What is the last trumpet of 1 Thessalonians 4? Is it the same as the seventh trumpet of Revelation?
A trumpet is sounded in Revelation 11:15, 1 Corinthians 15:52, and 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Are these passages referring to the same trumpet or not?
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The importance of this question is due to the timing of the rapture. Those who believe all three of these passages refer to the same trumpet hold to a midtribulation rapture, meaning the belief that Jesus will come for His followers at the three and a half year point of the seven-year tribulation. Those who believe Revelation 11:15 refers to a different trumpet than the other two passages hold to a pretribulation rapture, meaning Christ will come for His followers before the tribulation begins.
A look at Revelation 11:15 clearly notes this trumpet's sounding in connection with the midpoint of the tribulation. The two witnesses had just finished their three and a half year ministry during the first half of the tribulation, marking the end of the second woe (v. 14).
First Corinthians 15:51-52 states, "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 imperishable, and we shall be changed." The trumpet mentioned here is not associated with a particular time, but could take place at any moment. The trumpet is associated with the raising of the bodies of dead believers and the transformation of believers who are still alive.
First Thessalonians 4 speaks of the same event mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15. Verses 16-17 share, "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord." Other details are noted here, specifically that the Lord will descend from heaven. This is an activity not mentioned in Revelation 11. The Lord's return, or second coming, is only directly mentioned in Revelation in chapter 19 when He comes with believers to victoriously end the battle of Armageddon and begin His 1,000-year reign.
In addition, seven different trumpets are used in Revelation to describe different judgments. These all take place during the tribulation. However, the rapture (described in 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4) takes place at any moment and before the tribulation. Therefore, these events cannot be referring to the same trumpet sounding.
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