The following are a few general observations why Paul’s ‘last trump’ in 1 Cor 15:52 is not the referent to the seventh trumpet in the Book of Revelation. I have an entire chapter devoted to this topic in my forthcoming book responding to posttribulationism. But for now here are some general comments in no particular order.
- Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians about AD 55, while the book of Revelation was written some forty years later about AD 90–95. Accordingly, the book of Revelation depicting seven trumpets would not have been in the mind of Paul when he penned Corinthians. To be sure, theoretically, he could had been prophesying about the seventh trumpet in the future recorded in the book of Revelation; however, this is not likely because he was most certainly drawing from his Jewish knowledge of the blowing of trumpets. His Jewish audience in Corinth would had also made that connection, which may be why he did not elaborate on the referent to the “last trump” in his epistle.
- The book of Revelation explicitly places the resurrection of the people of God between the sixth and the seventh seal (Rev 7:9–17), not at the seventh trumpet. Prewrath has consistently argued on this point. And trying to force the seventh trumpet to occur before the seventh seal results in contradicting the narrative elements. In addition, there is no evidence that the two prophets being taken to heaven in Rev 11:12 “represent” the resurrection of God’s people. Not to mention the seventh trumpet is blown after, not before, the two prophets are taken to heaven. This type of posttrib interpretation is on the same level as when pretribs interpret John being called up to heaven as “representing” the rapture of the church in Rev 4:1. Both interpretations are reading into the text and exposing their unsubstantiated presuppositions.
- The seven trumpets function in Revelation as judgments, the seventh trumpet realized as the third woe. The messiah’s reclamation of the kingdom of earth is proclaimed. Then there is the major parenthetical section in the book of Revelation (chapters 12–14), which goes back to give more detail on previous events, especially the great tribulation. Next, the last (“seven final plagues”) of God’s wrath is poured out in the seven bowl judgments (chapters 15–16). (For more on the structure of the book of Revelation from a prewrath perspective see the appendix in my book Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord: What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Return of Christ).
- The trumpets, bowls, and Armageddon make up the day of the Lord’s wrath. Contrary to posttrib interpretation, the church is raptured to heaven before the day of the Lord’s wrath. The church will not be on earth during the seven trumpet judgments. The church is delivered (i.e. resurrection and rapture) between the sixth and seventh seal. Again this point has been profusely made in prewrath literature.
- In this episode of The Biblical Prophecy Program, I pointed out a contradiction in the posttribulation framework. Many posttribulationists view the catching up of the two witnesses to heaven as “representing” the rapture, and they identify the blowing of the seventh trumpet in the book of Revelation as Paul’s “last trump.” The salient problem, however, is the blowing of the seventh trumpet explicitly occurs after—not before—the catching up of the two witnesses. And Paul clearly teaches in 1 Cor 15 and 1 Thess 4 that the “last trump” (i.e. “God’s trumpet”) signals the rapture and resurrection. Therefore, the seventh trumpet cannot be considered Paul’s “last trump.”“Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them: “Come up here!” So the two prophets went up to heaven in a cloud while their enemies stared at them. Just then a major earthquake took place and a tenth of the city collapsed; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe has come and gone; the third is coming quickly. Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying” (Rev 11:12–15).
- What then is Paul referring to when he mentions “last” trump? Since we have ruled out that it refers to the seventh trumpet in the book of Revelation, there are a couple of other much more likely interpretations I will mention briefly. The adjective last in the 1 Cor 15 context is speaking of the present order of things in this age, so Paul is likely referring to “last” in the sense of signifying the new era that will dawn in God’s redemptive work at the last trump at Jesus’s parousia. Similarly, Jesus is the “last Adam,” which is not a numerical or chronological sense, but a new representative humanity; this is contrasted with the former humanity. This would agree with the resurrection context in 1 Cor 15. The Greek term ἐσχάτῃ (eschatos) should not be assumed to mean “last in a series of items.” It can also carry the meaning of utmost or finest, with the connotation of culmination, again very fitting for the context in 1 Cor 15. Another notion the term can carry is the end of a continuously conceived succession of circumstances. These similar notions given its context are much more plausible understandings. And even if Paul had intended for this term to carry the sense of last in a series of sequential items, there is good evidence that he is referring back to his Jewish tradition of trumpet blowing where the last trump signals to the assembly. This latter point will deserve a whole article in itself. In short, the phrase “last trump” either contains rich theological Jewish tradition and/or is signifying the new era that will dawn in God’s redemptive work at Jesus’s parousia. The seven trumpets, however, characterize specifically judgment in the book of Revelation, which are the answered prayers of the saints for God to pour out his wrath against his enemies (Rev 8:1–6).
See also this link to my replies to posttribulationism: