Pentecost And The Rapture
Let me begin by saying that I don't believe the Rapture must
necessarily fall on any Jewish Holy Day because I believe that the Rapture is a
number specific event, not a date specific one.
From my studies I have concluded that the Rapture is not connected to any
other end times event, nor is it "scheduled" to take place on a given day, and
certainly not on a Jewish Feast Day, which have so far been fulfilled in a
manner significant to Israel, and which are easily identifiable in advance.
The key to the Rapture's occurrence is in
Romans 11:25 where Paul used what I think were two carefully selected
phrases in writing, "Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the
full number of Gentiles has come in." The first phrase is "full number". It
was a nautical term that described the number of soldiers and sailors that had
to be contracted and on board before a ship could set sail.
As soon as the full number was accounted for the ship could leave the
harbor, but not before. The last few
crew members were often obtained in suspicious ways, so the ship set sail the
minute all were on board. In effect,
no one knew the exact day or hour of departure, and the ship often stole away in
the middle of the night, before the most recently “contracted” crew members woke
up from their drunken stupor to discover what had been done to them.
The other phrase is "has come in." It was another nautical
term that meant "to arrive at its destination". You've probably heard someone
say, "I'm waiting for my ship to come in" meaning he's waiting for his
fortune to arrive at its destination, in this case his bank
account. It's a play on words that
came from this term.
When I put it all together, I think that Paul was telling
us that the Rapture is a number specific event not a date specific one, and
that's why no one will know the day or hour. There is apparently a "full
number" of members in the Church and when the full number
has arrived at its destination, heaven, then the Lord will turn again to Israel,
their blinders will come off, and He'll fulfill the last seven years of Jewish
history, Daniel's 70th Week.
That being said, since no one knows the full number, no one
can guess the day and hour of the Church's departure.
But as soon as the full number of born
again believers is reached the Church will set sail for it's destination no
matter what day or hour it happens to be. Then the scheduled End Times events
can begin to happen, because they're all geared toward accomplishing 2 things
for God. One is disciplining Israel
and the other is completely destroying the unbelieving world (Jer. 30:11)
and the Church has no part in either.
But since Pentecost is celebrated by much of the Western
church this weekend and since I get a lot of questions about the Rapture
occurring on Pentecost, here's why if it was scheduled for a Jewish feast day,
Pentecost would be the most likely.
Pentecost comes in the early summer (May-June). It's the only
Holy Day between the 3 Spring Feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First
Fruits) which were all fulfilled in the 1st Coming, and the 3 in the Fall (Rosh
Hashanna, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles) which will all be fulfilled in the 2nd
Coming. Its Hebrew name is Shavuot.
Pentecost is a Greek word that means "50 days" since it comes 50 days from the
Sabbath after Passover. The Feast of First Fruits (Resurrection Morning) is
celebrated on the day following the first Sabbath after Passover and Pentecost
on the day after the Sabbath seven weeks later, (Lev. 23:15-16)
giving rise to its nickname "Feast of Weeks." Since the Jewish Sabbath is
Saturday, both these Holy days are Sundays, although Pentecost has become a 2
Jews celebrate Pentecost (I'll just use its Greek name to
avoid any more confusion than necessary) as the day Moses received the Law on
Mt. Sinai in the wilderness and the nation Israel was born. (Exodus
19-20) Christians celebrate it as the day the Holy Spirit fell on the
Disciples in Jerusalem and the Church was born (Acts 2).
If you agree with my view that the parables of Matthew 13 describe
the church on Earth and that the parable of the yeast predicts there will be sin
in the church, you'll be interested in the fact that unlike all the other Jewish
Feasts that call for unleavened bread, Pentecost requires bread baked with yeast
(Lev. 23:17). Pentecost also began the annual wheat harvest,
perhaps pointing to another of Matthew's Kingdom parables, the Wheat and the
The Pentecost ceremonies reveal a subtle link to the coming
church. In synagogues, the Book of
Ruth is read on Pentecost. The story of Ruth has been called "The Romance of
Redemption" where-in Naomi, a Jewish woman from Bethlehem loses land and
position and is forced into exile in a foreign country where her husband soon
passes away leaving her penniless and alone. She decides to return to Bethlehem
and is accompanied by Ruth, a gentile woman who has sworn never to leave her.
Ruth is a Moabite who had married one of Naomi's sons who also died,
making her Naomi's daughter-in-law and, like her, a destitute widow.
Once back in Bethlehem Naomi's relative, a prominent Jewish
man named Boaz, falls in love with Ruth and marries her, in the process
redeeming Naomi's land and position according to the law. (Lev 25:25
& Deut. 25:5-6). The modeling here is dramatic, with Naomi in
the role of Israel, destitute and alone; Ruth as the Church, the gentile bride;
Boaz as the Kinsman Redeemer (Messiah) and the story a prediction of the
relationship between the three of them. On His way to redeeming Israel, the
Kinsman Redeemer takes a gentile bride, saving both from destitution and
restoring Israel's land. The identification of the Church with Pentecost began
in the prophecies of Ruth.
By the way, Boaz was the son of Rahab, the supposed harlot
from the Book of Joshua, and 3 generations later his great-grandson David became
King of Israel. Rahab and Ruth both show up in the Genealogy of the Lord Jesus (Matt.
1:5), and one of the pillars at the entrance to the Temple was named
after Boaz. There's a tradition that
the shepherds of Bethlehem, who were the first to be informed of the Lord's
birth, were tending their sheep in fields that once belonged to Boaz and Ruth.
When Is Your Birthday?
But there's more.
Another tradition holds that Enoch, one of the patriarchs from Genesis 5,
was born on the day later to be known as Pentecost.
Enoch's name means "teaching" a primary function of the Church and so
many scholars see him as a "type" of the church as well. Genesis 5:21-23
indicates that Enoch was very close to God and was actually taken live
(raptured) into Heaven some time before the Great Flood.
Pre-Trib scholars see this event as hinting of a yet future disappearance
of the Church just before the Great Tribulation,
especially since the Lord said that the day of His coming would be like
the days of Noah. In the Days of
Noah the unbelieving world was destroyed in the judgment, a believing remnant
was preserved through the judgment and Enoch disappeared before the judgment.
If these conditions repeat themselves as the Lord indicated, then
preceding the 2nd Coming, the unbelieving world will again be
destroyed in the judgment, a believing remnant of Israel will be preserved
through the judgment, and the church will disappear sometime before the
These same traditions also hold that Enoch disappeared from
Earth on his birthday. So here's a model in Genesis of a man identified with the
church being born and raptured on the day that would become Pentecost, the day
the church was also born. And that's
why of all the Jewish feasts, Pentecost is the most likely Rapture Day
All this of course is merely an accumulation of circumstantial
evidence. The Rapture is a secret event, and as such it's exact timing is known
only to God. And if, as I believe,
it will happen as soon as the full number has come in, then it would be
impossible for anyone on Earth to know the day or the hour in advance.
Soon And Very Soon
One day soon now, all who are in Christ, having heard and
believed the Word of Truth, the Gospel of our salvation, thereby receiving the
mark of the promised Holy Spirit, will suddenly disappear from the face of the
Earth. Included among them
will be all children and those mentally incapable of making informed choices.
An unknown number of instantaneous deliveries will temporarily leave the
world without a single pregnant woman at the same time.
In one instant we will have been going about our daily routines and in
the next we'll be standing in the presence of our Redeemer, our sins forgiven
and forgotten, and all our imperfections gone.
Joining us will be all the faithful dead, reunited with their perfected
bodies and restored to eternal physical life. Together we will begin the most
incredible journey of exploration and realization ever dreamed of.
Neither we, nor the unbelieving world, will have received any
advance warning of the timing for this event; it will have come totally by
surprise. Maybe it will happen on Pentecost, maybe not.
But one thing is certain, when it does happen, none us will care one whit
whether we had predicted it's timing accurately. We will only express in
unimaginable joy our gratitude for being there.
For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from
yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephe. 2:8-9) As it is
written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has
prepared for those who love Him – but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.
(1 Cor. 2:9-10). You can almost hear the footsteps of the