The Last Trumpet / The Last Day– #2
Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
In the first installment of this short series, we introduced the idea that the sounding of the Great Trumpet, specifically in Isaiah 27 is the same as the the sounding of the Last Trump at the time of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:52.
I took note that in ancient rabbinic writings that there was a consensus that Isaiah 27:13 was predictive of the final in-gathering of the “dead” those in the dispersion.
I noted that in Matthew 24:31 Jesus directly cites Isaiah 27:13 which means that Jesus was predicting the resurrection to occur in his generation (Matthew 24:34).
I noted that the sounding of the Trumpet for the eschatological in-gathering was directly and inseparably connected to the last of Israel’s feast days, Succot, otherwise known as the feast of the harvest.
I suggested in that first installment that the sounding of the Great Trumpet of Isaiah is the time of the resurrection at the “last trumpet” in 1 Corinthians 15. This has incredible implications. For instance:
If the resurrection at the last trumpet in 1 Corinthians is the time of the gathering at the sound of the trumpet in Isaiah 27:13 and Matthew 24:31,
If the sounding of the trumpet for the gathering foretold in Isaiah 27:13 and Matthew 24:31 was to be in the first century, in direct conjunction with the judgment of Jerusalem,
It must be true that resurrection at the last trumpet in 1 Corinthians was to be in the first century, in direct conjunction with the judgment of Jerusalem.
Of course, many scholars see the direct connection between Isaiah 27:13, Matthew 24:31 and 1 Corinthians 15. However, they then claim that while Matthew 24 is fulfilled, we are still waiting for the fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15. This bifurcation of these texts is untenable. Take a look at just a couple of scholars that connect Isaiah and 1 Corinthians 15.
Gregory Beale takes note that the sounding of the Great Trumpet in Isaiah is echoed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15: “The sounding of the Trumpet at the time of the resurrection is an echo of Isaiah 27:13.” (Gregory Beale, Commentary on the NT Use of the OT, (747).
Richard Hays says that Paul’s use of Isaiah 27:13 in 1 Corinthians 15, “is a standard symbol of Jewish prophetic-apocalyptic literature” (Interpretation Commentary, 1 Corinthians, (Louisville; John Knox, 1997), 274).
Gordon Fee also says that Paul is drawing on well known imagery from the Old Testament:
What marks the parousia is the blowing of ‘the last trumpet,’ imagery that had been taken up into the Jewish prophetic / apocalyptic in a variety of senses to herald the Eschaton: to sound the last battle cry (e.g. Jeremiah 51:27) to warn of the approaching day of judgment (Joel 2:1), to announce the coming of the Lord (Zechariah 9:14), to summon the people of God from the four corners (Isaiah 27:13) (Gordon Fee, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1991), 801).
Fee, like most commentators, sees the sounding of the Trumpet as a literal, audible blast that at least sounds like the Trumpet, for the raising of the physically dead at the end of time, p. 802).
Simon Kistemaker says:
Paul indicates the last trumpet will sound to announce the occurrence of the resurrection. The trumpet blast is the final one in the history of redemption. Other New Testament passages speak of Christ’s return have the wording of a loud trumpet (Matthew 24:31) and the trumpet call of God (1 Thessalonians 4:16). The Old and New Testaments, the Apocrypha, and the rabbinic writings refer to the blowing of the trumpet to announce imminent divine revelation, the judgment day, and the resurrection. (Simon Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary, 1 Corinthians, (Grand Rapids; Baker Academic, 2002), 582).
As the reader can see, these scholars- and many more could be cited who say the same thing – have no problem conflating Isaiah 27 with Matthew 24:31, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, and 1 Corinthians 15. Of course, the problem that this conflation presents is severe. If / since the sounding of the trumpet in Matthew 24 is, per the scholarly consensus, the sounding of the trumpet for the resurrection foretold by Isaiah 27, 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15– not to mention Revelation 11 and 20, the reality is that the language in each of these passages delimits the fulfillment of the sounding of the Trumpet for the gathering / resurrection to the first century:
Isaiah 27 posits the sounding of the Great Trumpet at the time of the judgment of the “fortified city” when the altar would be turned to chalkstone and the people whom the Lord had created would no longer be given mercy (Isaiah 27:9f).
The sounding of the Trumpet for the gathering, the fulfillment of Isaiah 27:13, would be in Jesus’ generation (Matthew 24:31-34).
The sounding of the Trumpet for the resurrection in 1 Thessalonians would be in the lifetime of the Thessalonians, as affirmed by Paul, twice, (in 1 Thessalonians 4: 15, 17), just as Paul told the living church at Corinth “we shall not all sleep” 1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
And as we will see as we proceed, the sounding of the Seventh, the Last Trumpet, for the resurrection in Revelation 11, is undeniably posited at the time of the judgment of the city, “where the Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:8-15).
What I need to do at this juncture is establish the connection between Matthew 24:29-34 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Keep in mind that we have shown that there is a consensus of agreement that Matthew 24 cites Isaiah 27:13. Thus, I suggest that if the correlation and connection between Matthew 24 and Thessalonians is proven, this in turn proves that 1 Thessalonians 4 is the same as Isaiah 27. With this in mind, take note of the direct parallels between Matthew 24 and Thessalonians.
Both speak of the coming of the Lord- Matthew 24:30 / 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 17. I should observe that in Matthew 24:3 that the apostles asked about Jesus’ “parousia” in Paul uses that word twice in 1 Thessalonians 4.
Both speak of the coming of the Lord with the angels
Both speak of the coming of the Lord with the sound of the trumpet.
Both speak of the coming of the Lord with the sound of the trumpet to gather the saints.
Both passages posit the fulfillment in the first century (Matthew 24:34 / 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 17). Needless to say, if / since these two passages are directly parallel with each other, the fact that both the amillennial and postmillennial commentators are in almost lock step agreement that Matthew 24:29-34 referred to the events of the first century has incredible implications. Strangely, however, even though Paul said his discourse on the Lord’s parousia was taken from Jesus’ earlier teaching (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14), the commentators tell us that Thessalonians is NOT about first century events but rather the so called “end of time” coming of Christ at the end of the Christian age. I have challenged numerous debate opponents, both formal public debate, formal written debate and countless informal discussions to demonstrate, exegetically, that Jesus was talking about AD 70 but that Paul was discussing the “end of time” and have yet to receive a substantive answer.
Thus, these parallels prove that 1 Thessalonians 4 is directly parallel with Matthew 24:29f. And since Matthew 24:29f draws directly from Isaiah 27:13 that logically demands that 1 Thessalonians 4 likewise is speaking of the gathering of Isaiah 27. But since, as we have shown, Isaiah 27 and Matthew 24 are about the first century events concerning the end of the Old Covenant age of Israel, in the dissolution of the temple, that demands- logically- that 1 Thessalonians 4 is equally delimited to that time and those events.
For an in-depth examination of over 20 direct parallels between the Olivet Discourse and Paul’s Thessalonian epistles, see my book, We Shall Meet Him In The Air: The Wedding of the King of kings.
So, what have we seen in this second installment? We have seen that scholarship recognizes and accepts the direct connection between Isaiah 27, Matthew 24:31, 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4. (We will establish the linkage between these texts and Revelation 11 as we proceed).
We have seen that the Bible is very clear in positing the fulfillment of each of these texts at the time of the judgment on Old Covenant Jerusalem in AD 70.
And here is what that means;
The resurrection would be on “the last day” (it would also be at the last hour- John 5).
The resurrection would be at the sounding of the Great Trumpet of God, as foretold by Isaiah 27, Matthew 24:31, 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4 (and Revelation 11 & 20).
But, the resurrection foretold by Isaiah 27, Matthew 24:31, 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4 (and Revelation 11 & 20) was to be fulfilled at the time of the judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem.
Therefore, “the last day” (and the last hour) was to be fulfilled at the time of the judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem.
Of course, this being true, it means that the arguments and claim that “the last day” must refer to the last day of time, or the last day of the Messianic Age (the age in which we are now living), is false. That term, the last day (and the last hour) referred to the last day and the last hour of the Old Covenant age, which arrived in the dissolution of the Old Covenant temple, in AD 70.
More to come. In the meantime, get a copy of my book, The Resurrection of Daniel 12:2: Future or Fulfilled? — Or my We Shall Meet Him, book. Mention that you saw this article and I will refund your shipping, saving you almost $5.00!