As we continue to explore the Rapture and the many aspects of it, in part 4 we learned that the text in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 has a military style. The underlying Greek words hint at military-style orders being given. It is with that in mind that we shall explore the idea of the last trump.
Listen, 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, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.1 Corinthians 15:51–52 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
The idea of the last trump has been connected by some to a particular Jewish Feast Day, Yom
Tehurah (or the day of blowing.) This is an appointed time, one of seven feasts (Hebrew: moedim) of Israel established in Leviticus 23. Yom Tehurah is a day known for trumpet blasts, specifically using the shofar. On this day, there is even a specific trumpet blast titled “the last trump.” It is a note that is held for as long as the blower can blow.
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: Concerning the feasts of the LORD that you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My appointed feasts.Leviticus 23:1–2 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
The seven feasts (more information can be found here) are arranged on the Jewish calendar. There are three spring feasts: Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits. There are three fall feasts: Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and Feast of Booths. There is one late spring feast between the two groups, it is Shavuot (The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost.)
I group them that way for a particular reason. The feasts are likened to the Menorah which has seven candlesticks, three on either side of the middle.
It is without question that Jesus fulfilled the spring feasts. Some say He even fulfilled the fourth. With that in mind, it is easy to understand why some think that the Feast of Trumpets is going to be the feast fulfilled by the rapture.
With our English translations, it is difficult to find the precision in Hebrew. Both Hebrew words shofar and khatzotzerah are translated to the English word trumpet. Both words tend to be blurred together. There is a distinction, and it is that Which needs to be explored.
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Make for yourself two silver trumpets. Of a hammered work you will make them, and you will use them for summoning of the assembly and directing the breaking up of the camps.Numbers 10:1–2 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Here we encounter the Hebrew word khatzotzerah. It is translated as trumpet. These silver trumpets had specific uses. They are not musical instruments but have specific purposes. They were used to call the assembly together. They announced the time to begin breaking camp to journey on. They were used militarily and for other various purposes.
When they blow both of them, all the assembly will assemble themselves to you at the door of the tent of meeting. If they blow only one, then the leaders, who are heads of the thousands of Israel, will gather themselves to you.Numbers 10:3–4 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
This is the call to assembly. When two are blown simultaneously, the entire assembly meets. When one is blown, the leaders assemble.
When you blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east will set out. When you blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south will set out. They will blow an alarm for their setting out. But when the assembly is to be gathered together, you will blow, but you will not sound an alarm.Numbers 10:5–7 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
This is the call to break camp. There was a specific order to breaking camp. The alarm blown on the trumpet signaled the camps in cardinal directions, east, south, west, and north. The signal used was different than that used to call an assembly. And the final blow of the trumpets would mean the entire congregation is on the move.
The sons of Aaron, the priests, will blow the trumpets, and they will be to you as an ordinance forever throughout your generations.Numbers 10:8 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
These trumpets were under the control of the High Priest. They were to be blown only by priests (sons of Aaron.) This is the primary distinction between the use of the shofar and the use of the silver trumpet.
And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you will blow an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the LORD your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.Numbers 10:9 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
That confirms that these trumpets are used to sound alarm for remembrance when enemies approached. The use of this alarm comes with a specific promise from God.
Also in the day of your gladness, and at your appointed days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings that they may be a memorial for you before your God. I am the LORD your God.Numbers 10:10 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
These trumpets were also used in the celebration of the Jewish feasts. They were blown in glad tidings, at the beginning of months. They were blown over burnt offerings and peace offerings. They were also clearly used during the feast days.
In the way the silver trumpets are used, they can be associated with a typification of prayer.
The Shofar at the Feast of Trumpets
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath, a memorial with the blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.Leviticus 23:23–24 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
The idea presented in the phrase blowing of trumpets is literally a blast or blowing. It is the Hebrew word tehurah. The word trumpet is assumed. Tehurah means blowing similar to blasting out a note.
As in the citation from Numbers 10, the silver trumpets are blown (Hebrew taqa,) not blasted. Except for when the alarm is blown in verses five and six. There we have both words used taqa tehurah (blow an alarm or blow a blast.) In that sense, it is instruction on how to blow a particular signal.
In Leviticus 23 it is the idea of blasting that assumes the use of a shofar (ram’s horn.) That is the trumpet used on that day. It’s a day of blowing trumpet blasts.
We can already see a distinction in the usage given in the law.
But I don’t think that the trumpet used for assembling the body of Christ is either of these.
The Last Trump
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.1 Corinthians 15:52 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
It’s the last trump. Let’s examine the companion passage from 1 Thessalonians. Chronologically, this was written before Paul wrote the first epistle to the Corinthians.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.1 Thessalonians 4:16 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
It’s the trumpet call of God. It is not the trumpet call of the shofar, nor those of the Aaronic priesthood. Like the latter, it is a summoning for the body of Christ to come together in assembly, both dead and alive. It is like the blowing of the silver trumpets, but this trumpet is singular. It is not like the blasts of the shofar on the Feast of Trumpets, the last of which signaled the close of that feast.
Also, note that this is the trump of God. It is not the trump of Gabriel or any other angel. Therefore it cannot be connected to the trumpets of the angels in Revelation 8 through 11. Simply put, there is no connection between the last trump and the seventh trumpet. The dates of the writing of the two books are separated by almost 40 years. That seventh trumpet could not be the context of what Paul was declaring in either epistle. It had not yet been revealed.
The last trump must have meant something of significance to the Christians to whom Paul addressed. It is the last call to assembly for the body of Christ. All Spirit-baptized believers are called to assemble, in the clouds.
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall be forever with the Lord.1 Thessalonians 4:17 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
This is a powerful idea to the early believers. In the wilderness, the blasting of the silver trumpets indicated the congregation was moving. Each cardinal direction would have been given a blast to begin moving. The final blast indicated the entire congregation was assembled and on the move. That is most likely the idea conveyed by Paul. Therefore, the last trump at the time of the rapture will indicate that the entire body of Christ is called up together: both the living and the dead.