Many Christians, though not all, believe in something called “the rapture” where the dead Christians will be resurrected and the Christians alive at that time will all be whisked away to heaven when Jesus returns for them and then Jesus and “his saints” will hide out in heaven for 7 years or so while God pours out His wrath on Earth to those who rejected Jesus. Then, according to this doctrine taught throughout some evangelical protestant denominations, Jesus will come back to Earth for technically a third time and bring all his peeps with him to rule and reign.
Amos 3:7 tells us G!d does nothing without revealing it to His prophets first.
THE THREE R’S
The prophets of the Hebrew Bible say nothing about people who must believe in a Messiah to be saved, forgiven, or to have eternal life. Nor do they say anything about a rapture of believers in a Messiah. The prophets do, however, predict people will be resurrected, rescued, and restored.
Let’s take a look at some Scriptures within the prophetic books that speak to a resurrection. The text we are reviewing can be found in Daniel 12:1-2, Isaiah 26:18-19, Ezekiel 37:12.
The prophetic book of Daniel was penned during the time that the Jews were in living in exile in Babylon. So when this angel relays these words to Daniel, the angel is referring to Jews as “your people” way in the future, a time which still has not manifested yet. Specifically, this prophecy is believed to be referring to the Battle led by Gog of Magog. Clearly, the angel is telling Daniel with the intention he will write it down for future generations to know and be encouraged that during that awful time Jews will be rescued if they are not blotted out of the book of life, meaning if they are still alive at this time. Zechariah 14 and Ezekiel 38 also describe this horrific battle. In regards to the expression, inscribed in the book, other passages within the Hebrew Bible equate that expression to mean an Israelite, now known as Jews, are alive essentially because they haven’t transgressed the Torah, G!d’s instructions. In other words, to intentionally violate G!d’s boundaries means one will be removed or blotted out from the Book of Life. This is why on Yom Kippur, Jews strive to be inscribed in the book of life for another year. That in itself is an entirely different teaching perhaps we can explore at another time. For now, I have put some of those Scriptures in the description if you want to look them up later. So, those Jews which are alive will be rescued, whereas many of those that are dead, will be resurrected.
We touched on Jews being rescued, but let’s take a closer look in these passages of Jeremiah 16:14-16, Ezekiel 34:27-29, and Zechariah 8 and 12.
This particular text in Jeremiah 16 is interesting because it reveals this rescue operation of the Jews will make the original Exodus story look like nothing compared to this greater exodus to come. I didn’t type out the entire text, but I also wanted to point out how G!d says through the prophet Jeremiah that it will be as if G!d is sending fishermen to haul out Jews or a helicopter rescue squad rescuing people who’ve gone overboard. What exactly that looks like is to be determined, but you get the idea G!d loves Jews very much and promises to rescue us at that terrible moment. It’s going to be epic!
G!d is all about making His Name known or His Presence and authority known. He’s all about taking people from a culture of worshiping many false gods to a culture of worshipping Him the One True G!d. Just as He made Himself known to both the Israelites and Egyptians in the Book of Exodus, He will do so again when He rescues Jews in the future.
Here we have yet again (see above), G!d saying through a different prophet that He will rescue Jews from wherever they are in the globe, and notice the text says they will be brought to Jerusalem to permanently dwell. It says nothing about saving Jews to live in heaven, but rather heaven on earth, if you will, in Jerusalem.
This verse I included because it speaks to how much G!d loves Jerusalem inferring Jews living in that holy city. It also validates what G!d told Abraham when He said in Genesis 12:3, I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.
Although Isaiah 56 doesn’t specifically refer to Jews being rescued, I’m including it within this teaching, because it does state that anyone who chooses to keep G!d’s covenant, meaning live by the instructions He gave Israel at Mt. Sinai, will also be brought to Israel. It infers these Jews-By-Choice or converts such as myself will also be rescued. This chapter of Isaiah 56 says those adopted in as Jews will be considered even better than sons and daughters, meaning natural Jews.
Although the prophets don’t directly state how the rescued Jews will travel to Jerusalem, there are hints particularly in the Book of Isaiah that they may travel by foot on a sacred highway or road of sorts. In other passages, it describes a worldwide earthquake, mountains crumbling, and land moving, so it is plausible Jews (and later Gentiles) will be able to get to Jerusalem by road similar to how G!d paved an unexpected path through the Reed Sea when the Israelites fled Egypt. In Zechariah 14:16-21, Gentiles must come to Jerusalem to celebrate and worship G!d for the holy holiday of Sukkot, also known as Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Booth. Presumably, both the Jew and Gentile could travel to Jerusalem using the new and improved Interstate-66 known as the “Sacred Highway”.
In addition to the prophets revealing a resurrection and rescue of Jews, they also reveal that the physical wealth of Jews will be restored in Israel. “Double for your trouble” you could say. I have listed only a few passages that refer to this concept, but there are many more.
Isaiah repeatedly speaks to the fact that leaders of other nations, kings, will fall in line as they will be subservient to the kingdom of Israel (see above). With that said, we will eventually study Isaiah 52 and 53 to understand how kings or leaders of other nations will be shocked to see Israel, the once suffering servant is elevated. That’s right, Isaiah 53 isn’t describing Jesus, but rather Isaiah clearly identifies several times leading up to that infamous and misunderstood passage that Israel is the servant. But that is for another teaching.
In this passage of Jeremiah 30 (see below), we once again see yet a different prophet refers to Israel as “outcast” whereas Isaiah chose “suffering servant”, but Jews are not despised forever. For here, as in many other passages, G!d encourages Jews to let them know He has a plan to restore, rebuilt, and replant. Moreover, elevate Jews and the nation of Israel.
Yet another passage reiterates that though you, being Jews, were once despised, you will be restored and live in security.
As highlighted earlier, G!d reveals His plans through His prophets (Amos 3:7). Isn’t it strange that there are no texts in the entire Hebrew Bible about Gentiles being raptured to heaven or anything pertaining to such doctrine? Interestingly, the prophet Jeremiah says that at that time the Gentiles will be shocked and realize they were taught lies. Notice it doesn’t say Jews will be shocked, but specifically, the prophets declare the Gentiles will be surprised. I know I sure was upon realizing all of this.
In conclusion, the prophets of the Hebrew Bible make no mention of people being raptured to Heaven but do frequently refer to Jews being resurrected, rescued, and restored to Israel.
To study this topic more, I invite you to review the following passages in addition to the ones already presented:
- Deuteronomy 30:3-4;
- 1 Chronicles 16:35;
- Nehemiah 1:9;
- Psalms 2:6; 48:1-2; 74:2; 78:68; 87:1-7; 102:16; 106:47; 107:2-3; 125:1; 132:13-14; 147:2;
- Isaiah 2:3; 11:11-12; 43:5; 56:8; 59:20
- Jeremiah 3:14-18; 29:14; 31:8,10; 32:37;
- Ezekiel 11:17; 20:34-41; 28:25; 34:13; 37:21; 39:27-28;
- Hosea 11:10;
- Micah 2:12; 4:2;
- Zephaniah 3:20;
- Zechariah 10:10.
To investigate passages referring to being ‘inscribed in the book’ or being ‘blotted out’ meaning those living or dead, see these Scriptures:
- Daniel 12:1-2
- Exodus 17:14; 32:32-33
- Deuteronomy 25:6,19
- Psalm 9:5-6; 56:8; 69:27-28; 139:16
- Malachi 3:16
To study this teaching packet at home, download the PDF provided below.