seven Trumpet judgments and the seven Bowl judgments that come from heaven. Jesus then opens one seal at a time, but we are nowhere told that the events that are described with the opening of the seals take place before or after the start of the Tribulation.
Is it possible that the events that take place between the breaking of the first seal and the Trumpet judgments represent a 3-year time frame between the rapture of the church and the start of the 7-year Tribulation? I believe that it is possible.
First note Revelation 5:1 “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals” (NKJV).
The scroll is sealed with 7 seals. The sealing of a document is intended to keep the message that is contained inside secret – until it is opened by an authorized person. Jesus has the authority, and He opens the seven seals that reveal events that will take place on earth during the 7-year Tribulation. The seals reveal earthly events as well as future events.
As the first four seals are removed, a message is given by each of the four living creatures. The messages are:
– A king goes out to take peace from the earth but with a bow only.
– Peace is taken from the earth by means of “a great sword.”
– Scarcity of food
– A fourth of the earth is affected by war, starvation, disease and by animals.
What do the four living creatures represent?
The four living beings described in Revelation chapter 4 and chapter 6 are the same as the seraphim shown in Isaiah chapter 6.
The four seraphim from Isaiah and Revelation are described as having A FACE – with one being LIKE a lion, one being LIKE a calf, one being LIKE a man, and one being LIKE an eagle. Also having six wings instead of four (Ezekiel’s Cherubim).
The Lion is the chief of land beasts, and the Eagle is the chief of birds with its superior speed and strength. These two creatures exert a great and dominant force on the earth, where people live. The face of a man is a reference to the crowning creation of God, intelligently-created human beings. The calf/ox represents the field-working/sacrificial animal.
In the history of ancient Israel, the ox was valuable to both the people’s everyday wellbeing as well as their religious life. The ox did most of the laborious field chores which could result in great prosperity. It was therefore mentioned as one of the things that should not be coveted from a neighbor. So great was the significance of the ox to the people that it was once infamously raised to a godlike stature in the incidence of the “golden calf.”
I believe that the inference of the announcements coming from the four living beings is that they are representative of earthly (natural/human) events that take place and not the wrath that comes from heaven in the 7 Trumpet and Bowl judgments.
The number “4” in scripture has a pattern of identifying the covering of all sides, or going in all directions, such as the “Four Winds” of Heaven, representing the Resurrection of the Saved from all directions of the earth. In Revelation 7:1 we see 4 Angels holding the Four winds of destruction back until the 144,000 are sealed with God’s Seal on their foreheads.
The 5th seal shows us “martyrs” that appear under the altar. These are very different to the martyrs that appear later in the 6th seal. I believe that the 5th seal martyrs are the Old Testament martyrs that are now asking, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” If the Tribulation had already commenced, surely they would not ask this question. Of the second group of martyrs, it is stated: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation….”
In other words, they are still future. If the Tribulation had already started, scripture should read – These are the ones that came out – and not “who come out.”
There are several other factors that add weight to a 3-year gap theory, especially the revelation of the sixth seal ‘cosmic events’ and the 144,000 that I will not cover here, but you can see them on my YouTube teaching on the “Rapture of the church” – part 6.
You will also find on YouTube the full series on “The Rapture of the church” which consists of an introductory study plus a 6-part teaching.