Summary: 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.
A Biblical View of the End Times
WHEN TRUMPETS FADE
1 Cor. 15:51-57; 1 Thess. 4:13-17
Intro: These verses give us a little insight into a future event known as "The Rapture". While the word “Rapture” 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 (harpazo), It means to be "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. This future event will be the focus of our preaching tonight.
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 tonight. 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 picture 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 purposes.
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 the church.
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 battle.
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 tonight as we think on the thought, "When Trumpets Fade."
I. OUR LORD WILL HAVE RETURNED (1 Thess. 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 steadfastly 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. The Lord desires to receive His bride unto Himself. 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 heavenly home.