Let’s read 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the TRUMPET of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (NASB).

This is the event spoken of by the Lord Jesus in John 14:2-3, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF; THAT WHERE I AM, THERE YOU MAY BE ALSO.” It is obvious from this promise and our verses in 1st Thessalonians that ONLY BELIEVERS will be involved in this aspect of Christ’s return. He will summon them to glory with a SHOUT and many believe that ONLY BELIEVERS will hear that shout. Mr. A E. Gaebelein wrote this in his commentary: “The word SHOUT is the Greek word KELUSMA and it means, ‘a SHOUT of command,’ used in classical Greek for the hero’s shout to his followers in battle, the commanding voice to gather together.”

We have an example of such a shout in John 11:43, “Now when He said these things, He CRIED WITH A LOUD VOICE, ‘Lazarus, come forth.” Of course this is referring to the time that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and we believe his resurrection foreshadows “the dead in Christ” rising to meet the Lord in the air. We also believe that Jesus’ shout, which summoned Lazarus from his grave, was only meant for his ears, for he mentioned his name specifically. One has said that if Jesus has simply shouted, “Come forth,” every corpse would have come forth from their grave.

So, if it is true that only believers will hear the Lord’s shout summoning them to eternal glory, is it safe to assume that only believers will hear the TRUMPET of God? Those who are familiar with the Old Testament may recall the use of TRUMPETS when the children of Israel were journeying in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. In Numbers 10:1-2 we read, “The LORD spoke further to Moses, saying, ‘Make yourself two trumpets of silver, of hammered work you shall make them; and you shall use them for SUMMONING THE CONGREGATION and for having the camps set out.” The trumpets of silver (silver speaks of REDEMPTION…see Exodus 30:12-13) were only meant for the ears of the Israelites. Many also believe that the “TRUMPET of God” is also meant for the ears of Christ’s REDEEMED alone, and that the moment they hear it they will be SUMMONED into the Lord’s presence.

Let’s close by looking at 1st Corinthians 15:51-52, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for THE TRUMPET WILL SOUND, and we shall be changed.” This passage speaks of the same event as we started out with, and thus the TRUMPET is the same as in 1st Thessalonians 4:16. But there is an added thought here that sheds some light on our question; this all happens “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” I understand that the word “moment” speaks of “the smallest possible indivisible point of time.” In other words, the “catching away” for Christ’s redeemed will occur in a “split-second.” This means that the SHOUT and the TRUMP are also heard for only an instant, so even if they could be heard by unbelievers, they wouldn’t be able to identify exactly what those sounds were. Add to that the fact that believers will be disappearing before their very eyes and you can imagine the horror and confusion that they will experience, leaving them in a state of shock where it will be impossible to discern what’s happening. (283.1) (DO)