Recently, in Bible study we discussed an email by a preacher who claimed he knew when Jesus was coming back. We all were appalled for we knew the word tells us that no one knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return (Matt. 24:36). But actually, after reading his emails more closely, he didn’t claim to know the day or the hour. He only said that he knew the season when Christ would return. (See 1 Thes. 5:1 where Paul addresses brethren who were aware of the times and seasons.) 9/19 this year kicked off Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets on God’s holy calendar, and 9/28 will be Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. This period is also known as the 10 Days of Awe or the high holy days culminating on the Day of Atonement, the day when the high priest went into the temple. Each year as the high priest went in to the temple, everyone anxiously awaited to see if he would come out of the temple and if their sins would be forgiven.
You may ask, Pastor what is the big deal about these feast? We are not Jewish, or some savvy saints would say, “We are not under the law, but under grace.” Did you know that all of the 7 biblical feast find their fulfilment in Christ? Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, and Atonement, Christ has already fulfilled. That leaves Tabernacles and Trumpets yet to be fulfilled. Most scholars agree that Trumpets has to do with, you guessed it, the Rapture. (Tabernacles deals with the millennial reign when Jesus physically reigns on planet earth and dwells among his people.) Did you ever read when Jesus would return in the Bible? He will return for the Church “at the last trump.” “For” then says the Bible, “the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (1 Cor. 15:52).” 1 Thes. 4:16 also associates “the trump of God” with the Rapture of the Church. That’s the reason the preacher in the email, and many others by the way, believe that Jesus will return in the season of Trumpets for the Church, ultimately fulfilling this biblical feast as well.
Most of you know me by now, how I associate certain dates, like 8/28 day and 8/31, with scriptures. Well not to worry; September may even be more eventful than August! A very important key to understanding the book of Hebrews is the knowledge of how the Jews celebrated the Day of Atonement. The high priest goes in once every year to make atonement for the sins of the people. But there was intense expectation, and might I add a question mark, about the high priest whether or not he would be coming out of the temple! Also recall that this year 9/19 – 9/28 are the high holy days. Follow what Hebrews 9 says about our High Priest: in 9:24 Christ ENTERED into the holy places (not made with hands, but heaven itself), now to appear in the presence of God for us; and in 9:28, unto them that LOOK FOR HIM shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Did you see that? Really, the whole chapter is about atonement, but just this year, as the Feast of Trumpets kicked off, I noticed that in 9:24 he goes in to the heavenly temple and in 9:28 he comes out! Do you think God, in Hebrews, is telling us to have expectancy of our High Priest’s soon return out of the Temple as well?
Joel 2 is another passage associated with the end times and the Feast of Trumpets. Short answer, it is a “last days” prophecy because the Apostle Peter interpreted it as such in Acts 2:17. As for its association with the Day of Trumpets, there were four main reasons given in the Old Testament for the blowing of the trumpet: calling an assembly, signaling the camp to move out, calling for God’s help when going into battle against a perusing enemy, and announcing a time of rejoicing. Here in Joel 2, he instructs the people of God to blow the trumpet in Zion twice (2:1, 15). The first blast is a call for God’s help with a fierce approaching enemy. The second is calling for a solemn assembly. Some see the first half of chapter 2 as the Day of Trumpets and the second half as the Day of Atonement, mainly as it relates to Israel being saved, not only from an approaching enemy, but after all these years, looking on the one “whom they have pierced” (Zech. 12:10), during the day of the Lord.
After you make it past Joel’s frightening Army (2:1-10), you get to the part where God perhaps will “leave a blessing behind (2:14).” The “if” here has to do with whether or not the people of God turned to him with all their hearts, with fasting, with weeping and mourning (2:12), and whether or not they would rend their hearts and not their garments (2:13). God would be merciful and pity his people if they gathered and declared this solemn assembly as God required. If they met his requirements, then he would leave them a blessing.
The blessing is very rich and has many parts. In verses 19-22, God gives an overview of how he will bless their crops and remove from them the reproach that they had had among their heathen neighbors in the days of their disobedience. God would drive their dreaded enemy far, far away from them, and they would rejoice and no longer be afraid. Then from verse 23 to the end, the specifics of the blessing are given:
1) a double portion, he will send the former and latter rain at the same time (23),
2) he will send abundance and overflow (prosperity) (24),
3) he will restore everything that the enemy has stolen from you (redeem the time) (25).
4) they would praise his name for his wondrous dealings among them (miracles) (26),
5) God would be present in their midst (27),
6) salvation of their children and prophetic insight for the young and old alike (outpouring) (28-30), and
7) the Lord will show up (the Day of the Lord) and bring deliverance for all who calls upon his name (31-32)!
As I began to read more from those who claim that Jesus will return during the Feast of Trumpets, I was particularly blessed to find, that one or two things could happen with the 7-fold blessing spoken of in Joel 2. One, you could draw nigh to God in prayer and fasting and repent of anything in your life that is blocking what God wants to do in your life. In other words, declare, set aside your own solemn assembly (meeting) with God during these high holy days, repent of any sins that he reveals in your life, and receive God’s double portion blessing. If Jesus decides not to come this (2020) Feast of Trumpets, you will be renewed and blessed with his presence. You can’t go wrong with that! Two, Jesus could literally come back during this season and it would really be “the last trump”! Do you have the same expectancy about Jesus’ return that the Old Testament saints had for the high priest to come out of the earthly temple? The high priest of those days went into an earthly temple, but Jesus, our Atonement, went into the heavenly temple. And we are told, he is coming back for those who are looking for him! Will you be ready if he come this Feast of Trumpets?