The Last Trumpet / The Last Day– #4
Be sure to read the previous installments in this series #1 #2 #3. We are investigating the connection between Paul’s comment about the resurrection taking place at the sound of the “last trump” and the Jewish festal calendar. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown make this connection as well as pointing out the festal connections of Paul’s language in 1 Corinthians 15:
52. the last trump—at the sounding of the trumpet on the last day [Vatablus] (Mt 24:31; 1 Th 4:16). Or the Spirit by Paul hints that the other trumpets mentioned subsequently in the Apocalypse shall precede, and that this shall be the last of all (compare Is 27:13; Zec 9:14). As the law was given with the sound of a trumpet, so the final judgment according to it (Heb 12:19; compare Ex 19:16). As the Lord ascended “with the sound of a trumpet” (Ps 47:5), so He shall descend (Rev 11:15). The trumpet was sounded to convoke the people on solemn feasts, especially on the first day of the seventh month (the type of the completion of time; seven being the number for perfection; on the tenth of the same month was the atonement, and on the fifteenth the feast of tabernacles, commemorative of completed salvation out of the spiritual Egypt, compare Zec 14:18, 19); compare Ps 50:1–7.” (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, pp. 295–296). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc).
The Dispensational Bible Knowledge Commentary denies the connection between Corinthians and Revelation.
Paul had revealed the same truth to the Thessalonians (1 Thes. 4:15–17). The Rapture of the church was a mystery (mystērion) in that it had not been known in the Old Testament but now was revealed. (Cf. other “mysteries”—now revealed truths—in Matt. 13:11; Luke 8:10; Rom. 11:25; 16:25; 1 Cor. 4:1; Eph. 1:9; 3:3–4, 9; 5:32; Col. 1:26–27; 2:2; 4:3; 2 Thes. 2:7; 1 Tim. 3:9, 16; Rev. 1:20; 10:7; 17:5.) The dead in Christ will first be raised, and then the living will be instantaneously transformed. The trumpet, as in the Old Testament, signaled the appearance of God (cf. Ex. 19:16). It is the last blast for the church because this appearance shall never end (cf. 1 Cor. 13:12). (There is no basis for posttribulationists equating this trumpet with the seventh trumpet in Rev. 11:15–19. The trumpets in Rev. pertain to judgments during the Tribulation, whereas the trumpet in 1 Cor. 15:52 is related to the church.) (Lowery, D. K. (1985). 1 Corinthians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 545–546). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books).
Thomas Ice, Dispensational apologist likewise denies this connection but his attempt to delineate between the two passages is based on a negative fallacy. He argues that since certain words, terms, phrases are used in Corinthians, but those identical words, terms, phrases are not used in Revelation that this means they are different events at different times. This is a seriously flawed and fallacious hermeneutic. (Thomas Ice, “The Last Trumpet,” http://pre-trib.org/articles/view/last-trumpet, 11-8-2010).
To attempt- as Dispensationalists generally do – to create a dichotomy between the two texts based on the presuppositional idea that Corinthians is about the church while Revelation is about Israel during their proposed Tribulation period is a false contrast. It is an entirely artificial hermeneutic that says if word, term or phrase “A” is missing from text “A” that text “A” cannot be speaking of the same thing as text “B” since text “B” contains some different words, terms or phrases. This imposes a totally arbitrary journalistic and literary rule on the Bible. As just noted, this is a negative fallacy. I discuss the fallacy of this hermeneutic in my We Shall Meet Him In The Air: The Wedding of the King of kings book.
In spite of this attempt to bifurcate between Corinthians and Revelation, thus positing different resurrections at different times at the sounding of different last trumpets, there is little doubt that Paul has in mind the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11– in fulfillment of Israel’s festal calendar. Notice that in Corinthians we have the following:
Resurrection to eternal life, i.e. the rewarding of the dead.
Direct allusion to the Jewish calendar, i.e the first fruit and the harvest, along with the sounding of the trumpets.
Entrance into the kingdom (v. 50).
Resurrection in fulfillment of Isaiah 25 / Hosea 13 / Ezekiel 37 / Daniel 12. (While Ezekiel and Daniel are not explicitly quoted, it is generally conceded that both of those texts are being echoed / referenced.
The resurrection posited at the end of the Old Covenant law of Moses, which was “the strength of sin” (v. 54-56).
Likewise, in Revelation 11, we have the following:
Resurrection to eternal life, i.e. the rewarding of the dead and the prophets, a direct echo of Daniel 12:13.
Conflated with Revelation 14, Revelation 11 is clearly about the time of the harvest, the Feast of Sukkot / Harvest / In-Gathering.
Entrance into the kingdom (v. 15). (Do not fail to note that in 1 Corinthians 15, the resurrection is the time of the entrance into the kingdom).
Resurrection in fulfillment of Isaiah 25 (Cf. Revelation 21- no more tears, etc.) / Ezekiel 37 ( Cf. Salvation of the whole house of Israel in Revelation 21) / Daniel 12 (Revelation 10:7f is a direct citation of Daniel 12. In addition, the time of the rewarding of the prophets is taken directly from Daniel 12). In Revelation 11, that fulfillment of Daniel 12 would be at the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
The resurrection posited at the time of the judgment of the city, “where the Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:8).
These parallels demonstrate that the dispensational attempt to divide the texts is untenable. The parallels prove that the resurrection at the “last trump” of 1 Corinthians 15 is the time and occasion of the seventh (last) trump in Revelation 11. Since we have demonstrated the connection between Paul’s discussion of the last trumpet and Israel’s feast days in Corinthians, then the conflation of Corinthians and Revelation demands that Revelation 11 is likewise focused on the fulfillment of that festal calendar. And this is driven home throughout the book. Many texts could be cited, but look specifically at Revelation 7 & 14:
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God (Revelation 7:9-11).
Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God (Revelation 14:1-5).
The reference to the 144K, dressed in white standing on Mt. Zion and holding palm branches in their hands (their “lulav” which was an integral part of the celebration of Sukkot), is a mental image of the celebration of Sukkot. This is no accidental coincidental imagery, since Sukkot is the feast of Ingathering- the harvest- and in chapter 14, as we have seen, the harvest is temporally bound up with the time of the judgment of Babylon. This harvest is the harvest of Matthew 13 and it is the time of the resurrection in Revelation 11. Notice that in both Revelation 11 and 14 we have the judgment of the city where the Lord was crucified, and then we have the judgment of the harlot city Babylon. Thus, undeniably, the festal connection is firm. John was being shown the imminent fulfillment of Israel’s calendar. This virtually demands that we view Revelation as the prophecy of the soon coming fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises made to Israel. This is where so many commentators and Bible students completely miss the Biblical narrative.
Just recently, on Facebook, a church of Christ minister assailed another poster who made the observation that the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 was the “hope of Israel.” This minister, Doug Post, who has been an outspoken critic of the fulfilled view of eschatology, responded by saying: “If 1 Cor 15 is about the resurrection of Israel, why is he addressing a Gentile church? Moreover, Gentiles were never part of Israel since they were uncircumcised.”
I responded to Mr. Post’s comment and question by noting: “He addresses Gentiles because it was the Gentiles who were denying the salvation of Israel– precisely as in Romans 11.” Amazingly, in a followup, Post admitted that the resurrection promise of 1 Corinthians 15 was, after all, a promise made to Old Covenant Israel. He then tried to cover up that fatal self-contradiction by saying that the promise was actually to the “Israel within Israel.” My response was that while true, this does not change the fact that the “Israel within Israel” was still descended from Abraham and that the fulfillment of those promises would occur at the end of the Old Covenant, the end of “the law” that was the strength of sin (1 Corinthians 15:55-56).
The reality is that all NT eschatology is focused on the (imminent) fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel. The original promise of resurrection, made in the Garden (Genesis 3:15), was carried forward and given to Abraham, then to Moses and embedded in the Law. Hebrews 11 makes it abundantly clear that there was but one eschatological hope from Adam onward. That hope was carried forward and assimilated into Torah (cf. Galatians 3 also). It was firmly embedded within Israel’s festal calendar and it was to be fulfilled at the end of the Law (1 Corinthians 15:55-56). To divorce the eschatological consummation from Israel, from her typological foreshadowing feast days, is a major miscarriage of Biblical theology- Paul is emphatic: His hope of the resurrection was nothing other than that found in “Moses, the Law and the prophets”- Acts 24:14-15 / 26:21f.
This means that when we read about the “first fruits” in Revelation 14 we are reading about Israel’s festal calendar. It means that when we read about the 144K, standing on Mt. Zion celebrating Sukkot (Revelation 7:9), we are reading about the resurrection promises that were about to be fulfilled. When we read about the impending harvest at the judgment of Babylon (Revelation 14:6f) we are reading about Sukkot. Likewise, when we read about the resurrection in Revelation 11 & 20 we are reading about the consummation of Israel’s typological feast days- specifically Sukkot. And all of this means– logically demands – that Revelation is concerned with the “last day / last hour” resurrection.
This is confirmed by a comparison of Revelation and 1 Corinthians 15.
✚ Both passages speak of the “time of the dead that they should be judged”- which, as Greg Beale says, commenting on Revelation 11:18, “confirms without doubt that this passage is a description of the last judgment.” (G. K. Beale, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, Paternoster, 1999), 615. Note, I am unaware of anyone that would deny that the time of the judgment of the living and the dead is the “last day / last hour” resurrection. See 2 Timothy 4:1-2 / 1 Peter 4:5. Thus, the fact that Revelation 11:15f speaks of the time of the judgment of the dead undeniably posits this text as a “last day / last hour” resurrection text).
✚ Both passages speak of the last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52–> Revelation 11:15- the Seventh Trump which was the last one).
✚ Both passages speak of the entrance into the kingdom (1 Corinthians 15:50 / Revelation 11:15f).
✚ Both passages have the resurrection to eternal life, incorruptibility (1 Corinthians 15:54-55 = Revelation 11:15).
✚ Both passages posit the resurrection as the fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant Promises (1 Corinthians 15:54-55– Revelation 10:7- 11:15f).
✚ Both passages anticipated the fulfillment of Daniel 12 (1 Corinthians 15: 54f–> Revelation 10:6-7; 11:16-18).
✚ Both passages posit the resurrection at the end of the Old Covenant. In 1 Corinthians 15:55-56, the resurrection is at the end of “the law that is the strength of sin” which is nothing other than Torah. (This is widely recognized among the commentators who, in spite of acknowledging this, fail to follow through with the logical implications). In Revelation the resurrection is at the fulfillment of the mystery of God foretold by the prophets (10:6-7), which would occur at the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (11:8).
✚ Both passages speak of the first fruit of the harvest. (“Christ the first born, afterward those who are Christ’s, then comes the end” / The 144K as the first fruit- time of the harvest had come (Revelation 14:6f).
✚ Both passages have the resurrection as the time of the harvest. (“Christ the first fruit, afterward those who are Christ’s, then comes the end”–> 11:15f / 14:6f).
✚ Both passages anticipated the imminent fulfillment of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:51–”We will not all sleep.” > “These things must shortly come to pass,” Revelation 1:1-3 / 22:6-20).
✚ Both passages speak of the consummated kingdom. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says of Christ, “he must reign until all enemies are put under him…then comes the end when he shall deliver the kingdom to the Father” (15:24-25). Likewise, in Revelation 11, “the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of God and of His Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” As Beale notes, “the consummate nature of the kingdom is indicated by the greater emphasis on God’s reign rather than on Christ’s. This suggests a parallel with 1 Corinthians 15:25-28, where God’s rule is emphasized over Christ’s because the consummation of Christ’s rule has been reached” (Beale, NIGTC, 1999, 614).* Beale proceeds to demonstrate that chapter 11 is directly parallel with Revelation 20, that is indubitably “the last day / the last hour” judgment resurrection.
- (It is wrong to think of Christ as ending his rule. Scripture is very clear that his rule and reign is “without end”- Isaiah 9:6-9 / Luke 1:32-33. Even Revelation 11:16-18 / 22:3 depicts Christ sharing the throne with the Father– after the end. See Revelation 3:21 / 22:3. As Beale notes on Revelation 22:3, “There are not two thrones but only one” (Beale, NIGTC, 1999, 1113). Christ and the Father share that throne- and rule forever and forever).
On any fair reading of these parallels it is impossible to deny that 1 Corinthians 15 is speaking of the same time and event as Revelation, particularly Revelation 11. But since Revelation 11 is patently the same resurrection as that depicted in Revelation 20 this logically demands that Revelation 11 is focused on the fulfillment of the “last day / last hour” resurrection of John 5:28-29). In an ensuing article, perhaps two, we will examine the framework for the resurrection as presented in Revelation 11. And we will explore the relationship of Revelation, the resurrection and the fulfillment of the last three of Israel’s feast days. But for the moment let me offer some arguments on the correlation between 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation that bring us directly back to the issue of the last day / last hour resurrection.
The resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is the last day / last hour resurrection of John 6:39, 44, 54, 11:24; 12:48, etc.
The resurrection of Revelation 11, the time of the judgment of the living and the dead, is the same resurrection as 1 Corinthians 15.
Therefore, the resurrection of Revelation 11, the time of the judgment of the living and the dead, is the last day / last hour resurrection of John 6:39, 44, 54, 11:24; 12:48, etc.
Following on this, please consider:
The resurrection of Revelation 11, the time of the judgment of the living and the dead, is the last day / last hour resurrection of John 6:39, 44, 54, 11:24; 12:48, etc.
But the resurrection of Revelation 11 was to occur in direct connection with the judgment and destruction of the city where the Lord was crucified (Revelation 11:8)- Old Covenant Jerusalem.
Therefore, the last day / last hour resurrection of John 6:39, 44, 54, 11:24; 12:48, etc., was to occur in direct connection with the judgment and destruction of the city where the Lrod was crucified (Revelation 11:8)- Old Covenant Jerusalem.
The only way to counter these conclusions is to prove one of two or three things:
1 That the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 and that of Revelation 11 are in fact not the same resurrection. But if that is true, the objector would have to demonstrate that there are two distinct resurrections to eternal life at the time of the kingdom.
2 Since #1 cannot be proven, one would have to be able to prove that there is in fact, a gap of so far 2000 years between the judgment of the city where the Lord was crucified in Revelation 11:8 and the resurrection of v. 15f.
3 Make the claim that while Revelation 11 is undoubtedly set in the context of the AD 70 judgment of Jerusalem, that those events at that time were types and shadows of the “real” resurrection at the proposed “end of time.” This view is popular among some amillennial and postmillennial writers. For instance, Kenneth Gentry admits that the sounding of the seventh trump– which is the time of the resurrection- says:
Many commentators have recognized that Revelation 11 and the sounding of the trumpet for the resurrection is focused on the time of Israel’s judgment. This may be surprising and challenging to some because the implications of such an admission are profound. Kenneth Gentry comments on Revelation 11 and the sounding of the seventh trumpet. He tells us that the sounding of the seventh trumpet signals the end of Israel that came in AD 70. (Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion, (Draper, VA., Apologetics Group, 2009), 407).
In similar fashion, Gary DeMar, Joel McDurmon and Keith Mathison all posited the fulfillment of Revelation 11 at the judgment and destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
Gary DeMar in his Last Days Madness, comments on the numerous statements of the imminence of the coming of the Lord in Revelation, and says, “Since the book of Revelation was written around AD 64-65, we should be looking for a first century application, either Rome or Jerusalem.” He proceeds to eliminate Rome as a candidate to be identified as Babylon and settles on Jerusalem. Included in his list of passages demanding an imminent fulfillment, DeMar lists Revelation 11:14 (Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA; 1994), 173, 264, 288, 290).
Joel McDurmon says that Revelation 11 is God’s answer to the prayer of the martyrs (Luke 18) and would be “the great judgment He had just described in Luke 17:26-37. (see also Revelation 11:18). McDurmon says that was AD 70 (Joel McDurmon, Jesus V Jerusalem, (Powder Springs, GA; American Vision, 2011), 114). (I had a two day formal public debate with Dr. Joel McDurmon, in 2012. I gave numerous quotes from McDurmon’s own writings that refuted his futurist views. He never tried to deal with his own inconsistencies. That debate is available in DVD, Mp3 format on my website).
Keith Mathison wrote in 1995 that Revelation 11 refers to the final judgment (Keith Mathison, Dispensationalism, Rightly Dividing the House of God?, Phillipsburg, NJ; P & R Publishing, 1995), 132). However, in his 1999, book Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Victory, (New Jersey; P & R Publishing, 1999), 151+), he applied Revelation 11 to the fall of Jerusalem. Thus, Mathison affirmed the AD 70 fulfillment of Revelation, as well as an “end of time” fulfillment. In his 2009 book, Mathison says that the sounding of the seventh trumpet indicates “In fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel 7, the events from the resurrection and ascension of Christ to the destruction of Jerusalem mark the inauguration of the kingdom of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18; Acts 2:36). (Keith Mathison, From Age to Age: The Unfolding of Biblical Eschatology, (Philipsburg, NJ; P & R Publishing, 2009), 676).
What is so interesting and revealing about each of these authors is that while they affirm the AD 70 fulfillment of the sounding of the seventh trumpet at the judgment of Jerusalem, not one of them discuss the fact that Revelation 11:15f is focused on the resurrection of the dead. “The time of the dead that they should be judged” and, “the time for the rewarding of the prophets” is nothing other than, nothing less than, the last day / last hour resurrection. Our comparison between 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 11 proves this beyond any successful denial.
These postmillennial writers seem not to have thought through their positions very well. Let me illustrate by examining what it means to posit the fulfillment of Revelation 11 at the end of the Old Covenant world of Israel in AD 70.
Consider the following:
The Sounding of the 7th Trump in Revelation occurred at the end of Israel in AD 70- (Gentry, DeMar, Mathison, McDurmon).
But, the sounding of the 7th Trump is the time of the resurrection Revelation (11:15f).
Therefore, the resurrection was at the end of Israel in A.D. 70.
Following on that, consider:
The seventh trump sounded at the destruction of the city where the Lord was crucified- signaling the end of Israel- (Gentry, DeMar, Mathison, McDurmon).
The seventh trump is the last trump.
The resurrection is at the last trump- 1 Corinthians 15– and Revelation 11:15f.
But, the resurrection is on the last day/ the last hour- John 5:28-29 / 6:39, 44, etc.
Therefore, the seventh, last trump for the resurrection– on the last day– was at the destruction of the city where the Lord was crucified.
Thus, by agreeing that Revelation 11 anticipated the end of the Old Covenant world of Israel, Gentry and these other commentators are undeniably admitting that the resurrection was in AD 70.
So, Revelation 11 is:
✔ The time of the judgment of the living and the dead, (more on this specific topic later), that virtually every commentator agrees is the last day / last hour resurrection of John 5, 6, 11 & 12.
✔ The Day of God’s wrath, at that time of resurrection. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1 undeniably posits that Day of Wrath at the revelation of the Lord from heaven.
✔ The time of the arrival of the kingdom at the resurrection, which is directly parallel with 1 Corinthians 15.
✔ The fulfillment of the OT prophecies of the “final,” time of the end resurrection, as we will see later.
✔ The time for the fulfillment of all that the prophets foretold, which is all but universally admitted to be the last day / last hour consummation.
✔ The time of the sounding of “the last trumpet” which is patently the resurrection at the last trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15, which, again, is the last day / last hour resurrection.
We will conclude this fourth article at this point. In this article I have not (yet) dealt extensively with the festal context of the last day / last hour resurrection except to note its connection with the seventh trumpet. That discussion will come later. For the moment, it is sufficient to say that we have established the unbreakable linkage between 1 Corinthians 15 and its discussion of the last day / last hour resurrection and the resurrection of Revelation 11. Since Revelation 11 is set directly and firmly within the context of the judgment of the city “where the Lord was crucified” this is tantamount to irrefutable proof that the last day / last hour resurrection was to occur at that time. In the meantime, be sure to order a copy of my book, The Resurrection of Daniel 12:2: Fulfilled or Future? for a great discussion of the resurrection.