[The following article was recently found in my files, but I have not been able to learn its date. It was printed in W&W when either Gordon Linscott or Robert Heid Sr. was editor. Whoever it was wrote this preliminary note to the article: “From a brother out west comes this answer to a question the editor has heard much argued, never answered. Do you have a better answer? Contrasting views are welcome.” (That last sentence is still true.) — avw]

Remember that Jesus said, “But of that day and hour know-eth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.” But Jesus also said, “Even so ye also, when ye see all these things, know ye that he is nigh, even at the doors.” And again, “But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; because your redemption draweth nigh” (Matt. 24:36, 33; Luke 21:28).

I gather from this that while we do not, and will not, know exactly when the rapture — the catching up of Christians to meet the Lord — is to take place, that there will be signs such as will make us look up.

Paul describes the rapture thus: “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye; at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised in-corruptible, and we shall be changed’ (1 Cor. 15:51-52).

Paul also mentions the “trump of God” in 1 Thes. 4:16: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ rise first.”

In my prophetic studies I ran across the following apparent contradiction: If Paul so specifically states that this is the “last trump,” what of the seven trumpets of Revelation? Do these not count? Surely there is an explanation.

If Paul’s assertion that the rapture’s trumpet is the last is to be taken literally, then we must suppose that he is speaking of the seventh trumpet of Revelation, or a later one (if any). One might argue that Paul simply meant “the last trumpet before the rapture.” But any trumpet immediately before the rapture would have to be the last one before the rapture – in which case singling it out as “the last trump’” would be meaningless.

After the seventh trumpet is sounded in Revelation 11, is there another trumpet, which we could call “the last trump”?
No, there is not. The only reference to trumpets made after Revelation 11 is in 18:22, which states that trumpeters shall no more be heard in Babylon.

We therefore must fall back to the seventh trumpet of Revel-ation as the “last trump.” Naturally, if this is indeed the “last trump” of the rapture (how many last trumps could there be?), we should expect some inkling in Revelation that a rapture is indeed taking place.

And indeed, once we are watching for it, the evidence seems clear enough. Revelation 10:7 says, “But in the days of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then is finished the mystery of God, according to the good tidings which he declared to his servants the prophets.” And Revelation 11:15 says, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there followed great voices in heaven, and they said, The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign for ever and ever.”

But perhaps we would like clearer evidence that the seventh angel heralds the rapture. We find it in Rev. 14:14, which is in the “days of the seventh angel,” as nearly as we can tell. Here we find a picture of “a son of man” seated on a cloud, with a crown on His head and a sickle in His hand, waiting for word to reap to come from the temple of God. How does this match up with Matt. 24:36? Perfectly. How does this relate to the parable of the tares in Matt. 13? Perfectly.

But if you are skeptical, you may say, “But 1 Thess. 5:9 says God appointed us not unto wrath, and you say that we shall have to endure the first 3-1/2 years of the tribulation.” First, I would say the Bible nowhere states that the tribulation lasts seven years. The last week of Daniel 9 is seven years, that is true, but that ‘week’ refers to temple worship, not tribulation.
In fact, I think it is not too difficult at all to determine that the tribulation lasts only 3-1/2 years, beginning in the middle of the “week.” (Compare Matt. 24:15-21 with Dan. 9:27). Second, I would say, it is indeed true that God has not appointed us unto wrath. Notice that in Revelation 14, it is immediately after what I have identified as the rapture, that the winepress of wrath and the seven bowls of wrath come into the picture. So what is brought up as a conflict is in fact found to be in complete accord with this interpretation.

On the other hand, if we stick to the supposition that the rapture occurs at the beginning of the last 7 years, we find the following serious conflicts:

  1. Why does Paul speak of the trumpet of the rapture as being specifically the last, if the seven trumpets of God are to follow?
  2. Why does Paul specifically say that our “gathering together unto him” will come after the man of sin is revealed in the temple (1 Thess. 2), which we know from Daniel 9 occurs in the “midst of the week,” if indeed the rapture is at the beginning of the week?

These conflicts cannot be resolved until we recognize that the rapture comes in the “midst” of the week.

Realization of this vital fact, of when the rapture takes place, answers many secondary questions. For instance, “Why is Revelation silent about the rapture, and where does it fit in?”
Answer, Revelation is not silent about the rapture, as former-ly supposed. It is just that people were looking in the wrong places. Or again, “Why did God give us Revelation anyway, if the Church is to be gone all this time?” Answer, the Church is not to be gone from the earth until a great part of Revelation is fulfilled. Or, “How can we be sure of the break between pre-rapture in Rev. 3 and post-rapture in Rev. 4?” Answer, there is no break as such, since the rapture does not occur until Rev. 11 (and Rev. 14). Again, this under-standing shows the significance of the Lord’s statement, “When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Revelation would indicate that the rapture occurs during the persecution of true Christians and general acceptance of the false church.
The Bible says that no scripture is of private interpretation. The test of this (aside from waiting for its fulfillment) rests on whether or not the Holy Spirit indicates to you that this is the truth.