The title of this post might appear to contradict the scriptures telling us the rapture happens at the last trumpet. However, this post shows the last trumpet is not the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11.
Although the seventh trumpet sounds like the most likely candidate for the last trumpet, it cannot be because it contradicts other scriptures identified in this post. Since the scriptures cannot contradict the scriptures there must be another explanation. So for now, let’s look at six reasons why the rapture happens before the seven trumpets.
Since God has promised to deliver his people from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9) the timing of the wrath of God is an important clue to locating the timing of the rapture. If we know when the wrath comes then we know the rapture happens prior to that. So the first four points listed below prove the seven trumpets are the wrath of God, then the fifth point proves the rapture already happened before the trumpets, and the sixth point proves the rapture does not happen after the trumpets. Then comes the explanation of why the last trumpet is not the seventh trumpet.
1. The Trumpets Release a New Kind of Trouble:
John saw two kinds of trouble coming upon the earth during the end-times. The first kind includes events that have happened throughout human history, which he saw being released during the seven seals. These include false messiahs, wars, famines, diseases, persecution of believers, and natural disasters. The only difference between these events and previous times in history is they happen with greater intensity during the seven seals.
By contrast, the kinds of trouble released during the seven trumpets are unlike anything that has ever happened before in human history. Consider how unusual these events are:
- First Trumpet – There came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up (Revelation 8:7).
- Second Trumpet – Something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed (Revelation 8:8-9).
- Third Trumpet – A great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter (Revelation 8:10-11).
- Fourth Trumpet – A third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way (Revelation 8:12).
- Fifth Trumpet – A star fell from heaven to the earth and the key to the bottomless pit was given to the angel. He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man (Revelation 9:1-5).
- Sixth Trumpet – And the four angels, who are bound at the great river Euphrates, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind. The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm (Revelation 9:14-19).
- Seventh Trumpet – The 24 elders who sit on thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 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. And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond- servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.” And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm (Revelation 11:16-19).
Each of the seven trumpets release a unique kind of trouble unlike anything ever seen before in human history because they are the wrath of God, which has never before been released upon the earth. Since the trumpets release the wrath of God, the rapture must happen before the trumpets.
2. The Trumpets Are Administered by Angels and Other Heavenly Beings
The book opened by the breaking of the seven seals has been sealed for thousands of years going back to the days of the prophet Daniel (Daniel 12:1,9). As the Lamb breaks the seals of the book, the events recorded in the book unfold. It is like each seal is locking a chapter in the book. As each chapter is unlocked the events recorded in it start coming to pass. Other than the Lamb breaking the seals, there are no actions required from any angelic or other heavenly beings to cause these events to happen. Although the Lord has the records of these events even before they happen, that does not make him responsible for causing them to happen. This trouble is not the will of God. It is caused by the dragon and the spirit of antichrist, the same culprits who have been causing these same kinds of problems from the beginning. Since these things are not the will of God and are not carried out by the angels of God, they cannot be the wrath of God.
In contrast, all of the trouble that happens during the seven trumpets are administered directly by the angels of the Lord and other heavenly beings. For example, at the sixth trumpet four angels kill one-third of mankind. Angels who only do the will of God by the command of God kill one out of every three people on earth. How can anyone claim this is not the wrath of God? The reason why that claim sounds so absurd is because it is false.
As shown below, heavenly beings are actively involved with causing these terrible things to happen.
- Four angels hold back the winds before the trumpets begin (Revelation 7:1-8)
- Seven angels blow seven trumpets (Revelation 8-11)
- An eagle cries out woes to those who dwell on the earth (Revelation 8:13)
- An angel unlocks the bottomless pit (Revelation 9:2)
- Four angels kill a third of mankind (Revelation 9:15)
- An angel makes a proclamation (Revelation 11:15-16)
- The 24 elders thank God because his wrath came (Revelation 11:17-18)
The will of God is always done in heaven and by all of the beings who live in heaven. They never do anything outside of his will. Therefore, since heavenly beings are responsible for carrying out the terrible destruction released by the trumpets we know these things are all done by the will of God. God himself has given the commands to cause these destructive events. Therefore, the trumpets are not caused by the wrath of the dragon or by the will of man, but by the will of God. The trumpets are the wrath of God.
Since the trumpets are the wrath of God and the Lord has promised to deliver his people from his wrath, the rapture must happen before the trumpets.
3. Only 144,000 Bond-Servants Are Protected During the Trumpets
Just prior to the first trumpet in Revelation 8 the Lord makes provision for protecting 144,000 bond-servants by marking them with the seal of God on their forehead in Revelation 7. We are told the exact number, only 144,000 bond-servants of the Lord are given the seal, which means no other believers have this seal. We are told the purpose for the seal was to protect them from the wrath of God, which means no other believers are protected from the wrath of God (Revelation 7:3). The fact that only 144,000 are protected with the seal provides further evidence that the rest of God’s people are not on the earth during the trumpets.
Question: The Lord knew his wrath was about to be poured out and even postponed it momentarily to give the angels time to seal the 144,000 so why did he not just go ahead and seal the rest of his people?
Answer: It is because the rest of his people have already been removed from the earth before the wrath is poured out. The 144,000 are the only servants of the Lord who remain on the earth during that time (not counting those who come to the Lord after the rapture).
We find proof for this with the locusts released by the fifth trumpet. The locusts are specifically commanded to harm everyone on earth who does not have the seal of God on their forehead (Revelation 7:1-8). If the rest of God’s people were still on the earth during the fifth trumpet, the locusts would be required to harm them because God commanded them to harm everyone who does not have the seal.
Question: Why couldn’t the 144,000 just rebuke the locusts in the name of Jesus and command them to go away?
Answer: Believers have been given authority over demonic spirits who do the will of the evil one. However, believers have not been given authority over the Lord to rebuke the commands of the Lord. The locusts are doing the will of God by the command of God to harm everyone who does not have the seal. If it was possible to rebuke them without the seal, there would have been no reason for giving anyone the seal. If the 144,000 were not able to rebuke them in the name of Jesus, then there is no reason for us to think any other believers would be able to rebuke them either because the 144,000 are bond-servants who have not been defiled with women. They have kept themselves pure. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes and no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless. (Revelation 7:3, 14:4-5)
So the sealing of the 144,000 is further evidence the rest of God’s people are already in heaven. Therefore, the rapture happens before the trumpets.
4. The Elders Call the Trumpets the Wrath of God
After the seventh trumpet, the twenty-four elders give worship and praise to God for all that he has done and is about to do. They summarize the events that just happened during the seven trumpets with the following statement:
“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. And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:17-18)
Notice they refer to the events that just happened during the seven trumpets as the wrath of God by saying, “Your wrath came.” They are referring to the previous seven trumpets in the past tense as the wrath of God. If the wrath of God had not started yet they would be referring to it in the future tense. This is further evidence the trumpets are the wrath of God.
5. The Rapture Already Happened Before the Seven Trumpets
Prior to the start of the seven trumpets, we find the raptured church is already standing before the throne of God in heaven in Revelation 7:9-17. John saw a great multitude from every nation and tribe and language, which was too many to count. Then the elder explained to John these people came out of the great tribulation. It is impossible to come out of anything without first being in it. So these people survived the 42-month tribulation and the first part of the great tribulation before being caught up to meet the Lord in the air in the rapture.
The location of this scripture comes immediately prior to the start of the seven trumpets. This is not a mistake or a coincidence. The church is raptured prior to the seven trumpets, immediately before the wrath of God is poured out.
6. The Reaper Brings Death, Not Rapture
There is a great harvest of souls in Revelation 14, after the trumpets, but it is not the rapture.
In Revelation 14:14 we see one like a son of man sitting on the cloud with a sharp sickle in his hand. We know this is not the Lord Jesus because Revelation 14:19 tells us it is an angel. The Greek word used here is aggelos, which means angel. The Lord Jesus is not an angel and is never called an angel. He is the one who made the angels. The one sitting on the cloud is described as “like a son of man,” which is not the same as saying he is “the son of man.” Also verse 15 tells us “another angel came out of the temple,” which would mean the person described in the previous verse 14 must also be an angel.
The other angel cries out telling the first angel to put in his sickle and reap because the harvest of the earth is ripe. This is another clue that the one with the sickle is not the Lord because angels do not tell the Lord what to do. Then he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth and the earth was reaped (Revelation 14:16).
Most of the souls reaped are thrown into the great wine press of the wrath of God (Revelation 14:19). However, we know some of those killed are believers because the verse 13 tells us so:
And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’ Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.” (Revelation 14:13)
So both unbelievers and believers are harvested by the reaper at the same time with all of them being killed. The believers who die in the Lord are blessed so that they may rest from their labors and be rewarded according to their deeds. These are people who missed the rapture, but then repented and followed the Lord. It will not be easy for them. Their decision will cost them their life, but they will inherit eternal life.
We cannot separate verse 13 from verse 14. These two verses go together and each explains the other. Otherwise, we draw the wrong conclusion thinking this is the rapture. We know this is not the rapture because believers taken in the rapture are not killed. They do not die in the Lord like those who are reaped by the sickle. Raptured saints are caught up into the sky and given immortal bodies without dying. As Paul stated, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51).
There is no mention of any rapture in Revelation 14. There is no trumpet blast. There is no appearance of the Lord in the sky. None of the souls harvested are caught up into the sky. Instead, they are all killed. This is the work of what is commonly called “the grim reaper”. The rapture already happened back in chapter 7, prior to the trumpets.
The Last Trumpet:
Since we have proven the trumpets are the wrath of God, the rapture must happen before the trumpets begin. Therefore, the last trumpet referred to by Paul cannot be the seventh trumpet of the wrath of God (1 Corinthians 15:52).
This point is supported by the fact that Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthian believers many years before John saw the seven trumpets. So the Corinthian believers had not yet heard of the seven trumpets, but they understood Paul’s point about the last trumpet because the two events are separate.
Another point to consider is the seven trumpets all release the wrath of God while the trumpet announcing the rapture has an entirely different purpose of redeeming the saints. This is further evidence these events are not the same.
To understand Paul’s reference to the rapture happening at the last trumpet, we need to see the rapture in the context of the bigger picture, not just the events of the last days. The rapture marks the end of the 6,000 year dominion that God gave to Adam and Eve, which they surrendered to the serpent, and which the Lord Jesus restored back to those who believe in his name. It all comes to an end when the Lord returns to the earth to take back dominion. After 6,000 years it finally returns to where it started. Then he will rule the earth with a rod of iron for 1,000 years, which is the day of the Lord, the seventh day, the day of rest.
The rapture is not just a rescue mission for the souls living on the earth during the great tribulation. It is also the grand conclusion of 6,000 years of human history. It begins with the resurrection from the dead of every person from every previous generation who ever lived and died in the Lord. The dead in Christ are all raised from their graves first, then those who are alive and still on the earth are caught up together with them in the sky. Both groups then come together and are given immortal, imperishable bodies. It is like the payday that comes at the end of a six-day work week. Every worker is paid according to his deeds. Then comes a day of rest.
It is important to see the contrast between the six days of man and the seventh day of the Lord because it helps us to understand the rapture is the event that separates the two ages. Once that trumpet sounds, man’s age of dominion is over. That is why Paul called it the last trumpet. Everything changes after that with the dawning of a new day.
So we have six reasons why the rapture happens before the trumpets:
- The trumpets release a new kind of trouble.
- The trouble released by the trumpets is administered by angels and other heavenly beings.
- Only 144,000 bond-servants are protected during the trumpets.
- The 24 elders call the trumpets the wrath of God.
- The rapture already happened before the seven trumpets.
- The Reaper Brings Death, Not Rapture
Since the trumpets are the wrath of God and since the Lord has promised to deliver his people from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9) and since there are no scriptures to support any rapture after the seven trumpets, the rapture must happen before the trumpets.
Author: James Bailey
James Bailey is a blogger, business owner, husband and father of two grown children. In 1982, he surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. In 2012, he founded Z3news.com to broadcast the message of salvation by reporting end time news before it happens.
© 2015, Z3 News. The first 200 words of Z3 News articles may be shared online in exchange for a clickable link to our site. Please include the author name and do not make any changes to text or titles. No image files from our site may be shared because we don’t own them. For permission to use our content in other formats, please contact us.