There is a parable that Jesus told that haunted me for a long time. I’ve included it in several of my writings, but I’ve never addressed it specifically. The parable haunted me because, if taken at face value, it challenges the notion of the rapture that is preached in most churches. I am certainly no expert in theology, but a simple reading of this particular parable forces one to reconsider what we have been taught by men versus what we are being taught by Christ. Thus, for years, the Parable of the Ten Virgins has been a rock in my spiritual shoe, it has been a grain of sand under my spiritual tongue. I have meditated on this parable for a long time, I have prayed about it and asked God to grant me correct understanding of it, no matter where it may lead me. I believe that God answered that prayer a few weeks ago and after much prayer and much seeking, I believe that I am being led to share that understanding with those meant to receive it.
I’ve been working on this writing for weeks and what I will be sharing consists of several parts that must be explained to be understood. Therefore, this writing will consist of a series of posts and it is my prayer that people will make the investment of their time to read it because it may possibly determine where they are during the period of time the Bible refers to as “great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” (Matt 24:21).
I believe the main reason for the various understandings, contradictions and misinterpretations of the rapture, or what the Bible refers to as the “HARPAZO” (1 Thess 4:16,17), is that we are trying to put together the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle without looking at the picture on the box cover. For us to have a proper understanding of how the pieces fit together, we must be able to look upon the overall design. For us to find the picture that represents the overall design, we must examine the first coming of Christ. And it is when we examine the first coming of Christ, that we come to the understanding that His manifestation as God in the flesh literally fulfilled the first four of the seven appointed Jewish feasts.
To truly grasp the breadth and depth of symbolism in Jesus’ teachings and ministry, it is important to have a general understanding of Jewish history, culture and customs. As Christians, we are not specifically commanded to observe all of the Old Covenant system of feasts and rituals in this New Covenant of grace through Jesus Christ, but we should have an understanding of their meaning and purpose and incorporate that understanding into our expression of faith.
Jewish culture and customs revolved not only around Mosaic Law, but also around their appointed annual feasts. When Moses was on Mount Sinai, God appointed seven feasts to Israel and the dates they were to be observed (Leviticus 23:4-44): Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets (also called Yom Teruah or Rosh Hashanah), Atonement (also called Yom Kippur) and Tabernacles (also called Sukkot or the Feast of Booths).
The first four appointed feasts were literally fulfilled at the first coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus was crucified as the Passover Lamb on Passover (Lev 23:5; John 1:29), buried as the Bread of Life during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Lev 23:5,6; John 6:35), raised incorruptible on the Feast of First Fruits (Lev 23:10; 1 Cor 15:20), and sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Lev 23:16; Acts 2:1-4). If the first four feasts were literally fulfilled at Christ’s first coming, then we can expect that the last three feasts will be literally fulfilled at His second coming. We will take a closer look at this picture that represents God’s overall design in my next post.
Continue to Part 2 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box