1998 in Prophecy
By Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1997
The coming year of 1998 will be a pivotal one in the fulfillment of prophecy for the End-Time. I firmly believe this to be the case. This is because of a significant event that will occur in this New Year that will outshine all other prophetic occurrences that have been achieved over the past nineteen hundred years. That particular occasion will be the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Christ Jesus into the world. That day will occur in the year 1998 at sundown on Sunday, September 20 and continue until sundown September 21. The day is the start of the Old Testament New Year’s day called in Hebrew Rosh haShanah, or in English, The Day of Trumpets. That day commences the third millennium from the Nativity of Jesus. It is not, however, the start of the biblical Millennium (the thousand years) mentioned in Revelation 20 that has a different chronological benchmark for its official standard. Still, however, September 20/21, 1998 does commence the new millennium with the Nativity of Jesus as its foundational cornerstone. I will show in this Prophetic Report just how important and significant that day will be in the history of the world. We should expect some outstanding events associated with the End of the Age to be initiated beginning with that New Year’s day in the biblical calendar. Some exciting prophetic times are just on the horizon. I have not the slightest doubt that God is now ushering us into that period that the Scriptures denominate as the End-Time.
When students of the Holy Scriptures study the biblical teachings and prophecies, it can easily be witnessed that there are types and symbols that God manifests (usually in clear terms) to enhance the meaning behind any given subject that he wishes to present to all mankind, to Israel as a nation or to any individual person. These principles are in the Bible for all to see, but often it is only those who are well acquainted with the nuances of the Scriptures who can adequately understand those symbols and apply them to the overall teachings of God. Let us look at some of the systems of teaching that are found in the Holy Scriptures. They will help us to understand some of the essential prophetic features that are associated with the significance of this coming New Year that starts at sundown on September 20, 1998.
There is a cardinal proposition that most of you will be familiar but you probably have never had it defined or explained in technical terms. This principle is what I call the "reversal teaching" of the Bible. This is a fundamental form of instruction that we often meet with within the Holy Scriptures. Its primary use is to reveal the fact of God's control over history and prophecy in order to carry out his preordained plan for the education of his divine offspring (his children, such as you and I) within this period of our human existence. This literary use of "reversal teaching" allows us to witness the Hand of God in all matters of human history as well as in all phases of our salvation which deal with our entry into the divine Family of God. Let me give you some scriptural examples to elucidate this principle of teaching.
In First Corinthians 15 the apostle Paul used this "reversal teaching" to great advantage in explaining the results of what the Gospel will bring to mankind. He wished to illustrate some clear and concise understandings of God's work in granting to us a salvation that exalts us to a position of glory and power in the universe. Note that Paul's context in this section of First Corinthians is the glorification that all of us are destined to receive when we are resurrected from the dead. He said:
"There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead."
I Corinthians 15:41
Paul then immediately enters into the principle of "reversal teaching" in the next verse. He says:
"It [the body] is sown in corruption."
Then note the "reversal."
"It is raised in incorruption."
This is an illustration of contrast, from the negative to the positive. Paul then continues his theme of "reversal teaching."
"It [the body] is sown in dishonor;
[reversal] it is raised in glory;
it is sown in weakness;
[the reversal] it is raised in power;
it is sown a natural body;
[the reversal] it is raised a spiritual body."
Note the extraordinary thing that these "reverse" or "contrast" teachings afford to each of us. They take us from degradation in every field of our endeavor to one of extreme power and glory through God's work of grace on our behalf. What is wonderful is the fact that this "reversal" of conditions will occur "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, for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written"…
(Note Paul's final "reversal teaching" in this context concerning our resurrection.)…
"Death [the negative] is swallowed up
in victory [the positive]."
We can observe the immediate contrast. Paul wanted us to realize the instantaneous reversal of fortune that awaits each of us. First, there is "death" and its awful consequences which all of us will undergo. Death makes us naturally feel that we have been utterly and completely defeated and dishonored. Yes, death has that terrible "sting." But to us who are "in Christ," that "death" is immediately followed right on its heels (and with no space of the passage of time in between as far as our consciousness is concerned) with a triumph and a complete "victory" that is the very antithesis of the "death" that immediately preceded it. Paul shows that we are promised (and will receive) a reversal of fortune — from ignominy and degradation to a sure victory, power and glory and it will occur in an instant. This change in our position (our state and condition) takes place at the twinkling of an eye at the last trump when the resurrection from the dead takes place at Christ's Second Advent.
The Bible does not teach the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul that was popularized by Plato and later Greek philosophers. The Bible shows that the dead are very dead and that they are totally unconscious and unaware of anything happening in a conscious sense on earth or in heaven (I Timothy 6:16; Ecclesiastes 9:5; Psalm 6:5; 146:4). When a person dies, it is true that the next conscious moment will be that when he or she is resurrected from the dead either at Christ's Second Advent or at the beginning of the Great White Throne judgment period mentioned in Revelation 20. Though the apostle Paul realized that he would be instantaneously in the presence of God at the moment of his death (as far as his consciousness was concerned) and that he would "immediately" be in a glorious condition (Philippians 1:23,24), he had enough spiritual savvy to realize that the time of his glorification would occur at what he called, in the Greek, the "out resurrection" (Philippians 3:11). The idea that one goes immediately at death to be either with God and Christ in heaven or into the pangs of hellfire (or perhaps a place of cleansing invented by the later ecclesiastical authorities called Purgatory), is a heathen doctrine that is entirely foreign to the teachings of either the Old or the New Testaments. I have literature that proves this for those of you who have not seen the biblical evidence.
Now we come to our subject at Hand. Let me inform you about a particular day that will occur at sundown on September 20, 1998. This date symbolically illustrates a change in condition for each of us. It is a time when we will be exalted from ruin and desolation to glory and power. This change in fortune (or better put, this change in fortune to accomplish our preordained destiny) will occur to each of us in the twinkling of an eye — in an instant! That day in biblical terms is called the Day of Trumpets. Why was it called in the Bible by this designation? To answer this, we must understand the Mosaic legislation regarding the start of each month in the Hebrew calendar.
From the time of Moses, the priests would blow the trumpet at sunset to officially inaugurate the New Moon day (Numbers 10:10). When the children of Israel left Egypt at the Exodus, they departed in the month of Abib (later renamed Nisan) which became the first month of the Hebrew calendar. It normally answers to our late March or early April. For festival purposes and for all matters dealing with religious requirements, Moses was ordered by God to begin the ecclesiastical year with this month of Abib or Nisan (Exodus 12:2).
So, the religious year for Israel began in the Springtime and it ended the next Springtime. Before the Exodus period, however, the month that began the Hebrew calendar was Tishri (six months later than Abib). This earlier reckoning gave the Israelites a calendar year that began near Autumn and continued until the next Autumn. Both types of years (the Spring to Spring and the Autumn to Autumn) were used by the Israelites for different purposes. For all matters involving ecclesiastical or religious affairs, the Spring to Spring year was preferred. But, for matters dealing with government, commerce, however, the reckoning of the years from birth for Israelites, or the counting of kings' reigns, etc., the Autumn to Autumn year was used.
In regard to the civil birthdays of Israelites within the biblical period, the manner of counting the years from birth amounted to the following: When a child was born within any day of the calendar year, the birth-date of the child was automatically accounted as beginning with the first day of Tishri (the Day of Trumpets) that preceded the birth. To show how this was used, let us look at my birth-date (you can also select your own birth-date as an illustration).
Now, my birthday in 1932 was on the biblical calendar was on Nisan 14 (my birth certificate shows I was born precisely at 7 A.M. on Passover day in the biblical calendar, or April 20, 1932 as indicated on our present Solar Calendar). But in Old Testament times, my official birth-date for all legal purposes would be reckoned from the previous Day of Trumpets that occurred near Autumn in 1931. This would also apply to every other person who lived within the Israelite social and religious environment. This means that every person in ancient Israel had only one LEGAL birthday each year and that was always on the Day of Trumpets. So, in the ancient calendar of Israel (as shown in the Holy Scriptures), every person celebrated his or her birthday on the Day of Trumpets previous to their actual physical births.
This fact, that everyone's year of life was advanced one year at the Day of Trumpets, is shown in the Bible. Before the time of Moses, the New Year actually began near the Autumn. It began with the first day of Tishri. Now note that in the time of Noah, the Bible says "in the first month [Tishri], the first day of the month [later to be called the Day of Trumpets]" is when Noah became exactly 600 years of life (Genesis 8:13). This was the day that Noah "removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry" (verse 13). This was not only Noah's official birthday, it was the birthday of the new earth that you and I enjoy today. Our type of earth today differs from that which existed prior to the Flood of Noah.
In regard to accounting the lengths of reigns for the kings of Judah (from the time of Solomon to the fall of the Israelite kingdom when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem), the manner was slightly different. When any king died within a calendar year (no matter what time of the year the king died), that king's reign would LEGALLY be acknowledged as continuing until the next Day of Trumpets. And though the new king ruled in place of the former king during the time before the Day of Trumpets, that new king did not have his own first year of reign until the next Day of Trumpets when the trumpets would sound and Israel would proclaim the new king as officially in office with his own administration.
In effect, all the birthdays of early Israelites were advanced one year at the Day of Trumpets and all the lengths of the reigns of the kings of Judah also were acknowledged from the first day of Tishri which was also the Day of Trumpets.
In calendar matters dealing with the ecclesiastical year (the year in which all the Mosaic festivals of God were placed on the calendar), the seventh month of the year was Tishri (near Autumn). That day was when the "seventh trump" sounded for the inauguration of the "seventh month" in which the four final festivals of the Mosaic calendar had their observance (that is, the Day of Trumpets, Atonement, First Day of Tabernacles and the Octave or Last Day of the Tabernacles season). This seventh month of Tishri started with the Day of Trumpets. This gives us more information about the symbolic significance of the "day" in the ecclesiastical calendar of Israel. Thus, the Day of Trumpets was the time when the "last trump" sounded. It typically illustrated the "day" on which Christ would return to earth to be king and when the resurrection from the dead would occur. Note what Paul stated:
"Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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."
I Corinthians 15:51,52
Also there is First Thessalonians 4:16.
"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 rise first."
This "last trump" is also connected in an intimate way with the seventh trump in the Book of Revelation. Note what the apostle John wrote.
"And the seventh angel sounded [his trumpet]; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign for the ages of the ages [proper translation]."
Notice how the matter of "government" and the "rule of kings" advances into play within this context of the "seventh trump." The prophetic event being described in the Book of Revelation is typically illustrated in the ritualistic and liturgical events associated with the Day of Trumpets in the Mosaic calendar. The symbolism of that "day" Has to do with "government calendar reckonings" and the "crowning of kings." Remember, the ancient kings of Israel and Judah were crowned and officially given their roles as being sovereigns over the people, by the "blowing of trumpets" (I Kings 1:34,39; II Kings 9:13; 11:14; 12:13).
This same theme of kingship is reflected in the symbolism of the Virgin Woman who was about to give birth to a man-child who is destined to rule all nations with a rod of iron mentioned in Revelation 12:15. Note that this Virgin Woman has the sun mid-bodied to her and the moon is under her feet. In my book The Star that Astonished the World, I Have shown that this symbolic scene answers precisely with that of the New Moon when the sun is mid-bodied to the sign in the heavens called Virgo. This is a clear calendar indication. It is describing the Day of Trumpets as being the day of Christ's birth into the world as a baby. In the year 3 B.C., when Christ was born, this was at the evening of September 11.
At that time God provided for the world a grand display of heavenly phenomena that truly astonished the world. It was so magnificent that even astronomers today (those who are secular and have no interest in religious matters) still consider the astronomical scene as one of the most spectacular displays of celestial pageantry the world had ever seen. The astronomical occurrences were so special and significant that they brought Magi from the respected magician colleges of the east to come to Jerusalem and to give presents to the new born child of Judah. I have cataloged these outstanding events in my book The Star that Astonished the World. The 2000th year anniversary of those heavenly events (that occupied a period of a year and a half) will occur this coming year of 1998.
In the year 1998 (which is just on the horizon), the Day of Trumpets will start on September 20 at sundown. That day will be exactly 2000 years from the time of Christ's birth. The reason the Day of Trumpets is different on our Roman solar calendar each year is the fact that the biblical calendar is a Lunar/Solar calendar. It is usually about eleven days shorter in length than the Solar Calendar. About every three years an extra month has to be added to keep the biblical calendar in synchronization with the Solar Calendar that the world uses today. That is why there can be as much as eleven or even twenty-two days difference each year from what the biblical calendar shows.
Let us now note the theme in the Book of Revelation in regard to the child who was to be born of the Virgin Woman. The position of the sun and moon in relation to Virgo (the Woman) pinpoints the birth of Jesus to the Day of Trumpets. The apostle John who wrote Revelation 12 intended this to be understood as a literal calendar date. Any intelligent person in the first century would have comprehended this account as a calendar indication without the slightest problem.
The theme of Revelation 12 concerns his "government" and his "kingship" because this infant of the prophecy, when he would grow to manhood would come into his preordained power and glory. He will then "rule all nations with a rod of iron" (Revelation 12:5). The immediate context shows one of rule and government. All of this sovereign power will be given to Christ in a practical sense when he returns to earth at his Second Advent. This is when all of us will be raised from the dead and in an instant (in the twinkling of an eye) we will be given power and glory along with Christ, as well as a life of joy and happiness that will last for the rest of eternity. The Book of Revelation states that Christians will be crowned as "kings and priests" (Revelation 5:10) because we will then be totally "in Christ" who will inherit these exalted powers on earth at that time.
This is the very time when each of us will have a "divine birth" by the resurrection from the dead. That nativity of ours afforded to us by the resurrection will be our entrance into the very Family of God to rule and to supervise the entirety of the universe under the Father and Christ. That is what salvation is all about. And though we can now be called "born again" in a spiritual sense because of our conversion in this life, and we presently have a solid and secure relationship with Christ (see I Peter 2:2), our real birth into the Family of God will happen at our resurrections from the dead. And since the Day of Trumpets is the symbolic "day" that heralds that glorious event (whenever during the year it occurs), the Day of Trumpets will be the "day" that each of us accounts as our "birthday" into the Family of God for all the rest of eternity.
Indeed, since Christ's actual birthday was on the Day of Trumpets in 3 B.C., he has already become the federal head of all those in the ekklesia and since we are all now reckoned as being "in Christ," then our birthdays in the future (especially after our resurrections from the dead) will be accounted as being on the Day of Trumpets, just as Christ's actual birth also occurred on the literal Day of Trumpets 3 B.C. My book The Star that Astonished the World properly proves these points in a historical and biblical manner.
In order to show this significance of the Day of Trumpets even in the understanding of Christian prophecy and doctrine (particularly as it deals with our resurrections from the dead), let us now look at an event that was designed by God to take place of God long before the time of Moses. The theme shows a context of enthronement and sovereignty.
Let us now look at the significance of the Day of Trumpets before the time of Moses. It was an important "day" even in the period of Joseph. Note Psalm 81:15.
"Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant Harp with the psaltry. Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob. This he ordained in Joseph [the Day of Trumpets was first ordained in the time of Joseph] for a testimony, when he [Joseph] went out through the land of Egypt: where I heard a language that I understood not. I removed his [Joseph's] shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots [margin: making baskets in prison]. Thou [Joseph] callest in trouble, and I delivered thee."
This Psalm shows that Joseph was delivered [or saved] to a great glory and honor on the Day of Trumpets. This incident involving the patriarch Joseph, who lived before Moses, was given in the Book of the Psalms because it showed that the New Year's day for "government" and "commerce" (and also when people reckoned their birthdays and kings their lengths of reign) was well known in Egypt even in the time of Joseph. It denotes an event when Joseph began to express his personal authority and power throughout the land of Egypt (even sitting in the government next to the Pharaoh himself). This is when he began telling people to plan for the seven years famine that was to come on the land (Genesis 41:2546).
Now look at the symbolism of this event concerning Joseph. It involves the Day of Trumpets and the "reversal teaching" of the Bible. The Psalm states in the clearest of language that long before the Day of Trumpets was officially accepted as a Holy Day in the time of Moses, this particular day on the calendar was already ordained among Israelites and Egyptians. It was the very day when Joseph was exalted to being next to Pharaoh in the kingdom of Egypt.
Note that the Psalmist said that Joseph's exaltation to supreme power and glory (next to the Pharaoh himself) occurred when there was the blowing of "the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed on our solemn feast day" (Psalm 81:3). Joseph's elevation occurred in one day's time. This means that Joseph's glorification to power and authority in the government of Egypt Happened on a single day that later became known as the Day of Trumpets.
Indeed, look at the text of Genesis itself. Recall that Joseph had been placed in a dungeon on the false pretence of committing adultery with no less than the Queen of Egypt herself. For two whole years Joseph languished in the dungeon in ignominy and disdain by the Pharaoh and by the hierarchy of Egypt for his "abominable" act. Of course, Joseph was innocent, but the authorities at the time thought him to be thoroughly guilty of that terrible crime and they let him suffer within those dungeon walls in utter contempt.
Now note that the text in Genesis states: "And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river [the Nile]" (Genesis 41:1). We should recognize that the text states that this dream occurred "at the end of two full years." This means that the dream actually occurred during the evening of New Year's day after the passage of two full years (that is, two completed years).
Notice how Joseph's elevation to glory and power took place. The text states that "in the morning" (verse 8, that is, in the morning part of the Day of Trumpets), Pharaoh asked his professional wise men to interpret the dream for him. Joseph was then singled out as the person who could rightly interpret the dream (verse 14). The Scriptures state that they brought Joseph hastily out of the dungeon. He cleaned himself, shaved himself, changed his raiment and presented himself before Pharaoh (verse 14). After the proper interpretation of the dream, Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph (and knowing that God was behind the dream) that he immediately placed Joseph over the whole land of Egypt (sitting next to Pharaoh himself in the government). That is when he "went out over all the land of Egypt" with his teaching (verse 45) just as Psalm 81:5 stated. This all occurred on a single day of the year. It was what later became known as the "Day of Trumpets." This was a most unusual circumstance that happened within a single day.
So, the very day of Joseph's exaltation from ignominy and contempt to glory and power was on New Year's day, or what later became known as the Day of Trumpets. The whole affair of what occurred to Joseph is typical of what will also happen to each of us at the Second Advent of Christ. When Christ returns from heaven, we will then be resurrected (or changed) into immortality and we will then assume the same power and glorification as Christ himself. This is because we are reckoned to be "in Christ," and since Christ now sits on the right hand of the Father in heaven (just as Joseph sat on the right hand of Pharaoh in Egypt), we will also sit on that same throne when we are resurrected from the dead (see Ephesians 2:6). The elevation of Joseph to power and glory (and sitting in the government next to Pharaoh himself) happened in one day's time. This is a practical example to each of us that we will be elevated in similar circumstances to power and glory (and sitting next to the Father in heaven) in the day of our resurrections from the dead. So, even the symbolism of the Day of Trumpets becomes important to Christians. It is a "day" which gives us our token of claim to an inheritance just like Joseph obtained his power and glory in Egypt. Joseph received his elevation as a type of our own exaltation. And just like Christ (in fact) has inherited the whole universe, so will each of us since we are now reckoned to be "in Christ."
Look at the symbolism of this whole matter. Here was Joseph at the evening of one day (which became the Day of Trumpets) falsely accused of the most heinous crime against Pharaoh and languishing in a dungeon in a squalid and frightful condition. But before sundown of that very day, he was now sitting in glory and power at the very side of Pharaoh himself and with the full authority of the Pharaoh to rule all the Egyptian government.
This is a practical example in action of what I call "reversal teaching." This was a most unusual historical occurrence that God had designed in order to show mankind what God can do (and what He will do for each of us) in a single day's time. This is instantaneous glory and power.
This whole scene symbolizes the very thing that happened to Christ Jesus when he was crucified (though it took three days from his death for Jesus to become exalted, and this was important for another reason). But notice that Christ Jesus was accused of some of the most heinous crimes that any person could be charged, particularly the blasphemy against God. But we also know, that besides the actual crimes that Christ was accused of doing before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, God the Father had placed all the sins of the world on Christ's back, including the sins of such notable evil persons as the most wicked on earth. But note this. Before the day of Christ's resurrection was over, Christ was sitting on the right hand of the Father in heaven and controlling the whole of the universe under the care of the Father. This was exactly like Joseph the Patriarch experienced on that earlier Day of Trumpets.
There is one difference with Christ in the obtaining of his inheritance from the Father. He did not get it on the Day of Trumpets. The reason why is plain. Christ got his inheritance ahead of time. He was resurrected from the dead in the Springtime (not Autumn). He was resurrected from the dead three days after his death at the exact time that the High Priest in the Temple was offering up to God the "first-fruit" of Israel's grain harvest to God so that the earlier and latter harvests could then begin within the agricultural year of Israel. And who was Christ Jesus? The apostle Paul said he was the "first-fruit" of the salvation that God the Father will give to the entirety of the human race (see I Corinthians 15:2023). Christ received his inheritance before any of us. He received it in the Springtime in order to be the "first-fruit" of the harvest. We on the other hand, obtain our resurrections in the Autumn period, because we are a part of the latter harvest. Christ received his inheritance as the ordained "first-fruit" (and he received his glory and power in the Springtime), but we at the final first-fruits harvest and we will obtain our inheritance (in a symbolic sense) with the Day of Trumpets which occurs at the start of the final harvest that the Feast of Tabernacles depicts.
As I Have been showing in this Prophetic Report, the Day of Trumpets allegorically shows the time when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of Christ Jesus and when he will begin to rule the earth in glory and in power. But it also shows the time of our resurrection from dead that also occurs at the "last trump." But there is more to the meaning of the Day of Trumpets than this. Let us see what God has signified by the use of the liturgical and ritualistic features that were associated with the Day of Trumpets in the earlier period when Israel had the Temple and its ordained priests officiating within its precincts.
As I have shown already, the birthday of Noah was on the Day of Trumpets in the old calendar when the year began near the Autumn of the year. It was also the very day that Noah observed that the land was dry from the Flood (Genesis 8:13). This was the actual birthday for the new earth that Noah and his family came to inherit and the earth that you and I enjoy today (which was much different from the earth that existed from the time of Adam to Noah's 600th year). Yes, even our present "earth" has its birthday on the Day of Trumpets.
This, however, is not the only thing that shows the importance of the Day of Trumpets in history as well as in prophecy. Even the first day of creation mentioned in Genesis 1:15 was discussed by early Jews as to whether the time referred to the Springtime or Autumn-time. Indeed, the Autumn period commenced all years before the time of Moses (Exodus 12:2), and since all the fruit was then on the trees for Adam and Eve to eat (Genesis 1:29; 2:9,16,17), it strongly suggests that the first day of creation was in fact the first day of what became known as the month of Tishri (or, the Day of Trumpets). This makes good sense and appears to be the truth in a calendar way. So, the birthday of the whole world is reckoned to be on the Day of Trumpets. It is also your birthday in God's eyes. It will also be the birthday of your resurrection body when Christ returns at his Second Advent.
To most Jews in later times, Rosh haShanah (or what we call the Day of Trumpets) was reckoned an individual's birthday, but it "came to be regarded as the birthday of the world" (M'Clintock & Strong, Cyclopedia, vol., p. 568). The holy day was even more than an anniversary of the physical creation. Let us see how the Jewish authorities reckoned the Day of Trumpets throughout history.
The Jewish historian, Theodor H. Gaster states:
"Judaism regards New Year's Day not merely as an anniversary of creation—but more importantly—as a renewal of it. This is when the world is reborn" (Gaster, Festivals of the Jewish Year, p.109).
There is even more. As I have shown earlier in this Prophetic Report, the Bible shows that the blowing of trumpets was the signal that the kings of Israel could then rule. Their lengths of reign were reckoned as beginning with the Day of Trumpets. Jewish authorities have long recognized this royal import of the Day of Trumpets in showing divine sovereignty. Gaster states: "The Sovereignty of God is the dominant theme of the occasion [and] it is one of the cardinal features of New Year's Day" (ibid., p.115).
The main issue that prevailed in the significance of the Day of Trumpets was the triumph of God as a king over all the forces of evil. The symbolic motif of the Day of Trumpets was God, as Gaster shows, "continually fighting His way to the Kingdom, continually asserting His dominion, and continually enthroning Himself as sovereign of creation. At New Year when the world was annually reborn that sovereignty [of God] was evinced anew" (Gaster, ibid., p.115).
The theological thrust of the early Jews within their synagogue services for the Day of Trumpets was the fact that God rules over all and that He is the King of kings. On the Day of Trumpets it was common for the Jewish authorities to quote Zechariah 1416: "The king, the Lord of hosts." Indeed, some scholars have suggested that the psalms in the Holy Scriptures that begin with "Yahweh is become king [or, 'The Lord reigns']" (Psalms 93 and 97) were originally designed for recitation at the New Year's festival of the Day of Trumpets (see Gaster, Ibid., pp.114,115). Recent study is showing this to be true. It is now being believed by many scholars that Israel officially had Yahweh re-enthroned as king every Day of Trumpets. Indeed, the scholar Professor Mowinckel has argued that the "enthronement psalms" (Psalms 47,93,9699) in which Yahweh is shown to reign in power and glory were a part of the liturgy of the ancient synagogues (Zondervan's Pictorial Encyclopaedia of the Bible, vol. II., p.524).The Significance of Being Born at New Year's Day
The Day of Trumpets in the biblical and Jewish calendars is New Year's Day for commercial and royal reckonings, just as we have January the first on our Roman calendar as the start of our New Year. This New Year's Day signified a time of "new beginnings" to all those in Israel who accepted the teachings of the Bible. As a matter of fact, the Jews over the centuries have held to the belief that the Day of Trumpets was a cardinal date in the history of Adam (our first parent). They believed it was the very day when Adam and Eve came to the recognition of whether to obey God or to defy him (see The Complete Artscroll Machzor, p.xvi). Other significant historical events occurred on that day. In fact, no day in the year could be reckoned as being of more esteemed value and symbolic influence than Rosh haShanah.
The book "The Complete Artscroll Machzor" gives some chronological details that the early Jewish theologians and scholars worked out from indications in the Old Testament to show when important individuals were born or major events happened in association with their lives. And what an array of significant things occurred on the Day of Trumpets and the month of Tishri. The book gives a summary of accounts found in the Jewish Talmud (Rosh haShanah 10b—11a).
Note what the Machzor states about the Day of Trumpets. The following quotes are interesting and of theological value. "The Patriarchs Abraham and Jacob were born on Rosh haShanah. Abraham was a new beginning for mankind after its [mankind's] failure to realize the promise of Adam and Noah. Jacob was a new beginning for the Jewish people, for it was with him that Jews advanced from the status of individuals to that of a united family on the threshold of nationhood" (p.xvi, italics and bracketed word mine).
The Machzor does not stop with Abraham and Jacob. Look at the following quotation: "On Rosh haShanah God remembered three barren women, the Matriarchs Sarah and Rachel, and Hannah the mother of the prophet Samuel and decreed that they would give birth. Not only was Rosh haShanah a turning point in the lives of these great and worthy women, but the births of their children were momentous even to for all Jewry, because they were the historic figures Isaac, Joseph, and Samuel" (ibid. italics mine).
Many Jews believed that these important events literally took place on Rosh haShanah. If the Jewish people would realize that the New Testament in the Book of Revelation (chapter 12:15) also places the literal birth of Jesus on the very same Day of Trumpets, they might begin to understand just how important Jesus is in a Jewish sense as well as to the world.
The New Testament states that he is the Messiah. And in that role of being the Christ, we discover that he takes on the characteristics of many of the symbolic attributes of earlier righteous men. He shares many similarities with the births of Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Joseph and Samuel. People should begin to realize the significant coincidences of the birthdays of these prominent men as understood by the Jewish people. And standing out above them all, is the teaching of the apostle John that Rosh haShanah is also the birthday of Jesus.More Significance of the Day of Trumpets
Jewish chronological evaluations show other important events associated with the Day of Trumpets (Rosh haShanah). The Machzor contines:
"On Rosh haShanah, Joseph was freed from an Egyptian prison after twelve years of incarceration. He became viceroy of Egypt, provider to the world during the years of famine, and the leader of Jacob's family. God's plan called for Joseph to set in motion the years of exile and enslavement that were the necessary preparation for Israel's freedom, nationhood, and emergence in a blaze of miracles to accept the Torah and march to the Land of Israel" (ibid.).
This shows that Rosh haShanah as a day that symbolizes freedom. There is more on the theme of freedom. The Machzor continues:
"On Rosh haShanah, the Jewish people in Egypt stopped their slave labor [they began their time of freedom] while they waited for the Ten Plagues to play themselves out so that Moses could lead them to freedom" (ibid., words in brackets mine).
As I have stated, this day (the beginning day of the month of Tishri) was the day when the seventh trump (or the "last trump") was sounded to introduce the final month when the festivals of God ordained at the time of Moses would be completed. This last trump is mentioned by the apostle Paul as heralding the events associated with the Second Advent of Christ back to this earth (I Corinthians 15:52 and I Thessalonians 4: 16,17).
This last or final trump is also mentioned by the apostle John in Revelation 11:15 as the warning sound that the Kingdom of God will soon be coming to earth. And soon after, the seven angels of the Book of Revelation will bring on the seven last plagues (in the same fashion as the Jewish analyzers of chronology saw that from the same day of Rosh haShanah the Ten Plagues were sent forth on Egypt in the time of Moses).
We should now return to the biblical examples of what I call "reversal teaching." Throughout the Holy Scriptures (as I hope I have adequately shown in numerous examples and even in Jewish traditions), the symbolic meaning to the Day of Trumpets is one of "change" (and in most cases, it means drastic change). It signifies a change from the negative to the positive. This is what I fully expect to happen with this Day of Trumpets that we will experience starting September 20, 1998. But what kind of drastic change am I talking about? This is where we need to apply what I call "reversal teaching" in the Holy Scriptures.
I am now going to give you some striking examples of events that happened in the early New Testament period that the first apostles thought were leading up to the Second Advent of Christ back in that generation of the first century. Anyone who reads even superficially the expectations of the early New Testament disciples realize that they expected the soon arrival of the Kingdom of God on earth within their generation some 1900 years ago. But, alas, the Kingdom did not then arrive. And here we are almost 2000 years from the birth of Christ. We live in a world in which the prophetic events described so well in the Old Testament and in the New Testament scriptures have still not fully materialized.
However, that scenario is about to change. This is where the principle of "reversal teaching" will come to our aid in letting us comprehend just what the immediate future holds for us. Believe me, we are in for some of the most exciting and worthwhile times to live in the history of the world. The prophecies that the early apostles first thought would be fulfilled in their day, are reserved for us who live at the beginning of the twenty-first century. So, how can we properly use "reversal teaching" in regard to this Time of the End that is just at our doorstep?
Note point number one. When Christ Jesus was introduced into the world exactly 2000 years ago come September 20, 1998, God the Father gave him outstanding glorious signs in the heavens that all in the world marveled at. In this case, God started out with a positive display of divine authority and glory. But when Christ died on the tree of crucifixion a little over thirty years later (note the "reversal teaching"), he died rejected by the world and held in utter disdain and in contempt by the world and by the Jewish people. This final episode in Christ's life was a negative display of divine judgment and humiliation upon Christ.
Now note point number two. In three days' time after his death, Christ came forth by a glorious resurrection that inspired his apostles to know that Christ was indeed the Messiah and that he had now died for the sins of the world in the plan of God. This was a glorious and positive event, indeed. As a matter of fact, in the first few years after Christ's resurrection, the Jewish people in Judaea marshaled to the cause of Christianity in such a positive way. We are told in the Book of Acts that tens of thousands of Jews began to believe that Jesus was indeed the Christ (Acts 21:20). This was a glorious time indeed for the teaching of the Gospel.
But with the passage of about thirty years (and Christ showed no signs of coming back in that generation to establish the Kingdom), the Jews quickly began to leave the faith en masse. Instead of glory and victory, the apostles were killed. So dejected was Paul that he said that all Christians in the province of Asia had left him (II Timothy 1:15) and that only Luke remained faithful to him in Rome (II Timothy 4:11). In fact, the apostle Paul died in ignominy in Rome of which he was a citizen.
As a matter of fact, instead of Jerusalem in that generation becoming the capital of the Kingdom of God on earth as most at first expected, the City and the Temple were so destroyed by the Romans in A.D.70 that both Josephus and Titus (the future emperor of Rome) admitted that no one coming on the site of Jerusalem would believe that there was once a city in the region. What a decline! The whole of Judaism, and the remnants of Christianity, went from glory and power in the middle part of the first century to ruin and contempt by the second part of that same century. This was a fall from the positive, to the negative, and all within a short time.
And let us not think that Christianity came out triumphantly at the time. Indeed, what happened to so-called "Christianity" itself? It went from an upbeat positive movement in the early first century where individual liberty was emphasized to the believers, to a negative environment where the Roman state government made religious slaves out of the people. Within three hundred years the teachings of biblical Christianity had been so polluted that its adherents were proclaiming the false doctrine of the Trinity, the Immortality of the Soul, that Sunday, Easter and Christmas were now the times that God had ordained that Christians observe. The situation went from bad to worse. The doctrines later accepted by institutional "Christianity" are as heathen in origin as anyone can get. In a word, so-called "Christianity" had become the final essence of paganism in the guise of the teachings of Christ. And even today, this same brand of "Christianity" is still in evidence for all of us to witness. It is nothing more than pure paganism with Christian sounding names.
But this is not the end of the picture. A big change is prophesied to occur. There will soon be a "reverse" to this negative religious environment to which the world has been subjected for the past 1900 years. God is going to reintroduce to the world the pristine truths of New Testament Christianity. It is not going to be "Churchianity" that is revived. It will be real Christianity with the pure teachings of the Holy Scriptures coming back into prominence. There is to be, as the apostle Peter prophesied, a "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21). A great time of "restoration" is just on the horizon. We are soon to experience in world history a decided and certain trend from a negative theme involving Christianity, to a positive one, and it will not be long in occurring.
This new trend will not begin with a big fanfare of celestial fireworks like the time our Savior was introduced to the world (those celestial events truly astounded the whole world at the time), but it will start out in the most humble of ways. The change will come as Zechariah prophesied and in a similar vein. The restoration of the truth will come to the world from a small nucleus of "small things." At least, that is how God states it. Zechariah chided the early Jews and the Gentiles when they "despised the day of small things" that happened about 500 years before Christ Jesus came to earth (Zechariah 4: 10). And similarly, the reintroduction of the prime truths of the Holy Scriptures will emerge when the world (even the Christian world) will observe NOTHING that will encourage them that this is the day for the start of the End-Time.
There is not going to be the same type of a grand spectacle of celestial pageantry that God used to introduce his Son into the world at his birth in 3 B.C. No, God will not repeat that particular scene again. The reason is because we now have Planetariums all over the world that can show what God did in the heavens to signal the arrival of His divine Son into the world. Indeed, if you want to see what it was like almost 2000 years ago, visit your local Planetarium and ask them to show what was happening in the heavens from early 3 B.C. to early 1 B.C. Even the Planetarium staffs will be amazed at what they witness. So God does not have to repeat what He has already shown, and what you can see at your local Planetarium. But God, this time, has a plan to make a grand display of His truths being given to the world. At this End-Time, God will bring about a majestic introduction back to positive teaching of the Gospel. He, at first, will provide it to the world in a subtle manner. But it will occur! And within five, ten and certainly twenty years, the crescendo effect of providing His truth to the world in its pristine shape will be so large and spectacular that it will make what happened in the Protestant Reformation look like child's play. Really, God is about ready to unleash His divine truths of the Holy Scriptures back into their proper and respected place in the hearts of men and women. The time of restoration is near.
Though the world will not be able to observe in the heavens anything like what happened from 3 to 1 B.C., we still have the prophecies of Luke 21:11 that there will be "great signs in the heavens" to introduce Christ at His Second Advent. Knowing God, He may have a surprise up His sleeve for all the world even as early as next year. Whatever happens, I am completely confident that we will find that the Day of Trumpets of September 20/21 of 1998 will be significant. It will be like God said in Ezekiel: "Behold, it is come, and is done, saith the Lord, this is the day of which I have spoken" (39:8).
But in spite of it being an important day in the eyes of God the Father, in my view, this coming Day of Trumpets will not have catastrophic events taking place like we find described in the Book of Revelation. Those events are still a little later and closer to the actual Second Advent. However, to you and me, God may indeed begin to show us from that very day that He has started the countdown to the End-Time that will usher in the period of the Second Advent to this world.
The very miracle that God will introduce to the world is recorded in Isaiah 29:9-24. He is about the produce a "marvelous work and a wonder" to the people of the world. It is the grandest thing that God has ever done for mankind (save sending His divine Son to rescue us). This is a miracle of knowledge and understanding that God will impart to the world before the Second Advent of Christ. It is the complete restoration of His divine truths to humanity. You should read Isaiah 29:9-24 and it will show you what God intends to do starting with this Day of Trumpets in 1998, the 2000th anniversary of Christ's birth. He did not do this at the 1000th anniversary because the Time of the End had not then arrived, but with us it is different. The 6000 years of human history is about to end and the Millennium of God is about to begin. To start the theme of the End-Time, God will first restore His truth to the world. That is what the Day of Trumpets is all about in the year 1998.
Get ready for a wonderful time in history of which you will be a part. Your time of redemption draws nigh. It is just around the corner. The world will not realize at first what is happening, but God will reveal to you that we are truly on a countdown to the Second Advent of Christ. Keep your eyes on September 20, 1998.
Ernest L. Martin
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