Why are the "last trumpet" and the "seventh trumpet" not the same trumpet?
In 1 Corinthians 15:52, Paul indicated that believers will be changed (just prior to the Rapture), in the twinkling of an eye, at the "last trumpet." In Revelation 11:15, John describes the sounding of the "seventh trumpet," which is the last of the trumpets of judgment. It is seen, at this time, that the kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of God and Christ.
Those who believe in a Post-tribulation Rapture see the Paul's last trumpet as being the same as John's seventh trumpet. Thus, we see the Rapture and Jesus' second advent as taking place at the same time. Why do you not see the "last trumpet" of the Rapture and the "seventh trumpet" of Jesus' return to earth as being the same trumpet? If the "last trumpet" is not the same as the "seventh trumpet," then when was the "first trumpet" sounded, and what was it for?
Before I answer your questions, I need to tell you a few things. First of all, as you may or may not know, Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, as well as the Holy Spirit's appearance at Pentecost, revolve around the four Hebraic Spring festivals and holy days. Thus, Jesus' second coming is expected to revolve around the three Hebraic Fall festivals and holy days. In case you have not read about this at my website, you might be interested in reading Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 of my online Bible overview
Not long after the middle of the first century, Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the "mystery" of the Rapture and its association with the "last trumpet" (1 Corinthians 15:51,52). However, it was near the end of the first century when John recorded his great revelation about the return of Jesus at the "seventh trumpet" (Revelation 11:15,17). Thus, those to whom Paul wrote could not have known about the seven Trumpet Judgments, which were described decades later by John. So they would not have associated Paul's "last trumpet" with John's "seventh trumpet."
The term "last trumpet" (or shofar), in Hebraic tradition, is an eschatological term connected with Rosh haShanah, or the Feast of Trumpets, the Hebrew civil New Year. In ancient Israel, priests would blow trumpets on the days leading up to the Feast of Trumpets. On this day, several trumpet blasts were heard, commemorating a sacred assembly of the people (Leviticus 23:24; Numbers 10:7,8).
On a Feast of Trumpets in the future, Jesus will return in the clouds, as far as the earth's atmosphere, but no further. As soon as He is seen by the people of the world (Revelation 6:15,16), the Rapture will be imminent. Upon the blowing of the "last trumpet," of the many trumpets blown on that Feast of Trumpets, a great assembly of people will be gathered and caught up into the clouds. Then this great multitude of believers will be seen, soon thereafter, in heaven (7:9,10).
The final trumpet blown on that day, soon after the opening of the Sixth Seal, will indicate the last chance—thus, the term Last Trumpet—for people to be removed from the earth, prior to God's vengeance and wrath (Revelation 6:16,17) being dispensed upon the earth. His wrath will commence with the First Trumpet Judgment, which will follow the opening of the Seventh Seal.
Yom Teruah means "Day of the Awakening Blast." More details about this can be found in my two sections, Rosh haShanah, Yom Teruah, or Feast of Trumpets and trumpet blast. You also can read these email responses to two other people:
I also agree with those who embrace the "Post-tribulation" view that Jesus' second advent to earth will take place in association with the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet. I even agree that there will be a catching up of believers at that time, just prior to Jesus' descent to earth. That is, I believe that there will be multiple catching-up events. (See secondary rapture events and Is it possible that there will be multiple Rapture events?)
However, Matthew 24:29—a picture of some of the Sixth Seal events—is followed immediately and directly by 24:30,31—a picture of Jesus' appearance in the clouds and the subsequent Rapture. Jesus describes nothing else in between. Yet, if Jesus does not return back to earth until the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet, where in Jesus' Olivet Discourse is any portrayal of the opening of the Seventh Seal or of any of the first six Trumpet Judgments? They are not there. That is because the Rapture will occur immediatetly following the opening of the Sixth Seal but prior to the opening of the Seventh Seal, the latter which will commence the seven Trumpet Judgments. (See Are the Sixth Seal events at the very end of the 70th Week?)
Once the Seventh Seal is opened, I believe that the "day of vengeance" will ensue and will last for about one year (as described in The Seventh Year). Just the Fifth Trumpet Judgment, alone, will last for five months (Revelation 9:5,10). Remember, Rosh haShanah, meaning "head of the year," is not merely the beginning of a new month; it also is the beginning of a new year.
This initial wave of God's wrath will be "blown" out upon the earth in the form of the Trumpet Judgments. Then, in association with the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet at the end of the 70th Week, Jesus will return to earth to rule and reign as its King (Zechariah 14:9)—with a second wave of wrath yet to transpire, after His return, during the Bowl Judgments. The Seventh Trumpet actually will be the Great Trumpet of Yom Kippur (Leviticus 25:9; Isaiah 18:3, 27:13; Zechariah 9:14; Revelation 11:15). The "dead" in Revelation 11:18 may be believers in the true Messiah before the time of Jesus, or those killed during the seven Trumpet Judgments, or maybe both, who will be resurrected at that time.
Pertaining to your second question, if the trumpet (actually, shofar) blown on Rapture day is the "last trumpet," and if the Rapture will take place on a Feast of Trumpets or Rosh haShanah as I propose, then perhaps the "first trumpet" was blown on the first Feast of Trumpets decreed in Leviticus 23:23-25. (Note that the beginning of the religious calendar was changed to be in the Spring, as per Exodus 12:2. The seventh month of the religious calendar is the first month of the civil calendar, which is why Rosh haShanah is considered to be the Hebrew civil New Year.)
It also could be that the "first trumpet" was blown on the day that God descended to the top of Mount Sinai a few months after the Israelites left Egypt, just before He gave the Ten Commandments to Moses (Exodus 19:16-19). Another possibility is that since Rosh haShanah is known as the Feast of Trumpets, a series of trumpets (shofars) will be sounded on that ultimate Rosh haShanah of the future. If so, then I would expect for the Rapture event to take place at the blowing of the last of those trumpets that will ring in the New Year—and God's imminent wrath and vengeance.
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