Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the “last trumpet”. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
Years ago shortly after I gave myself to Jesus when I first started out to truly deep dive and immerse myself in The Bible, I recall speaking to “seasoned” brothers and sisters in Christ about an event called “the rapture”. I had no idea what to think of it. I remember thinking to myself…“wow, this is crazy and these people sound nuts! How in the world do these people believe The Bible is some kind of science fiction movie?” However, many years have passed and now I can firmly say I wholeheartedly believe in the rapture and passionately hold fast to it.
When I decided to really set out to gain a deeper understanding of eschatology I made a point to myself to look at the scriptures with an objective mind set because I was given a plethora of various different views on when the rapture would take place. Post-tribulation, mid-tribulation, pre-tribulation…some even told me halfway between the beginning and mid- tribulation. So I guess you could call that a “mid-mid tribulation” rapture?While others said The Bible does not speak of any event known as “the rapture” at all. What was one to think? I was thoroughly confused to say the least. To be completely honest, early in my walk with Christ I heavily leaned towards a post-tribulation rapture view, but since then, the closer I’ve gotten to Him the more things have changed and become more clear.
A large amount of those I spoke to who did believe in the rapture seemed to always hinge their viewpoint on the timing of the event based on “a trumpet”…“the last trumpet”. The following is what I’ve concluded based on my objective studies of biblical eschatology in terms of the “the last trumpet”. To preface, I do not see any scriptural support of a mid- tribulation rapture at any time throughout all of God’s holy word. I’m sorry, but I just do not see it anywhere in The Bible so I will focus on the pre-tribulation vs. post-tribulation viewpoints only.
It’s very common to run in to folks who will typically front load a post tribulation rapture viewpoint on claiming the “last trumpet” is the same last trumpet of The Book of Revelation. Except there is no “last trumpet” in The Book of Revelation. The trumpet that a massive amount of the post tribulation camp connects to in Revelation is never referred to as a “last trumpet” at all or even “God’s trumpet”. Instead it’s an “angel’s trumpet”…
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
There is no mention of a “last trumpet” anywhere in The Book of Revelation. The “catching up” or “removal” of the church is detailed in Revelation 4 before the tribulation period. This is detailed by Christ Himself to the apostle John. This is nowhere near the events of the 7th angel’s trumpet.
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. (Revelation 4:1-2)
We don’t know whether John was given a vision while imprisoned in Patmos or experienced the actual event of the rapture himself. Can Jesus take an individual and place this person in a future event to actually be there and experience it? Sure. He’s not “in time” like you and I. His power and glory is undoubtedly non linear. Has Jesus ever taken someone into Heaven without translation through death? Yes! Who are Enoch and Elijah? In any case, this is clearly the rapture in view here at some moment before the 7 year tribulation period. How do we know, because Christ then proceeds to show John all the events that “must take place after this” meaning all the events of the tribulation period.
Throughout the entire chapters in Revelation that the tribulation period is detailed in its entirety, from beginning to the end, the church is never mentioned. The second coming of Christ is not mentioned anywhere near the events of the 7th angel’s trumpet as well. In fact there are 7 more judgements that succeed the first 7 “trumpet” judgements in the form of 7 “bowl” judgments. The “last trumpet” is a call to raise the dead in Christ first, and then to gather those who remain living on earth into the presence of the Lord. The “7th angel’s trumpet” is to close out a series of seven judgements unleashed upon the world only to be followed up by seven more judgements. The trumpet call before the rapture and the 7th angel’s trumpet scripturally do not coincide at all. In the end, these “trumpets” do not harmonize in any way.
In Corinthians Paul spends most of the time detailing a connection between the new covenant and the Feasts of Israel. For example, in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 he talks about the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread and shows how this is fulfilled in Jesus’ death. In chapter 15:20-24 he speaks about the Feast of First Fruits and how this was fulfilled with Jesus’ resurrection. Then in 1 Corinthians 15:51 he talks about the “last trumpet” and connects that with the resurrection and rapture of the church. This is simply a fulfillment of another Jewish feast – the Feast of Trumpets. So the 7th angel’s trumpet and Paul’s “last trumpet” are NOT the same trumpet. At this point in time the Corinthians would only know of trumpets from the Old Testament as the Revelation of Jesus Christ was not penned until 96 A.D. Many years after Paul writes his letter to Corinth.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:30-31)
Another “trumpet” post-tribulationists tend to widely utilize is the “loud trumpet call” of our Lord’s angels upon His return to The Mount of Olives. He comes in the clouds for the entire world to see after the whole earth is ravished by the destruction of God’s divine wrath to vanquish “the kings of the east” at Armageddon. Who is “His elect from the four winds?” Well, in order to understand this we will have to look to Isaiah…
He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11:12)
We know Isaiah was not speaking of the Babylonian captivity because Judah was placed in a localized geographical location under the rule of Babylon. So Isaiah is referring to a future event. Numerous times throughout the Old Testament Israel is referred to as God’s “elect” through the usage of the Hebrew word “bachar” which means “to choose” or “chosen”. This means each and every time in the Old Testament we read about “God’s chosen people” we are literally reading about “God’s elect”. The “elect” from the passage above in Matthew 24 encompasses both the “completed” Jews who come to Christ during the tribulation and the remaining Gentiles who also get saved.
“The four winds” are mentioned all throughout scripture and are always in reference to the north, south, east, and west corners of the earth. So a portion of “His elect from the four winds” are “the remnant” of Israel God has reserved to come out of the tribulation who remain terrestrial. They do not receive “glorified bodies”, and are recruited from every corner of the earth to conquer “the kings of the east” along with Christ, His “army” (the angels), those who accepted Christ during the tribulation that were martyred, the Old Testament saints, and of course…the church. All of whom come in the clouds together to touch down and terrestrially assemble. Later “His elect from the four winds” will enter the Lord’s millennial kingdom in their non “glorified” earthly “suits” and will live very long lives. The Bible tells us that 100 years old will still be considered young (Isaiah 65) and that anything less than a mortal person living to 100 will be considered a “cheat” or some translations state “accursed”. They will also give birth to many children. The church will also be among them in the millennial kingdom in eternal “glorified bodies”.
In conclusion, my studies have led me to see a definitive difference in “the last trumpet” that signals the rapture, and the trumpets that are detailed in The Book of Revelation and Matthew 24. They are simply of no relation to one another, and signify complete separate events. “The last trumpet” detailed by Paul to the Corinthians is a sudden, rapid “moment”… “in the twinkling of an eye”. The 7th angel’s trumpet will be heard for days…
…but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:7)
The rapture is an “appearance” in the clouds for the church only. Seven years then pass culminating in the return of Christ which will be a literal “touchdown” upon the earth for the whole world to see at a very specific location.
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. (Jude 14-15)