Four reasons why Isaiah 26:19-21 refers to the Rapture.

Isaiah 26:19-21: 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. (20) 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. (21) 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.

As I read the verses above, the first thing that shot into my mind was how this passage seems to fit perfectly with other verses in the bible that talk about an upcoming and imminent event that we Christians commonly refer to as the “Rapture.” Many Bible commentaries do not interpret Isaiah 26:19-21 this way, with some instead applying it to God’s last plague before the Jewish exodus. In fact, you don’t see many rapture-believing Christians refer to this verse as a proof text. So I decided to provide reasons why this passage clearly refers to the Rapture. Incidentally, commentaries by Dr. Henry H. Morris and David Guzik are among such that include this verse as a proof text for the Rapture.

Let’s examine this passage carefully:

Reason 1: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise.”

Concerning the above, Dr. Henry Morris of the Defender’s Study Bible states:

Here is an Old Testament assurance of bodily resurrection of the believing dead, such assurance being possible because God Himself, in Christ, would conquer death. Believers would arise “together with my dead body.” This was literally fulfilled at the time of Christ’s resurrection (Matthew 27:52-53). It will be completed when Christ returns and “all that are in the graves … shall come forth” (John 5:28-29).

In the progression of events which comprise the Rapture, the first thing that occurs is the bodily resurrection of the saints (called “the dead in Christ” in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16 and “they that are Christ’s”  in 1 Corinthians 15:23). This is the first piece of evidence which clues us in to the fact that this verse is indeed a proof text for the Rapture.  Since this is also a Messianic prophecy (“my dead body shall …arise”), I would like to point out to my unbelieving Jewish friends that this verse seems to refute the common (albeit  erroneous) rabbinic interpretation of Isaiah 53’s suffering servant as the nation of Israel instead of Yeshua the Messiah Who according to this verse, is God. Because God is speaking in Isaiah 26:19, we know that it is God Who’s dead body arises accompanied afterward by all that are in the grave.

Reason 2: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee”

In John 14:2-3 we read:

“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 ye may be also.”

What is and where are these chambers which allow us to “hide” from the coming indignation? Could the place that Christ is preparing for His believers (where there are many mansions) contain the chambers we are to abide in until the end of the Great Tribulation? This seems to make good sense. After all, in the very next verse we are told that Christ’s purpose for preparing this place for us is so that He can come again to receive us unto Himself which is precisely what the Rapture is all about.

So, the second reason why this passage refers to the Rapture is because the “chambers” in Isaiah 26:20 seem to coincide with the heavenly “place” which Christ prepares for those Christians that He comes back to get.

Reason 3: “the indignation be overpast.”

Concerning the above, Dr. Henry Morris states in his commentary:

“The indignation” is the great tribulation, during the height of which the believing Israelites will be preserved supernaturally by God in the wilderness (Revelation 12:13-16). In a secondary application, this promise will also apply to all the saints caught up to be with Christ prior to the onset of the tribulation period (1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:3).

The central purpose of the Rapture is to exclude Christ’s people from the wrath to come (see Have we forgotten about the Rapture). Consequently, it follows that Isaiah 26:21 is a perfect supporting text for the Rapture since it’s main point is that God wants His people spared from the wrath that is to come.

Reason 4: “the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth.”

Since the Great Tribulation’s purpose is to punish “the earth’s inhabitants” for their iniquity in rejecting God and His Christ (Psalms 2:2-5), it is not hard to understand why Isaiah 26:21 parallels other verses which describe the intent of the tribulation period (Revelation 3:10, 1 Thessalonians 1:10). Therefore, the fourth reason why this passage refers to the Rapture is because the punishment that comes is brought by God (i.e. “the Lord cometh out of His place to punish”) and the punishment is meant for all people (i.e. the inhabitants of the earth) who have not obeyed the Gospel.

Finally, David Guzik’s Commentary on Isaiah 26:19-21 states:

When is this time when God’s people are carried away, securely hidden, from a time of great indignation the Lord brings upon the earth? It can refer to the deliverance of the Jewish people from the fury of the Antichrist described in Rev 12:6 and 12:13-16. But it is more likely that it speaks of the refuge, the safety, the security of God’s people when they are caught up together with the Lord in the air (1Th 4:16-17) and escape the horrific indignation of the Lord that He pours out upon the world in the Great Tribulation (Mat 24:21-22, Rev_9:15-21), which will immediately precede the second coming of Jesus Christ (Mat 24:29-30). Seen this way, this is a powerful passage supporting the teaching of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, which says that Jesus Christ will remove His people from this earth before the time of Great Tribulation coming upon the earth immediately before His ultimate return.


16 thoughts on “Four reasons why Isaiah 26:19-21 refers to the Rapture.

  1. jacob peterson says:

    I feel that when he says “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.” it simply means to hide in your own home. Like in egypt before the angel of death, but without the blood…

  2. 1john22 says:

    Jacob, I appreciate your comment. In response, I would point to the verses in Matthew 24:16-18.

    Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
    (Matthew 24:16-18)

    Christ warns the Jews who inhabit Judaea (Israel) during the times of indignation that they should head for the mountains and NOT return to their homes. This means that (at least some of) the elect who must endure the great tribulation will not be entering their chambers for safety. In fact, that they must head to the mountains (Revelations 12:6,13-16 specifies this area as the wilderness) should give us the impression that the only way that anyone will survive the coming onslaught will be by seeking refuge in a specially protected area designated by God – the ultimate Perpetrator of the indignation.

    More importantly, because verse 20 follows verse 19, and verse 19 conclusively refers to the Rapture, we have all the more reason to believe that verse 20 is contextually scoped to the Rapture as well since there is no break in the continuity of the text.

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  4. peter says:

    i truly believe that God, the creator of the universe, that loves us so much that He sacrificed His only begotten Son for us will finish His work with a BANG. “And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved” Joel 2:32.
    i was so happy when i first read Isa 26:20 and i started looking for more of the same in the scriptures and i did: psalms 27:5, 55:3-9 and 18, 57:1, Job 14:13, Rev 12:6 and Noah’s story.
    i think we are going to see one more illustration soon, very soon.

  5. Ann says:

    Your right this is a good teaching on the rapture. The question is when will the wrath of God be poured out. The wrath of God is poured out at his coming. Isaiah 27:1. describes Jesus will slay Leviathin. When does revelation say he satan is bound. When does corinthians say we are changed from corruptible to incorruptible. At the last trumpet sound. What about the parable of the wheat and tares, when is the harvest. At the end of the age. Matthew 24 is a parallel picture to the parable of the wheat and the tares. When does Jesus say he sends his angels to gather the elect after the tribulation. Rev 20:4-6 says this is the first resurrection. There are only 2 resurrections. After the tribulation and after the millenium. The jews are the firstfruits, Jesus and all the old testament saints were resurrected on the feast of first fruits. When is the marraige supper of the lamb. Revelation 19. What is the mystery spoken of in the bible our resurrected bodies. When in revelation does it say the mystery if God is complete after the 7th trumpet before he pours out the wrath of God. This trumpet also includes the 7 vials. The book of revelation are chronilogical except the 7’s. The 7th seal contains the trumpets and vials and the 7th trumpet contain the seven vials. The vials happen quickly just like the end of childbirth. Read 1 corithians 15:23 first the firstfruits then it says the rest at his coming. Rev 3:10. Why was the church in Philidelphia chosen to be kept. Because they persevered. What is greek meaning for the word kept. 5083. téreó it means to watch preserve so we will not be deceived which is more important than suffering for Christ. What does the bible say about the word tribulation. How are we to grow. Our faith is tested. We go through trials and tribulations. We want to be the good seed who yields 100 fold and not fall away at testing. What is the meaning of the word tribulation thlípsis – properly, pressure (what constricts or rubs together), used of a narrow place that “hems someone in”;tribulation. We are called to go through the narrow gate. The Thessalonians were taught there was no resurrection Paul teaches them not to be deceived for that day will not come until the falling away and the man of sin is revealed. When is he revealed. When he walks into the holy of holies and proclaim himself God. Jesus warned us 2 times in scripture about the false christs according to Matthew 24 the beginning of tribulation and the middle of tribulation. The elect In christ are all born again christians not just jews as some are taught. Scripture never contradicts itself. I don’t care about having fire insurance and preserving my life. I care and love Jesus who loves us so much. If God does not rescue me like shadrach mischak and abindigo (sorry for spelling) said they did not care they would still die for him. We have to be so In love with him that we don’t care about our comfort or no pain. We care about what he cares about. And what does he care about. Havung an intimate relationship with people. He loves people. If I must be here and suffer let me give my all for the cause of Christ and for the concerns of my heavenly father. During the tribulation there will be many shaken people we have to prepare now so we can give answer to them and be secure in our faith so they can enjoy intimacy with the father also. I am willing to give it my all and not preserve myself for another just as many of the saints did long ago. (Sorry phone typing)

  6. Reggie V says:

    I don’t mean to come across as argumentative, but the double-standard is blatant, and has to be spotlighted: pre-tribulation teachers insist that “Matthew 24 is for the Jews”, and yet have no problem applying Isaiah’s 26:19-21 prophecy, which is entirely Jewish, to Christians, who are still at least 600 years away! Those listening to the Olivet Discourse were Christ-followers; if even that does qualify Matthew 24 as a teaching to the Church, then it’s entirely inconsistent and disingenuous to claim Isa 26:19-21 is a proof-text for the rapture. If the “Matthew 24 to Jews” hermeneutic is insisted upon, then Isa 26:19-21 must also be seen as concerning Jews, and therefore it has nothing to do with the rapture.

    On the other hand – if ‘elect’, ‘saints’, ‘God’s people’, etc etc are all recognized as one “people of God”, then yes, it could be indicating rapture – not a pre-trib rapture however, because Matthew 24 is very certainly post-tribulational, as are so many other passages in the Bible.

  7. Reggie V says:

    sorry, my comment above should say, “if even that does NOT qualify Matthew 24 as a teaching to the Church” – please make the correction when the comment is moderated, and delete this one. Blessings to you!

  8. James says:

    The bible uses the word “elect” to refer to both Israel and the Church (see my post https://christpluszero.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/have-we-fogotten-about-the-rapture/).

    I personally do not say that Matthew 24 is for the Jews. So I’m not sure why the accusation. Matthew 24 has elements that apply to both of God’s elect (i.e. Israel and the Church).

    Finally, there are many problems with the post-trib view. I think both Dave Hunt and Chuck Missler do a good job outlining the many issues with that view. I have also addressed some of these issues in the following post: https://christpluszero.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/angels-or-saints-part-4/

  9. ACountryBoy says:

    Jews (Israelites, Hebrews, whatever you prefer to call them) know nothing about a rapture. They are earthly people with earthly promises. Ask any Jew if he expects to go to heaven when he dies and he will look at you funny. This is why there is no mention of heaven in the OT. Jews are expecting the Tribulation and then the return of their Messiah to defeat their enemies and rule in Jerusalem where they will be a kingdom of priests.

    • James says:

      Did you really mean to say that “there is no mention of heaven in the OT”? As you must know, the word “heaven” occurs over 300 times in the Old Testament. Also, Jews are not monolithic. Ever heard of Messianic Jews? Besides, if it is in the Hebrews Scriptures then Jews should “know” about it. I believe that there are hints of a rapture therein, or at least verses which would provide a basis for the reality of such an event. After all, in Genesis 5:24 Enoch was raptured. That event alone has profound implications for anyone who dares to take the Torah seriously. Later on, Elijah was taken up as well. Several other things could be said but this reply must suffice for now.

    • ACountryBoy says:

      The Jews had no concept of dying and going to heaven or having anything to do with heaven. Their only interaction with things heavenly was through the visions of prophets who saw the glory and holiness of God and His throne complex (Isaiah 6.1-6; Ezekiel 1-3; Daniel 7.9-28, 10-12). There is no biblical record of heaven as a destiny for Israel. Rather, all of God’s promises to Israel were earthly.

      No such thing as messianic Jew. A Jew who comes to faith alone in Christ alone is a believer, part of the Church (body of Christ). If they mix law with grace, then they are not born again, but still under the curse of the law. Can’t add works to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It nullifies grace.

  10. James says:

    Your reply contains a glaring contradiction. You say “The Jews had no concept of dying and going to heaven or having anything to do with heaven” but then you go on to say they had a concept of heaven that was based upon an “interaction with things heavenly…through the visions of prophets who saw the glory and holiness of God and His throne complex (Isaiah 6.1-6; Ezekiel 1-3; Daniel 7.9-28, 10-12).” By stating the latter, you demonstrate to any one reading that the Jews did in fact have a some concept of heaven. How would you know what the Jews thought about the heaven that you admit their prophets frequently spoke about?

    Moreover, I cannot help but notice that you are committing the bifurcation fallacy. Why does it have to be either “earthly promises” or heavenly aspirations? Why can’t it be both especially since the Hebrew Scriptures support both?

    For instance, when you say that “There is no biblical record of heaven as a destiny for Israel” you propagate a falsehood. After all, wasn’t Elijah an Israelite? Was he not taken up? Can you imagine what his fellow Israelites would have thought about this nearly unprecedented event?

    Or, when Zechariah 14:5 says “and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” how did the saints get to be in heaven in order to come back to earth with YHWH? After all, since the Hebrew word for saint in Zechariah 14:5 is qâdôsh, you must account for the fact that the 12 times in the O.T. when qâdôsh is interpreted to mean saint (e.g. Deuteronomy 33:3, Job 5:1, Job 15:15, Psalms 16:3, Psalms 34:9, Psalms 89:5, Psalms 89:7, Hosea 11:12, Zechariah 14:5, Psalms 106:16, Dan 8:13 ) the person in question is most likely a human (and not an angel). For instance, in Psalms 106:16, the Levite Aaron is identified as a saint.

    Verses like these show that your premise is false.

    You also say: “No such thing as messianic Jew.”

    Again, this is false. There are clearly several Jews who are Christians and who would identify with this categorization (e.g. Dr. Michael Brown, Dr. Johnathan Safarti, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum). Which verse in the Bible prevents them from identifying as messianic? Do you even know that is meant by being messianic? Since Messianic Jews do “come to faith alone in Christ” then why should the moniker “messianic” be shunned? Why adopt such a unnecessarily contrary position?

    Lastly, you seem to have an inadequate understanding of the law. Isaiah 42:21 prophesied that Christ would “magnify the law, and make it honorable” yet many Christians actually believe that He came to do the opposite. Because there is one deplorable aspect of the law which has perpetuated bondage (Galatians 2:4, Galatians 5:1, Hebrews 2:15) it has become common for many Christians to disregard all other desirable purposes of the law (e.g. Psalm 19:7-11, Matthew 23:23, Romans 7:12 etc.) despite their immense value. For instance, some believers will rightly claim that Paul says we are no longer under the law (Romans 6:14) without even realizing that Paul also says that we are still under the law to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:21). Without harmonizing these two teachings, isn’t it a bit premature for anyone to assert that the law has been revoked? Therefore, we must carefully distinguish between the many aspects of the law which are still operable and the few that aren’t, if we are to faithfully harmonize these words of God.

    The usefulness of the law to the New Covenant believer is demonstrated by the fact that God still sees it fit to be written in our hearts (Hebrews 10:15-16), and by the fact that our faith is said to establish the law (Roman 3:31) rather than to make it void.

  11. Pete says:

    Well stated and right on it – here in 2020 during the CV pandemic. The 3 verses fit perfectly as we’re awaiting HIS soon return to take HIS people home. With Daniel’s book of truth open (mostly Dan 11 and misinterpreted by Henry/Smith) we see how Daniel 11 – Matthew 24 and Revelation fits with no contradictions…. Repent and come to the LORD as HE’s coming shortly.

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