Biblical Principles for Christian Maturity

John H. Stoll, Th.M., Ph.D

Copyright 1996, John H. Stoll

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Chapter 27 - The Trump of God

Date setting for the return of Christ has become commonplace in Christian circles today. Some say the catching away of Christians in not a matter of secret. They claim that the Rapture will be in the middle or end of the Tribulation.

These assertions lead to some inescapable conclusions. The very mention of a mid-trib or post-trib rapture is the same as date setting, since the Bible is explicitly clear as to the time period for the middle and end of the Tribulation. Thus the church is robbed of the blessed hope of Christ's imminent return, since for centuries He has been momentarily expected. The imminency of Christ's return, or lack of it, then ceases to be a sanctifying factor and a motivating element in the lives of Christians.

Much of this controversy is based on the "trumpets" in Scripture, and particularly, "The trump of God". There are 115 passages in the Bible relative to trumpets. These passages show that there are three kinds, Human, Angelic, and Divine. Human trumpets were used by Israel to make announcements to the people. Angelic trumpets announced judgments or victory, and Divine trumpets followed the same pattern.

I. The Trump of God and the Last Trump are One and the Same:

Two primary Scriptures speak to this: I Thessalonians 4:15-18 and I Corinthians 15:51,52. Five elements identify these two trumpets together: 1) both were written to believers in the church, 2) both discuss the same subject, the resurrection, 3) both describe the same effect on the saints, 4) both hold forth the same hope for living saints, and 5) both passages use this hope as the occasion for comfort and exhortation (note: I Thess. 4:18 and I Cor. 15:58).

With this remarkable agreement, there is but one conclusion, they are the same. The "Trump of God" identifies it as to kind; it is a Divine trumpet. "The last trump" identifies it as to order; it is the final trump.

II. The Last Trump of God Points to the First Trump of God:

In order to have Biblical understanding and make progress, the terminology of Scripture must be followed. The term, "last" means the final or end of things in a series. It may be two or more, such as "the first Adam", and the "Last Adam" (I Cor. 15:45). Thus, the "Trump of God" is last in a series of Divine trumpets. A study of the 115 references to trumpets reveals that just two may be called, "Divine".

To understand about the "last trump" we must know about the first trump. The first mention of the trumpet in Scripture is the trump of God (Exodus 19:13,16,19; 20:18,19). To confirm the writing concerning the first trump, the writer of Hebrews refers to this in Hebrews 12: 18,19,26 (note: v.26 speaks of the last trump; see Joel 2:1 with 3:16).

III. The Last Trump Will Announce Resumption & Completion of God's Dealings With Israel Upon the Basis of the Law:

God's plan for Israel's future unfolded with the prophecy of the "Seventy Weeks" in Denial 9:24-27. But, the 70th week has not been fulfilled as yet. Faith assumes it will be fulfilled in the future, as the first sixty nine were in the historical past. This "seventieth week" is a week of years, rather than days, and is the future period of the seven years of the great Tribulation (For a differentiation between weeks of days, and weeks of years see, Genesis 29:27,28).

The very "Day of the LORD (Jehovah)" will be characterized by the "Last trump of God" (Zephaniah 1:14-16). During this period God will carry to completion His program for Israel under the covenant He made with them, beginning with His unconditional promises to Abraham. God announces the resumption and completion of this covenant by blowing the trumpet, as in the days of old.

IV. The Last Trump Will Cover the Seven Years of Tribulation:

The trumpet of Israel announced God's dealings with Israel over a long period of time. So, the last trump will announce God's dealings with Israel over the seven years of Tribulation. This is why Zephaniah 1:14- 16 speaks of "A day of the trumpet", meaning the period of the trumpet.

It also means the announcement of the gathering of Israel from among the nations (Isaiah 27:13; Matthew 24:31). It means wrath for the rest of the world (Joel 3:1,2,16 with Hebrews 12:26), and tribulation for the Jews (Zephaniah 1:4,12), in the sound of the trumpet (See: Zechariah 9:14-16).

V. The Last Trump of God Announces the Deliverance of the Saints From the World:

In I Corinthians 15:52, the Apostle Paul uses the sounding of the trump of God to signalize the time when the believers will be raptured. The first trump of God was at Mt. Sinai, with its tremendous impact for Israel. The sounding again will mark the completion of the work of the Church, and renewal of relations with Israel.

At this point in time God's administration through the church (i.e. the Church age) is finished. God then takes up with His children of Israel, in the final seven years (i.e. the great Tribulation, which is the 70th week of Daniel) before His coming to set up the Kingdom. Hallelujah.

Jesus shall reign where e'er the sun,
Does His successive journey's run;
His kingdom spreads from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

It may be at morn, when the day is awaking,
When sunlight through darkness & shadow is breaking;
That Jesus will come in the fullness of glory,
To receive from the world His own.

O, Lord Jesus how long, how long,
E'er we shout the glad song,
Christ returneth, Hallelujah!
Hallelujah, Amen.

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