The Rapture in the Old Testament

by Jim Tetlow

Perhaps some of the strongest arguments in favor of a

Pre-Tribulation or Pre-Seventieth Week of Daniel Rapture

are found in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament we see “a

shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the

things” (Hebrews 10:1).

Prophetic Types in the Old Testament

The Holy Spirit explains that these Old Testament types are

preserved for our learning:

For whatever things were written before were

written for our learning, that we through the

patience and comfort of the Scriptures might

have hope (Romans 15:4).


Now all these things happened to them (Old

Testament characters) as examples, and they

were written for our admonition, upon whom

the ends of the ages have come (1 Corinthians


Bible students are well aware that there are numerous Old

Testament types that foreshadow a New Testament fulfillment.

A classic example is when Abraham took his son, his only son

Isaac, whom he greatly loved, to the land of Moriah to offer him

there as a sacrifice — concluding that God was able to raise him

from the dead (Genesis 22; Hebrews 11:17-19). Abraham is a

beautiful type of our heavenly Father, and Isaac, his beloved son,

is a striking picture of Jesus, who willingly laid down His life on

Mount Moriah 2,000 years later.

Though the Rapture was hidden in part from Old Testament

believers, the types found throughout foreshadow a future Rapture when

God will remove His people prior to pouring out His

wrath on a Christ-rejecting world. Let’s now review some of

these beautiful types that foreshadow the Rapture.


The Noahic Flood

In Noah’s day there were those who passed through the

flood (Noah and his family in the ark); there were those who

perished in the flood (the unbelieving world); and there was

Enoch who was “translated” or “caught up” before the judgment

of God was poured out.  Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:24)

and pleased Him (Hebrews 11:5), just as Christians who abide in

Christ please God (1 John 3:22). Interestingly, from the time God

told Noah to enter the ark, until the time when the waters of the

flood were on the earth, God granted seven more days for the

world to repent (Genesis 7:1-10). Perhaps this is a foreshadow of

the final seven-year period culminating in the final judgment

(Revelation 19:11-21)?


The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

In Lot’s day, he and  his family were “removed” before God

rained down His judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis

19). God did not just “preserve” them through His wrath, He

removed them prior to judgment. Jesus said that just before His

return it would be like the days of Noah (Luke 17:26) and like

the days of Lot (Luke 17:28).

Judgment in Sodom could not occur until Lot was removed

(Genesis 19:22)! Remarkably, “while [Lot] lingered, the [angels]

took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two

daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him

out and set him outside the city . . . Hurry, escape there. For I

cannot do anything until you arrive there” (v. 16, 22). In other

words, they were forcibly removed prior to judgment and

judgment could not commence until they safely arrived in the

new city!


The Story of Joseph

Joseph (a type of Christ in many ways) takes a Gentile bride

before the 7 year famine begins (Genesis 41:45). Notice in the

account of Joseph that after he received his Gentile bride, his

brethren (the Israelites) and the entire world suffered a seven

year famine (Genesis 41:54-57). During this time of famine

many came to Joseph for food. Similarly, after Jesus receives His

Bride, his brethren the Jews (and many in the world), will turn to

the Lord Jesus for relief (Revelation 7).

How fitting that the Great Tribulation is called “the time of

Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7).

It is also referred to as “the time of the Gentiles” (Ezekiel 30:3),

and many Gentiles will also be saved out of it (Revelation  7).

The famine is a type of the Tribulation (Amos 8:11), and Egypt

is a picture of the world. This account strongly suggests that

Jesus will receive His bride before the 70th Week of Daniel —

before the famine that will come upon the entire world.


Rahab and the Jewish Spies

In Joshua chapter 2, Rahab trusts the Lord and

befriends the Jewish spies. By faith Rahab puts a

scarlet thread in her window (a symbol of Christ’sblood)

and she and her family are “brought out” of Jericho before

the city is burned with fire (Joshua 6). Rahab is a prostitute

(Hebrews 11:31) and a Gentile woman (Joshua 2),yet she

is found in the Messianic line (Matthew1:5). Rahab is therefore

a beautiful picture of the Church as the bride of Christ. Though

formerly a prostitute, Rahab, by faith, was made clean and delivered

from God’s wrath. Amazingly, in this account, we again see seven

days of warning preceding judgment (God’s gracious delay to

encourage repentance). The armies of God marched around the

city six days, and on the seventh day they marched around the

city seven times, and then the city was finally destroyed (Joshua 6).


Abigail and David

In 1 Samuel 25:39-42 Abigail is informed that King David

(foreshadowing King Jesus) wants to take her as his bride. She

immediately responds and “rose in haste” with five of her

damsels to “depart” and go to David for the marriage. Compare

this with Matthew 25:1-13 where five wise virgins who truly had

oil went forth to meet the Bridegroom (Jesus) away from their

dwelling place (earth). Interestingly, the name Abigail means

“the Father’s joy.”


Solomon’s Song

The Song of Solomon is an amazing picture of Christ and

His Church (Ephesians 5:29-32). In the Song of Solomon 2:8-13,

the Bride (the Church) hears the voice of her Beloved (Jesus)

coming for her. Then, in verses 10 and 13, the Bridegroom

speaks and calls His bride to “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and

come away.” This is a beautiful foreshadow of our marriage and

honeymoon in heaven!


Isaiah’s Hint

Isaiah 26:20-21 also gives us a possible picture of the

Rapture preceding the Tribulation:

Come, my people, enter your chambers, and

shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as

it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. For behold, 

the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the

earth for their iniquity; the earth will alsodisclose her blood, and will 

no more cover her slain. 


Apparently, believers are tucked away in Heaven before the

Tribulation falls on the earth. Could this also apply to the Jews

who hide away in Petra during the Tribulation?


The Prophet Daniel

In Daniel chapter 3, King Nebuchadnezzar (a type of the

Antichrist, cf. Revelation  13) demands that the entire population

bow down to his image. Daniel’s three friends (Jews) are preserved

through the fiery tribulation, but Daniel is nowhere to be

found. Daniel was “ruler over the whole province of Babylon,

and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon”

(Daniel  2:48), yet he is missing from the account. Why? Daniel

was apparently away. Might he be a type of the Church?  Three

times Daniel is called “greatly beloved” (Daniel 9:23; 10:11;



Zephaniah’s Clue

In Zephaniah 2:2-3 we read:

Before the decree is issued, or the day passes

like chaff, before the Lord’s fierce anger

comes upon you, before the day of the Lord’s

anger comes upon you! Seek the Lord, all you

meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. 

Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may

be that you will be hidden in the day of the

Lord’s anger.

According to this passage, believers will be hidden in the

day of the Lord’s anger (cf. Isaiah 26:20-21. See also: Zephaniah



Malachi’s Hint

Malachi chapter 3 deals with the Day of the Lord. Interestingly,

Malachi 3:18 implies two comings of the Messiah: “Then

shall ye (believers) return, and discern between the righteous and

the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth

him not.” It becomes clear when we read the entire context of

Malachi 3 that believers shall return to the earth. In order to

return and discern, believers must have first been caught away to



Other Examples

Isaac and Rebekah, as well as Ruth and Boaz, also provide

beautiful pictures of Christ taking a Gentile bride — one who

counts the cost and leaves their own family — but is not required

to suffer through great tribulation or famine. Other examples

could be expounded on, but these should be sufficient to show

that Christians will be removed before God’s wrath is poured out

and most likely before the 70th Week of Daniel.

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