Is the Pre-Trib Rapture Supported in the Old Testament?

There are differing views when it comes to the placement of the rapture in the framework of end-time events. Some believe Scripture teaches a pre-trib (before the tribulation period) rapture, while others teach a mid-trib (in the middle of the 7 year tribulation period) rapture, and some teach a post-trib (at the end of the tribulation period) rapture. The order of events isn’t spelled out in text-book fashion so students have to form a framework by deduction and logic as they study scripture.

Good Bible believing Christians can be found in all three camps. This should not be an area of division among Christians. I have friends in each camp. We can agree to disagree without breaking fellowship. The world will recognize true Christianity by how his children love each other (John 13:35).

That said, I personally believe the Bible supports a pre-trib view of the rapture. From patterns and types in the Old Testament (Noah, Lot, Israelites in Goshen, Daniel being raised to a higher-position and avoiding the fiery furnace, and a few others), to key passages in the New Testament, the Bible supports a pre-trib rapture from cover to cover.

Some Key Reasons

For example: We are “not appointed to wrath” (1 Thessalonians 5:9); In Revelation, the church is absent from all of the tribulation chapters; The consistent picture of end-time events is that of Christ coming to get his Bride for marriage (not to take her through suffering). Also, there is strong scriptural and linguistic support to demonstrate that the falling away (lit., the departing) spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is a reference to the rapture—meaning the rapture must come before that day (the Day of the Lord/Tribulation) comes.

The Framework

The key rapture passages (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, John 14:1-4)—as understood in the context of the pre-tribulation view—paint the picture of Jesus entering earth’s atmosphere, raising and catching away all Christians who died before the rapture, then immediately catching away all living believers to meet the Lord in the air as well. Then he will take us all to heaven, hiding us and protecting us from the horrific events of the tribulation period.

Is the Rapture in the Old Testament?

Here’s what I’m leading up to. We know Paul revealed this mystery to the church in the New Testament—himself prematurely raptured to see it first hand (2 Corinthians 12:2-4, 1 Corinthians 15:8). We also know that many mysteries revealed in the New Testament were concealed in the Old Testament.

With new information, we look back to the writings of the Old Testament and find that it was there all along. We just couldn’t see it without the full revelation of the mystery at hand.

Scripture can have an immediate application and a deeper, prophetic application. Scripture also informs us that even the tiniest stroke or letter found in the Bible was supernaturally inspired by God (Matthew 5:18).

In 2 Peter, we learn that no prophecy in Scripture has a private or secret interpretation. Prophecy can be understood by comparing Scripture with Scripture (2 Peter 1:20).

With those thoughts in mind, I pose this question: Are there any specific verses in the Old Testament that reference the rapture? I believe there are.

Consider these examples:


Psalm 27:5
For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

In light of New Testament teaching I would paraphrase Psalm 27:5 this way: “During the horrific tribulation period, God will hide his people in heaven—high above the trouble.”


Or, how about this verse?

Psalm 57:1
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.

Again, with our pre-trib rapture framework in mind, this could mean: “Those who trust in God’s mercy will be physically close to God taking refuge during the terrible events of the tribulation period on earth.”


Here’s another.

Isaiah 26:19-21
Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew is like the dew of herbs, And the earth shall cast out the dead. Take Refuge from the Coming Judgment. 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 also disclose her blood, And will no more cover her slain.

Here’s the THPV (Todd Hampson’s Paraphrase Version [I’m joking of course]): “The dead in Christ will rise and take refuge away from judgment. God’s people will enter a sealed chamber for a period of time until the indignation or wrath is completed. God will come out of his place to punish the whole earth during a time when all sin is seen for what it really is.”


But wait, there’s more!

Zephaniah 2:3
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.

We could paraphrase this like so: “Those who truly seek God’s ways will be hidden and protected during the well known ‘Day of the Lord’, also known as the tribulation period.”


Two more to go to make my point. Hang in there!

Psalm 83:3
They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones.

This verse makes reference to God’s two distinct people groups, the Jewish people (David’s people), and the sheltered or hidden ones. That’s you and I as believers in Christ (Colossians 3:1-4).


Ok, one last one and this one is a bit more veiled, I’ll admit but relevant nonetheless. The Song of Solomon definitely has poetic beauty, and application for relationships and married love, but many passages also have a secondary prophetic meaning. It is a foreshadow, a picture of Christ and his Bride.

Song of Solomon 2:10-13
My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell. Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!”

I don’t have space to unpack all of the symbolism and how it relates to end-time events, but notice that the groom speaks, calling his bride to rise up and come away at a specific appointed time. He also notes the fig tree has green figs. These are young unripened figs. This may be a veiled reference to the mention of the young fig tree in Matthew 24:32-34. which many experts agree symbolizes Israel’s rebirth as the key sign that generation has entered the last-days time frame (a topic for another day).

Some may disagree with me about the Song of Solomon verses (which is why I listed them last), but I believe it is valid. The more I study Scripture, the more I realize the Bible is intricately designed to a level of detail which we have only begun to understand (Psalm 119:89, 1 Corinthians 13:12).


These Old Testament verses are consistent with the New Testament teaching about the rapture. If the Bible is without error, and inspired by God himself (2 Peter 1:21), then we should expect to see this internal consistency between the Old and New Testament. What an amazing book we hold, and an exciting future we have in store!

Considering these veiled references to the rapture in the Old Testament, coupled with the types and patterns of a pre-trib rapture, this should give us even more confidence in our blessed hope!

(Note: See comments below for additional verses cited by other readers.)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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37 thoughts on “Is the Pre-Trib Rapture Supported in the Old Testament?

  1. Very good scripture references. I agree that these scriptures do reference the rapture, I’m just not sure if I hold to pre or mid. If you can point out scripture that can help me discern a pre or mid (trib) that will be most appreciated.

    I don’t believe that scripture points to post trib as we are not appointed to wrath. I lean toward a mid trib POV in that in Matt 24:21, it seems to me that Christ makes a distinction between Tribulation and Great Tribulation (all of the things spoken of before v. 21; then all of the things spoken after v.22); and as a result that is when God’s wrath will be poured out, and Christ’s bride removed.

    The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.

    • Hey JDon. Thanks for sharing! Thanks for the encouragement my friend. Those are some great points. Mid-trib is definitely the second strongest in my opinion. I’m with you. There’s no real support for post-trib when looking at all of scripture. One of the things that pushed me firmly into pre-trib (vs. mid-trib) is that events in the first half of the tribulation are mentioned specifically as God’s wrath (not just man’s wrath—See Rev 6:16) and it’s Jesus who is opening the seals. The trib is definitely divided into 2 3.5yr periods and the latter half is the “great tribulation” where the antichrist tries to destroy all the Jewish people, but even in the first half of the tribulation it will be hell on earth. first half trib events include: world war, famine, pandemics, earthquakes that level mountains, massive/destructive meteors, one-third of the earth/grass burned, demonic locusts, one-third of mankind killed, etc. These are all divine judgments. Anyway, there are other reasons, but I can definitely see how some arrive at mid-trib. Hope that helps! Keep studying and let me know how it goes! I always love learning more myself so feel free to share. God bless.

  2. Awesome!!! 😉 I too have read these scripture verses & felt in my spirit that they are alluding too the rapture. Can NOT wait! Thank you! Blessings to you. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Christy

    • Thanks Christy! We can’t build theology around them alone, but they lend support to the clear framework we see established in the New Testament. to me it just shows how the Bible has the fingerprints of God all over it. Have a great day!

  3. I noticed in Ps. 46:1-3 that to me seemed like a veiled assurance to believers that we will not go through the tribulation. What do you think?

    • I agree! Thanks for sharing. I’ll be reading the OT w/ new eyes now, seeing how the secondary meaning of many verses links up with NT truths presented to us. I’ll post the verse here incase other readers want to check it out. Psalm 46:1-3—God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

    • Psalm 46 is an awesome passage and holds deep meaning to me. On Saturday, September 8th, 2001, I was in Washington D.C. with my wife visiting a special seminar on reading that was sponsored by Laura Bush. There were many tents set up between the Capitol and Supreme Court buildings. And authors were in them to read their own books to those in attendance. In one of the tents, I began to feel very agitated, and told my wife that I had to go for a walk. So, I walked around the Capitol praying and asking God why I was feeling so strange. One of the Bible passages that came to mind was from Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” I prayed over the Capitol that day. A few days later, on 9/11, I understood why.

      • That’s powerful Al! I used to work in DC and was at work on 9/11. Everything changed on that day. Thanks for sharing!

    • I don’t have a resource right offhand, but I’ll keep my eye out for one. I’ve heard a sermon or two on the topic. Years ago, I heard a pastor demonstrate how Jesus was the prophetic focus of each book in the OT. He backed it up with several NT verses.

      Luke 24:44—Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

  4. I forgot to mention another O.T. scripture that points to the rapture:
    Isaiah 57:1-2 – The righteous and devout believers are taken away but no man takes it to heart! We are taken away from evil and rest in our beds! The following verses show this in context with tribulation evil we are taken out of.
    Judy

  5. One of my favorites is Malachi 3:16-18 “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and esteem His name. ‘They will be Mine ‘ says the Lord of hosts, ‘in the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him’. So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve God. “

  6. I enjoyed your post, Todd.
    The principle of the rapture is also found in Genesis 18:20-25 as the LORD and Abraham discuss the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. Those cities represent the mocking and rebellious nations of the endtime world. And yet, Abraham, having walked with the LORD, knew the LORD’s heart as he proclaimed, “Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (v.25) The LORD will indeed do right, and as He removed Lot from Sodom before judgment rained down, He will also remove the church prior to the Tribulation.

  7. I find it interesting that just before I read this article that I had prayed and asked God to help me understand His Word.

    I have friends (small group) that all have differing stands on the Rapture.

    One very long time friend of mine who is 67 now, has been studying the Scripture for a very long time insists that Christians WILL be present in the Tribulation times and that most Christians will be ill prepared emotionally and mentally and physically when that happens because of the ‘false’ teachings of the Rapture taking the Christians out to protect them from harm.

    She insists according to her study’s that until the 7th Trump is sounded Jesus will not be returning and the Christians will have to go through the Tribulation as well. She has all her Scriptures to support her stand on what she believes. It gets quite tense at times when people discuss things with her.

    And I know others feel that we will go through the Tribulation as well and others that do not.

    I hate to say it but I am one of those ‘coined’ “Pan Tribers ” because its all so confusing that call it being a defeatist but its TOO MUCH for me to try and understand it all and be solid on any one thing.

    I have come to just say “I KNOW that whatever happens its going to happen and how it happens, when it happens , its going to and I will just take it one day at a time”

    I get weary trying to keep up with all my friends and others opinions. I just want God to speak to my heart what IS important and stay close to Him and be at His business as best as I can for who I am and my hope is that my daughter is saved and my lost family members are saved and friends are saved and that I can share where I can the Word of God with the hope OTHERS will come to know Jesus so they can be saved also.

    Shalom

    • I’m glad to hear it’s a healthy small group where you can discuss the differences and drive each other deeper into studying God’s word to find the answer. Sounds like some great friends/healthy small group! Mid-trib folks equate the “last trumpet” of the rapture with the last trumpet judgment in Revelation. I wish my book was available to give out now. I spend 2 chapters unpacking the views and showing why I firmly believe the “last trumpet” of 1 Corinthians 15:52 regarding the rapture is not the same as the last trumpet judgment. I believe it is the last trumpet of the church age. In Jewish culture trumpets were blown to mark the beginning and ending of events. Also, the feast of trumpets features 100 blasts of the trumpet and the last blast is a long sustained blast. Many experts equate the feast of trumpets with the rapture. It’s the only Jewish feast that has the idiom “no one knows the day or hour.” Keep that unity going in your group and keep studying his word and let it guide you into truth wherever it may lead. I hope that helps and I wish my book was out to send you now! :o)

    • I’m glad to hear it’s a healthy small group where you can discuss the differences and drive each other deeper into studying God’s word to find the answer. Sounds like some great friends/healthy small group! Mid-trib folks equate the “last trumpet” of the rapture with the last trumpet judgment in Revelation. I wish my book was available to give out now. I spend 2 chapters unpacking the views and showing why I firmly believe the “last trumpet” of 1 Corinthians 15:52 regarding the rapture is not the same as the last trumpet judgment. I believe it is the last trumpet of the church age. In Jewish culture trumpets were blown to mark the beginning and ending of events. Also, the feast of trumpets features 100 blasts of the trumpet and the last blast is a long sustained blast. Many experts equate the feast of trumpets with the rapture. It’s the only Jewish feast that has the idiom “no one knows the day or hour.” Keep that unity going in your group and keep studying his word and let it guide you into truth wherever it may lead. I hope that helps and I wish my book was out to send you now! :o)

    • Thanks Diane. Amen! In the mean time we need to tell others about the salvation found in Jesus. Thanks so much for reading the post!

  8. Great article Todd, thank you! The way I see it is like this: the Lord has stated that no one will know the day or hour of the rapture. If the rapture is mid or post tribulation then we will be able to work out the time of the rapture by watching for the rise of the anti-Christ, building of the temple, battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39, etc. In the pre tribulation view, which I feel is the correct view, the Lord can return even today as no one knows the time. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

    • Great point Mario! Thanks for sharing! I agree. The imminency of the rapture and the fact that the tribulation will officially begin with the confirming of an agreement by the antichrist/man of sin with the “many”, beginning an exact 7 year countdown makes a pre-trib rapture the only viable option in my opinion.

  9. For those who think we are going through any part of the tribulation, the solution is very simple. The angel tells Daniel (Dan. 9) that this time of punishment is for “your people” meaning the Jews. Jeremiah 30:7 tells us this is the time of “Jacob’s trouble”. All these churches that replace Israel with the Church are now replacing Israel with the Church during the tribulation! God’s future plan for Israel is the key that makes it all clear! This terrible time is for Israel, not the Church. Without Israel, it all becomes “pan” nonsense.

    • Good stuff Judy. I agree. The imminency of the rapture and the fact that the tribulation will officially begin with the confirming of an agreement by the antichrist/man of sin with the “many”, beginning an exact 7 year countdown makes a pre-trib rapture the only viable option in my opinion. Thanks for sharing that!

      • And yes, that’s something I hope to address on this blog. Helping the church see Israel’s role in God’s plan. Paul spends 3 full chapters in Romans to demonstrate God still has a plan for Israel and that one day ‘all Israel will be saved.’ So important. Thanks for highlighting that!

    • I was saved about 25 years ago and believed in the pre-trib rapture for about 23 of those years. But, when I happened across some people that disagreed and pointed to specific scriptures I no longer am pre-trib. 2Thes 2:3-8
      “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.
      This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.”
      I can’t see a secret rapture here. First, Christians are appointed to suffer. Second, Jesus returns to grant relief to His church which is suffering. There are many more proof texts. Do yourself a favor and purchase Samuel P. tregelles’ book on the 2nd coming. It was published in 1864 as a response to the quickly growing idea of a pre-tribulation rapture.

  10. With regards to the scripture cited from song of Solomon, reference the end of the rains. The reason I mention this is because the two witnesses have authority to stop rain during the 3 1/2 years in which they prophesy. As there were 22 comments before mine, this comment is number 22’s. Trust your mirrors, the hour is at hand.

  11. Like what Pastor Sandy Armstrong has to bring regarding the calendars and the fact that therefore we are still (until March 16/18) actually in the year 5777 on the Jewish Calendar and are actually still in Gentile calendar 2017. He himself appears to me to be “like a little child” speaking profound things from being guided by Holy Spitit. His understanding of first fruits, church, and middle/near end tribulation harvests are illuminating beyond so many others I have read. Speaks strictly from Scripture and his correlations are fascinating (e.g. 7-year laying of tribulation events).

  12. Todd good article and topic for discussion. We can all agree our Salvation is dependant on one thing the blood of Jesus Christ. In simple terms I see the soon coming Rapture to be pre tribulation. Why ?….well the bible tells me so. Enoch was Raptured before the Flood, Noah and his family were kept safe from judgement of his time. Lot was told by the angels of the LORD to get out of Sodom before the destruction of the cities of the plain. Moreover the angel told him , we can’t do anything until you are out of the way. That’s enough for me to be honest.
    Our LORD doesn’t want His bride to go through the Tribulation although we are (and in the past have) living through the foreshadow of what is to come. The signs are numerous , we know them well, our Bible tells us so. Our Father in heaven does not want us to be ignorant of this. What a wonderful LORD. Of course the Rapture will waken many lukewarm believers and undecidedist to the Truth. Those folk will live through the Tribulation and will loose their lives for their awakened/new found Faith.
    Todd keep up the good work. As always, I pray the blood of Jesus Christ our Redemer keep you safe. God bless

    • Great points Jon! Thanks for sharing! I agree that those are types and foreshadows of the rapture. The Word of God is more amazing to me every day. Thank you so much for the prayer! God bless you as well.