God’s plan for humanity is powerful, positive and proactive and is built upon the ransom price Jesus paid for every man, woman and child who ever lived. This plan is one of great joy! All scriptural events and prophecies point to the unfolding of this plan. As we observed in Part I of this series, the widely held Christian teaching of the rapture, in all of its varied interpretations, does not seem to fall in line with this plan. Instead of hope, it seems to bring distress and chaos. In Part I, we began systematically looking at the key elements of the scriptures from which this teaching is drawn. Our objective is to look at these texts in the context of the Bible itself and not the context of our opinions or our church's doctrine. Here in part II, we continue to unfold what we believe God’s word actually teaches.
Care needs to be taken when reading the verses in 1 Thessalonians 4 that are used as the basis for the rapture teaching. In Part I of our three-part series, we examined much of verse 16, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God.” We found that the shout and the voice of the archangel were spiritual activities, things that could not be perceived by human ears. The shout is the command for all those who died in Christ to rise to heaven. The voice of the archangel is the command of God through Jesus for the reestablishment of Israel to begin, as described in Daniel 12:1.
Is the trumpet of God a literal trumpet?
Because the shout and voice of the archangel are not audible to humanity, we believe that this trumpet fits the same description. It also is a spiritual sounding, but of what? 1 Thessalonians tells us that the shout, the voice and the trumpet all happen at the beginning stages of the return of Jesus. Acts 3:21 tells us that Jesus does not return until the time of final restoration of all things, so we see this as a trumpet signaling restoration. Why? In Old Testament Israel, God had arranged for a trumpet to be blown every 50 years to signal a year of jubilee. What did that mean? It meant that all things were to be restored to the way God had designed them. Jesus returns with the trumpet of final restoration!
Check out our December 19, 2022 podcast, “Do I Suffer From Rapture Anxiety? (Part II)" for more. We elaborate on the magnitude and meaning of this trumpet and what the dead in Christ rising first entails. We then go into the big questions of timing. Do all Christians who are alive at this time instantaneously rise up to heaven when this happens as the rapture teaches? The true answer to this question does not come from Christian tradition; rather, it comes from careful study of Scripture. Join us as we unfold the inspiring truths that the Word of God reveals!