Chapter 8 The Last Trumpet
The seventh trumpet introduces the seven bowls of God’s wrath. But much more occurs at this last trumpet. At this point Jesus begins to reign as king over the earth. This subject is being discussed as this trumpet is sounded. Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
Soon the twenty-four elders surrounding God’s throne are speaking about how the Lord God has begun to reign on earth. These elders fall on their faces before God and worship Him saying, “We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. (Revelation 11:17)
There is a brief reference to the coming wrath of God, which will soon be seen, during events titled the seven bowls of God’s wrath. They make the observation that the nations were enraged, and in response God’s wrath came (Revelation 11:18). But a more detailed depiction of this being a transition to the coming wrath of God is shown as the scene changes, and the authentic ark of the covenant comes into view inside the heavenly temple. This personal residence of God will be the control center for the outpouring of the seven bowls of God’s wrath (Revelation 11:19).
Paul wrote that a massive harvest of God’s people will occur at this last trumpet. This harvest will be a complete rapture of the church, accompanied by the resurrection of those belonging to Christ. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will 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 will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)
This harvest ensures the entire church is removed from earth prior to the outpouring of God’s wrath, which occurs during the seven bowls of God’s wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9). There is no rapture for Israel; this nation is to remain on earth during the seven bowls of God’s wrath. Ezekiel wrote of a time when the Lord would reign over Israel; it was to occur during a time in which God’s wrath would be poured out upon the earth (Ezekiel 20:33-34).
Rapture – and Resurrection
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17a) The phrase “and remain” is also translated “and are left” (NIV) and “who are left” (ESV). This refers to the believers who were “left behind” during the early rapture of the Philadelphia Church, which occurs at the sixth seal.
The corresponding passage in Revelation has been largely disregarded, interpreted as having only symbolic meaning. But these verses actually describe a second rapture, a complete rapture of the church, plus the resurrection of those belonging to Christ.
Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped. (Revelation 14: 14-16)
God resides in this temple; so, when an angel comes out of this temple with a message, it is from the Father. That message is for the Son, the one sitting on the cloud. The message is that it is time to bring home His bride, which is the church. That the term “bride” is used to describe the body of believers known as the church illustrates their intimate, covenant relationship with God.
There is an important detail about Christ’s coming for the church that Jesus said even He does not know. That detail is the timing of His coming for the church. Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. (Matthew 24:36) So the Father, who resides in the temple, sends out an angel to tell Jesus that it is time to bring home his bride, which is the church. We can even read the words of this message: “Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.”
Jesus swings a sickle over the earth, and the rapture of Christians who were “left behind” during the initial rapture, along with those who obtained faith during the end-times, occurs. This rapture removes every last member of the church from earth.
Remember that the early rapture was a partial rapture; only the Philadelphia Church was promised to be spared from the impact of the end-times. Jesus promised those believers: Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Revelation 3:10) God commands us to endure patiently; we are to demonstrate perseverance.
John then observed another harvest, that the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. (Revelation 14:19b) Scripture identifies where these grapes came from: For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel (Isaiah 5:7a).
An angel accomplishes this second harvest and it continues until Christ returns. Paul foretold that the entire nation of Israel would turn to Christ. He wrote: a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:25b-26a). Israel would be saved as a nation only after the very last gentile who is to be saved, obtains faith in Christ.
Ezekiel foretold that God would rule over Israel during a time of God’s wrath. “As I live,” declares the Lord God, “surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out, I shall be king over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; (Ezekiel 20:33-34).
It is difficult to accept that Israel is harvested in accordance with God’s wrath. But it is widely accepted that Israel remains on earth during the outpouring of God’s wrath, during the seven bowls of God’s wrath.
|Trumpet #1 (Revelation 8:7)||A third of the earth is burned|
|Trumpet #2 (Revelation 8:8-9)||Fire thrown into the ocean|
|Trumpet #3 (Revelation 8:10-11)||Contamination of water – Chernobyl|
|Trumpet #4 (Revelation 8:12)||Darkness covers the earth.|
|Trumpet #5 (Revelation 9:1-11)||Locus torture unbelievers for five months|
|Trumpet #6 (Revelation 9:13-19)||A third of mankind is killed.|
Trumpet #7 (Revelation 11:15-19;
Preparation for seven bowls of wrath
Complete rapture and resurrection of those belonging to Christ
Israel harvested, but remains on earth, not raptured