Notes on Prophetic Subjects

The Shout of the Lord, the Voice of the Archangel and the Trump of God

There is no prophetic word in the Bible more wonderful than that given to us in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. And let us remember that it is given to us BY THE WORD OF THE LORD. It possesses not only the authority of the Holy Ghost by whom all Scripture is inspired, but it has this added authority, if we may so speak, of being a special revelation from the Lord to Paul, it was a special communication from the Lord Himself to him. The passage is well known, but we quote it again.

"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

It is not our purpose to unfold the Scripture, this has been done many times in our pages, but we desire to call special attention to the remarkable fact that we have in connection with this great event "the shout of the Lord, the voice of the archangel and the trump of God." Why should this be?

We can understand the shout of the Lord, the fact that it is for His beloved and blood-bought church that He is coming explains that, but why these attendant voices? We suggest that this event will have far-reaching consequences, that it will in fact affect the whole of mankind; for it is the initial movement of that power by which the Lord will subdue all things to Himself (Phil. 3:21).

Mankind is divided into three circles in the New Testament, namely, the Church, Israel, and the Gentile nations, or the rest of mankind. In connection with each the Lord is to have a special glory, and we would suggest that all these circles are involved in this passage of Scripture.

The shout of the Lord has to do specially with His church, and those who died in Old Testament times, who will share in some measure her heavenly part. All these will answer instantly to that assembling shout of the Lord, and in the twinkling of an eye will appear, radiant and glorious in the presence of the Lord.

The voice of the archangel is Michael's voice, and he is the angel who has the special care of Israel (see Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9, and also Revelation 12:7). When the shout of the Lord breaks forth, it shall find an instant response in the church. Michael's voice will also be heard gathering Israel together for blessing. He will arise for this great work. This work will be slower in its accomplishment. The devil and his angels will have to be cast out of the heavens before the woman clothed with the sun can enter into her glory and inheritance (Rev. 12). And the people themselves will have to go through the great tribulation, but Michael shall stand up for them and they shall be delivered (Dan. 12:1). The wheels will move more slowly for the deliverance of Israel than in the case of the church, but they will assuredly be set in motion in connection with this great shout of the Lord.

The trump of God has a wider application. It is with God that all men have to do. It would appear to the uninstructed observer that men may live as they please without any reference to God at all now, but the trump of God will break His long silence and end His long-suffering; the present state of things will cease, and every creature under the sun will soon discover that they have to do with God in judgment. The nations of men will not instantly appear before Him, for the wheels in their case will work more slowly than those that bring about Israel's deliverance. Yet all nations shall be brought to the throne of the Son of Man for judgment (Matt. 25) and God will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He has ordained (Acts. 17).

The whole of God's intentions in regard to the earth are held in abeyance until the church is taken out of it, but when that event takes place things will move swiftly to their fulfilment, and God will vindicate Himself and His word in regard to the whole race of men.