I believe that the Judgment Seat of Christ can only happen after the last saved person arrives in Heaven. So, in my opinion, that Judgment only takes place after the last Tribulation Saint arrives in Heaven, so that the entire Body of Christ is present in the Judgment Seat.
So even if one doesn’t believe that the Body of Christ is taken to Heaven (if not via death) by means of more than one Rapture (being the first one the Rapture of the ones who are ready at the time of the First Trump and the other one the Rapture of the surviving Tribulation Saints at the Last Trump), even if one prefers to believe that there is only one rapture, the Judgment Seat has to wait for the last Tribulation Saint alive on Earth to be translated to Heaven via death, which only happens many years after the First Rapture.
I think that 1 Thess 4:16-17 refers to the pretrib Rapture:
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 shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
Notice that the event being described above doesn’t mention the word “last trump”, but “Trump of God”.
1 Cor 15:51-52 refers to the last Rapture after the shortened Tribulation and just before the Wrath of God is poured on Earth.
51 "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the LAST TRUMP: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality"
Marilyn Agee said in one of her posts: “The first trump is blown with the left horn of the ram Abraham sacrificed instead of Isaac (Gen 22:13). The last trump is blown with the right horn of the ram. The Rabbis blow the FIRST TRUMP, the left horn, on PENTECOST, and the LAST TRUMP, the right horn, on the FEAST OF TRUMPETS. It is easy to tell that the LAST-TRUMP RAPTURE will be on Trumpets (Joel 2:1-2), so why wouldn't the FIRST-TRUMP RAPTURE come on Pentecost? “
I believe that the First Trump Rapture is on Pentecost (the correct date, whatever it is) and the Last Trump Rapture is on Rosh Hoshana / Feast of Trumpets / Yom Teruah. If I believed there was only one Rapture, the Feast of Trumpets would be the unquestionably the best candidate for the event.
The reasons I’m a proponent for Pentecost for the first and pretrib Rapture are:
- Pentecost has to do with the timing of the God espousing the Israelites at Sinai (when the Law was received by them)
- Pentecost is described I Scriptures as the First Trump
- Pentecost was the day the Church received the Holy Spirit and was “officially” baptized, althouth I think the Church was actually born when blood and water poured from the side of Jesus.
- Pentecost is the timing of the end of the barley AND wheat harvest (as described in Ruth 2:23) and this was the timing of the Kinsman Redeemer espousing her (a gentile bride, like the majority of the Church).
The reason the Feast of Trumpets is the best candidate for the last and pre-wrath Rapture are:
- Feast of Trumpets has to do with JUDGMENT
- Feast of Trumpets is Coronation day (Psalms 98:6)
- Feast of Trumpets is the Last Trump
- The last Trump is the last trumpet that sounds gathering the elect, the Tribulation Saints, “of those days” (Mt 24:29&31). This final rapture is described in 1 Cor 15:51-52.
- After this final rapture, death for the Body of Christ (now complete in Heaven, made up of the Bride and the Tribulation Saints) will be swallowed up forever in victory. The victory was already won at the cross, but will be enforced after the Last Trump Rapture.
1 Cor 15:53 can’t be referring to the pretrib Rapture because if it did, then no Tribulation Saint would be able to die after that Rapture, because the verse says that Death will be swallowed up in victory. So I believe that the entire Body of Christ must be united and complete in Heaven (which is possible only after the Last Tribulation saint arrives in Heaven either through death or through the Last Trump Rapture) for Death to be swallowed up in victory.
Again: Death is not swallowed up until the resurrection of the last believer! This is why I believe that 1 Cor 15 is not talking about the First Trump / Pretrib Rapture.
The scripture “But we shall ALL be changed” in 1 Cor 15 makes many serious Bible students infer that this verse proves that all believers are changed at the same time and therefore there must be only one rapture and one resurrection. But what the verse says is: “we shall ALL be changed”, not “we shall all be changed at the same time”.
What I understand it is saying is that at that point in time when the last rapture occurs, ALL at that point shall have been changed. The overcoming bride had already been changed, given their resurrected bodies previously at the pretrib rapture (First Trump) and now the Tribulation Saints are being changed and receiving the resurrected bodies at the end of the shortened Tribulation. Together, they make up the whole body of Christ who are ALL changed at this final rapture.
It’s important to understand that the First Resurrection in Rev. 20:6 is illustrated in 1 Cor 15:22.26, when we see a discussion of resurrection in which a sequence of different phases or ranks of the resurrection of believers is pointed out, in addition to a reference to when the unbelievers are resurrected.
1 Cor 15:22 says: For in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all (the Bride and the Tribulation Saints) be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order (from the Greek ‘tagma’, “a series or sucession”, “rank”): Christ, the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
(note 1: the verb “coming” above can be also translated as “appearing”, in Greek.)
(note 2: there is no punctuation in the originals in Greek or Hebrew. The commas or lack of commas were added or omitted by translators)
The first resurrection happens in three different stages of phases at three different times. A few, that were part of Jesus’s sheaf (omer), were resurrected and changed with Jesus in the year of the crucifixion (probably 32 A.D.) and were taken to Heaven in their new changed bodies on the Feast of Firstruits (the 16th of Nisan, the day after the Sabbath, when the firstfruits of the barley harvest were being lifted up and waved by the Priest).
The bride, another type of the firstfruits (now from the end of the barley and wheat harvest), is raptured and resurrected before the Tribulation, probably on the Feast of Pentecost, when the Priest lifted up and waved two loaves of bread to the Father at the end of the barley AND wheat harvest. We have reasons to believe that the correct date for Pentecost is the 29th of Tammuz, which in 2011 will fall on July 31st/August 1st.
And the Tribulation Saints, those that are His at His appearing, are raptured and resurrected at the conclusion of the shortened Tribulation, before the Seventh Seal is opened and the Wrath of God is poured on Earth.
The Feast of Trumpets seems to be the day of the resurrection / rapture of the Tribulation Saints (the last phase of the first resurrection which is separated by “tagmas”, “order”, “ranks”), which are typified by the Days of Lot (Lot and his family were removed from Sodom by angels, instants before fire and brimstone fell on Sodom and Gomorra). On that very same day, the 7th and last Seal will be opened and the Wrath of God is poured on Earth. There is Judgment on Earth (the Wrath of God) and Judgment in Heaven (the Judgment Seat of Christ, which is not for condemnation of anyone, but for very important decisions regarding roles in the Kingdom, as well as rewards that Our Lord chooses to give). On that same day (Yom Teruah), Christ will be coronated King (probably the moment of half an hour of silence) and the Wedding Supper of the Lamb will be served to all believers that are present in Heaven. These seem to be the events on Yom Teruah, Feast of Trumpets.
This interpretation reconciles the fact that Yom Teruah is a Feast that involves Judgment, Coronation, Wedding (in this case, the Wedding Feast, not the wedding itself) and also a huge event happening on Earth that will unleash a renovation of the planet (in its anniversary).
In my view, the Judgment Seat can’t happen before all saints are united in Heaven as the complete Body of Christ.
I also think that the Second Coming happens a few months after the Wrath of God is poured on Earth.
Love in Christ,