by Roy A. Reinhold
One of the main objections that many Christians have towards the rapture teaching, is that they say the word "rapture" of believers is not found anywhere in the scriptures. They are absolutely correct, you can check any exhaustive concordance and you'll not find the word "rapture" listed. However, we know that the Bible clearly teaches that believers will be caught up into the clouds at Jesus' coming, so where did the word rapture come from? It comes from the familiar rapture text:
The ancient texts of New Testament scripture were written in the Greek language, and the Greek word for "caught up" is harpazo. Later, the Bible was translated into Latin over 15 centuries ago. The Greek word harpazo was translated as the Latin word "raptios," which was later transliterated into English as the word "rapture". The word rapture means caught up, meanwhile the translators used the words caught up in the English Bible rather than the word rapture, so that people could more easily understand the concept. Nevertheless, the word rapture is a valid word to describe the catching up of believers when they are changed into their immortal bodies.
Adding to our knowledge of the rapture, the fall feasts of ancient Israel are themselves prophetic enactments of future events. The three fall feasts are the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) on the 1st day of the 7th month, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) on the 10th day of the 7th month, and the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles (Sukkot), a 7 day festival starting on the 15th day of the 7th month.
Thirty days prior to Rosh Hashanah, the shofar is blown every morning in the synagogue to announce the impending arrival of the holy days. The blowing of the shofar warns the people that the judgment of Rosh Hashanah will soon arrive. Giving the people a chance to repent and set their life in order, they know that Rosh Hashanah is the coming of God as King of the Universe where He will judge the people. However, not all people of the earth are judged on Rosh Hashanah, only the righteous who have open-and-shut cases. The rest of the people of the earth are granted an additional period of time to repent and change their lives, and prepare their legal defenses for the coming judgment of all people which will take place on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). The 10-day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called the Days of Awe or 10 Days of Repentance. God the King of the Universe, in His mercy, allows the vast majority of the people of the earth who are a mixture of good and bad, a respite before their court date.
With a sense of urgency, the people know that they must excise sin from their lives and turn to the ways of God during the Days of Awe. Yet they also know that God will judge with mercy on Yom Kippur. Actually, the Jews are judged on Yom Kippur and all the rest of the people of the earth are judged after them, on the 11th through the 14th days of the 7th month. The 15th day of the 7th month, called the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles (Sukkot), is a planned time for the tabernacle of peace to be erected over all the remaining people of the earth. This grand celebration on earth lasting 7 days, is when God Himself celebrates with the people selected to remain and repopulate the earth.
Those of quick mind must have already reached the conclusion that the judgment of the righteous on Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets) is the rapture of believers. We know that Messiah will come for the righteous who are born-again believers made righteous by the blood of the Lamb, not by their own actions. The dead in Christ will be raised and changed into their immortal bodies on the exact day of Rosh Hashanah, as will believers who are alive when He comes. I'll say it again, the Messiah is coming on the 1st day of the 7th month to snatch up believers in the judgment of the righteous, the rapture, also called elsewhere, the judgment seat of Christ.
Why will this event take place exactly on the 1st day of the 7th month? When Jesus was here during His earthly life nearly 2000 years ago, he made the triumphant entry into Jerusalem as the Messiah on the exact day of the selection of the Passover Lamb, the 10th day of the 1st month. Jesus was crucified on the Day of Preparation for Passover, on the exact day on the 14th day of the 1st month. He was the Passover Lamb for all time, and died when the Passover lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple. The Passover meal was then celebrated after sundown at the beginning of the 15th of Nisan/Abib. He was raised from the dead after 3 days and 3 nights in the grave, as the weekly Sabbath was ending (Matthew 28:1 in the original Peshitta Aramaic NT, see the 3-part article, Jesus Died on a Wednesday). He was the firstfruits resurrection from the dead, corresponding to the day of firstfruits where the sheaf of barley grain from the spring harvest was waved before God, on the day after the weekly Sabbath, during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. He appeared in heaven before the Father after the resurrection as the permanent firstfruits wave offering. Finally, on the exact day that the loaves were waved before God from the spring barley harvest, 50 days later on Shavuot or Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples as a mighty rushing wind and tongues of fire, and the spirit-filled church was born. Each of these events happened on the exact day of the year in the Jewish calendar, exactly as they had been celebrated each year from the time God gave the feasts to Moses and he taught them to the people of Israel. So, it is by close examination of the fall feasts that we know with a certainty that major prophetic events will take place on the exact days of the fall feasts. With study and explanation, we can teach others when the rapture will take place, on the 1st day of the 7th month, on Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets.
Some have taught that maybe not all Christians will be changed instantly into their immortal bodies on the fulfillment of Rosh Hashanah. They have taught that only obedient Christians will be changed, while those who are saved but living like the world will not go in the rapture. As I have stated, the rapture on Rosh Hashanah is only for the righteous, however, we know from the scriptures that believers are righteous not by their actions, but by the finished action of the Messiah. We are saved by grace through faith and not of works, lest any man should boast.
Yet, I have a suspicion that there are certain actions that people could take which might preclude them from being taken in the rapture. In part 1 of the rapture, we showed from the text of 1 Thessalonians 4:13 to 5:10, that the rapture will come before the beginning of the Day of the Lord, the day of wrath; because we are not destined for wrath but for salvation. Then in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, we showed that two signs will precede the rapture and will precede the beginning of the Day of the Lord. Namely, that there would be a great apostasy or falling away from the faith, and that the antichrist would be revealed through the abomination of desolation in the Temple in Jerusalem, where he sits in the most holy place of the Temple and falsely declares to the world that he is god. We also know from Matthew 24 and Mark 13, that the abomination of desolation takes place exactly in the middle of the end-times 7 year period. So we conclude that the rapture takes place after the middle of the 7 year period and before the end, because the Day of the Lord which is the time of the wrath of God, takes place after the rapture. I'll give it to you straight!
The first half of the end-times 7 year period is called the Tribulation, which ends at the abomination of desolation in the Temple. The Great Tribulation starts after the abomination of desolation in the Temple and ends when the rapture takes place. After the rapture, the Day of the Lord begins, when the wrath of God is poured out in the earth in the 7 Trumpet Judgments and 7 Bowl Judgments of Revelations. The Day of the Lord period corresponds to the Days of Awe or 10 Days of Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but without providing the proof here I'll state that the Day of the Lord is not a 24-hour day, but rather a period which lasts either 1 year or 2 years. After the Messiah returns to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth and vanquishes all the armies of the earth, the house of Judah and the house of Israel are judged on Yom Kippur in the fat sheep and lean sheep judgment of Ezekiel 34, and made into one nation again. On the 11th to 14th days of the 7th month, the remaining people of the earth are all judged by the Messiah in the Sheep and Goats Judgment of Matthew 25. Finally, on the 15th day of the 7th month, Messiah celebrates with all the people of the earth in the Feast of Booths or Sukkot, for 7 days.
So what actions could a believer take that might prevent him or her from being taken in the rapture? I had to give you the background big picture, so that you'll fully understand. In Revelations 13, we are told that the antichrist will institute a "mark of the beast" system.
The mark of the beast system will be instituted sometime during the Great Tribulation period, sometime after the abomination of desolation in the Temple. It is my contention, that if a believer accepts the mark of the beast, they will miss the rapture, although they may be genuinely born-again. The following text will prove that point.
A caveat here, I do not believe that the mark of the beast system will be fully in place all over the world before the Day of the Lord begins, after the rapture. However, we know that it will be started during the Great Tribulation period, before the rapture. Therefore, some Christians may apostatize, accept the mark of the beast so that they can work and feed their family, and suffer greatly for their taking of the mark of the beast. Actually, that's the only category I see in scripture, where a believer can disqualify himself from the rapture. Also, the "wine of the wrath of God" from the text above, is the 7 Bowl Judgments from Revelations. You can get a proof for that from another article on this website concerning the Day of the Lord. Finally, if anyone wants to argue about those believers choosing to take the mark of the beast missing the rapture, I'll concede that in my own heart I'd like to see all believers changed in the rapture; but it appears as if God has drawn a line in the sand.
Just think how great it will be to be changed instantly
into a perfect, imperishable, immortal body for all eternity. What a great
and wonderful promise to all believers, I hope to see you there!!