The Rapture is real and is foreshadowed throughout Scripture.
This is the Second Article in the Beginning and End Rapture Series
This article will look at several Biblical foreshadows of the Rapture in Bible prophecy that show that God always removes His people from harm when He is preparing to supernaturally punish the unbelieving heathen world. In Part 1 of the Rapture Series, we examined the Day of The Lord, the Biblical prophecy event that starts the end times (if you have not read it, we strongly recommend it here). The Day of The Lord (also known as the Great Tribulation) is the outpouring out God’s wrath on the unbelieving world in a series of supernatural judgments in the final seven years before Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
The Rapture, the supernatural removal of faithful believers in Jesus Christ from the Earth, occurs just as the Day of The Lord is about to begin. The Church – all true, born again believers in Jesus Christ, will be “caught up” in the air and rescued just before the wrath of God comes. By looking at Old Testament types and shadows, God’s method of saving His people before judgment becomes apparent and foreshadows timing of the Rapture of the church in the prophetic timeline.
1. Noah’s Ark and the Flood – A Preview of the Rapture
But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that [Noah] entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24: 37-39)
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. (2 Peter 2:4-9)
The account of Noah and the flood is a foreshadow of the Rapture of the church. Jesus Christ said the world will be living just like the “days of Noah” when discussing the end times and the final years before His Second Coming. During the days before the flood, the world was carrying on with normal activities and falling into rampant sin, accelerated by the presence of the Nephilim, angelic-human hybrids who had overrun the Earth (see our article “Nephilim – Giants in The Bible” for more information). God was so dismayed at the state of humanity and its impending loss of a chance to have a fully human Savior, that the flood judgment was set to come upon the world. The world was completely unaware of this coming judgment, but Noah and his family were aware of it (thanks to God). This is the same state of the world before the Day of The Lord /Great Tribulation. The world will be carrying on as usual, deep in sinful rebellion against God, and sudden judgment will come at the opening of the 6th Seal of Revelation.
The 6th seal plus the subsequent trumpet and vial judgments paint a frightening picture of the end times. There will be devastating global earthquakes. Waters will be poisoned. Millions upon millions will die in plagues and disasters. Evil fallen angels will return to Earth and be permitted to interact with humanity and the reign of the Antichrist will begin. Life will go from being very normal to anything but! This will all be a part of God’s judgment on unbelievers or those who claim to be Christian but were not truly born again. But the true Christians will escape these judgments via the Rapture. The account of Noah’s ark is a foreshadow of God’s pattern for protecting His faithful believers.
Noah Escapes God’s Wrath
As the verse above from 2 Peter states: “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations.” “Temptations” here means “afflictions” or “intense suffering.” Noah “found grace” with God because he was one of the last true believers in God on the Earth (in addition to being 100% human and not corrupted by Nephilim). God warned Noah about the coming flood and instructed him to build the ark, so that they could be protected in the time of His wrath on the world. And just as Noah’s family were saved from the judgment of the flood poured out on the sinful world so will the faithful believers in Jesus Christ at the Rapture be removed from the Earth just before the judgments of the Day of The Lord begins.
Noah’s Entry into the Ark
Genesis 7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation… 4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. 5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.
Noah’s entry into the Ark was 7 days before the flood started. Verse 5 makes it clear that Noah obeyed the Lord’s instruction. In Bible prophecy, a “day” often is symbolic of a year and this verse foreshadows the raptured church being transported to Heaven, to reside in God’s dwelling for 7 years while the wrath of God is poured out on the Earth.
Notice that in verse 1 of chapter 7 it reads: “And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” God literally invited Noah into the ark to be with Him. The language of “come…into” indicates that the God’s presence was inside the ark. This is similar to when the Apostle John was raptured to heaven at the invitation of God in the Book of Revelation: “1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither”
The Ark, a type and shadow of Heaven, is similar to the Ark of the Covenant, where God’s presence also resided: “And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony,” (Exodus 25:22). The consistent theme is the believer being invited to be in the safety of the presence of God.
An interesting aspect of the Flood account is that when Noah and his family enter the ark, it is God who shuts the door: “16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.” A heavenly door is also a symbol used in reference to the Rapture. In the verse above from Revelation, the Apostle John saw a door open in Heaven before he was raptured. Jesus, when addressing the faithful church of Philadelphia in the Book of Revelation stated:
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name…Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:7-10).
Jesus describes Himself as the one who opens and shuts the door. And as a reward for their faithfulness, the church of Philadelphia is promised to be protected from the ” hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Notice the word “temptation” is used once again in reference to the wrath of the Great Tribulation. As Noah was protected from the flood that afflicted the whole world, so will believers be safe in Heaven with Jesus during the judgments of the Day of The Lord/Great Tribulation. And just as God the Father shut Noah in the Ark, Jesus will shut in his faithful believers behind a door in Heaven during the wrath of God in the Great Tribulation.
2. Lot Escapes Sodom
Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. – Luke 17:28-30
And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” – 2 Peter 2:6-9
Lot was a believer in God living in a wicked, sinful city. When angels came to visit Lot, all of the men and boys in the city of Sodom demanded the male angels to be given to them for sexual relations (a similar to the illicit angelic-human unions in Noah’s time). Lot was “vexed” (or upset) with the extreme sin of the city because he was a believer in God and His righteousness. The Lord was angered with Sodom and Gomorrah so much so that He was going to destroy it with fire and brimstone. But before the supernatural punishment took place, God once again warned his faithful follower of the coming judgment by sending the two angels, who appeared as men to let Lot know that he and his family would be spared:
12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: 13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. 14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. 15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. 16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.
24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
Lot was removed from Sodom by supernatural means (angels personally escorted he and his family out of the city) just prior to the fire and brimstone raining down. The same pattern for the Rapture as seen with Noah emerges: 1) God prepares to pour out His judgment on the wicked. 2) He sends a warning to His faithful followers and 3) the judgment does not come until after the faithful have been safely removed.
3. The Passover
The Passover account in the book of Exodus took place as God brought His final and worst judgment against Pharaoh and the Egyptians, who were slave masters over the tribes of Israel in the book of Exodus. The Lord was going to send an angel to kill every firstborn son in the Egyptian Empire as a final punishment against the sinful, pagan Pharaoh who oppressed and enslaved God’s chosen nation. And The Lord, in commanding Moses, made sure to provide specific instructions for a sacrifice of a lamb so that the Israelites would be protected when the punishment was poured out:
And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the [basin], and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the [basin]; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. (Exodus 12:22-23)
The pattern and typology of the Rapture is present. The believers are warned by God that a judgment is coming and they are specifically spared the judgment. God commanded the Israelites to put the blood on their doorposts and stay behind their doors and not to come out. Just as it was with Noah and with the Apostle John a door was symbolic of being kept safe during a time of judgment. And as it will be with the Rapture, the believers are saved, suffering no harm, while the unbelievers suffer God’s wrath.
4. Moses Speaking to God on Mt. Sinai
And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, 11And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. (Exodus 19:9-17)
In this amazing account from the book of Exodus, The Lord literally descends to Earth to speak to Moses and the 12 tribes of Israel. Notice the parallels to the Rapture description from Bible prophecy. God Himself descended from Heaven in a cloud, just as the 1 Thessalonians states that Jesus Himself will descend from Heaven in a cloud. The people are told in advance that they will gather together to meet The Lord, just as the raptured church will be gathered to meet Jesus in the clouds (also note that Moses is “called up” to meet God in the cloud). They also must prepare for the Lord’s arrival by cleaning their clothes. Jesus, in the Book of Revelation praises the church of Sardis for the few believers left in it who: “have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment“ (Revelation 3:4-5). Clean garments are symbolic of having the righteousness of Christ that all true born again Christian receive.
Another interesting parallel is that God’s voice is described as a trumpet. 1 Thessalonians 4 describes the Rapture: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God..” Contrary to popular interpretations, it is this author’s belief that the “trump of God” is not a physical or heavenly instrument. It is God’s voice. This passage above from Exodus 19 links God speaking and the sound of the trumpet. In the Septuagint salpiggo is the Geek word for ‘trumpet’. A similar connection is made when the Apostle John is raptured to Heaven in Revelation 4: “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” In this verse John is hearing the voice of Jesus, resurrected and sitting on His throne in heaven. And Jesus’ voice is described as a trumpet with the same Greek word (salpiggo) used for God’s voice in Exodus. So the descent of God Himself, the sound of the “trump of God” and the gathering of the believers provide another foreshadow of the future Rapture.
5. The Consecration of The Temple Priesthood
Leviticus Chapter 8 details the consecration of Aaron and his sons, who were selected by God to be High Priests of the nation of Israel. There were sacrifices done and a ritual cleansing to prepare them for their ministry all done by instruction of God. The nation gathered at the tabernacle (God’s dwelling on Earth) and Aaron and his sons were told: “And ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation in seven days, until the days of your consecration be at an end: for seven days shall he consecrate you… 35Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation day and night seven days, and keep the charge of the LORD, that ye die not: for so I am commanded.” There are foreshadows in this passage as well. The Israelites gathering at the tabernacle for the 7 days the priests are inside. The Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5 calls the Rapture “our gathering” to Jesus Christ. Hebrews chapters 7 and 8 describe Jesus as the High Priest of Christian believers and that the tabernacle was patterned on what takes place in Heaven. At the Rapture, the Church will be in Heaven, God’s House, before our High Priest, Jesus Christ. The passage also details instructions to stay behind a shut door for “seven days.”
The Book of Joshua tells provides the account of Rahab, a gentile woman running a house of prostitution in Jericho, a pagan city that was going to be attacked by the Israelites. God was going to provide a supernatural victory against the city of Jehrico and destroy it. Rahab, in fear of God and belief in His power, helped hide two Israelites spies who were scouting the city before the battle. Joshua, the leader of the Israelites, (who we showed in an earlier article is a foreshadow of Jesus Christ and that the Book of Joshua parallels with the book of Revelation), recognized Rahab’s faith and the service she did, risking her own life to protect the Israelite spies all out of belief in the true God of the Bible. Before the attack Joshua gave a stern command once the spies returned:
But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her. And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel. And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. (Joshua 6:22-24).
Rahab, a faithful believer in God living in a wicked, pagan city was saved and brought out of the city just before God unleashed His wrath and it was burned to the ground, destroyed and cursed. Again we see the same prophetic patterns for the Rapture: the faithful are warned of the coming wrath of God, they are then removed without suffering any harm and then the wrath of God comes down on the unbelievers.
7. God’s Own Prophecy
Isaiah 26 contains a not-often used prophecy about the Rapture:
Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. (Isaiah 26:17-21)
Notice the first two verse reference “birth pangs” and the birthing process. This is the same language used in Matthew 24 to describe the start of the end times (and in Part 1 of this series we explain the symbolic meaning of “birth pangs” in detail). Verses 19 above prophesies that the “dead men shall live” and “arise”, indicating that there will be a resurrection. This matches the description of the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4, which states that the “dead in Christ rise first.” Isaiah 26:19 even says “together with my dead body” referencing the dead body of God rising from the dead (which was fulfilled at the resurrection of Jesus Christ — who is the “firstfruits” of all raptured saints). The dead believers in Christ will indeed be translated (given new, Heavenly bodies) and Raptured to Heaven to be with Jesus.
Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
In verse 20 we see instructions to those who are living and told to “enter thou into thy chambers” and “shut thy doors.” Again the symbolism of the Rapture is present in the bridal chamber, the door being shut and remaining safely inside until God’s “indignation” is finished. Revelation 14:10, in discussing God’s end time wrath on those who worship the Antichrist as: “the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.” The “indignation” from the Isaiah 26 verse is clearly a reference to the Day of The Lord/Great Tribulation. And the implication is that while God is punishing sinners and those who have rejected Him, faithful believers in Jesus Christ will be shut away safely in Heaven until the indignation is done.
For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
Verse 21 lines up with our description of the Day of The Lord as God punishes the unbelieving, sinful world that has rejected Him and the Gospel of Jesus Christ time and time again, in favor of following sin and the deceptions of the Antichrist. This will be the Day of the Lord or Great Tribulation and once again, believers are forewarned, removed and hidden safely before the wrath of God comes on the unbelieving.
The Rapture will be God’s safe removal of His faithful believers before His unleashes His wrath on the sinful, God-rejecting world. Through types and shadows, the Bible demonstrates God’s pattern for rescuing His faithful. In each instance, God warns faithful believers of the coming judgment, they prepare and watch for its arrival and are completely spared and removed from all harm before the judgment of God comes. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Thessalonian church about the end times Day of The Lord judgments said: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” The true born again believers in Jesus Christ will not be caught off guard by the Day of The Lord, but will escape safely at the Rapture, meeting Jesus in the clouds and staying in The Father’s house for 7 years until Gods wrath is poured out on the sinful world.
“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” — Jesus Christ, Luke 21:35-36.