Q. I am currently reading through Isaiah. One chapter/verse has stuck with me, and I need some insight. Do you think that Isa 26:20-21 is speaking prophetically about the Church, or is he speaking to the remnant of Israel that will be supernaturally protected in Petra during the Great Trib? I read the NIV, and it uses the word “rooms”. Upon reading Isaiah’s statement, I immediately thought of John 14:2, where the NIV also uses the word “rooms”, and I understand its a more literal translation of Jesus’ statement, as opposed to Mansions in the KJV. Could it simply be a coincidence, and Isaiah is really just speaking to Israel?
A. Isaiah 26:19-21 are meant to be taken together. In verse 19 the subject is the resurrection, and because of the similarity to John 14:2-3 it makes sense to assume that verse 20 is speaking of the Rapture, which comes immediately after. In the narrative, both verses precede the wrath of God, which only applies to the Church. Most scholars place the resurrection of Israel’s dead at the end of the Great Tribulation based on Daniel 12:1-2. Finally, if Isaiah was referring to the Jews in Petra during the end tines, he would have reversed the order since living Jews are told to flee into the mountains first, then the dead are raised later.
I believe Isaiah 26:19-21 is the passage Paul was referring to when he opened the rapture passage in 1 Thes. 4 by saying “according to the Lord’s own word.” (1 Thes. 4:15) The Lord never clearly mentioned the rapture in the New Testament. In my study “Defending The Pre Trib Rapture” I did a verse by verse comparison of Isaiah 26;19-21 with 1 Thes. 4:16-17 and 1 Thes. 5:9. The similarities are striking.