In Gen 8.4 we learn that the Ark rested on the mountains of Ararat on the seventeenth of the seventh month. What date is that on the calendar? It is the seventeenth of Nisan on the Civil Calendar (it is before Exo 12). What is the significance attached to this date? What we will find is Israel passed through the Red Sea and Yeshua was resurrected (passed through the waters of death) on that date. Both of those events happened after Exo 12 so the dates are reckoned according to the Religious Calendar, the seventeenth day of the first month of Nisan. In addition, Hezekiah cleansed the Temple (2 Chr 29.17-24) and Haman is killed on Nisan 17 (Est 3.12 through 7.10).
So, as we have shown you in just a few examples. Knowing these dates can lead us to something significant in the plan of God even today. These calendars are tremendously important. That’s why Paul says in 1 Thes 5.1 that, “Now as to the times (moedim) and the seasons (zemanim), brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.” Lev 23 tells us about the biblical festivals. The Hebrew word for “appointed times” is the word “moed” meaning “appointment.” The Hebrew word for “convocation” is “Mikrah” and it means “rehearsal, recital” (Lev 23.2).
The festivals were appointments with God at the Temple on certain dates to “rehearse” God’s prophetic plan. The seven festivals are Pesach (Passover); Hag Ha Matzah (Unleavened Bread); Yom ha Bikurim (First Fruits); Shavuot (Pentecost); Yom Teruah (Day of the Awakening Blast of the Shofar also known as Rosh Ha Shanah); Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Booths).
There are seven “Shabbatons” or “High Sabbaths” in Scripture. They are Nisan 15 (first day of Hag Ha Matzah); Nisan 21 (last day of Hag Ha Matzah) Shavuot or the fiftieth day after the first day of the week after Passover; Tishri 1 (Yom Teruah or Rosh Ha Shanah); Tishri 10 (Yom Kippur; Tishri 15 (first day of Sukkot) and Tishri 22 (Shemini Atzeret). We need to have a working knowledge of the calendar and the dates of the festivals and Shabbatons. Scripture will say certain things are happening on these dates.
Now, in this particular study, Tishri 1 (Yom Teruah or Rosh Ha Shanah) and its idioms, ceremonies, prayers and concepts will be very important towards a proper understanding of the Natzal (Rapture) as we shall see. The Lord expects you to know these dates, festivals and concepts (1 Thes 5.1). Now, let’s look at some “zemanim” (or seasons) that deal with our topic.
First, let’s look at the Counting of the Omer. From the day of the waving of the omer before God in the Temple (also called Bikkurim or first fruits of the barley harvest) to Shavuot is fifty days. The people were to count seven sabbaths, and the fiftieth day is Shavuot (always occurs on the first day of the week).
The day Yeshua rose from the dead was Nisan 17 and it was the day they waved the omer of “bikurim” (first fruits). Paul will write his letters (epistles) in the sub-language of the festivals and the Temple. We know that he alludes to Bikurim and the counting of the omer in his teaching about the resurrection of Yeshua in 1 Cor 15.20-23. Yeshua rose from the dead on Nisan 17 which was the day of first fruits (Bikurim) and later raised people from the dead as the first fruits of the coming harvest, beginning on the Natzal (Rapture). He kept the “appointment” and “rehearsal.” These verses are in the sub-language of the festivals.
Another season we will talk about is the season of Teshuvah (repentance). This is a forty day period that begins on Elul 1 and goes through Tishri 10 (Yom Kippur). Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur are both called a “Yom Ha Din” or “Day of Judgment.” We will establish this later. Every day during this period a shofar is blown and Psa 27 is read.
This brings us to another season called the “Yamim Noraim” or the “Days of Awe.” This goes from Tishri 1 and Yom Teruah (Rosh Ha Shanah) to Tishri 10 (Yom Kippur), for a total of ten days (the number of judgment). These days are called the Days of Awe because all mankind is judged on Rosh Ha Shanah, a Yom Ha Din (Day of Judgment). Those that are not judged as righteous on Rosh Ha Shanah have ten days to repent. Then there is a final judgment of mankind on Yom Kippur, another Yom Ha Din (Day of Judgment). The Yamim Noraim are the last ten days of Teshuvah.
Now, Eph 4.30 says, “Do not grieve the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Another name for Yom Kippur is Yom Ha Pedut meaning “Day of Redemption.” It is also called the “Day of Sealing.” This tells us that the Book of Ephesians was probably written around the High Holy days of Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur because he is using the terms and concepts that come from those festivals.
We believe that the Book of First Corinthians was written around Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits. We just looked at a passage associated with Bikurim (First Fruits). 1 Cor 6 through 8 talks about concepts found in Passover and Unleavened Bread. This tells us that Paul was teaching concepts in conjunction with these festivals because it was that time of the year and the Corinthians understood Jewish eschatology. Again, we see this practice in our passage in Ephesians giving concepts associated with Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur. There is a connection between Rosh Ha Shanah and Sukkot. The fall festivals (Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot) are connected together in practice and in thought. Here are a couple of examples.
In 1 Kings 8.1-2 we see that Solomon assembled to himself in Jerusalem the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel. They were going to bring up the Ark of the Covenant of Yehovah from the city of David, which is Tzion. Therefore, all the men of Israel assembled with King Solomon at the feast in the month of Ethanim, which is the seventh month (Tishri on the religious calendar).
We have already seen that the Targums said that the ancients called Ethanim the first month (on the civil Calendar-Targum Ben Uzziel on 1 Kings 8.2). Solomon is going to dedicate the Temple and everyone comes on Tishri 1 (Yom Teruah or Rosh Ha Shanah) for the festival “in the month of Ethanim.” They are going to bring up the Ark out of the tent David made for it and move it into the Temple (about a half a mile). Then he dedicates the Temple.
1 Kings 8.65-66 says, “So Solomon observed the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt, before the Lord our God for seven days and seven more days, even fourteen days. On the eighth day he sent the people away and they blessed the king. Then they went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown to David his servant and to Israel his people.”
So, how could he send everyone away on the eighth day when everyone was assembled to celebrate for fourteen days. The key to understanding this passage is the calendar. You have the Festival of Sukkot which goes for seven days, then you have a day attached to it called “Shemini Atzeret” or the “Concluding Eighth Day.” So now we can understand this passage. They assemble on Tishri 1, then on the eighth day of Tishri he starts his fourteen days of dedicating the Temple (Tishri 8 through the Tishri 21). The actual dedication of the Temple started on Tishri 8.
We have another example of people coming up on Tishri 1 (Yom Teruah/Rosh Ha Shanah) and then they stay there and celebrate through Sukkot in Neh 7.73 through 8.18. Now, as you read these dates it won’t say it is Yom Teruah (Rosh Ha Shanah) or Yom Kippur but God expects us to know these dates.
There is a Jewish saying, “On Rosh Ha Shanh men are judged, on Yom Kippur men are sentenced and on Hoshanah Rabbah (seventh day of Sukkot) men are delivered over to judgment (Jerusalem Talmud, Rosh Ha Shanh 84.8). This actually happened on Oct 16,1946 (Tishri 21 that year) when ten Nazi war criminals were hung after the Nuremberg Trials on Hoshanah Rabbah. Herman Goering was supposed to be the eleventh one hung but he committed suicide two hours before. This fulfilled a hidden prophecy in the book of Esther (see the book “Computorah” by Moshe Katz, p. 107). Hoshana Rabbah means “The Great Salvation.” This concept is also related in the saying, “signed, sealed and delivered.”
We have been establishing a foundation so far and these concepts will all come together when we get into the Natzal specifically. Please keep these concepts in mind that we have already given and go over the passages given.
In Part 10 we will pick up with the concept of the Two Messiahs and the popular view in the first century by the Pharisees that there would be two separate Messiahs. The first one was called the Messiah Ben Joseph who would be a “suffering Messiah” as promised in Genesis and Isaiah, and the Kingly Messiah who comes to restore the Kingdom of God and destroys the enemies of God. This concept will be very important in our understanding of the Naztal and the role of the Messiah.