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First Corinthians 15--Resurrection and trumpets

Sep 21, 2017

Today is the feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hoshana, the first day of the new biblical year. Last night was also Jesus’ 2016th birthday since His birth on Rosh Hoshana in 2 B.C.

The priest blew the trumpet on Rosh Hoshana to mark the new year on the first day of the seventh month. Recall that this was originally the start of the first month on the biblical calendar, but God told Moses to change the first month to Abib, the month of Passover (Exodus 12:2, 3). I suspect that God intended to confuse everyone, since now New Year’s Day is dated the first of the seventh month!

So far I have not heard Michael’s trumpet. Michael is angel of resurrection (Daniel 12:1, 2). Sorry, folks, but Gabriel is preoccupied with his own calling. But as I suspected, this is not the year that the autumn feasts are to be fulfilled. Nonetheless, each year God brings something to birth, some lesser blessing that will eventually lead to the Big Event. It is now certain that the Open Door Ministry is being brought to birth, pictured by Virgo bringing forth Jupiter in the sign in the heavens that will appear on September 23, 2017.

July is like September,” according to an old revelation. That means July 23 is like September 23. Recall that on July 23 I received the funding earmarked for the trip to the Philippines and Cambodia. It came from a woman who, for many years, has played the role of the biblical woman in Revelation 12, the one bringing forth the “man child” (KJV).

The Origin of Trumpets

The feasts of the Lord were celebrated each year on specific days, because they memorialized certain events that occurred during the days of Moses. Passover was when Israel was redeemed from the house of bondage in Egypt. The wave-sheaf offering memorialized the day Israel crossed the Red Sea. Pentecost was the day Israel received the law at Mount Horeb.

A few months went by, and then more events occurred which were later memorialized by the second cluster of feasts. The twelve spies were sent to spy out the land of Canaan for 40 days (Numbers 13:2, 25). They began their mission on the first day of the sixth month, and returned on the tenth day of the seventh month.

But meanwhile, God instructed Moses to build two silver trumpets (Numbers 10:2). Although no date is given in Scripture, this is obviously the origin of the feast of Trumpets. Perhaps Moses finished building these trumpets in time to blow them on Rosh Hoshana, the first day of the seventh month.

At any rate, Moses invented metal trumpets, according to Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, who wrote,

“Moreover, Moses was the inventor of the form of their trumpet, which was made of silver. Its description is this: In length it was little less than a cubit. It was composed of a narrow tube, somewhat thicker than a flute, but with so much breadth as was sufficient for admission of the breath of a man’s mouth; it ended in the form of a bell, like common trumpets.” (Antiquities of the Jews, III, xii, 6)

In Numbers 10:2-4 God told Moses,

2 Make yourself two trumpets of silver, of hammered work you shall make them; and you shall use them for summoning the congregation and for having the camps set out. 3 And when both are blown, all the congregation shall gather themselves to you at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 4 Yet if only one is blown, the heads of the divisions of Israel, shall assemble before you.

These trumpets were used to summon either the leaders or the congregation itself, depending on how many trumpets were blown. It is of great significance, then, that whenever Paul spoke of the resurrection of the dead, which summoned the people to stand before God, he never wrote about “trumpets” (plural). He only wrote about a single trumpet. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16 he writes,

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.

Again, he writes in 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52,

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment [atomos, an atomic change], in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

The fact that Moses was led to build two trumpets was prophetic of two resurrections, one for the leaders (i.e., those who would reign with Christ for a thousand years), and a second resurrection of the entire congregation (at the end of the thousand years).

Paul’s Hope

Paul says nothing about two trumpets, because his focus was upon the high calling of God (Philippians 3:14). This high calling was described a few verses earlier in Philippians 3:11, “in order that I may attain to the resurrection [ek-anastasia, “the out-resurrection”] from the dead.”

Dr. Bullinger’s notes on this verse tell us the meaning of the ek-anastasia:

of the dead. All the texts read, “the one from (Gr. ek) the dead,” making the expression emphatic… The term resurrection of the dead (anastasis nekron) is of frequent occurrence… and includes the resurrection to life, of the just, and the resurrection to judgment, of the unjust… Resurrection from the dead (ek nekron) implies the resurrection of some, the former of these two classes, the others being left behind.

Bullinger recognized that there was more than one resurrection. He says further that Paul did not assume that he had yet secured this resurrection out from among the dead (Philippians 3:13), though he was certain that he had already attained at least the resurrection of life at the general resurrection. It was only later, when Paul was ready to die as a martyr in Rome that he wrote to Timothy of his assurance. He writes in 2 Timothy 4:6-8,

6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

It is clear, then, that Paul understood the concept of more than one resurrection and that he understood that to attain the first resurrection he had to finish the course and keep the faith. He could not follow the examples of the congregation of Israel, which refused to finish their course when they first arrived at the border of Canaan. All of them were justified by faith in the blood of the lamb (through Passover), but only two finished the course—Caleb and Joshua.

Paul’s message was to stir up the believers into finishing the course and keeping the faith, and this motivated the apostle to write his letters.

We may conclude, then, that the first resurrection will occur when a single trumpet is blown, and that the general resurrection will occur when two trumpets are blown to summon the entire congregation (church). The first will bring immortality to those called to “reign with Him for a thousand years.” The second will bring immortality (“a resurrection of life,” John 5:29) to the non-overcomers in the church as a whole.

The Overcomer Ministry

The overcomers will be God-appointed rulers in the Messianic Age. As immortals, they will be able to do their work without dying, whereas the rest of the believers will grow old and die and will have to await the next resurrection. Even so, because the earth will be cleansed of its chemical pollutants, and because man-made medicine will be replaced by God-given health products, life spans will be increased.

These will be the days when the “stone” (kingdom) in Daniel 2:35 grows until it fills the whole earth. Even after a thousand years, however, there will still be enemies, known prophetically as Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:8), who live in outer darkness outside of the Kingdom of light. These people (nations) will be allowed to remain outside of Christ’s Kingdom during that age, but their freedom to decision ends with the second resurrection. When all are arrested and summoned to the throne, the law imposes its will upon all remaining enemies.

At this point, when the full church receives immortality, it appears that the overcomers will remain as the highest rulers in the world, but that there will also be many other lower positions to be filled by other believers. I believe that this is where some will be given authority over ten cities or five cities, as Jesus said in Luke 19:17-19. It is certain that one’s level of authority will be set according to a person’s faithfulness to Christ.

The good purpose for creation will be fulfilled. The earth will not be destroyed, but will become one with heaven. Heaven and earth will never be merged into one entity, but it will be like a marriage, where there is unity in duality. The Greek view of a cosmic divorce will fade away as people begin to understand the great marriage between heaven and earth. In the end, Christ will deliver the perfected Kingdom to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24), and God will be all in all.

This is part 106 of a series titled "Studies in First Corinthians." To view all parts, click the link below.

Studies in First Corinthians

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Category: Teachings
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones