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The Last Trumpet

The trumpet for snatching the saints from the earth is not the same as the last trumpet

Those who hold to a mid-tribulation rapture teach that the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11:15 and the last trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 are identical.

Those who teach a pretribulation rapture identify them as separate events.

What difference does it make, and how can we know the truth?


In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul is writing to believers concerning the transition from this life to eternal life. Our mortal bodies will be transformed into immortal, incorruptible bodies, prepared for the eternal kingdom of God. Verse 52 says, “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.” Paul addresses the same subject to the Thessalonians, and specifically connects it with the rapture of the church. “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: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17).


There is no question that God has revealed these things to us and that He intends for us to be encouraged and instructed by them. The question is whether these trumpets are the same. If they are the same, then the rapture of the church happens in the middle of the tribulation period, and saints need to be prepared to endure those trials. If they are not the same, then we need to know when the last trump will sound, so that we can be prepared for it. In order to find out whether they are the same, we can compare the events they are associated with.

 

Events

1 Corinthians 15

1 Thessalonians 4

Revelation 11

Trumpet sound

v. 52

v. 16

v. 15

Dead saints raised

v. 52

v. 16

 

Living saints changed

v. 52

v. 17

 

Death overcome by victory

v. 54

v. 14

 

Jesus descends from Heaven

 

v. 16

Not until Rev 19:11

Kingdoms of the world taken over by Christ

 

 

v. 15

Wrath of God on dead

 

 

v. 18

Rewards given to saints

 

 

v. 18

Intended result

v. 57-58 – thanks, victory, faithfulness until then

v. 18 – comfort now, presence with Christ then

v. 14,17 – woe on earth, thanks in Heaven

It is clear that the first two passages (Corinthians and Thessalonians) fit together, but the third doesn’t appear to have any correlation in either the events described or the intended results. The argument connecting them has to depend on the meaning of the word last in 1 Corinthians 15:52. The Greek word eschatos can mean either “last in point of time” or “last in point of sequence.”

This trumpet sounds before the wrath of God descends, yet Revelation 6:17 speaks of the wrath of the Lamb as having come, and the seventh trumpet doesn’t sound until Revelation 11:15.

The trumpet of 1 Thessalonians is given in a moment, whereas Revelation 10:7 indicates that the seventh trumpet will be sounded for a number of days. Even though the seventh trumpet is the last one described in Revelation, Matthew 24:31 indicates there is yet another trumpet which will sound “after the tribulation of those days,” when Christ returns to the earth, which parallels with Revelation 19.

In summary:

1-      Both 1 Thessalonians & 1 Corinthians were written long before Revelation, so Paul could not have referred to the last trumpet in Revelation 11

2-      Paul’s writing was distinctly in reference to the church and the closing of the church age at the rapture (which can also be translated as “carrying off or snatching away”)

3-      The trumpet in Thessalonians & Corinthians sounds before the wrath of God descends, yet Revelation 6:17 speaks of the wrath of the Lamb as having come already

4-      The trumpet in Thessalonians & Corinthians is given in a moment, but in Revelation 10:7 the 7th trumpet seems to last for days

5-      Even though the 7th trumpet is the last one described in Revelation, Matthew 24:29 indicates there is yet another which will sound “after the tribulation of those days”, when Christ returns to the earth, which paralles with Revelation 19

6-      The trumpet that summons the church is called “The Trumpet of God”, but in revelation are angelic trumpets

7-      Numbers 10 instructs that there are different kind of trumpet blasts, indicating different signals for different groups & tribes, so in regards to the rapture & end-times

8-      Five differences in 1 Thessalonians 4:16

1-      For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven

2-      With a shout

3-      With the voice of the archangel

4-      And with the trumpet of God

5-      And the dead in Christ will rise first




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