A Biblical View Of The End Times
1 Cor. 15:51-57; 1 Thes. 4:13-17
WHEN TRUMPETS FADE
Intro: These verses that we have read this morning give
us a little insight into a future event known as "The
Rapture". While this word itself does not appear in the
Bible, the event is real nonetheless. We get the word
"Rapture" from the Latin translation of the Greek word
arpazw (harpazo). It means just what the King James
Bible says it does, "caught up". The Rapture is that
future event when the Lord Jesus Himself will return in
the clouds above this earth and will catch away all the
saved people of the world. It is a time that is known in
the Bible as "The Blessed Hope Of The Believer",
Titus 2:13. This future event will be the focus of our
preaching this morning.
While the return of our Lord is spoken of many times
in the New Testament, there are only three passages
which deal with the Rapture in any detail. I have read
two of them this morning. The other is found in
Revelation 4:1-2a, "After this I looked, and, behold,
a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice
which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking
with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will
shew thee things which must be hereafter. And
immediately I was in the spirit:..." I want to draw your
attention to one common theme that punctuates each
of these references. That common theme is the
mention of the "trumpet". We are told in clear language
that the Rapture will be a time that will be heralded with
the sound of trumpets.
When the writers of the New Testament used the
imagery of trumpets, the people to whom they were
writing were well acquainted with what they were
saying. However, we modern readers need to be
educated about the significance of the trumpet.
In the Bible, trumpets were used for four specific
1. To Proclaim Victory
2. To Call An Assembly
3. To Announce A Warning
4. To Call The Troops To Battle
It is clear to see how the trumpets fit with the idea of
the Rapture. All four of these events will take place
when the Rapture comes about.
1. Victory over the world will be announced by
2. The saints will be called to assemble
themselves in the presence of the Lord.
3. The trumpets will announce a warning of
judgment to the world.
4. The angelic troops will be summoned to
Also, in the society of that day, trumpets were heard
on a daily basis. The Roman army, which occupied
most of the civilized world at that time used trumpets to
carry out the movement of their troops. Typically, when
a Roman legion moved, there would be three blasts
from the trumpets. The first would tell the troop to strike
their tents and to prepare to move. The second would
alert them to fall in and line up. The last trumpet would
be the signal to move out. Notice what Paul says in 1
Cor. 15:52. He tells us that we are leaving at the "last
trump". When the trumpet sounds, it will be the signal
to move up to glory!
Folks, when the trumpet sounds, all those who are
saved by grace will be leaving this world. It is that event
that I want to preach about today. I want you to know
that before the sound of that trumpet blast fades from
our ears, several great and precious events will take
place. Allow me to share them with you this morning as
we think on the thought, "When Trumpets Fade."
I. OUR LORD WILL HAVE RETURNED
1 Thes. 4:17
A. In Fulfillment Of His Promise - Before the Lord
Jesus went to the cross, He promised His
disciples that He would return for them one day,
John 14:1-3. He later reaffirmed this promise to
the Apostle John, Rev. 22:20. Just as sure as
there is a blue sky above us He will return as He
promised He would! Even as He was ascending
back into Heaven, angelic messengers were
dispatched to tell the Apostles of the Lord's
impending return, Acts 1:9-11, "And when he
had spoken these things, while they beheld,
he was taken up; and a cloud received him out
of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly
toward heaven as he went up, behold, two
men stood by them in white apparel; Which
also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye
gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus,
which is taken up from you into heaven, shall
so come in like manner as ye have seen him
go into heaven."
B. In Fulfillment Of His Purpose - While the Lord
was making His promise to return some day, He
also stated His purpose, John 14:3. The Lord
desires to receive His bride unto Himself, Eph.
5:25-27. After all, He paid the ultimate price to
redeem her from her sins and to cleanse her from
her filthiness! He died on the cross to purchase
His Bride and He wants her to be with Him in His
II. ALL DEPARTED SAINTS WILL HAVE
BEEN RESURRECTED 1 Thes. 4:13-16; 1
A. Their Present Condition - 1 Thes, 4:13 tells us
that those saints who have departed are
"asleep". This does not refer to "soul sleep". It
refers to the fact that their bodies are asleep.
When a saint of God leaves this world, they are
immediately ushered into the presence of the
Lord. This was the conviction Paul Held, 2 Cor.
5:8, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather
to be absent from the body, and to be present
with the Lord."; Phil. 1:23, "For I am in a strait
betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to
be with Christ; which is far better:" Presently,
all those who left this world in a saved condition
are in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Ill. The question may arise as to what manner of
body they possess. Certainly they do not have
their glorified bodies yet. However, it would seem
that they possess some sort of a spiritual body.
When Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ on
the Mount of Transfiguration, they possessed
bodies that could be seen and recognized, Matt.
17:3. Whatever form they are in this morning,
they are certainly in a place free from the cares,
pains and burdens of this world. The Bible is
clear when it teaches us that "nothing that
defileth shall enter" Heaven, Rev. 21:27.)
B. Their Promised Completion - 1 Cor. 15:52b
tells us that the departed saints will be raised
"incorruptible". That is, they will be changed!
When they left their body, it was destined for the
ground from which it came. However, when the
Lord Jesus returns, He will bring their spirits back
with Him, He will raise their bodies and glorify
them. He will then place the spirits back into
those newly glorified bodies!
(Ill. There will be more said about that future body
in just a moment!)
(Ill. How will all this happen? Certainly, to our
mortal minds it is a great mystery. However, if
you take the time to look back at the times our
Lord shouted while He was on this earth, you will
discover that each time He did so, dead folks got
out of their graves.
1. He shouted in Bethany and Lazarus lived! -
2. He shouted at Calvary and some lived! -
3. He will shout from the clouds and all the
departed saints will live - 1 Thes. 4:16.
There is power is the Word of our Lord!)
III. ALL LIVING SAINTS WILL HAVE BEEN
RAPTURED - 1 Thes. 4:17; 1 Cor. 15:51-52a
A. The Church Will Leave Instantaneously -
Notice the use of words that imply speed and
swiftness, 1 Cor. 15:52, "moment" - This word
speaks of an "indivisible point in time. A span
of time so short that there is none shorter.";
"twinkling of an eye" - Scientists have
determined that the blink of an eye is 1/30th of a
second in duration. That is fast! However, a
twinkling is event faster than that, somewhere in
the neighborhood of 1000th of a second! Then in
1 Thes. 4:17, Paul uses the term "caught up".
This phrase means "to snatch away, to seize
with force, to claim for oneself." It refers to a
sudden event when the saints of God will be
"snatched from this world with force and
claimed for the glory of God.")
(Ill. The whole idea here is one of speed! There
will be no forewarning. There will be no
announcements on TV, on radio, or in the papers.
There will be no announcements from the pulpits.
God will not proclaim in a booming, Charlton
Heston voice that the end is nearing. It will just
happen! My friend, if you have ever listened to
anything in your life, then listen to this. You need
to be ready! Jesus Himself said, "Therefore be
ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think
not the Son of man cometh.", Matt. 24:44.
If He were to come today, would He find you
ready? Oh friend, do not be deceived, it could
happen! Today could be that glorious day when
the Lord returns for His people. Will you be in
that number that hears the shout, that hears the
trumpets and that leaves this world in an instant?
Only if you are born again! Be ready, He is
(Ill. Can you imagine the chaos that will ensue
when this event takes place? All babies missing!
Most children gone! Some husbands and wives
missing. Many Cars, planes, trains, etc without
drivers. Television personalities taken right off
the air. It will be a time of great hysteria and
mayhem. Some of you had better prepare for it,
because you may experience it first hand! Why
not come to Jesus before that happens?)
B. The Church Will Leave Intact - In 1 Cor. 15:51,
Paul tells us that "all" will be changed. The
Rapture will not be an event enjoyed by a select
few. But, every born again believer will have a
part in the Rapture of the church! The body of
Christ will not be fragmented! Part will not be
taken and part left behind to endure the
Tribulation. When the Rapture comes ALL the
saints will go together!
(Ill. Because of the lives they have lived, some
will not deserve to go, but they will go
nonetheless. All the redeemed of all the ages will
leave this world as one when the trumpet sounds.
There are no second class citizens in the
Kingdom of God! Saved is saved and lost is lost!
All the saved will go, all the lost will stay behind!)
IV. ALL SAINTS WILL HAVE BEEN
RECONSTRUCTED - 1 Cor. 15:52b-57
A. Changed Physically - At the moment of the
Rapture, all the saints will experience a radical
change. These mortal bodies will be changed to
immortal ones. The bodies that are destined to
perish will be made like the body of our Lord. A
body that cannot experience death, decay or
disease. A body that will shine with the brilliance
of 10,000 suns. What a day that will be!
B. Changed Perfectly - When this change comes,
it will remake us into the image of our glorified
Lord. 1 John 3:2, "Beloved, now are we the
sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what
we shall be: but we know that, when he shall
appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see
him as he is." We do not know a lot about our
Lord's glorified body, but we do know:
1. It is a body not bound by time or space -
2. It is a body that can enjoy food and
fellowship - Luke 24:36-43.
3. It is a body that can never die - Heb. 7:25.
4. It is a body that shines with a heavenly
brilliance - Rev. 21:23; Matt. 17:2
All of this is enough to let me know that I want
one of these bodies some day. All the saints will
wear a glorified body when we arrive in that
C. Changed Permanently - The language of our
texts tells us that we will no longer be mortal.
These new bodies will never wear down or wear
out, but they will last throughout eternity. They
will be a perfect in 10,000,000 years as they were
the day we received them! Notice what Paul says
about this body in 2 Cor. 5:1, "For we know that
if our earthly house of this tabernacle were
dissolved, we have a building of God, an
house not made with hands, eternal in the
V. ALL SAINTS WILL BE ENJOYING A REUNION
- 1 Thes. 4:17
A. With Our Loved Ones - Notice the phrase
"together with them in the clouds". This
indicates that all the children of God will be
together forever in Heaven. Imagine being
reunited with spouses, parents, children and
grandparents. Imagine seeing your departed
loved ones in their new glorified bodies in the
presence of the Lord Jesus! What a glorious
privilege has been given to all the saints of God!
B. With Our Lord - As great as that reunion with our
loved ones will be, it will be eclipsed by another
reunion. This same verse tells us that "so shall
we ever be with the Lord." My friends, one day,
we will see Him Who died for us on the cross!
We will look at His face. We will be able to bow
before Him in adoration and worship. We will be
in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ! I can
imagine no thrill any greater in this universe than
to see the One Who loved me enough to lay
down His life in payment for my own. Hallelujah!
Just the thought of that is enough to make a
Baptist shout! Glory! Glory!
Well, I've done a lot of preaching this morning and I have tried to describe
several events that will happen when the Lord returns for His church.
But please remember, all this will take place before the sound of the
trumpet fades away. Are you ready for that event? Have you been washed
in the blood of the Lamb? If Jesus came back for His church today, and
He could, would you go, or would you be left behind? What I am asking
is this: Have you ever come to the place where you knew you were lost?
Have you confessed your sins to God? Have you placed your faith in the
death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you received Christ
as your personal Savior? Are you saved? If you are, then you have a reason
to rejoice this morning! There are exciting things ahead for the children
of God! If you are not saved, I beg you to come to Jesus right now! This
is the only time you have to be saved! If the Lord is tugging at your
heart and is calling you to come to Him, then please come! Don't delay
another minute. It is too dangerous! Jesus may come at any time and you
really need to be ready when He does. Will you come to Him right now while
there is still time? Will you be saved so that you too can be ready for
that meeting in the air? Jesus is coming! Don't be caught unprepared!