(and the beginning of all things being made new)
A recent discussion prompted me to review the scriptures and the reasons why I believe Christ’s return to establish his kingdom, the resurrection of the dead in Christ, and the “translation” of the living saints, commonly called “the rapture” all happen at the same time, at the blowing of the “Last Trumpet” of 1 Cor 15:52.
Let’s look at some scriptures…
1 Corinthians 15:51-53
Behold, I shew 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
This verse tells us that when the dead are raised incorruptible there will be people who are not dead who will also be changed into this incorruptible and immortal type of body. This changing of a corruptible mortal (sinful) body for those who are alive happens when the resurrection of the dead happens. The resurrection of the dead happens at the sounding of the “last” trumpet.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [dead], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [go before] them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
This passage also talks about those who are asleep (i.e. dead) and their resurrection. Here we have Jesus returning to earth and bringing those Christians who have died to earth with him. Again we have this event coinciding with a trumpet blowing. The Lord descends from heaven, with the trumpet of God blowing, the dead in Christ are raised (incorruptible) first, then those who are alive are caught up (and changed to the same incorruptible body) with them to meet him in the clouds. From the clouds we remain with him, presumably as he continues his descent to the earth.
Acts 1: 9-11
And when he [Jesus] had spoken these things, while [the disciples] beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Jesus’ return to earth will be with clouds, just like his ascension from the earth.
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
When he comes in the clouds those who are his are gathered together with him. The angels are involved in the gathering process. And again we see it coinciding with the sounding of a trumpet.
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
His coming is miraculous. Every eye will see him, not just those who he is gathering together with him.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
There is a resurrection of life (incorruptible and immortal) that happens at the coming of Jesus. But there is also resurrection for those through all time who have done evil, a resurrection to damnation, not to life. Interestingly while the Old Testament prophets and this passage in John imply that the resurrection unto life and the resurrection unto damnation are one event, we see from the book of Revelation (in chapter 20) that they are separated by 1000 years of Christ reigning on the earth with his saints.
So we see Jesus returning with clouds, with his angels, with a trumpet sounding, with the dead in Christ being resurrected and those who are still alive also being transformed and taking part in this resurrection of life. But Jesus told the people of Israel that they would not see him again until they acknowledge him as their God in the flesh, Messiah. So that must happen before he returns. The fulfillment of this is recorded in Revelation chapter 11.
In the book of Revelation we see seven angels each sounding a trumpet. Here are the events surrounding the blowing of the seventh (last) trumpet. Two prophets have been preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in Israel, Jerusalem specifically, for about three and a half years. Finally the Lord allows them to be killed and their bodies are left in the streets for three and a half days with all the world watching. Then the spirit of God raises them up, and they are taken up to heaven. There is an earthquake where a tenth of the city is destroyed and a lot of the people in Jerusalem die. The rest give glory to God and the seventh trumpet sounds and proclaims the rule of Christ over the earth. The kingdoms of the world are become the kingdoms of God.
Revelation 11:13-15, 18
And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, 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; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Jerusalem, as the symbolic center of Israel, representing the nation as a whole, gives glory to God. There is only one name above all names, and there is only one way to give Glory to God, through the name of Jesus.
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Jesus told Jerusalem that they would see him again one day, when they acknowledge their offense (their rejection of him as their God in the flesh, Messiah) and say, blessed is he (Jesus) who comes in the name of the Lord. It is in the name of Jesus that they will find their redemption.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Paul writes about the rejection of Israel and prophesies of their reconciliation to God in Romans 11.
I say then, Have they [the Nation of Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness? For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
Paul says they have stumbled and fallen, been broken off and cast away. The Gentiles have been grafted into God, received salvation, and have reconciled with God. But God’s desire is for Israel as a nation to come back to him. Paul prophesies that this will happen one day. They will one day accept Jesus as their Messiah and they will be grafted back into the kingdom of God. They fulfill this prophesy in Revelation 11 when they as a nation repent and Give glory to God in the name of Jesus. God receives them back again, and what ensues? The seventh angel blows the last trumpet and “life from the dead” is the result.
So scripture teaches that Christ will only return when the people of Israel accept him as Messiah. This coincides with the sounding of a trumpet, Christ coming down from heaven in a cloud, the dead in Christ being raised and those who remain alive also being changed and caught up together with them as Christ descends and begins to rule over the nations of the world.
Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.