|Question / Comment - Does the 'last trump' relate to the 7th trumpet in the book of Revelation?|
thanks for the email. Post-tribers do try to link the 'last trump' of 1 Cor 15 with the 7th trumpet of Revelation as you mentioned but this is more to try prop up their beliefs concerning the timing of the rapture than anything. The fact is that Paul was writing to the Corinthians and he was talking to them about something that they were familiar with, not something that wasn't even revealed yet! (1 Cor was written approx 55 AD and Revelation not until approx 96 AD so Paul wouldn't have been making a reference to something they (and probably he) knew nothing about!)
So what was the reference to the 'last trump' about then? You will notice that in Corinthians, Paul has been showing the connection between New Testament truth and the Feasts of Israel. For example, in 1 Cor 5:6-8 he talks about the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened bread and shows how this is fulfilled in Jesus' death. In chapter 15:20-24 he speaks about the Feast of First fruits and how this was fulfilled with Jesus' resurrection. Now, in 1 Cor 15:51 he talks about the 'last trump' and connects that with the resurrection and rapture of the church. This is simply a fulfillment of another Jewish feast - the Feast of Trumpets.
Arnold Fruchtenbaum, a Jewish believer in Jesus writes in 'The footsteps of the Messiah'.
'It is evident from the fact that Paul used the definite article 'the last trump' that he expected the Corinthians to know what he was talking about. The only knowledge they would have of trumpets are those spoken of in the Old Testament, especially those of the Feast of Trumpets. The last trump refers to the Feast of Trumpets and the Jewish practice of blowing trumpets at this feast each year. During the ceremony there are a series of short trumpet sounds concluding with one long trumpet blast which is called the Tekiah Gedolah, the great trumpet blast. This is what Paul means by the last trump. As such, it says nothing concerning the timing of the rapture; only that the rapture, whenever it occurs, will fulfil the feast of trumpets.'
In another article by Fructenbaum he writes:
"The seven holy seasons of Lev 23 are fulfilled in the order in which they fall. What follows the feast of trumpets is the Day of Atonement, which was a day of Israel's national atonement coupled with the affliction of the soul. The Day of Atonement is to be fulfilled by the seven years of Tribulation , during which Israel will suffer afflictions leading up to her national repentance and restoration. And just as the feast of trumpets precedes the Day of Atonement, so will the rapture precede the seven years of tribulation."
So I believe that will help. In makes perfect sense in it's context that Paul was writing to the Corinthians about something that they were aware off and that he was again speaking of the fulfillment of the Jewish feasts just as he had earlier in the book.
One last thing... there are several 'mysteries' in the New Testament - some of which you have mentioned. Remember that a mystery is something 'hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known.' (Rom 16:25-26) The mystery in 1 Cor 15:51-52 is that some believers will not die (spoken of as 'sleep') but will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. This is the truth not revealed before but now made known.All the best