We have been studying the Last Trump and its possible connection to a future Pentecost. Now we are going to tackle another “Last” – the “Last Day”.
We understand that the future resurrection/rapture event will occur prior to what is commonly known as the “7 Year Tribulation”, or the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. How could this possibly be considered the “Last Day”? Isn’t the “Last Day” of existence right before the eternal state, when the heavens and the earth are destroyed in preparation for the Great White Throne Judgment?
It’s a great question, so let’s examine what scripture says about the “Last Day”:
“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:27-28,31-40,44-45,53-55 ESV
Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” John 11:17-27 ESV
The only references to the “Last Day” are found in the book of John as shown above. From these passages it is clear that the Last Day has to do with a resurrection to eternal life. This resurrection is specifically for believers. Each time Jesus mentions the “Last Day” it is sandwiched in between statements of eternal life. It is also strongly connected to Him being the bread of life – that whoever comes to Him shall not hunger and whoever believes in Him shall never thirst. We see this exact phrase immediately after the rapture:
They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
“Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:14-17 ESV
If you’re struggling with this being a picture of the newly (pretribulation) raptured church, I recommend reading through these posts:
- Part 1 – Where is the Church in Revelation?
- Part 2 – The Large Multitude Coming “Out Of” Great Tribulation
- Who Will Stand Before the Son of Man? Examining Luke 21:36
Jesus’ response to Martha I believe is very telling – “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” Those who have died in Him shall live, and those who are living in Him shall never die. This is clearly a picture of the future resurrection/rapture event! There is only one moment when millions of living believers will be able to bypass death:
Listen! I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality. When this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place:
Death has been swallowed up in victory.
Death, where is your victory?
Death, where is your sting?
1 Corinthians 15:51-55 ESV
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 ESV)
Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. John 5:28-29 ESV
Note how John refers to the “resurrection of life” and the “resurrection of judgment”. There are TWO resurrections – the “First Resurrection” and the “General Resurrection”. The First Resurrection has multiple parts. I am working on finishing that post and will insert a link to it here when it is ready! But for now gotquestions explains it like this:
Question: “What is the first resurrection? What is the second resurrection?”
Answer: Daniel 12:2 summarizes the two very different fates facing mankind: “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Everyone will be raised from the dead, but not everyone will share the same destiny. The New Testament reveals the further detail of separate resurrections for the just and the unjust.
Revelation 20:4-6 mentions a “first resurrection” and identifies those involved as “blessed and holy.” The second death (the lake of fire, Revelation 20:14) has no power over these individuals. The first resurrection, then, is the raising of all believers. It corresponds with Jesus’ teaching of the “resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14) and the “resurrection of life” (John 5:29).
The first resurrection takes place in various stages. Jesus Christ Himself (the “first fruits,” 1 Corinthians 15:20), paved the way for the resurrection of all who believe in Him. There was a resurrection of the Jerusalem saints (Matthew 27:52-53) which should be included in our consideration of the first resurrection. Still to come are the resurrection of “the dead in Christ” at the Lord’s return (1 Thessalonians 4:16) and the resurrection of the martyrs at the end of the Tribulation (Revelation 20:4).
Revelation 20:12-13 identifies those comprising the second resurrection as the wicked judged by God at the great white throne judgment prior to being cast into the lake of fire. The second resurrection, then, is the raising of all unbelievers; the second resurrection is connected to the second death. It corresponds with Jesus’ teaching of the “resurrection of damnation” (John 5:29).
The event which divides the first and second resurrections seems to be the millennial kingdom. The last of the righteous are raised to reign “with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4), but the “rest of the dead [that is, the wicked] lived not again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:5).
What great rejoicing will attend the first resurrection! What great anguish at the second! What a responsibility we have to share the Gospel! “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire” (Jude 23).
The “Last Day” is the Resurrection/Rapture event for believers. It marks the main harvest of the First Resurrection. Unbelievers won’t be resurrected until the end of the Millennial Kingdom, for the Great White Throne Judgment. So why does Jesus call it a “Last Day”? Why use such a confusing term? Well… There is a specific Day that the scriptures talk about hundreds of times. This Great Day will mark the end of humanity’s reign on earth, so one might refer to it as the Last Day of an era – The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord.
The resurrection/rapture on the Last Day marks the start of the Day of the Lord. The “Last Day” is the last possible day to get in on the major resurrection/rapture event, before the wrath of God is unleashed upon the earth and the world as we know it comes to a screeching halt.
I would suggest that this is perhaps the Day that Jesus was referring to when He taught:
But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. Matthew 24:36 ESV
The Last Day, the Resurrection/Rapture Day, the start of the Day of the Lord – perhaps all the same great day.
Parallel Tracks – On Earth as it is In Heaven
There are parallel tracks running at any given time – one in the supernatural / spiritual realm (the “third heaven”), and one in the natural / physical realm (the “first and second heavens”). In end times prophecy, we see views from both perspectives. The Day of Christ is the heavenly track while the Day of the Lord runs its course on earth.
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28 ESV
The Day of Christ is the day of redemption, when the age of grace is complete and the church is called to join Jesus in glory. Jesus tells us in Luke to pray that we are have the strength to stand before the Son of Man and escape all the things that are going to come upon the earth (Luke 21:36). We do this by being AWAKE spiritually – being born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
The body of Christ will be spared from the Day of the Lord. Followers of Christ are to look forward to the Day of the Lord, as it signals our being gathered unto Christ.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 2 Peter 3:11-12 ESV
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
The Day of the Lord is a day of wrath upon the earth, where those “who refused to love the truth and so be saved” will experience horrific catastrophe in the judgments of God.
You will be a part of one “Great Day”, and they both begin with the rapture of the church. Which “Day” you are a part of is up to you!
No study of resurrections would be complete without studying the main Biblical theme surrounding the resurrections – The Harvests. Thus, let us study the Harvest of the Church!
Pentecost Part 14 – The Harvest of the Church Pictured on Pentecost (Amos 8)
Main Pentecost Study Menu: Everything You Need to Know About Pentecost, the Feast that Ties It All Together For The Church
Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape? If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!