- Religion and Philosophy
The Rapture - Part 5 - The Trumpet Call
If you have not yet read parts 1-4, please click on the applicable links below:
The Trumpet Call
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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must 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, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:51-57 (KJV) .
This is a much debated passage of scripture. It states that at the last trumpet we shall all be changed in the twinkling of an eye. This passage provides the promise of immortality, even for some who have not yet died and may never physically die, but does it suggest the possibility of the “Rapture”?
When does the last trumpet sound? In scripture trumpets are sometimes mentioned as real trumpets blown by angels of the Lord. They are also used as a call to gather, or a call to charge into battle, or as a warning to a city that it is about to be invaded. Trumpets are also used as a figure of speech when referring to the voice of an angel or the voice of the Lord Himself. The Voice that sounds like a trumpet is found several times in Scripture. In most cases, a trumpet means a trumpet as in the following scriptures:
Blow 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 is coming, For it is at hand: Joel 2:1 (MKJV)
The great day of the Lord is near; It is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the Lord is bitter; There the mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of trumpet and alarm Against the fortified cities And against the high towers. Zephaniah 1:14-16 (MKJV)
When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets… So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. The first angel sounded… "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!" Revelation 8:1-13 (MKJV)
We find references to trumpets being associated with voices of Holy spiritual beings in several passages. Here are a few notable mentions:
God has gone up with a shout, The Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Psalm 47:5 (MKJV).
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. Revelation 1:10-11 (KJV 1611).
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 show thee things which must be hereafter. Revelation 4:1 (KJV 1611).
A few more notable mentions:
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. Matthew 24:31 (KJV 1611).
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.. 1Thesolonians 4:16-17 (KJV 1611)
The reason I call these notable mentions is because these particular verses do not specifically state that they are real trumpets sounding and can be interpreted figuratively. I tend to lean toward the figurative meaning of these verses and the reason that I believe they are figurative is because Paul states that the Lord will descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. I believe the Voice of God sounds like a trumpet and Paul is referring to it as such.
Ultimately, I believe that the Trumpet that Paul is referring to in I Corinthians 15:51-57 as well as 1Thesolonians 4:16-17 and Matthew is referring to in Matthew 24:31 is in reference to the “Rapture”. Read the Old Testament passage below and you can easily see what a trumpet of God sometimes signifies:
Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: 'When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 'when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 'then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 'He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. Ezekiel 33:1-5 (MKJV)
Ezekiel receives a word from God and God explains to him that a watchman blows a trumpet and people can be saved before the destruction. Angels are also watchman and blow trumpets all throughout the Bible. A trumpet is blown, the “Elect” are gathered to meet the Lord in the air and then destruction comes.
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.
You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. I Thessalonians 5:1-11 (MKJV)
Paul tells us “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” Watch for what? Obviously, he is telling us to watch for his return. Some believe that they should not be concerned about his return as long as they are trying to live a Christian life while studying scripture and leading others to Christ, but Jesus tells us to keep watch. Paul tells us to keep watch, and Peter even tells us keep watch. Why? Because it is important. When certain things are mentioned several times in the Bible, I really believe it is mentioned so much because it is important.
Imagine booking a vacation to Hawaii. This being your first trip to Hawaii you can’t wait to go. You book this trip six months in advance. You fantasize and daydream about how it is going to be. You plan in your head all the things you’d like to do while you are there. As the months go by, the anticipation and excitement get greater and greater. You can barely wait any longer. Finally the day arrives and it is such a great thrill. You can’t believe it, you are finally going. It’s like a dream.
I believe it is the same with keeping watch of the Lord’s return. He gave us signs to know when the time is drawing near. As we anticipate His glorious return the excitement builds in each of us. Finally the day arrives and this is better than any vacation on Earth.
Imagine that same vacation in a different way. Imagine you won a vacation to Hawaii, but this time you do not know when the vacation will start. It is kept as a complete surprise to you. At first it may seem exciting, but soon the excitement would turn to stress. What if I am not ready? What if I am busy at work and they can’t afford to lose me for a few weeks? What about packing? Am I going to have time to pack or buy things I might need to bring with me?
There will certainly be a lot of “What ifs”. What a stressful time it will be wondering and waiting for this vacation to arrive. God is not only Love; He is Peace and I know that He wants His children to be at Peace, not stressed out of their minds. God gave us the signs and wants us to anticipate and be exited about His return. That is why He speaks so much about it and tells us to keep an eye out for the signs of His return. As long as we balance our anticipation of His return while studying, praying, meditating and practicing all aspects of scripture, we are on the right track.
*************************End of Part 5***************************