The Bible does not tell us the day or hour when Jesus will come for His Bride. However, it does give us clues as to what time of year it will happen. There are many who think the Rapture (Read: What is the Rapture? and Why a Pre-Trib Rapture?) will occur at the time of the Feast of Trumpets in the autumn. This is usually based on 1 Corinthians 15:52 that tells a trumpet will sound:
1 Cor 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
It is correct, that when the Rapture occurs a trumpet will sound. However, trumpets sounded for many reasons and for many events in ancient Israel, so this does not indicate the time of the Rapture to be at the time of the Feast of Trumpets.
The Rapture and Shavuot?
There is much more reason to think that the Rapture will take place at the time of Shavuot (Pentecost in Greek), which is late May to mid-June. Before looking at the biblical reasoning, let’s first gain a better understanding of Shavuot.
The Feasts of the Lord
Shavuot is the second of three mandatory Jewish feasts that were ordained by God (Exodus 34:22). The first was the early spring Feast of Pesach, which we call Passover. The third is the fall Feast of Sukkot, which we call Tabernacles. And the one in between is Shavuot, which is also called the Feast of Weeks. During each of these three festival times, Jews were required to go up to Jerusalem and make an offering to God.
In the Church, we also have three celebrations annually. The early spring celebration of Easter is near the time of Passover (and sometimes coincides with it). For the Jews, Passover was a celebration of the barley harvest and a time of remembering their deliverance from bondage in Egypt. For the Church, Easter is when we remember Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and His deliverance of us from the bondage of sin.
The Jew’s late spring/early summer Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost in Greek) was a celebration of the wheat harvest and a time to remember the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai. The Church’s Pentecost is a celebration of the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), when the Church was “born” by the giving of the Holy Spirit to indwell believers.
The third annual Jewish feast, the Feast of Sukkot, was a celebration in the fall of the fruit harvest and a time of remembering their journey in the wilderness. The third celebration for Christians is Christmas. It is a time of remembering when Jesus came to earth to tabernacle (dwell) with man. Although the Church celebrates Christmas on December 25th, it is well known that Jesus was most likely born at the time of Sukkot in late September (Read: Was Jesus born in September? and Should we celebrate Jesus’ birthday in September?)
Fulfillment of the Feasts
The Feasts of the Lord were given to point the hearts and minds of God’s people to Himself. Jesus came to fulfill the Jewish Feast of Passover in every way. He was the Paschal Lamb whose shed blood will wash away anyone’s sin who repents and trusts in Jesus. Symbolically, Jesus’ blood covers the “doors” of our tabernacles so the death angel will passover, just as the passover lamb’s blood did in Egypt.
Jesus also fulfilled the offering of firstfruits during the Passover festival when He ascended to the Father on Sunday morning, typologically fulfilling the wave offering to God of first fruits. He was the first fruit of the resurrection (1 Cor 15:20).
Jesus will come again in glory at the time of Sukkot (Tabernacles) to dwell with man (tabernacle means “dwell). Jesus will set up His kingdom on earth and reign from the throne of David, just as God told Mary He would. We commonly call this the second coming and, when He comes, He will fulfill every aspect of the fall Feast of Tabernacles.
It is the feast in between these two that is of interest to us.
The Feast of Shavuot
Let us remember that when the the Church was born (recorded in Acts 2), the people were celebrating Shavuot. This was at the time of the wheat harvest. In the Church it has come to be known as Pentecost, which means fiftieth and gets that name from the counting of 50 days from the Feast of Firstfruits of the early spring barley harvest (Leviticus 23:15-16).
While the first feast (Passover) was fulfilled in Jesus’ first coming and the second feast (Tabernacles) will be fulfilled in His second coming, the Feast of Shavuot differs greatly from both. Passover was a time of Jesus coming to the lost sheep of Israel to be their Messiah and Taberancles will be the time when He returns to be their King. In between we have the Church Age — a time when Jesus dwells in Heaven and rules on earth through His body, the Church (by the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit in true believers).
The feast day of Shavuot, which we call Pentecost, was partially fulfilled in Jesus’ first coming, 50 days after Passover, when the church was born. I suggest that it will be completely fulfilled when Jesus comes for His Bride, the Church, in what we call The Rapture (Read: What is the Rapture? and Why a Pre-Trib Rapture?)
The Rapture at the Time of Shavuot
Unlike the Feasts of Passover and Sukkot, which are both seven day festivals, Shavuot was declared by the Lord to be a one-day feast/festival (Lev 23:15ff). It is also an undated feast, meaning the day is not set by the calendar. It is set by counting 50 days from Passover’s Feast of First Fruits. Let’s consider reasons why Shavuot will likely be the time of the Rapture.
* Shavuot celebrated the wheat harvest.
Typologically, the wheat growing in the fields between the spring feast and fall feast represents the Church growing in the world between Jesus’ first coming and second coming. The wheat will be gathered unto Jesus (John 4:35) at the harvest (the Rapture).
* At Shavuot, the Jews were instructed to bake two loaves of leavened bread and offer them to the Lord (Leviticus 23:17).
Leaven represents sin in the Bible,. During Passover they were instructed to remove all leaven from their homes (symbolic of removing sin from their lives). So why would they offer two loaves of bread, baked with leaven? The two loaves typologicallyy represent the two people groups: Jews and Gentiles. In the Church (in Christ) Jews and Gentiles become one symbolized by the two loaves of bread that look the same. The two loaves with leaven in them (sin still dwells in believers) are acceptable unto the Lord because the leaven (sin) is covered by the finished (baked) bread (symbolic of the Bread of Heaven). As forgiven sinners, we have sin (leaven) in us. But we are covered in the Rightousness of Christ. When God sees us, He accepts us as righteous, just as He accepted the wave offering of bread at Shavuot.
* Jewish tradition tells that Enoch was born at the time of Shavuot.
Enoch was taken by God (Gen 5:24). The Hebrew word for taken implies the same meaning as the Latin word for rapture and the Greek word for “caught up” or “plucked.” Typologically, Enoch is considered a “picture” or “whisper” of the primarily Gentile Church. (Enoch was a Gentile, predating Abraham). Enoch walked with God and was taken (raptured). The Church walks with God and will be raptured (taken, caught up).
This is where it gets interesting. Jewish tradition claims that Enoch was born at the time of Shavuot and his being taken by God was at the same time of year as his birth. Since we know that the Church was “born” at the time of Shavuot (we call it Pentecost), could it be that the Church will be raptured at the same time of year that it was “born?” It seems very plausible, but do remember, this is biblical reasoning, not scriptural fact.
* Pattern Completed in the Three Feasts
- .Passover: With the first coming of Christ culminating in His death, burial, and resurrection, Passover was fulfilled.
- Shavuot: With the birth of the Church at Shavuot (Pentecost), Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to indwell believers and He partially fulfilled His coming to His own.
Jesus will come again. It will be to gather those who belong to Him — those whose bodies lie in graves and those who are HIs and still alive on this earth. However, when Jesus comes for His own, He will not set foot on the earth. Jesus will call us up to meet Him in the clouds:
1 Th 4:16-17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall [bodily] rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together [rapture] with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…
1 Cor 15:21, 23 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. [at the time of Passover] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive [bodily resurrected]. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
Jesus promised this coming for His own: John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Jesus’ coming for His Bride is not a third advent. He will not come to earth to dwell with man. He will call us up, in much the same way he called up John in Revelation 4.
Rev 4:1-3 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
3. Finally, in Jesus’ second coming He will fulfill the fall Feast of Taberancles. In His’ first coming, He came to tabernacle (dwell) with man (Emmanuel, God with us). In His second coming, He will again come to tabernacle with man. In His coming for His Bride, He will take her to Heaven to be with Him.
Considering that Jesus’ first coming completely fulfilled the spring Feast of Passover, and His second coming will completely fulfill the fall Feast of Tabernacles, it seems very reasonable that the late spring/early summer Feast of Shavuot has been only partially fulfilled with the birth of the Church and will be completely fulfilled with the Rapture of the Church.
Typologically, the two loaves of bread for the offering at Shavuot have been made and baked. They are finished and are now being waved unto the Lord. When Jesus returns for His bride, and raptures the Church to Heaven, typologically, the “bread” will be received by God.
Some time following (no one knows how long) the Seventieth Week of Daniel will begin (the seven years of tribulation), after which Jesus will return — at the Feast of Tabernacles — and His reign of righteousness on earth will begin.
The King of Kings
Isa 32:1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.
Jer 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
Num 14:21 But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.
Psa 72:19 And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.
Isa 6:3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
Isa 11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
Hab 2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
Read more about Shavuot and the Rapture: What Is Shavuot / Pentecost? Does It Prophesy of End Times?
The Rapture: What is the Rapture? Why a Pre-Trib Rapture? Does a Wedding Ceremony Have Prophetic Typology of the Rapture?
Comparison of Passover and Shavuot
Feast of Passover/Feast of Firstfruits
- Seven-day feast.
- Set according to God’s prescribed date.
- Bread made without leaven, which represents sin.
- Commanded to remove all leaven from the home.
- The killing of the pure and spotless paschal Lamb (fulfilled in the crucifixion of Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God)
- The Blood applied to the doorposts of the homes and the Angel of death passing over the blood covered homes (symbolic of the blood of our Lamb that covers the tabernacles of our bodies and removes our death curse)
- Passover commemorates God’s deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt (symbolic of our deliverance from sin and death)
- Firstfruits offering of a sheaf of grain from the barley harvest (symbolic of thanksgiving unto the Lord for His mighty works and fulfilled by Jesus, the first fruits of the resurrection).
Shavuot/Feast of Weeks
- One-day feast in Israel (a two-day feast outside of Israel).
- Set according to the counting of weeks (7 weeks of the counting of the omer) + one day of rest. The 50th day is the feast of Firstfruits of Passover.
- God’s giving of the Law at Sinai, 50 days after delivering His people out of Egypt, happened at the time of Shavuot (although it pre-dated the Feasts of the Lord).
- Firstfruits offering of two loaves of leavened bread made from fine flour from the wheat harves, brought to the Temple and offered to God.
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