Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Feast of Trumpets

On June 11, 2008, at the Maranatha Chapel in San Diego, Pastor Ray Bentley interviewed Mark Biltz. Mark Biltz is the pastor at El Shaddai Ministries in Bonney Lake, WA. A webcast of the interview is here. Skip about 42 minutes into this church service to get to the beginning of the interview.

Iwrote three articles concerning the topics covered in this interview. The material in these articles is derived almost entirely from this interview, and I want to be sure to give credit where credit is due: Mark Biltz for explaining so clearly and effectively the nature of God’s feast days as prophecy, and for discovering the relationship of the four total lunar eclipses and two solar eclipses in the years 2014 and 2015 to the feast days, and their implications, and Ray Bentley for conducting an excellent, very coherent, interview.

The three articles cover roughly these three topics:

  1. God’s Feast Days as Prophecy;
  2. Why we can expect the Rapture to occur on Rosh Hashanah (The Feast of Trumpets), and the Gentile Church’s misinterpretation of Jesus’ words concerning the timing of His coming; and
  3. The findings of Mark Biltz (and others) regarding the eclipses in 2014 and 2015, and what they might tell us about the timing of the Lord’s return.
This is the second of these articles.

The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)

This is the only feast where the Jews blow the Shofar (trumpet) one hundred times. Throughout Jewish history, the 100th blast has always been known as the Last Trump. Therefore, when Ephesians speaks of the Last Trump, Paul was talking about the Feast of Trumpets.

All other feasts are on the full moon, 14 days after the last new moon. Their start can be determined by simply counting days. The Feast of Trumpets is on the new moon, the very first day of the month. In order to determine the new moon, two witnesses would need to go to the Sanhedrin and testify that they saw the new moon. Fires would be set to let all the Jews everywhere know that the feast had begun. They couldn’t just count days.

Because of this uncertainty, when you woke up in the morning, the feast could already be half over. This was unacceptable, because the Jews were required to keep the entire day.

To solve this dilemma, they kept the feast for two days, and it was known as one long day.Because it was based on the sighting of the new moon, the feast was known as “the feast where no one knew the day or the hour” when it was going to begin.

Even to this day, on Jewish calendars it still covers two days. (Rosh Hashanah is also called the Feast of the Long Day.) “I don’t know which day it’s going to be on, but it’s one or the other.” It is also known as the Hidden Day. Because it is on one day or the other, it’s hidden from Satan so he won’t know the exact time, either.

The Rapture begins the Wedding of the Messiah. Whenever any Jewish man was going to get married, the father did all the preparation. Whenever the groom was asked when the wedding would be he would respond “Only my father knows.” This was a common term of respect.

The Feast of Trumpets is the sign. It’s the Last Trump. It is the crowning of the King. It is the day of Hiddenness. It’s the day the gates are opened, the opening of the books. It’s the long day. And, it’s the only feast where you don’t know the exact day or hour.

God always warns before he brings judgment. For example, there are seven trumpet judgments in Revelation. Many people, including Mark Biltz, believe that the Rapture will occur on the Feast of Trumpets.

When a statement like that is made, it is inevitable that someone will point out the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:36, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” However, as we have just seen, this was a common Jewish phrase in Jesus’ day, with a different meaning from our present day, gentile, understanding.

In addition, Pastor Biltz cites several verses that show that Jesus was speaking to the sleeping church that is not watching and awaiting His return.

In 1st Thessalonians 5:1-2 Paul says, “But of the times and the season, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.” What does Paul mean by “thief in the night?”

Pastor Biltz shows a picture from The Temple Institute of a sleeping watchman being found asleep by the captain of the watch.

Remember, God lit the first fire on the altar. The Israelites were commanded to never let the fire go out. Priests were assigned to guard the flame, two at a time. When the captain of the guard would come to check, if he found one of the priests sleeping, he would take a torch, light it with the fire from the altar, and set the sleeping priest’s garments on fire. The priestly guard would jump up screaming, tearing off his burning garments, and go running through the temple naked.

The captain of the guard was referred to in the vernacular as “the thief in the night!” His job was to insure that the watchmen were keeping the fires burning.

When Jesus talked about coming as a thief in the night, he was talking about this very circumstance. He was not speaking to those who are watching and waiting, He is warning the church that is not watching, asleep on the job. Jesus was writing to the religious community that didn’t believe that He was coming, weren’t watching, were asleep. In effect, He was saying to them “When things start happening, you’ll be running and screaming, exposing your shame because you were not prepared, even though you said that you were My children.”

In Revelation 3:1-3, Jesus says “I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.” (My emphasis)

Through John, He was writing to the “dead” church. He was telling them that He would come as a thief to those who are not watching!

Revelation 3: 17-18 says, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.”

This ties in with Revelation 16:15 - “Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!” He comes as a thief to the sleeping church.

1st Thessalonians 5:3 says, “While people are saying, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.”

“Sudden destruction will come upon them” speaks to those who are not watching, not those who are watching, because those who are watching “are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.” (emphasis mine)

In the parable of The Foolish Virgins, Matt 25:8-13, Jesus said “And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Jesus was speaking to the foolish virgins, not to the wise virgins. The wise virgins were already in the marriage feast.

In the story of faithful and unfaithful servants, Luke 12:37-48, Jesus said, ‘Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”’

If you’re not watching and don’t believe the Lord is coming, THEN he comes like a thief in the night. Don't let that be you!

Every year on the Feast of Trumpets we should be watching for the return of our Lord.

The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) this year is on September 30 and October 1. Be ready!

Update! After I posted this, I realized that to use the illustration from the Temple Institute I needed their permission. When I emailed them, not only did I receive permission, I also received some comments correcting my understanding of the temple guard. This is the email I received:

Dear Mr. Smith,
Shalom and greetings from Jerusalem. Thanks for your email request. Permission is granted for this use.
Respectfully, I'd just like to comment on what you have written here, from the standpoint of Jewish scholarship...since the subject of the Holy Temple is a Jewish subject I would like to clarify one point. It was the Levites, not the priests, who stood guard in the Holy Temple at night. There were twenty four specific points within the Temple where these guards stood watch; however, the purpose of this guard was to honor the Divine Presence. No priests were assigned to guard the flame on the altar. Also, the sleeping Levite's garments were only singed. There were never allowed to actually catch fire. No one ever ran through the Holy Temple naked.
Rabbi Chaim Richman
Director, International Department
The Temple Institute

I would like to thank Rabbi Richman for his kind comments, and I stand corrected.


  1. But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
    Matt 4:36

  2. Yes, I devoted considerable time, most of the post, discussing that very verse (It's actually Matthew 24:36). I take it that you were not impressed. Is there a part of the discussion that you disagree with? I'm afraid that simply citing the verse one more time is not very helpful.

  3. I have been pursuing a similar line of study for several weeks now, and I actually published a post a few hours ago that relates to this topic. Some questions that I have: What will happen to the sleeping church at the time of the Rapture? Is it even possible that part of the church could be left behind? Or will they be the ones who have only wood, hay and stubble to present to the Lord? Of course, I don't necessarily expect you to have an answer for all of these questions, but these issues have troubled me and have kept me digging for answers. I look forward to reading your next post.

  4. Vicki, I have been wondering about the same things. I don't think the sleeping church would be left behind, but they won't have much to show at the Bema Seat Judgement, when we are to be rewarded in Heaven for what we have done here on Earth.

    Thanks for your kind words.

  5. Ron, I have been studying this topic of the rapture, and half the church being possibly left behind, and have come up with something I thought was interesting. When reading through the entire new testament, you'll find that faith in Christ is for eternal life, and Christ-like character or maturity is for our inheritance ( possibly the rapture, wedding and reigning with Him). Could it be that those who knew, but weren't prepared are those that will be beheaded during the tribulation, or those that are referred to as "the nations of the saved" that bring their glory into the new jerusalem, the very city that is made out of the raptured church?