In part one of this series of messages on the Rapture we shared that there are 4 basic views of the timing of the removal of the Church from the earth. We also shared why this event described in I Thessalonians 4:14-18 and I Corinthians 15:48-55 is commonly referred to by believers as the "Rapture."
Some believe the Rapture will take place at the end of the age before the start of the final 7 year Tribulation Period prophesied of in Daniel 9:27.
Believers who hold to this view are known as Pre-Tribulationists.
There are others who believe the Rapture will happen at some time during the Tribulation Period. These believers hold to positions called Mid-Trib or else Pre-Wrath.
Then lastly is the view that the catching up of believers will not take place until the close of the Tribulation as Christ is descending to the earth to destroy the wicked. This is known as Post-Trib.
Until proven otherwise by the Church entering the final 7 year Tribulation Period, we at "Rapture Watch" believe it is scriptural to devote our faith to the biblical instruction of expectancy inherent in the Pre-Trib position. To ignore the significant corroboration the Scriptures present for this teaching on the imminency of this Blessed Hope is unwise in our opinion. Placing the timing of the Rapture later casts an unwarranted shadow of fear regarding the Lord's plan for His Church during the approaching time of terrible tribulation and Wrath.
One commonly used argument raised against the Pre-Trib position originates from the Rapture Scripture found in I Cor. 15:52. The Scripture reads, "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."
Opponents to the Pre-Trib teaching maintain that this "last trump" must be the same one that the 7th Angel blows during the latter part of the Tribulation Period which is recorded in Revelation 10:7 since this is the last trumpet mentioned being blown in the Book of Revelation.
Pre-Trib opponents find themselves at odds with Scripture on this point when faced with the fact that the "angelic" 7th trumpet of Rev. 10:7 is not the last biblically recorded supernatural trumpet to ever be blown.
Isaiah 27:13 describes what will take place after Jesus Christ has returned to the earth. The time frame presented is after the Tribulation has concluded and Christ has begun His Millennial Reign. It is during this time that a supernatural trumpet will be heard throughout the lands.
Quoting we read, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the Holy Mount at Jerusalem."
This Scripture, along with Zechariah 9:14, which tells of the Lord blowing another trumpet at His return, provide substantial clarification regarding the timing of the Rapture.
First it verifies that the Last Trumpet spoken of at the Rapture in I Thess. 4:16 is a uniquely appointed trumpet designated for the end of the Church age and thoroughly refutes the Mid-Trib assertions that there are no other trumpets blown after the angelic tribulation trumpet of Rev. 10:7.
This is conclusive by the trumpets of Zechariah 9 and Isaiah 27 being blown at the very close and then again after the Tribulation - thus after the angelic 7th trumpet of Rev. 10:7
The angelic trump of Rev. 10:7 only presents the last in a series of seven blown trumpets. Revelation 11:15 reveals that this trumpet announces the day when Jesus will begin His reign and will lay His claim to the earth.
Without animosity for fellow believers in Christ who adhere to Post-Trib Rapture teachings, Isa. 27:13 and Zech. 9:14 also greatly narrows the field of debate as to the timing of the Rapture by eliminating the Post-Trib position entirely.
This is shown by the Isa. 27:13 statement about the people who "were ready to perish." The mention of the fact that these people were about to perish verifies that they will be mortals.
The central question of importance is, "Who are these surviving mortals?"
According to Post-Trib adherents, when Jesus Christ returns with His saints (see Rev. 19:4 & Jude verses 14-15) the Church will have been caught up only moments earlier to join the Lord for warfare as He is descending from Heaven to do battle at Armageddon.
Their belief is that there is no time allowance for any communion or celebration between the Church and the Lord, but instead are abruptly changed into glorious, celestial beings in order to partake in the bloodiest war in history. For a brief moment the Lord's trumpet blast prophesied of in Zech. 9:14 might appear to support this scenario.
Here the problem arises with the unknown mortals of Isa. 27:12-13. We know already by Isaiah that these mortals who were ready to perish are believers in the Lord because they are going up to Jerusalem during the millennium to worship Him.
So our first significant revelation from Scripture is that these people shown living during the earthly rule of Christ are mortal believers, who for some reason were not caught up to meet Christ and glorified with immortal bodies at His coming as Post-Trib theology requires.
Secondly, if these people had been unbelievers at Christ's coming with His Saints, according to Rev. 13:7-8 they would have had to be destroyed as followers of the Anti-Christ.
Speaking of this man of sin and his followers we read, "And it was given unto him to make war with the [tribulation] saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindred's, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of the lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
Revelation 19:20-21 states without reservation that the Anti-Christ and all his followers are destroyed at Christ's coming. John 3:18 makes this deadly fate of unbelievers at Christ's coming quite plain.
The conclusion is logical and inescapable. Since there are mortal believers left alive during Christ's reign who were not glorified at Christ's coming they cannot be members of the entity known as the Church. Thus no Rapture of the Church will be taking place at the close of the Tribulation Period.
The saint-filled Church which is seen returning with Christ at His coming at Armageddon in Rev. 19 could only have been Raptured some time earlier then the Post-Trib teaching proposes.
As to who the mortal Millennium believers are who were about to perish, they can only be those who became believers after the Rapture took place.
These are the Tribulation saints who had to survive the murderous pursuit of the Anti-Christ described in Rev. 13:7. They will be permitted to live on in Christ's kingdom alongside the resurrected Old Testament saints who were promised an earthly inheritance.
The simple reason why they were not Raptured and glorified at Christ's coming is because the Rapture had to have already taken place prior to that time. These are the surviving and resurrected believers who will repopulate the planet under Christ's ruler ship as is revealed to us in such passages as Zechariah 8:3-5 and Daniel 12:9 & 13.
Additional scriptural proof for this prophetic picture is conclusive. The initial gathering together of all the wicked for destruction at Christ's coming with His Saints can be verified by the scriptural passages found in Matthew 13:30,38-42 & 49-50 & 24:38-41.
Then the subsequent preserving and gathering together of the remaining mortal believers with a trumpet after His return is shown in Matt. 24:22 & 29-30.
It is a worthwhile endeavor for prophecy students to more thoroughly explore Zechariah 9:14 where we are told of the one other time than I Corinthians 15:22 when God will blow His trumpet.
As we have shared, the time of this trumpet blast is at the close of the Great Tribulation. Chapters 9 & 10 of Zech., when read in full context, abundantly refutes any notion that this is the trumpet blast heralding the Rapture since believers are not changed into glorified beings, but are instead anointed upon the earth as great warriors. They do not return with the Lord from Heaven, but are aided from Heaven.
We are shown that these are mortal believers who, after the Lord returns, will thrive as mortals in the land of Israel. Zechariah 10:8-10 further reveals that these are the same mortals who in Isa. 27:13 were about to perish in the lands of Assyria and Egypt.
The passage in Zech. 9:14 prophesies that the day of this trumpet blast is the same day of the Lord's return. If at any point in history there could possibly be a Post-Trib Rapture of the living this surely should have been it, but there is none!
The unbelievers are gathered and destroyed at this time while the believers remain mortals on the earth to fight, conquer, regather, thrive and reproduce.
The glorious last trumpet of I Cor. 15:52, when the Church is Raptured, had to have taken place at some point earlier. If not, then it would be impossible to find any mortals left to repopulate the millennial earth; everyone would have been immortalized or destroyed when Christ returned at Armageddon.
Revelation 11:15 & 12:10 reveal that the trumpet blast of Rev. 10:;7 declares the end of Satan's position of authority over the earth from his previous position in the heavens, not the Rapture of the Church.
In conclusion, the Scriptures offer no support in any manner to the teaching that the trumpets of the 7th "Angel" in Rev. 10:7 is the same as the trumpet of "God" blown at the Rapture in I Thess. 4 & I Cor. 15.
It is straight forwardly presented as the last of 7 angelic trumpets blown in a sequence as God releases His wrath upon a Christ-rejecting world. Scripture reveals there have been and will be other heavenly trumpet blasts to signal the end (or beginning) of other eventful occasions. The term "last trumpet" in no way means the sound of a trumpet will never be heard again.
The only question which remains critical at this point is, are you ready for the Last Trump which will signal the close of the Church Age and the glorification and gathering together of the body of Christ?
Be sure right now by putting your faith in the Living Lord Jesus Christ who paid the full penalty for the sins of the world by shedding His own precious blood on the cross.
Trust in Him alone for your salvation can assure your receipt of His blessed atonement, "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" (I Thess. 4:16-17).