The Feast of Trumpets was one of the 7 main festivals of Israel. It was the first of the fall or harvest festivals. It occurred in the 7th month of the religious calendar on the 1st day of the month. It is more commonly known today by its alternate name in Hebrew Rosh Hashanah which means Head of the Year. The Feast of Trumpets has this name because it is also the first day of the civil Jewish calendar and marks the start of a new Jewish year that is numbered from the considered time of creation which is thought to have occurred on Rosh Hashanah in the Garden of Eden. The Feast of Trumpets also always occurs at a new moon usually in the western month of September. The Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah is the first Feast in the Jewish year since the Feast of Pentecost or Feast of Weeks called Shavuot in Hebrew that usually occurs in May.
One of the main features of Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets is the blowing of Trumpets in this case a shofar or ram's horn. This ram's horn or shofar has a very sombre or wailing sound and is associated with a call to self- examination before God for the previous year and a look ahead to the coming year. This period of self-examination or reflection continues for ten days until the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. A popular Jewish greeting at the Feast of Trumpets is "May you be inscribed in the Book of Life". The 7 Feasts of the LORD including the Feast of Trumpets are found in Leviticus 23. The section about the Feast of Trumpets is as follows:
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, shall ye(you) have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile (livelihood) work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. Leviticus 23:23-25
One main reason evangelical Christians associate the Feast of Trumpets with the Rapture is that in most of the main New Testament passages about the rapture the description includes reference to a trumpet. Also evangelical or born again Christians are aware that the Feast of Trumpets was the first of the Harvest Festivals and occurred after the summer of growing crops and fruit and that it was the first Jewish Feast since Pentecost. One additional reason for considering the Feast of Trumpets as the Rapture is that a passage in the Gospel of John talks about 4 months until the harvest and that the present Church Age is the time of sowing and reaping. The 4 months probably refers to the 4 months between Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks which was in the third month and the Feast of Trumpets which was in the seventh month. The passage in the Gospel of John is as follow:
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathering fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. Gospel of John 4:35-36
The rapture doesn't mean as some think a reference to extreme joy although that will also occur at that time, but is a reference to the Latin term "raptare" which means to "to seize and carry off, drag away; to drag along; to plunder;" (The New College Latin & English Dictionary, John C. Traupman, Bantam Books). This term for rapture could also explain the coming of Jesus Christ for the Church as coming as a thief in the night in 1 Thessalonians 5.
The rapture is the time for Christians who have personally trusted in God and His Son Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour from our sin and giver of eternal life through His resurrection and thus become indwelt of God's Holy Spirit to have our bodies resurrected and changed for believers who have died or our bodies changed for believers living on Earth at the Rapture. Our bodies will be changed into heavenly, spiritual, incorruptible and glorious bodies from our present earthly, fleshly, corruptible and lowly bodies. We will be free from the constraints of gravity and physical conditions like lack of air or radiation in space although at times we will also be able to eat and sense the physical realm.
Through our new heart or spirit in which the Holy Spirit indwells we will hear the sound of the trumpet of God at the rapture and rise to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air (Earth's upper atmosphere or near outer space) and be brought with Him to the homes God has prepared for us in the Third Heaven. We will thus be brought beyond the first heaven of the birds, clouds and airplanes and the second heaven of the planets, stars and galaxies. This rapture or catching away is the next great event to occur according to Bible prophecy and will occur without warning and will likely happen very soon. Although the rapture will happen without warning the signs leading to The Great Tribulaton or 70th week of Daniel on Earth that will start immediately after the rapture are more and more evident and in a very advanced stage including global government and the preparation of Israel to build a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
There is no denying that one of the significant elements in popular culture for some time in North America and to some extent around the world is belief that there is intelligent extraterrestrial life on other planets if not in our solar system then around other stars. Although there are some scientifically or rationally minded people than believe this and don't believe that UFOs (unidentified flying objects) are really extraterrestrial or even real there are many people today who do believe this or even claim to have seen them or even so called aliens or been abducted onto a UFO. Myself as a bible believing Christian believe that some of the UFOs and alien phenomena could be mistaken for natural or man-made objects but I think some of it is real but demonic. I think these things including the so called disclosure and efforts of high authorities like the UN, the Roman Catholic Church and officials in United States to come closer to admitting something significant with contact with aliens could be preparing for the day of the rapture. At that time people that don't want to admit the biblical and true explanation of Christians indwelt by the Holy Spirit being caught up to heaven to be with Jesus and God in our resurrection bodies will have a preferred explanation. This main explanation is that true Christians at the rapture will be caught up by aliens to another planet with some like New Agers thinking we have to be reeducated into their mystical world view and deny our belief in a personal God and salvation by the death of God's Son Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins. With the increasing UFO phenomena, media attention and openness of authorities on this subject I would encourage the reader if he or she hasn't done so already to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ that he died on the cross for your sins and rose from the dead to give you new life so you can be taken in the rapture and be part of God's family and have a wonderful home in heaven forever and also have access to the renewed and new earth and heavens and not be left on earth for the tribulation and possibly hell for those who don't turn to Jesus by the time of the end of the tribulation. This emphasis on UFOs and aliens could also be preparing the world for the Antichrist or Beast out of the Sea and the False Prophet or Beast out of the Land to present himself as having ties to aliens from another planet which would probably be quite popular to many people around the world these days. Two scriptures related to signs in the heavens that could include UFOs as well as natural phenomena in the last days before Jesus' second coming are the following: Luke 21:11 and Joel 2:30.
The condition for taking part in the rapture is not that people or Christians be super Christians but that we genuinely believe in our heart that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins on the cross and rose again. Those who sleep in Jesus are those who have died physically but believed in the Lord Jesus Christ between Pentecost and the rapture that is in the Church age. Their bodies sleep but their spirits and souls are very alive in heaven. Their spirits and souls will at the time of the rapture be brought from heaven to join their resurrected and changed body that will be turned into a spiritual body. The Christians who are physically alive on earth when the Lord Jesus Christ comes for the rapture of the church will be affected by the rapture after but not long after those in Christ who have died physically or who are asleep. This will take place at the trump of God which is the last trumpet of the church age not the last trumpet of the tribulation when God is dealing with Israel and not the Church. This will be the Lord Jesus Christ himself that will descend from heaven although his voice might sound like that of an archangel or an archangel might accompany Jesus. We Christians or the true Church that are alive shall meet with Christians or part of the true Church that have already died physically will meet together next in the air in the clouds. These clouds are in the air or in the earth's atmosphere and are physical clouds not spiritual such as of God's glory. An another example of physical clouds in the New Testament is clouds out of the west in Gospel of Luke 12:54 where Jesus is obviously talking about physical clouds in earth's atmosphere. This is the same Greek word as in 1 Thessalonians 4. It is true that clouds are mentioned about Jesus' second coming and that they are also the same Greek word but they are called clouds of heaven, I think the third heaven or abode of God, not of the air and the references in Matthew 24:30, 26:64 and Mark 13:26 and Mark 14:62 mention the right hand of power with the power I believe being God the Father and the clouds being associated with His glory. This meaning of clouds is definitely in mind in 1 Corinthians 10:1 and 2 where God directs the apostle Paul to reflect on some of the experiences of the Israelites or Jews in the Old Testament especially when they were going through the wilderness. The cloud is mentioned in that passage in 1 Corinthians 10 and is the same Greek word as these other references and I believe has the same basic meaning as in Matthew and Mark but definitely not the same as in 1 Thessalonians 4. I believe the Gospel of John 14:1-3 is a parallel passage to 1 Thessalonians 4 and clarifies 1 Thessalonians 4. That is that where Christians will immediately go to be with the Lord will be where Jesus is in the Father's house in heaven. We will continue to be with the Lord after that but will come with him at his second coming to rule with him on the Millennial Kingdom earth and then to be with Him and God the Father in the New Jerusalem and in general in his blessed creation including the new earth and new heavens in eternity. The scripture reference about Christians being caught up to the air to start to be with the Lord Jesus Christ to start our full realization as God's heavenly people to make way for God to resume dealing with His earthly people the Jews in the tribulation in 1 Thessalonians 4 is as follows:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep(those who have died in faith in Jesus Christ), that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God : and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (raptured) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
It is also important to note the simple condition for taking part in the rapture from scripture. If we believe in our heart that Jesus died and rose again. To take part in the rapture one doesn't have to have an ongoing record of splendid Christian service but only to believe with all one's heart and committing one's life to Jesus in recognition that He died for our sins and rose again to give us new life.
The rapture with a reference to a trumpet with emphasis on the changing of the believer's body is also mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15 as follows:
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth (does) corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruption must put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy(your) sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
A final reference to the rapture that also refers to a trumpet is in Revelation 4. It is also good to note the trumpet as said to be talking with the apostle John which he would hear as will people who are believers in Jesus when the rapture happens with the aid of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Although this scripture passage only involves the apostle John I believe it is symbolic of the entire church being caught up at the end of the Church Age and just before the Great Tribulation on Earth begins.
The context in Revelation of the apostle John being caught up is also very important. It occurs immediately after chapters 2 and 3 which are about the current church age or dispensation and is followed by a scene around the throne of God with elders wearing crowns and casting them at God's feet probably symbolizing the judgment for rewards and crowns or loss of them for Christian service for believers in Heaven immediately after the rapture. This is then followed in Revelation 5 by a scene of believers most likely the Church praising God and Jesus (the Lamb) in Heaven and the Lord Jesus Christ being chosen to unloose the seals for God's judgment on the inhabitants of Earth and then in Revelation 6 the beginning of God's judgment on the inhabitants of Earth with the beginning of the Great Tribulation or 70th week of Daniel. This reference to the rapture with mention of a trumpet is in Revelation 4 as follows:
After this(the description of the 7 churches) I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither(to here), and I will show thee (you) things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. Revelation 4:1-2
An excellent and Biblically and scientifically sound book on the subject of the resurrection body is: The Resurrected Body - Y2K and Beyond A New Concept of the Resurrected Body from Biblical, Theological, Philosophical, and Scientific Perspectives by John B. Wong University Press of America ISBN 0-7618-1563-5 cloth The author is an evangelical Christian with one PhD in medical surgery and two PhD degrees in Theology. It is a very informative and sound book but quite academic and expensive but one of the best books on the subject at about $80 CDN including delivery costs from United States. The only bad thing about this book is the author doesn't go in very much into how these bodies could be used to explore the stellar or astronomical heavens. The author can be reached at JohnBWong@aol.com
For comments, questions, advice or more information contact Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org Contact Spirit and Truth Ministries