Post Trib Rapture argument says that the 7th Trumpet is the 'last trump'
of the Rapture in 1 Cor 15, & 1 Thess 4.
Pre Trib Rapture argument says the 7th Trumpet does not necessarily have to be the 'last trump'; but rather, the 'last trump' refers more clearly to the Feast of Trumpets, prophetic of the wedding of the Messiah, the "no man knows the day or hour but the Father only" festival, where the Lord comes as a "thief in the night" for his bride, and many other fitting rapture symbols.
Here are the "Seventh Trumpet" verses:
[Rev 10:7] But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel,
when he shall begin to sound, the
mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
[Rev 11:14] The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
[Earlier in Rev 11 was the 'mid tribulation' scene where two witnesses were raptured up to heaven. Some say the "cometh quickly" part means this next scene happens either at the same time, (mid trib), or that it happens at the end of the tribulation. The Bible defines its terms: [Rev 3:11] "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." --and we've been waiting for that for +/- 1900 years...]
[Rev 11:15] And the seventh angel sounded; 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 ever and ever.
[Rev 11:16] And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God
on their seats, fell upon
their faces, and worshipped God,
[Rev 11:17] Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art,
and wast, and
art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
[Rev 11:18] And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come,
and the time of the dead, that
they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and
to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which
destroy the earth.
[Rev 11:19] And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen
in his temple
the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an
earthquake, and great hail.
How many rapture parallels are there in the text above?
1. A voice sounding.
2. A trumpet (each of the 7 angels has a trumpet Rev 8:2)
3. A resurrection of the dead.
4. Rewards to the servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear God.
So, this might speak about the rapture, we have four parallels, but are they all valid? What do each of these four rapture parallels have to say regarding the timing of the seventh trumpet?
What does the text have to say with regards to timing--considering all
the clues above in bold text?
1. verse 10:7 The voice sounds in "days" "when he shall begin to sound"... unlike the rapture which occurs, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye..." [1 Cor 15:52]. --So the voice is a relatively poor rapture parallel.
2. verse 10:7 The mystery of God is finished... sounds like at the end of the millinnium--that's where our Bible stops describing things in the timeline. Rev 20 (entire chapter below)
3. verse 15 There are pre-existing "voices in heaven" (either raptured people or angels), and Christ's millinnium seems to be described in all tenses; present/past/future, "are become." "he shall reign"
3. verse 16 And 24 elders (a symbol of raptured people [Rev 4:4] "And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold." And Rev 20:4.) the 24 elders are already there, and they either announce or describe the millinnium as "past tense" in the next verse.
4. verse 17 It occurs after the LORD "has reigned"..."hast taken power" sounds like at the end of the millinnium.
5. verse 18 The nations were angry... sounds like after the end of the millinnium. Rev 20:8,9 (Fear is how the nations are described in the Tribulation at the rapture. (Matthew 24:30 below))
6. verse 18 It is a time of judgement for the dead... sounds like after the end of the millinnium, Rev 20:12 when the unrighteous are resurrected to judgment, OR it could be like the time of judgment that occurs at the rapture because saints are mentioned. But again, this resurrection of the dead occurs after there are people in heaven, unlike in the description of the rapture where the dead rise first. Besides, won't there be saints in the millinnium needing to be judged at this time, too?
7. verse 19 sounds like Armageddon, or it might be how God sweeps away the rebellion after the end of the millinnium. Rev 20:9--there is no way to tell for sure because the description of 1000 years into the future at Rev 20:9 is so brief, but there is the parallel "destroy" and "wrath" from verse 18.
Now those who insist on a "Rapture at the 7th Trumpet" must also insist that it is "instantaneous" and occurs prior to the millinnium. It's possible to say that, using the part of verse 18, about "rewarding the servants the prophets and the saints" but the weight of the evidence above doesn't seem to show that. And, in fact, the old prophet John the Baptist does not rise to heaven, and there is no mention of heaven as a reward for him at all...
[Mat 11:11] Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Also, there is no mention of any bodies flying up through the air in these 7th trumpet verses...
Consider the 4th angel's trumpet sounding as a parallel of the gospel accounts of the rapture...
[Rev 8:12] And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun
was smitten, and the
third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened,
and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
[Rev 8:13] Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying [angel
flying] with a loud voice, as it flew in
midheaven, "Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth [inhabiters of the earth], at the blasts
of the other trumpets which the three angels are about to blow!"
Now this I find interesting. It sounds a lot like Matthew 24's description of the rapture... Note the parallels: Sun darkened, moon darkened, stars falling, angels/eagles flying through the heavens, woe to the people on earth. One contrast is Rev 8:13, the warning to the "inhabiters of the earth"... Now why does the Bible use that particular descriptive term and not simply "all people". In order for "inhabiters of the earth" to have a valid descriptive quality, I'm assuming that there are people who would be "inhabiters" of some other place, namely, heaven at this time. Note Mat 42:31 gathering people to heaven.
[Mat 24:28] For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles
be gathered together.
[Mat 24:29] Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the
moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens
shall be shaken:
[Mat 24:30] And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the
tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with
power and great glory.
[Mat 24:31] And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather
together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
This 'eagles flying around the body', is clearly connected with the Rapture in Luke:
[Luke 17:35] Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken,
and the other left.
[Luke 17:36] Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
[Luke 17:37] And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them,
Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
And in Mark, 'darkened heavenly bodies' are associated with the Rapture:
[Mark 13:24] "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be
darkened, and the moon
will not give its light,
[Mark 13:25] and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be
[Mark 13:26] And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and
[Mark 13:27] And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds,
from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
I believe that traditionally, pre-trib rapture apologists have been afraid to say that these descriptions are of the rapture, because they wanted to keep the 'imminancy' alive. However, after the eclipse on Aug. 11th, 30 days prior to the Feast of Trumpets this year in 1999, I don't think we need to worry about this sort of thing. God is in control of the fulfillment of prophesy, not us. (I wonder, if in scripture, if the rapture were associated with comming after a pink rabbit was seen by most of the earth, whether "imminent pre tribulationists" would have denied that these hypothetical verses would be speaking of the rapture until after the Energizer ads came out. )
But these 'darkened' heavenly bodies can also be symbolic of Satan being cast down, which mirrors Rev 8, as we know that Satan drags 1/3 of the heavenly host with him out of heaven--so there doesn't need to be a literal eclipse or literal darkening, although God can surely cause our sun, moon and stars to darken prior to the rapture if he so wishes... And there can surly be multiple darkenings so that these don't necessarily have to be associated with Armagedon either...
Now, if the Rapture is the 4th trumpet/angel sounding, have the first three already sounded? I'm asking myself this, not saying either a Yes or No, but looking at the possibilities...
[Rev 8:7] The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled
with blood, and
they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was
[Rev 8:8] And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain
burning with fire
was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
[Rev 8:9] And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea,
and had life, died; and the
third part of the ships were destroyed.
[Rev 8:10] And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from
heaven, burning as it
were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
[Rev 8:11] And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the
third part of the waters
became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
So far, the only parts of the verses above to be literally fulfilled are in italics. Everything in regular type above in Rev 8 has not yet seen literal fulfillment. Deforestation occurs mostly by burning, Sea Life has been greatly destroyed, Rivers greatly Polluted, Wormwood means Chernobyl which made the waters of Russia bitter...
And, as I hate to spiritualize away the other parts of these verses, as I hate to deny the literal meaning of scripture, as an apology I'll say that perhaps these have all been only partially fulfilled today, but will probably have a more complete fulfillment during the course of the Tribulation? We just don't know right now. And if the description of the way the seventh trumpet is poured out applies to these, "in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound" it may mean that these judgements occur over time, slowly. If this is the case, the 4th trumpet, if it is the rapture, can sound at any time...
Just to show two more comparisons... Joel also associates the darkness with the coming of the Lord in the clouds at the sound of a trumpet. The reason why I think this passage from Joel is the rapture and not the second coming at the end of the trib is the second part of Joel 2:2... a strong people unlike any other? This sounds like the people who enter heaven in the rapture--a unique one-time event.
[Joel 2:1] Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain:
let all the
inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;
[Joel 2:2] A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of
thick darkness, as the
morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the
like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
There are two more reasons to suspect that the 4th trumpet is the Rapture. First Christ said he was the door, [John 10:9] I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." and He was born in the 4th millinnium, and in Hebrew, 4 means 'door', and the rapture is associated with entering through the 'door'. [Revelation 4:1] 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 shew thee things which must be hereafter. [Mat 25:10] And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. [Isa 26:20] Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. [Luke 13:25] When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: [Rev 3:8] I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. ...--> [Rev 3:10] Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. [rapture]
Second, the rapture of going up into heaven is when Satan and his demons are cast down out of heaven. (3rd part of the sun, moon & stars cast down of the 4th trumpet in Rev 8, as in
[Rev 12:4] And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and
did cast them to the
earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour
her child as soon as it was born.
[Rev 12:5] And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations
with a rod of iron:
and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. [raptured]
This also is similar to 2 Thess 2.
[2Thess 2:6] And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
[2Thess 2:7] For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who
now letteth will let,
until he be taken out of the way. [raptured]
[2Thess 2:8] And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall
consume with the
spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Again, in verse 10-12 when Satain is cast out of Heaven at the start of the tribulation, it's the Rapture.
[Rev 12:10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation,
and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast
down, which accused them before our God day and night.
[Rev 12:11] And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the
word of their
testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
[Rev 12:12] Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe
to the inhabiters of
the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he
knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Once again, Rev 12:12 talks of those who dwell in the heavens as opposed
to those on the earth, ie Raptured vs. non raptured. And most interesting,
this year, 1999, was the 4th and final time that Rev. 12 was literally
played out in the sky above Jerusalem on the Feast of Trumpets.
Revelation 20 Describes the millinnium, the thousand years, what happens just before and after it.
[Rev 20:1] And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of
the bottomless pit
and a great chain in his hand.
[Rev 20:2] And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the
Devil, and Satan, and
bound him a thousand years,
[Rev 20:3] And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set
a seal upon him, that
he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that
he must be loosed a little season.
[Rev 20:4] And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was
given unto them:
and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of
God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark
upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
[Rev 20:5] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand
years were finished. This
is the first resurrection.
[Rev 20:6] Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:
on such the second
death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a
[Rev 20:7] And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
[Rev 20:8] And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four
quarters of the earth,
Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the
[Rev 20:9] And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed
the camp of the
saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured
[Rev 20:10] And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of
fire and brimstone,
where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and
[Rev 20:11] And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from
whose face the earth
and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
[Rev 20:12] And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and
the books were
opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out
of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
[Rev 20:13] And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and
hell delivered up
the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
[Rev 20:14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
[Rev 20:15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was
cast into the lake of
Final thoughts; Most Post Tribulationists say that there is only one first resurrection, at the time of the end of the trib, and that there cannot be two resurrections, both a pre-trib and a post-trib resurrection of the saints. I believe there can.
The Bible clearly shows 'multiple fulfillments' of prophesy. Jesus, in the gospel accounts, expresses a key idea about 20 times*; [John 2:19] ... Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." This has at least 3 fulfillments that I can see.
1. Jesus spoke of his body, which was destroyed and raised from
2. Jesus spoke of the literal temple, which was destroyed in 70AD, (Mat 24:2) and will be raised up in the near future.
3. Jesus spoke of the body of believers, which have been persecuted and killed, and will be raised up soon, on the 'third day' according to Hosea 6:2 "After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. "
*Mat 16:21, 17:23, 20:19, 26:61, 27:40,64
Mark 9:31 Mark 10:34 Mark 14:58 Mark 15:29
Luke 9:22, 13:32, 18:33, 24:7, 24:21, 24:46
John 2:19,20 Acts 10:40 1Cor 15:4
Thus, if one's theology denies the possibility of multiple fulfillments of scripture, one is either denying the resurrection of Christ, or denying the possibility of our resurrection.
Typically, people who say, "There can be no resurrection prior to the first resurrection described in Rev 20:5" are guilty of this exact doctrinal error--saying that "there can only be one first resurrection"--which, logically, must either include Jesus or the saints. They say the "first resurrection" includes only the "tribulation saints" to deny the resurrection of the pre-tribultion rapture, or worse yet, say there is "no resurrection prior to..." and really put their doctrinal foot in their mouths.
Therefore, "first resurrection" does not mean first in time, but rather, first of a kind (that of immortality)... meaning just what the scripture says it does,
[Rev 20:6] Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:
on such the second
death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a
which differs from the resurrection of the unrightous after the millinium, which are resurrected to judgment.
Amazingly enough, the Bible specifically talks about this error of denying
one of the resurrections, right in 1 Cor 15, the oft-quoted rapture chapter...
[1Cor 15:12] Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how
say some among
you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
[1Cor 15:13] But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
[1Cor 15:14] And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
[1Cor 15:15] Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have
testified of God
that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
[1Cor 15:16] For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
[1Cor 15:17] And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
Conclusion? There are multiple fulfillments of prophesy. The first resurrection that "cloaks with immortality" includes Jesus, the resurrection at the pre-trib rapture, and the tribulation saints. The seventh trumpet has nothing to do with the rapture, but rather, the judgment at the end of the millinnium, the "seventh millinnium".
The most interesting part about 'multiple fulfillments' is that because they do exist, many of the events of revelation can be placed in any order that God chooses, depending on these "partial fulfillments". For example, Matthew's description of the rapture, which follows immidiately after the abomination of desolation in the verses earlier, and even has a time clue attached in verse 24:29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days...". Now, since there will be a capstone placed on the great pyramid in 1-1-2000, that could be a partial fulfillment of the abomination of desolation. So, too, could be the introduction of the mark of the beast biochip implant be a partial fulfillment of an abomination of desolation of our bodies, which are the temple. And, the mark can come at any time being introduced as being voluntary at first. In fact, some people have already accepted this biochip in tests, so it's already happened (as a partial fulfillment).
The main point is, we should be ready for anything that comes next,
whether it's the rapture, the mark of the beast, or the abomination of
desolation. And the only way we can be truly ready for anything,
is if we have read the entire New Testament of the Bible, and accept that
the Lord is in control of the fulfillment of prophesy, not us. And
don't fall into the trap of Mat 24:48-50 saying, "My Lord is delaying...
'this has to happen first'..." --because we just don't know that.
Although I believe the weight of the evidence is strongest that the rapture
to comes first and next on the prophetic scene, I have to admit that the
mark of the beast may come first as a voluntary biochip implant, then the
rapture to reveal the antichrist, then the tribulation, then the enforcement
of the mark and the abomination of desolation...
Point of humor:... the last "trump" mentioned in the Bible is found in connection with judgment of Babylon the Great;
[Rev 18:22] And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and
be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any
more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
And this has nothing to do with the rapture either, despite the similarity of the fact that people seem to be missing! Now, as for why there hasn't been a doctrine built up around this comparison, I have no idea. It certainly would fit into the Post Trib idea that tribulation comes first, and then the rapture... Or maybe this fits in better with the Mid Trib idea. I'll tell you what, If a major rapture doctrine does get built up around this trumpet, I'll write another article. 8-)