Here is something that makes me pause when considering the return of Jesus in a pre-tribulation rapture. It’s the use of the phrase “at the last day” as found in the Gospel of John.
The reason it gives me pause, is because the Bible specifically mentions that there is only two resurrections, one for the saved and one for the unsaved. We have three different places in Scripture that teach two resurrections: John 5:28-29; Daniel 12:2; Acts 24:15.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 pinpoints the first resurrection – the resurrection of the saved – as taking place at the rapture of the saints and Revelation 20:5 pinpoints the second resurrection – the resurrection of the unsaved – as taking place at the end of the millennium before the earth is made new.
When I read these “at the last day” verses, I have to pause from a pre-tribulation position to consider that Jesus Himself places the 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 first resurrection “at the last day” not before it.
Before you read through these “at the last day” verses let me add that I am fully aware of the explanation that teaches three phases of the first resurrection. Some understand there to be a resurrection for the saved at the pre-trib rapture, at the end of the 7-year tribulation, and at either a pre or post millennium time for those who died during the 1000 years. (See my post Death in the Millennium?)
The only problem with holding to three phases is John 5:28-29, Daniel 12:2, Acts 24:15. The Bible says there is two resurrections. If one thinks the first resurrection has three phases, one thinks there is four resurrections – three resurrections for the saved and one for the unsaved.
Here are the “at the last day” verses:
In John 6:39 Jesus says, ” this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”
In John 6:40 Jesus says, “every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
In John 6:44 Jesus says, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
In John 6:54 Jesus says, “…hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
In John 11:24 Martha said of Lazarus, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
In John 12:48 Jesus speaks to the judgment of the unbeliever “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”