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 (John 6:39)
Jesus repeated this promise three more times in this chapter. He made it clear that he is the one who will raise us up and that it will be on the last day. Why didn’t he say he would raise us up when he returned for the church? Look at these promises. Each tells us that our resurrection will be 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 (John 6:40).
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:44).
Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:54).
What did his followers understand by this? Marth understood, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day” (John 11:24). Jesus had also taught that there will be one time for a resurrection.
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).
This is consistent with what Daniel was told.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Dan 12:2).
Paul tells us that there is going to be a rapture of the church and all those who are dead in Christ (1 Thess 4:16-17). This is consistent with Revelation 20:4-5 which tells that the dead will actually be raised 1,000 years later.
So what’s going on here? The pre-tribulation rapture theory forces us to say that Jesus must be talking about two different last days when he says he will raise us up on the last day (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54). The last day when he comes for the church and the last day at the end of the tribulation when the tribulation saints who died are raised. In the same way the “hour” or “time” when unrighteous people are raise must be different from the “hour, time, or day” the saints are resurrected. That’s some kind of hermeneutical gymnastics and goes against the clear meaning of what Jesus said and what Martha believed.
Here is another theory. The post-tribulation rapture fits what Jesus said about raising all believers at one time without having to mess around with explaining two different raptures or resurrections.
But there is another theory as well and that is amillennialism. If the 1,000 years is symbolic of the current church age then the last day is the last day for all. Then all people are raised at the same time as Jesus said in (John 5:28-29) as well as raising all saints at the same time. However, this runs into problems with the Old Testament promise to Israel – a topic for a different discussion.
The good thing is that what we believe about these topics doesn’t affect our salvation. Reread John 6:39, 40, 44, 54 and that is clear. The Father gives us to Jesus and we must believe in Jesus. We will be raised up, whenever that day is. We don’t need to believe in pre-post-tribulation raptures, millennialism or amillennialism, just Jesus.