Since the resurrection will be on the last day, how can there be any resurrection prior to the day that Jesus returns?

Email Received:

In your email response where you differentiate between the "last trumpet" and the "seventh trumpet," you make the case for both a pre-wrath and a post-tribulation resurrection and rapture. Yet, in John 6:40, 44, and 54, Jesus stated that those who believeth on him, he would raise up at the LAST DAY:

John 6:40 (KJV)
40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:44 (KJV)
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:54 (KJV)
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Likewise, this was the commonly held belief of those in Jesus' day who supported the notion of a resurrection Ė i.e., John 11:24.
John 11:24 (KJV)
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
The Greek word for resurrection anastasis is preceded by the Greek definite article "the" resurrection. Also, the Greek word for last eschatos is equally preceded by the greek definite article "the" last. If there is only one resurrection, and it is on the "last day," please explain how there can be another resurrection before that.

Ted's Response:

You evidently are referring to this email response that I wrote to someone: How can you say the "last trumpet" and the "seventh trumpet" are not the same when they both are the last and final trumpet? The term "day" in Scripture does not always refer to a 24-hour day. For instance, Genesis 2:4 speaks of the "day" that God made earth and heaven. It is talking about all six days of creation at once and calling them, collectively, a "day."

A "day" can be any period of time that the Lord designates it to be. Indeed, to Him, it can be a short 24-hour day, or a lengthy 1,000-year period (Psalm 90:4; 2 Pet. 3:8), or anything else He chooses it to be. God's "day of vengeance" evidently is equated with a year of time (Isaiah 34:8, 61:2, 63:4).

Likewise, the phrase "in that day," in many prophetic passages, is not pointing merely to the single 24-hour day on which Jesus will return to earth, although that particular day certainly will be included in that span of time. An explanation about this is provided in my response to someone's question about it: In the Bible, what period of time do you think the term "in that day" is referring to?

As for the "singular" resurrection event denoted by the phrase "last day" in John 6:40,44,54, look at Revelation 20:4. John saw thrones on which were seated resurrected saints who had been given authority to judge (1 Corinthians 6:2,3). In addition, he saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony and witness of Jesus, and they were resurrected as well.

Essentially, the resurrections of all believers prior to the Millennium will be considered, collectively, to be "the first resurrection," with the second resurrection of the unsaved to take place after the thousand years are over (Revelation 20:5,12). More about this can be found in this email response: Have you connected Paul's words to the Thessalonians with John's teaching in Revelation concerning the First Resurrection of the dead?

In summary, following the opening of the Sixth Seal, when many will be hiding in caves and under rocks after seeing the face of Jesus on His throne in the sky, they will understand that the "day" of God's wrath and vengeance is imminent (Revelation 6:15-17). But this will not be the 24-hour day that Jesus returns to earth; this will be the time of the Pre-Wrath Rapture, after which multitudes of glorified saints will be translated, along with Jesus and His throne, into heaven, where they will shower Him with worship and praise (7:9-12).

The Seventh Seal will have yet to be opened (Revelation 8:1). This will commence the Day of the Lord period, which initially will include the seven trumpet judgments, which will be the first wave of God's wrath (with the seven bowl judgments being the second wave of His wrath). This year of time will be God's "day" of vengeance (Isaiah 34:8, 61:2, 63:4), with the Fifth Trumpet judgment (Revelation 9:5,10) alone spanning five months of that year.

Jesus will return to earth, to rule and reign, in conjunction with the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet (Revelation 11:15-17). This also will be the (24-hour) day on which Jesus will harvest other believers from the earth (14:16), just prior to treading the winepress of God's wrath (14:19,20). Thus, more than one resurrection and Rapture event will take place on the "last day," the "day" (year) of God's vengeance and wrath.

However, the year-long day of vengeance will be merely the very short beginning to the very lengthy Day of the Lord period, which will encompass the Millennium of the Lord Jesus' righteous and perfect rule over the whole world. This will be the ultimate example of how a "day" can be a 1,000-year period to the Lord (Psalm 90:4; 2 Pet. 3:8)

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