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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," March Edition 2008

The Last Trump

"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” (I Cor. 15:51-52).

Dispensationalism teaches an any-moment secret pre-seven year great tribulation rapture of the Church, presumably based on this verse.

The rapture cannot possible occur “at any moment,” however, for St. Paul definitely places it in the context of an historical time-indication anchor called “the last trump.”

So how can the expression “last trump” logically refer to any conceivable random moment? And where in the I Corinthians 15 text does Paul mention the existence of some future seven year great tribulation period, at the beginning of which the rapture is supposed to happen--as in the modern notion--“pre”?

Stumped by this questioned? Obviously you will be stumped when you try to find any future seven year great tribulation period in the New Testament, for the New Testament never, anywhere, mentions the existence of any such future "seven year" period of time.

Sorry you got stumped at my question, but please let reason and common sense now help you out.

First, Paul never mentions a seven year great tribulation period in I Corinthians 15, so we should not be attempting to structure the rapture teaching of verses 51-52 about some imagined “seven year” context, either. That is not honest interpretation of Scripture when one reads into a text one's own preconceived idea of what one wants it to say, rather than paying attention to what the text itself actually does and does not say.

Second, the I Corinthian 15:51-52 text plainly says that the rapture happens at the last trump, and, we repeat, not at the beginning of some imagined future seven year great-tribulation time-frame period that is nowhere mentioned in the New Testament.

Now that the foregoing fallacy of the future seven years, with which to start, has been cognitively block busted, and forever laid to rest, let’s compare Scripture with Scripture. The word “last” in the expression “last trump” implies a series of trumpet blasts. If there is a “last” trump there must also be a “first” trump, and perhaps other trumpet soundings in between. Now is there anywhere in the New Testament a series of trumpet blasts given?

Yes there is. There is a series of seven trumpet soundings mentioned in Scripture, and this series is found in Revelation chapters 7-11.

Now let’s check out the seventh, or “last,“ trumpet indicator seen in the Revelation 11:15-19 passage. Here, then, is part of what happens when the seventh, or last, trump sounds in verse 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 they servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to them that fear they name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”

From this comparison of I Cor. 15:51-52 with Revelation 11:18 we see that the rapture of the church and general resurrection of the dead takes place simultaneously within an historical context that is totally different than what popular dispensational premillennialism teaches. We can find out exactly what that historical context is by carefully noting what is involved in each of the preceding six trumpet blasts, as described in Revelation chapters 8-9.

Here is what we learned so far:

(1) We should simply "get over" future seven year end-time "time-frame" structure, as preconceived idea and under-lying organizational assumption, with which to start--that is a miscuing misnomer that is not involved in the biblical end-game at all. Doing this immediately separates us from ninty-five percent of the modern so-called end-time Bible prophecy "experts," (really, merely deceived speculationists!) who are all foolishly barking up the wrong tree, and going on a wild goose chase in persuit of their imaginary "last days scenarios," with which they then become so totally infatuated.

(2) The above major obstruction to undertanding being removed, we then become aware of the biblical portrait of the rapture as taking place at the end of a series of specific events (i.e., the first six trumpet soundings of Revelation chapters 8-9) that portray God’s judgments happening on the world.

(3) We come to understand and accept the rapture as being part of the general resurrection of the dead, at the seventh or last trump sounding, whereat eternal rewards and punishments are given.

Now what is so hard about getting our minds around that?

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