A Voice in the
July 4, 1999
The "last" trumpet (response to "His Glorious Appearing")
It's there in black and white. It's really plain, and simple. And should not be ignored.
Indeed, out of curiosity, when I went to see what others of the "pre-70th-week" persuasion had to say about this, I came up essentially blank.
This inquirer suggests that it is "not Revelation 4" but notice that he does not offer what he thinks it might be instead. And that's OK. Typically, this expression, "the -last- trumpet", is used by the 'post-trib' adherents as one of their primary proof-texts. They follow along the "seven trumpets" of Revelation, and assume the "last" trumpet is the "seventh", from Rev11:15. Trouble with that view is that, if you read the verses 15-19 there, you don't find anything that corresponds with the events of the Rapture, of being caught up to Jesus in the clouds. And as Peter says 'they' distort the rest of Scriptures, these people usually also mix up Israel and the Church and use Mt24:31 where God is gathering "His elect" [Israel] and say that event is the "Church". So, ignoring all the rest of the Scriptures that point to a pre-70th-week rapture, they teach a "post-trib" scenario.
But, yes, it is there in "black and white" and needs to be addressed. But to say that it is "plain and simple" may not be -quite- so true. If even Peter said that some of Paul's writings were difficult to understand, who are we to say it's "simple"?
Something we must understand is that Scripture does not contradict itself. If we find something we don't at first understand, we must be careful not to accept a teaching which contradicts those things which -are- 'clearly' understood.
When Paul says, "last" trumpet; "last" to/for/of "what"? You see, the Jewish life consisted of -many- trumpets, for practically every event. When the Law was given. (Ex19) Jubilee. (Lev25) For assembling the group, breaking camp and alarms to battle. (Nu10) When they defeated Jericho. (Josh6) Those keeping guard. (Ezek33:3) And so, to understand Paul's frame of reference, we also notice his comments about the trumpet being a "call to arms" for "battle". Having a "distinction" in sounds (1Cor14:7-8) Understanding that the trumpet was a device for "communication". e.g. "Charge!" has a different sound than "Taps".
The Rapture is a "Church" event. But we should never lose sight of the fact that the Church started out "Jewish". But when Israel (nationally) rejected, they were broken off temporarily (Rom11:17) and Gentiles were grafted in to Christ. (Rom11:17,Acts28:28,Eph2:13-14) But we should equally remember that Israel will be grafted back in as they will be saved, when the "fullness of the Gentiles" has come in. (Rom11:25-26, Jer31:31-34)
To understand the "trumpet" we need to understand the Jewish Feasts. For an outline of this, the reader is directed to the website, 1996 Tidbits, "Feast of Ingathering." You will find all the Scripture references there, for what we are about to consider here. There were three basic feasts in the Jewish year; 1) Unleavened Bread, 2) Harvest, 3) Ingathering. However, these were further subdivided into what were, actually, "seven" observances. Unleavened Bread consisted of 1) Unleavened Bread, 2) Passover, & 3) Firstfruits. Harvest was the "Feast of Weeks", 50 days following Firstfruits, or "Pentecost". And Ingathering consists of 1) Trumpets, 2) Atonement, and 3) Tabernacles.
Unleavened Bread, Passover and Firstfruits were fulfilled with Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Pentecost was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit came and the Church started. And if you notice how they were to leave "gleanings for strangers", that is the point at which the Gentiles ("strangers" Eph2:12) became part of the Church. But the Feast of Ingathering has not yet been fulfilled.
Who-all is going to be 'gathered' in? The 1) Church, 2) Israel and the 3) Nations; corresponding with 1) Trumpets, 2) Atonement and 3) Tabernacles.
Notice that most events in Jewish life had trumpets announcing them. But this day was specifically dedicated to primarily "blowing of trumpets." (Lev23:24, Nu29:1) If you look up with Strongs, you will not find a 'number' behind "trumpets" in Lev23:24. According to the Interlinear it's a time of "gathering" or "memorial summons". A summons to/for what? "Come up here." (Rev4:1)
Let's look at the tradition of Rosh Hashana, first. Gleaning from Encyclopedia Britannica, the trumpets announce the beginning of the Jewish New Year. It begins the time of penitence leading to Yom Kippur, Atonement. They remember God's creation. They also see it as announcing the beginning of God's "judgement for all of mankind". And there is then a "trumpet" that closes the evening of Yom Kippur. Is -that- the "last" trumpet? Since that's connected to Atonement, that is likely the "seventh" trumpet of Revelation 11.
Let's back up. The Rosh Hashana trumpets remember God's creation, that "God is Ruler of the universe", God's "revelation at Sinai". Remember that Lev23:24 says a "memorial summons". I think we can understand Paul's "last trumpet" best from Sinai.
There were thunderings, thick cloud and trumpet blasts. (Ex19:16) And then, notice, "and when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and became very strong, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice." At which point God came down to the mountain and Moses went (having been "summoned") up to meet Him. (vs19-20) There had been trumpet sounds. But -now- there was a LONG-LOUD blast. Something unique from the rest.
If the Rapture corresponds to the Feast of Trumpets, where the primary item of the feast is the blowing of trumpets "all day"; obviously, there is going to be -a- "last" trumpet blast, after which the trumpets have -ceased- sounding. In modern concept; if one is at an orchestra concert, the music is playing, and the conductor is waving his baton. Finally, the piece of music is finished. The last instrumental sound has been made. The conductor has given his final ("last") cut-off. The final cadence. The "last" chord. ...of -this- piece...not next week's concert. Nor the "seventh" concert of the season series. -This- concert.
In Sinai-fashion, the Lord comes with the "voice of the archangel" and the "trumpet of God". (1Th4:16) How long a period of time is this going on? We are not told. But it is obviously long enough to get the world's attention. And then, there is a final 'distinctive' (1Cor14:7-8) trumpet sound, which is also the "last" (1Cor15:52) trumpet sound, which signals that "NOW" is the time. Imagine the start of a race. The starting gun does not usually get fired, by itself. It is usually preceeded by "On your marks... get set... BANG!" In the same way, the "last trumpet" is like that "Bang". The -true- "Big Bang"!!
Now... it's "TIME" for the final End Events. The Church is caught up. Now, it's time to deal with Israel, again. Her time of "Atonement" and "purification" (Mal3:3) as she will, then, "be saved". (Rom11:26a)