IN THE LAST TRUMP
In The Last Trump
We cannot know the hour nor the day
of Christ's return, yet the Scriptures are plain that the wise will understand (Dan
12:10), and that we who belong to the day of the Lord should not let that day overtake
them as a thief (I Thess. 5:1-6). There are many things which we can know and I take great delight in examining these matters.
DANIEL'S SEVENTY WEEKS
To introduce this
discussion of end-time events I wish to make reference to Daniel 9:24-27. Because of
the bulk of material that is to follow in this work, it is necessary to be brief on
this passage; nevertheless, because of the great significance of these seventy weeks of
God's dealings with Israel, I will endeavor to give enough discussion to acquaint
the younger student of the Word with the passage.
At the time Daniel received this
Revelation, the nation of Israel was in Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C., and according
to Jeremiah they were to remain there under divine judgment for seventy years. Daniel
was studying these prophecies of Jeremiah when the Lord gave him understanding that the
time of their completion was at hand. Being a man of frequent and fervent prayers,
Daniel set his heart upon the Lord, confessing the sins of Israel, glorifying God for
His righteous judgment upon them, and pleading for the deliverance and restoration of
the nation. It then pleased the Lord to Reveal to Daniel many other things concerning
Israel in future years.
The angel Gabriel was sent to give the
revelation to Daniel. In Daniel 9:24 Gabriel says, "Seventy weeks
are determined upon my people and upon the holy city, to finish the transgression, and
to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in
everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the
most Holy." The word "week" is used here in the same way that it
is used in Gen 29:27; "Fulfill her week, and we will give thee this also for the
service which thou shalt served with me yet seven other
years." Gabriel did not mean seventy weeks of days, but seventy weeks of
years. There could be no possible way to reconcile this passage to history if we should
think of the seventy weeks as referring to days. Within these seventy weeks (490 years)
there were six things which were to be fulfilled concerning Israel: (1) to finish the
transgression; (2) to make an end of sins; (3) to make reconciliation for iniquity; (4)
to bring in everlasting righteousness; (5) to seal up the vision and prophecy; (6) and
to anoint the most Holy. A close examination of these will reveal that their
fulfillment has not taken place yet, and cannot take place before the Lord returns. The
transgressions, sins, and iniquities of Israel have not been completed yet, and will
not until Israel says, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of
the Lord" (Matt. 23:39). The bringing in of everlasting righteousness upon
Israel, etc., will not take place until the transgression of that nation is finished,
which will be at the time of the Lord's return.
From verse 25 through verse 27 we learn
that the seventy weeks were divided into three periods; seven weeks, sixty-two weeks,
and one week. Daniel had just understood that Israel's Babylonian captivity was at
its end, and he is here told that the seventy weeks (490 years) would begin at the
moment a command was given for Jerusalem to be rebuilt, and at the end of sixty-nine
weeks (483 years) the Messiah would be cut off. There were 483 years from the time
Nehemiah was commissioned to rebuild Jerusalem in 445-6 B.C. until the time of
Christ's personal ministry (probably the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem
as given in Matthew 21 and Mark 11). These sixty-nine weeks, however, were divided into
two parts. The first division was seven weeks (49 years), which began with the command
to rebuild Jerusalem and ended upon the completion of the work of rebuilding the city.
The second period of sixty-two weeks (434 years) proceeded from the time Jerusalem was
rebuilt to the time of the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem.
It is quite clear that the crucifixion
of Christ was not the time the second period of sixty-two weeks ended because verse 26
says, "after three-score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut
off." The death of Christ therefore must come "after" the first sixty-nine weeks. These first two periods of 69
weeks were to end upon the coming of the "Messiah the Prince," which best
fits the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem, concerning which Matthew says:
"And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried,
saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest" (Matt. 21:9). Christ did not offer Himself to Israel
as their Prince at the time of His baptism, therefore the time of His baptism does not
appear to be the correct time. The same is true with the time of Christ's
Verse 26 tells us that after the
cutting off of the Messiah (crucifixion of Christ) the city of Jerusalem would again be
destroyed. This was fulfilled by the Romans in A.D. 70. It must be observed that both the crucifixion of Christ and the destruction of
Jerusalem came between the sixty-ninth week and the seventieth
week. This was the order of the prophecy, and it was the order of the fulfillment.
Verse 27 speaks of the confirmation of
a covenant with many for "one week" which is the last of the seventy weeks.
From this first I would like to give the following observations.
(1). It must be noted that there is the
confirming of a covenant that will complete this last week of years. Any explanation of
this week must not overlook this fact.
(2). The one who confirms this covenant
is very evidently the "prince that shall come," mentioned in verse 26. This
prince is the antichrist, and is the Prince of the Romans. Since the Messiah was cut
off at the end of the sixty-ninth week, it is therefore most logical to think that he
is the one who confirms the covenant for the seventieth week. The one who confirms the
covenant for the last of the seventy weeks is also the one who causes the overspreading
of abominations. It is also upon him that which is determined (the wrath of the
Almighty) will be poured out at the consummation of the abominations. It will not due
to say that this person is Christ.
(3). The covenant evidently gives
permission for the Jews to promote their worship in their temple which is to be
rebuilt. The Romans destroyed the temple in A.D. 70, but it will be rebuilt. This is
necessary by the fact that the sacrifice and obligation will be stopped in the midst of
the week. Further proof can be seen by studying Rev. 11:1-2 and II Thess. 2:4.
(4). In the midst of the week the Roman
prince, the Antichrist, will cause the daily worship in the temple to cease. This is
when the great tribulation begins, in which many Jews and many of the saints will be
slaughtered for a period of forty-two months (3 1/2 years).
(5). This Roman prince, the Antichrist,
will also place the abomination that makes desolate in the midst of the week. The word
"abomination" means something that is hateful, the detestable, disgusting,
etc. The word "desolate" means something that is empty, laid waste, deserted,
etc. The whole expression speaks of something being placed in the temple so contrary to
the ordinances of God that it will render the worship of this temple without
(6). At the appointed time, that which
is "determined shall be poured upon the desolate" (desolator). At the
appointed time God will judge the one who causes the desolation. Let us follow these
things into the New Testament and build upon them further.
Turning to Matt. 24:15-22 we find the
words of our Lord concerning these same matters. Jesus says, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by
Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place . . . Then let them which be in Judea flee
into the mountains . . . . For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since
the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days
should be shortened, there should no flesh saved: but for the elect's sake those
days shall be shortened." There is a lot of unnecessary confusion as to the
period of time Jesus had in mind in these verses. It is said that in these verses Jesus
had reference to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70. this cannot be
so, and I will give a number of observations showing why it is not so; and also showing
that both Jesus and Daniel prophesied of a time still future to us.
1. The Abomination of Desolation is the
one mentioned by Daniel which takes place in the midst of the last, or seventieth week.
The destruction of Jerusalem came after the completion of the sixty-ninth week, but
before the beginning of the seventieth week (Dan. 9:26-27), therefore the seventieth
week must come after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
2. The one who seeks to apply these
words of Jesus (Matt. 24:15-22) to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 must find a
confirmation of a covenant with many for one week of years just three and one half
years before the event of A.D. 70. He must also show the accomplishment of the six
things mentioned in Dan 9:24 just three and one half years after A.D. 70 plus many
other things. Of course, as indicated above, this cannot be done.
3. It is in the midst of the seventieth
week that the great tribulation begins. Please make careful note of this fact. At the
moment the abomination of desolation is placed the Jews are to flee into the mountains,
for "THEN shall be great tribulation" -- not before, not after, but
"THEN." The great tribulation does not include the first part of the week.
There is not one scripture which speaks of the great tribulation before the approximate
middle of the week.
4. The tribulation mentioned in Matt.
24:21-22 must be the same as the one mentioned in Dan 12:1. This is made necessary by
the language of both passages. (A) The tribulation in Matt 24 is the greatest of any
before it, or after it. (B) The tribulation in Dan. 12 takes place at the time of the
resurrection and rewarding of God's people; and it is said to be the greatest of
any tribulation up to that time. A correct analysis here will demand that both
tribulations are the same, and that they are just prior to the Lord's return.
5. It is clear from Dan 12:6-7 that the
tribulation mentioned in Dan. 12:1, which is the one of which Jesus spoke, is three and
one half years in duration. In Dan 12:6 the question was asked, "How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?" I further ask,
What "wonders" are they that are under consideration? The answer given in
verse 7 is that the "wonders" deal with the scattering of the holy people
(Israel). Since chapters 10, 11 and 12 of Daniel are one continuous chain of thoughts
(given by the mouth of Gabriel evidently), it is necessary for us to understand that
11:31-45 and 12:1, 6-7, 11 all deal with the same period of time. This matter will be
more fully developed in a later chapter devoted to the prophecies of Daniel.
6. Matt. 24:29-31 shows that the return
of Christ will be "immediately after the tribulation of those
days." This statement is made in relation to the great tribulation mentioned
in Matt. 24:21-22. Other scriptures such as Dan 7:25; Rev. 13:5-7; etc., will greatly
aid in determining the length of this period of tribulation upon Israel and many
A summary of these observations Reveals
that the great tribulation will begin at the moment the Antichrist places the
abomination of desolation in the Jewish temple. The great tribulation, as it affects
the saints and the Jews, will last only three and one half years, and will end at the
time the Lord comes in glory. All this makes it necessary that the last of Daniel's
seventy weeks will transpire just prior to the Lord's return to the earth.
THE LAST TRUMP
Having laid a
foundation, let us get into the discussion proper. The expression "in the last trump" (Greek text) comes from I Cor. 15:51-52.
"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." The subject under consideration is the resurrection and rapture of
the saints. The reference to the LAST TRUMP gives significance
to the time of the resurrection and rapture. Please observe that it does not say the
first, second, or middle trump, but the LAST trump. Thayer's lexicon says that this
is the "extreme last;" "the trumpet after which no other will
sound." If we undertake to place the rapture of the saints (living or dead) before
the last trumpet sounds, we shall certainly do damage to a correct interpretation of
The Holy Spirit through Paul refers to
this last trumpet in such a way that it becomes very apparent that we should quickly
know which trumpet is under consideration. It is of necessity that there be the
sounding of other trumpets since this is the "last" one. There must be a
succession of trumpet soundings of which this one is the last. There is only one place
in the Bible that we find such a succession in connection with the Lord's coming,
and that is in the book of Revelation, chapters 8 through 11. This is the only
succession of trumpet soundings in the New Testament. This fact alone makes it
necessary to understand that the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15-19) is the one Paul has
reference to in I Cor. 15:51-52. For the purpose of emphasis I will give the following
(1). The subject under consideration is
the resurrection and rapture.
(2). The resurrection and rapture is
called a mystery. This is the mystery of God which the prophets have proclaimed from
the earliest ages. (Rev. 10:5-7).
(3). This mystery is to be finished
upon the sounding of the LAST trump. No honest means of interpretation can possibly
deny this bold fact.
(4). It is absolutely necessary that
there be the sounding of OTHER trumpets in order for this one to be the
"last" one. This fact cannot be overlooked, and any discussion of the time of
the Lord's return is exceptionally weak and terribly lacking if this fact is not
taken into serious and careful consideration.
(5). The language of this passage
demands that there be a SUCCESSION of trumpet soundings of which this one is the last.
Any discussion on the time of the Lord's return MUST point out such a succession,
and also show the relationship of the preceding trumpets to the LAST one.
What Paul says in I Thess. 4:13-18
deals with the same subject and the same trumpet sounding. Proof shall be given later
that I Thess. 4:13-18 takes place at the time Christ comes in glory to purge the wicked
from the earth and reign a thousand years.
Understanding that the resurrection and
rapture will not take place until the last trump sounds, let us
consider what Jesus has to say in Matt. 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; and Luke 21:25-27. The
expreession "Immediately after the tribulation of those
days" has reference to that part of the great tribulation brought on by the
Antichrist, as we see more clearly from Mark 13:24; "But in those
days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give
her light." As the great tribulation is related to the saints and Israel it
will last three and one half years, but there is a very great change that takes place
at the end of the reign of the Antichrist. The great tribulation will continue far
beyond the end of the reign of the Antichrist, but there will be a shift of tribulation
from the saints and Israel onto the Antichrist and his kingdom. We will see that this
is absolutely necessary as we proceed. The great tribulation is made up of two periods
of tribulation; one immediately following the other. The first is executed by the
Antichrist and his forces. The latter is executed by Christ, His army of glorified
saints, and the heavenly hosts of mighty angels.
There is one fact that is completely
overlooked by almost every work on the end-time which is very necessary in order to
discern the time elements of the Lord's return. That fact is that the wrath of God
is not poured out during the time the Antichrist is turned loose with almost unlimited
powers. The 42 months of power of the Antichrist is most definitely to be distinguished
from the period in which God pours out His wrath upon the Antichrist and the nations.
God has promised to judge the nations in great wrath since the earliest ages. The
Psalms, for instance, are full of these pronouncements. II Thess. 2:4-12 teaches that
the Antichrist will be turned loose with overwhelming powers to deceive the world for a
short period. It will not harmonize to say that God is pouring out the vials (Rev. 16)
and other judgments at this same time. When God begins such great wrath as described
under the seven vials, the Antichrist will be hindered more than ever. God not only
turns the Antichrist loose with exceeding great powers during this short period, but
also sends "strong delusion" upon the unbelieving world that they might
believe the lie of the Antichrist. This fact most forceably militates against any wrath
of God being released during the short period after the Holy Spirit is moved out of the
way of the Antichrist. It is when Christ comes in glory, as described in II Thess.
1:7-9; and many other passages that shall be used later, that the wrath of God is
By observing Matt. 24:15, 21 carefully
we see that "the-tribulation-the-great" (literal translation) begins at the
same time the abomination of desolation stands in the holy place (in the midst of
Daniel's last week). "The-tribulation-the-great" must include the period
of God's wrath because God's wrath is far greater than the wrath of the
Antichrist. The coming of Christ in glory (Matt 24:30) begins the wrath of God (compare
also II Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 6:12-17; 11:15-19; etc. It will be well for us to make note
of the fact that the Antichrist is NOT cast into the lake of fire immediately upon the
coming of Christ in glory. Christ is pleased for His glorified army to wear out the
Antichrist and his forces for some 44 1/2 months (this period of God's wrath, and
its duration, will be discussed in a following chapter).
The great tribulation begins near the
middle of Daniel's last week and continues for some 7 years 2 1/2 months. The
coming of Christ in glory is at the end of the 42 months of Antichrist's power, and
is shortly before the end of Daniel's last week which will be shortly before the
middle of the tribulation proper.
There are a number of things that will
take place immediately after the tribulation of "those
days" (the Antichrist's part), the last one of which Jesus mentioned in
this passage (Matt. 24:29-31), is that He will send His angels with a great sound of a
trumpet to gather God's elect from every direction. Please observe that here is a
trumpet sounding after that part of the great tribulation of which the Antichrist is
the master. The trumpet to which Paul has reference in I Cor. 15:52 is
the same as this one, or else Paul's trumpet follows this one for his is the
"LAST TRUMP." Please meditate on this for a few moments.
It has been said that Jesus had
reference to the regathering of Israel in this passage, but such cannot be true because
Israel had been regathered before the covenant for "one week" began. It is
with Israel that the Antichrist makes the covenant for one week (Dan 9:27). When that
covenant is broken in the midst of the week, Israel is to flee into the wilderness
(Matt. 24:15-20; Rev. 12:6, 14-17). The Antichrist will be in full power for 3 1/2
years (Rev. 12:14-17). At the end of these 3 1/2 years Christ will come in glory. It is
true that Israel will come out of the wilderness at the time Christ comes in glory, but
the "elect" spoken of in Matt. 24:31 and Mark 13:27 come from the uttermost part of heaven and earth, not just merely out of the
wilderness, or even out of all nations. When Christ comes in glory at the end of the
un-restrained almost 3 1/2 years reign of the Antichrist, the resurrection and rapture
of the saints will take place. The only way that we can say that this is a regathering
of Israel is by including the engrafted seed of Abraham, who are not Jews by nature,
but became Jews by a faith like Abraham had.
By comparing Matt. 24:29-31 with Rev.
6:12-17 one will notice a very striking similarity. (1). Both passages say that the sun
will be blacked out. (2). Both passages say that the moon will be blacked out. (3).
Both passages say that the stars will fall from heaven. (4). Rev. 6:14 says the heavens
will depart as a scroll when it is rolled together which would cause the powers of
heaven (demon powers) to be shaken as mentioned in Matt. 24:29. (5). Matt. 24:30 says
the tribes of the earth mourn which is the very thing that happens in Rev. 6:15-16.
(6). Matt. 24:30 says the Son of man shall come with power and great glory which is
exactly what is meant by the words, "the great day of his (their-Greek) wrath is
come" (Rev. 6:17). The two passages must deal with the same
time element. Compare also with II Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 14-15; etc.
THE SEVENTH TRUMPET
Let us further
compare the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15-19) with the scriptures already considered.
Please let me make this emphatic. I Cor. 15:51-52; Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 6:12-17; and
Rev. 11:15-19 should be carefully compared and studied in the light of each other. Many
other passages will beautifully weave themselves into the setting of these if studied
with a ready mind.
The first thing
mentioned under this trumpet is that Christ begins to reign (Rev. 11:15,17). It is not
after this time, nor before this time, but here, that Christ begins to reign. When
Christ comes in glory He begins to reign. We can easily see that the events described
in Matt. 24:29-31 are also descriptive of the time that Christ begins to reign. The
Antichrist has been in power for 42 months, but his power is broken by the appearance
of Christ in glory. This same comparison follows in Rev. 6:12-17. The Antichrist has
been in power for the short length of time allotted to him by God, which is described
in the first six seals. His power is ended by the rolling up of the heavens, which is
the time Christ begins to reign.
The second thing
mentioned is that the nations became angry (Rev. 11:18). This compares with the
statement, "then shall all the tribes of the earth
mourn" (Matt. 24:30), and the cry for the mountains and rocks to fall on
them (Rev. 6:15-16). It is when the son of man appears "in a
cloud with power and great glory," and the heavenly bodies are blackened and
scattered, that there will be "upon the earth distress of
nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them
for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the
powers of heaven shall be shaken," (Luke 21:25-27).
The third thing
mentioned under trumpet seven is, "and thy wrath is
come," which is almost word for word with Rev. 6:17, and also harmonizes
with Matt. 24:30. One will have no trouble seeing that these scriptures deal with the
same event. It is necessary for us to clearly understand that the reign of Christ and
the wrath of God begin at the same time. Study this passage closely and follow the
comparisons that have been given. The seven vials are filled with the wrath of God and
are poured out after Christ begins to reign. It is here that
Psalm 2:1-6 and other such passages find their fulfillment.
The fourth thing
mentioned under the seventh trumpet is, "and the time of the
dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants
the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and
great," (Rev. 11:18). I ask this question, Who are the dead ones of whom he
speaks? They are not the unsaved dead because their time is not until the end of the
Millennium (Rev. 20). Certainly it is of the saved dead that he speaks. Why should the
saints be referred to as "dead" if they had been raised prior to this time?
If they had been raised already they would be classified as living, not dead. This is
the time of the resurrection.
Paul said, "Behold I shew you a mystery," (I Cor. 15:51). The angel said,
"but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he sall
begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished," (Rev. 10:7). Where
in the seventh trumpet do we find the completion of this mystery other than in the
statement, "the time of the dead?" Without a doubt the
seventh trumpet is the last trump.
Fifth, you will
notice further that under the seventh trumpet comes the judgment seat of Christ:
"...and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and
that thou shouldst give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and
them that fear thy name, small and great" (Rev. 11:18). The reader may study
Matt. 16:27; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; and the many other scriptures that will be used
shortly for further proof that Christ will reward the saints after He comes in glory.
Sixth, verse 19
says, "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was
seen in His temple the ark of His testament; and there were lightnings and voices, and
thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." Under the sixth seal we see
that the whole heavens will be rolled back as a scroll. This will make it possible for
the earth to view the temple of God which will be opened in heaven. Surely we can see
the harmony between I Cor. 15:51-52; Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 6:12-17; and Rev. 11:15-19.
This should very clearly establish the time of the resurrection and rapture at the
seventh, or, last trump.
For greater emphasis the following
brief summary is given. The four most significant developments under this seventh
trumpet are: (1) Christ begins to reign. (2) The wrath of God begins. (3) The
resurrection and rapture take place at this time. (4) The time of the rewarding of all
the saints follows the sounding of this seventh trumpet. All four of these developments
take place (or begin to take place) at the same time -- when the seventh trumpet
sounds. These seven trumpet soundings are the succession of trumpet soundings to which
Paul had reference in I Cor. 15:51-52. There is no possible way of gainsaying these
conspicuously clear facts. The resurrection and rapture will not take place until the
42 months of the reign of the Antichrist are over. The wrath of God and Christ will not
take place until the same 42 months of the reign of the Antichrist are ended. The
rewarding of the saints will not take place until Christ comes in glory -- "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels;
and THEN he shall reward every man according to his works" (Matt. 16:27).
"For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him
(dead or alive) shall the Son of man be ashamed, WHEN he shall come in his own glory,
and in his Father's, and of the holy angels" (Luke 9:26). When Christ
comes in "power and great glory" He shall "gather together his elect" "from the uttermost part of the earth
to the uttermost part of heaven," (Matt. 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27).