Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Rapture in the Old Testament: Psalm 27 and the Fall Holy Days

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. 
Psalm 27:4-5

Israel had two distinct sets of Holy Days as prescribed in the Books of Moses.  The first group happened in Spring and revolved around the Exodus from Egypt.  They also overwhelmingly foreshadowed the first advent of Mashiyach Yeshua, the promised redeemer of humanity.  Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) was the Paschal Lamb slain before the world began according to the plan of the Father.  The resurrection of Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, took place on the Feast of First Fruits and with Him he took many souls held captive in Paradise Sheol to the Father according to scripture.  1 Corinthians 15:20 states, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept."  Furthermore, the third (yes! third) rapture found in scripture took place at the time of Jesus' resurrection.  The translation of Enoch was the first.  The rising of Elijah was the second, and the captive Old Testament saints rising was the third.  This is what Paul was referring to when he said that Jesus led captivity captive in Ephesians 4:8.

We are currently awaiting the 4th rapture.  Four is the number for the world and the fourth is the general resurrection or translation of all believers worldwide.  The first three serve as models for the fourth.   Therefore, denying the rapture is laying claim to absolute Bible illiteracy since three have already taken place.  Consider Matthew 27:51-53, "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."   The final spring Holy Day was Pentecost which foreshadowed the birth of the Church.  Christ fulfilled these three spring Holy Days in His passion, resurrection, and ascension. 

The months in between the holidays testify to the long time period between the two advents of Jesus.  If the first observances were fulfilled in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, than the fall dates will be fulfilled with His second coming.  The spring holidays represented the time when Messiah sowed the seeds of the Gospel.  The season for the fall High Holy Days begins at the 1st day of the Hebrew month, Elul.  These are the fall harvest feasts and remind us that the ripened fruit of the Gospel is about to be finally reaped.  The first of Elul is also referred to as Rosh Chodesh Elul, or the head of the month of Elul.  On the Gregorian calendar this day usually takes place somewhere in August or September.  It is also important to note that Elul is the last month on the Hebrew civil calendar and the 6th month of the ceremonial calendar.  

Beginning on Rosh Chodesh Elul Jews worldwide begin to  practice a time of repentance in preparation for those High Holy Days that follow.  Also beginning on that first day of Elul it is customary to blow a trumpet every day in the morning until the day before Rosh Hashanah, the feast of trumpets.  The trumpet blasts are to awaken the soul to repentance in preparation for those upcoming holidays. More importantly to our study, PSALM 27 is read every morning and every evening for the entire holiday season (nearly two months) beginning on Rosh Chodesh Elul until Hoshanah Rabbah of Sukkot or the last day of the feast of Tabernacles!  It is also quite customary to visit the graves of those who have inspired one to greater faith during during the month Elul.

Psalm 27 is tied directly to the resurrection by traditional Jewish observances and clear scriptural reference.  There will come a day when men will cry out daily to be allowed to dwell forever in God's tabernacle (pavilion) probably because they were left behind.  The daily trumpet blast will remind them of an event that recently took place.  There will be a universal cry of repentance as the days of Tribulation are finally here.  Many will visit the graves of those saints who left this world and they will gain the strength they need for the trouble, Jacob's Trouble, that lies ahead.  For the many that trusted Christ before that resurrection trumpet sounded, they will be treasured (hidden) in God's presence.  Each precious jewel will behold the beauty of the LORD and enquire personally in His Holy Temple on High.  They have been lifted far above their enemies and brought to the very presence of God in preparation for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.   What a day that will be, and like Jesus, it is Soon2Come. 

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