And He will send His angels with the 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 24:31
When does the “last trump” or “last trumpet” sound? Is it the “same trumpet” as the “7th trumpet” of the book of Revelation? If it is, wouldn't that mean that it has to be a post tribulation rapture since they are trumpets of judgment? Or how could a pre or mid tribulation rapture be possible if all seven trumpets have to blow first? Let's see what the Bible really says about it.
First, the verse in reference.
1 Corinthians 15:50-52 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” is not “how fast the rapture happens” but it is “how fast Christians' bodies in the grave and the bodies of Christians who are alive, will go from “corruption” to incorruption; as the only bodies that are “incorruptible” are fit for heaven.
We see in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58, that “the change” happens at the “last trumpet” and bodies are changed to be made fit for heaven. It sure sounds like the rapture.
So then, if it is “the last trumpet of the seven trumpets” how could Christians still be on earth if the seven trumpets are part of God's judgment and wrath?
Let's look again at what happens at the seven trumpets (Revelation 8:7-13,9:1-21,11:15). The judgment that comes at the sounding of the seven trumpets will happen like this:
The seven trumpets and results condensed: 1. Hail & fire cast to earth, mingled with blood, 1/3rd of trees/grass will burn up. 2. Something like a great burning mountain will be cast into the sea, 1/3rd of the seas will become like blood resulting in 1/3rd of all living creatures of the seas will die and 1/3rd of all ships will be destroyed. 3. Fiery star from heaven - Wormwood, will fall on the rivers and waters, 1/3rd of waters become wormwood & bitter, many die from it. 4. 1/3rd loss of daylight and nightlight; 1/3rd darkness, of sun, moon, stars are struck so that a third of them will be darkened. 5. A star that had fallen from heaven to earth, will be given the key to the bottomless pit & evil-like locusts will be let loose. They will torment all those not marked by the seal of God (the 144,000 Jews), by stinging for 5 months. People will want to die but will not be able to. 6. Four special angels will be released, who were previously bound at the Euphrates river & kill 1/3rd of mankind. They will use an army of 200 million that will emit 3 kinds of plagues; fire, smoke & brimstone, from their front and back ends. 7. Completion. The mystery of God will be finished. The kingdoms of the world will have become the kingdoms of our Lord & His Christ.
None of these 7 trumpets are the same trumpet of 1 Corinthians or the rapture. The 5th trumpet certainly reveals something interesting. By the time it sounds, the 144,000 thousand Jews will have been sealed.
Revelation 9:4 They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
The sealing of the 144,000 Jews, is something that happens while everything on earth is suspended at or about the time of the rapture. Not one outpouring of judgment or wrath will effect the 144,000 who will be sealed for protection to endure the last 3 ½ years.
So, when is this last trumpet spoken of by Paul? Does it happen at the 7th trumpet prophesied of by John in the book of Revelation? Would not the rapture be long been over-with by that time?
The answer lies in what both John and Paul wrote.
By the time John's “7th trumpet sounds” in Revelation 11:15, not only will the rapture have happened but all 6 preceding trumpets will have sounded and possibly all 7 bowls have been poured out. There is no doubt that the rapture precedes it. So we can eliminate it as being the same “trumpet” that Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 15:52.
Paul gave us a marvelous hope about the coming of the Lord and it has to do with “change.” Since we will be “changed at the last trump” that Paul wrote about, let consider what else he wrote.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
When Jesus was resurrected, He became the first person to get an “incorruptible body.”
1 Corinthians 15:22-23 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.
So we will become like Jesus when He is revealed, the firstfruit of no longer being corruptible as we have been like Adam, but made incorruptible at His coming.
So which “last trumpet” is Paul referring to?
The answer is in the Word. The “last trumpet” Paul is referencing is the same one of these verses.
Matthew 24:31 “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.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
So why is it called “the last trumpet” by Paul?
Because that is what it is! It will be the last call on earth for the gathering of the saints. This trumpet marks the end of the opportunity of salvation for those still on earth. This trumpet will be deliverance for the saints; but it will mark the beginning of the wrath and judgment for those who “received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.” The Bible shows no one repenting or coming to God at all during the last 3 1/2 years. And those who worshiped the beast and took his mark were eternally condemned when they did it (Revelation 14:9-11). When Paul's "last trumpet" sounds, it will be the "last call" and it will be the end of the age, for all opportunity for salvation.
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. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6
While we do believe in a mid tribulation rapture, we are not saying we know the day or the hour. The Lord makes it very clear that no one but the Father knows that. While we do believe it is at or near the middle of the last 7 years of this age, the Lord says that He has to cut the time short for the elect's sake in Matthew 24:22 and who knows the amount of time that will be?