The Rapture and 1 Corinthians 15

Category: The End Times 357 4

Whenever you study the question of the rapture, you are bound to run into 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. In these verses Paul says, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”

Robert Dean and Mark Hitchcock (both are pre-tribbers) list 1 Corinthians 15 as one of the three foundational passages of the Rapture (and one that teaches a pre-trib interpretation).[1] The main reason for this is that it has a clear connection with 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 which is believed to be proof of a pre-trib rapture.

The similarities between these two passages are obvious. Both describe a resurrection of believers and teach that Christians will be given their resurrection bodies at the Lord’s return. Both also mention that this will happen at the sound of a trumpet. 1 Corinthians calls this the “last trumpet.”

I agree that this is the same event described in 1 Thessalonians 4 (resurrection bodies, trumpet, etc.).[2] However, I think it is pretty clear from reading 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 that it does not teach the timing of the rapture in relationship to the Tribulation.[3] The only way that one can see a pre-trib rapture (or any view) is by taking their interpretations of 1 Thessalonians and forcing it onto the verses in 1 Corinthians.

However, as I noted in another article, there is nothing in 1 Thessalonians 4 that proves a pre-trib rapture. In fact, 1 Thessalonians 4 does not teach the timing of the rapture at all, thus showing that any view of the rapture can be seen in that passage.

Quite frankly, 1 Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians cannot be used to prove any view of the rapture. Other passages must be brought into the debate.[4]

What do you think?


[1] Robert Dean, Jr. “Three Foundational Rapture Passages.” 12-15 (this page number is where I found the referenced material when I downloaded this article onto a pdf). Mark Hitchcock. The End (Carol Stream: Tyndale, 2012). 122.

[2] Craig Blomberg. 1 Corinthians The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994). 319. Alan Kurschner. Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord (Pompton Lakes: Eschatos Publishing, 2013). 79. Kindle Edition.

[3] Robert H. Gundry interprets this passage as post-trib (The Church and the Tribulation [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973]. 148-149.) Douglas Moo also sees these verses as post-trib (“A Case for the Posttribulation Rapture.” In Three Views on the Rapture 2nd Edition [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010] 198). Alan Hultberg sees no problem with this passage in a pre-wrath view (“A Case for the Prewrath Rapture.” In Three Views on the Rapture 2nd Edition [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010] 152-153).

[4] Blomberg, 319.

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4 thoughts on “The Rapture and 1 Corinthians 15

  1. Chris

    1 Corinthians 15:22-23 “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,” From the standpoint of timing, we know that the resurrection/ rapture will occur at His coming as the above passage confirms.

    We also all know Jesus is going to come after the tribulation. What remains to be seen is a passage indicating that He is going to come another time prior to that. The burden of proof is on the pretribulationist to direct to the bible passages which teach that there will be more than one return of Christ or passages which substantiate their claim that His return will occur in stages or phases.

    As with your other posts on the subject, I find your approach to this debate refreshing.

  2. Paul Benson

    As Chris stated 1 Cor. 15 shows the resurrection at the coming (Papousia) of Christ. This Coming (Parousia) is the same event which destroys the Antichrist at the end of his reign.(2Thess2:8). How could the Coming (Parousia) and our gathering together unto Christ destroy Antichrist if it happened before the tribulation? It could not!

    And actually the passage from 1 Thess.4 DOES as well show timing if the pesky chapter break is removed and you read the entire context which runs from 1thess. 4:13 thru 5:11. Including the portion of the contextual passage chopped off by the page break clearly shows this to be a reference to the Second Coming, and prohibits the notion of the pre-trib hoax.

    I show these and many other solid proofs of the falsehood of the pre-trib rapture theory on my site. I invite al to visit me there.

    Paul Benson

  3. Brother Raoul

    When dealing with any doctrine or teaching from scripture we must always begin with what is plainly and clearly taught before we look at what may be or may not be implied. This also applies to the Pre-Tribulation rapture view. There is no clear and specific verse or verses that confirm a Pre-Tribulation rapture. There was no such doctrine in the early Church.

    There is a plain text that clearly shows that the Church will still be on earth when the Antichrist is revealed. This is just one line of argument and there are others but this one will suffice for now.

    Here is the text. (2 Thessalonians 2: 1-4)

    “1.Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2. that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4. who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”

    V.1. In this verse Paul connects the second coming of our Lord Jesus with our being gathered together to meet Him in the air. This is a clear reference to the “Harpazo” the snatching away” of the faithful Body of Messiah. This confirms 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and Matthew 24:31. In all three passages of scripture the Trumpet blast is mentioned and in the reference in 1 Corinthians it is the last trumpet. The elect are gathered from the four winds of heaven (those who have fallen asleep in Jesus) and from the four corners of the earth (Those still living in their bodies) Mark 13:26-27 mentions this fact. The rapture and the resurrection are one and the same event.

    V.2. In this verse Paul connects the rapture (out being gathered to Him in the air in vs1) with the day of the Lord. The day of the Lord includes the judgements and the rapture and resurrection of the saints and the second coming. These events are sequential. Because the Thessalonian believers were experiencing severe persecution they thought that the rapture had come and that they had been left behind. Some has been teaching that the rapture had already happened. Look at the text!

    V.3. The whole idea that some had been already been raptured but they at Thessalonica had been left behind was a deception according just like the pre-Tribulation rapture teaching is a deception. Go tell our brothers and sisters in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Eretria, Northern Nigeria, North Korea and in many other Islamic countries that they don’t have to suffer. What more could Antichrist do that is not already being done to these dear brothers and sisters. Many are already coming out of great tribulation through martyrdom.

    Vs.4. He will desecrate the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and be worshipped as God by multitudes and in some way at the same time will be worshipped in the Church (Institutionalised Christianity) For many who do not have a love of the truth God Himself will send them a strong delusion and they will be deceived to the point they will no longer be capable of believing the truth even when they hear it. (Vs.9-12)

    Paul says “that day will not come” and the day he is referring to is the rapture which is a component of the day of the Lord. Look at the context! Before the rapture and resurrection at least two things must occur and Paul mentions them specifically. 1. The Apostasy. 2. The man of lawlessness (sin) namely the Antichrist. Until the faithful Body of Messiah knows who he is they will not be raptured. Also further down in the text we are told that the coming of the lawless one will be with all kinds of counterfeit signs, and wonders (Vs.9).

    Today counterfeit signs, miracles and wonders and the apostasy are very conspicuous today in the professing Christian Church. The Apostasy mentioned here is not just a falling away but a deliberate decision of the will by some to step out of their salvation by deliberately embracing and believing false doctrine and teaching others to do the same. It is the Apostasy!

    If the faithful Body of Messiah has been raptured then who is Paul speaking to? It cannot be the ‘Tribulation saints’ as Paul had not read Tim LaHaye and if he had he would tell the Thessalonians not to be alarmed at such teaching. Yes the “Harpazo” (rapture and resurrection) will occur but not before three things happen first. 1. Counterfeit signs and wonders. 2. The Apostasy. 3. The revelation of the man of sin. Shalom. Brother Raoul

  4. Chaos

    I guess if 1st corinthians 15 is talking about a pretribulation rapture, and it says at the SEVENTH trump, it must be that the last trump comes first, because it is as plain as the nose on your fact it is the SEVENTH or LAST trump, that comes before the tribulation?


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