Isaiah 26:20 – Isaiah’s Pre-Trib Rapture Passage

Gary W. Ritter

(Isaiah 24-26; Ephesians 4)

There are many who dispute the notion of the pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church.  So be it.  They claim to find verses here and there in the Bible that support their various positions, be they mid-Tib, pre-Wrath, post-Trib, or no-Rapture.  I respectfully disagree and declare that God is so clear in His communication to the church, that He has provided evidence throughout the New Testament of His intent to remove the Bride of Christ from the earth prior to the 7-year Tribulation.  Not only that, but this mystery that Paul discussed in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 is even validated in the Old Testament.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

Most people who read Scripture from a literal perspective should be able to see that Isaiah 24 is all about the Tribulation.  Several examples should suffice:

Isaiah 24:1

Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate,

    and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.

Isaiah 24:6

Therefore a curse devours the earth,

    and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;

therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched,

    and few men are left.

Isaiah 24:17

Terror and the pit and the snare

    are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth!

Moreover, the prophet tells us that at the end of the Tribulation (Armageddon), the rebellious demonic host of heaven, which includes Satan, will be thrown into Tartarus until their day of final judgment.  The human element in league with them are likewise cast into this temporary prison.  We see this in Isaiah 24:21-22:

On that day the Lord will punish

    the host of heaven, in heaven,

    and the kings of the earth, on the earth.

They will be gathered together

    as prisoners in a pit;

they will be shut up in a prison,

    and after many days they will be punished.

Why does God bring the Tribulation’s punishment upon this planet in the first place?  Isaiah 24:20 provides the succinct answer:

… its transgression lies heavy upon it,

    and it falls, and will not rise again.

Throughout the Bible God shows His unfathomable love, mercy, and grace upon mankind.  However, in His dealing with the children of Israel, we see His wrath as a result of their disobedience.  He reaches a point time and again that He must punish them in judgment because they have spurned His love and chosen another way to live other than in Him.  The example of Israel is reflective of the rest of humanity.  When anyone, whether it’s Israel, with whom God has a special relationship, or mankind in the all-Gentile nations, He gives people more than adequate opportunity to choose life with Him.  When they decide not to follow His righteous ways, the time comes that He must bring correction.  The ultimate righting of this wrong will occur during the Tribulation.

The Lord has two primary purposes in raining down His wrath upon the earth during this most horrible of seven years:

One: Through this time, He will bring final redemption to Israel in the remnant that finally acknowledges Jesus Christ as Messiah.

Two: He will punish this unbelieving world, while at the same time, redeeming a remnant of mankind that turns to Him in faith.

For all those who believe that the church of true believers in Christ must go through the Tribulation, as always, I have to ask: Where do Christ-followers, saved by the blood of Jesus, fit into this picture?  Are we redeemed?  Have we accepted the gracious gift of salvation offered by our Lord?  Has He removed our iniquities as far as the east is from the west?  If so, why do you think God requires the blood-bought Bride of Christ to endure these horrible days of Tribulation?  Why is our generation so much worse than that of believers in 1700, 1800, 1900, or whatever earlier time, which necessitates our having to suffer through the Day of the Lord?  If the Tribulation is for Israel, which it is; if the Tribulation is for unbelievers, which it is – then what purpose in God’s overall plan to draw all men to Himself is served by believers entering into this time of wrath?

Most pre-Trib Rapture believers see the Lord assuring us of His taking us to heaven as protection and blessing in John 14:1-3:

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

If we don’t go to heaven and find refuge during the Tribulation in our Father’s house, when exactly would we do that?  After all, at the end of the Tribulation, when Jesus returns to earth – with His saints following, by the way – He remains here to rule and reign on His throne in Jerusalem.  We’re here also in glorified bodies ruling and reigning under His direction.  During the Tribulation is the only period which believers spend any time in heaven.  Forevermore, at least until the end of the Millennium, we remain on the earth once we come back with Jesus.

Moreover, we also believe that Revelation 4:1 speaks of the Rapture:

After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

The church is spoken of, and to, only to this point in John’s Revelation.  Note the verse says: after this.  It is after John is transported, i.e. Raptured, to heaven that he is shown what will occur on the earth following that translation.  This is when the Tribulation begins.  The church is not mentioned again until Revelation 19 as the time of Tribulation concludes.

I stated earlier that Isaiah has a pre-Trib Rapture passage.  Consider what the prophet says in Isaiah 26:20-21:

Come, my people, enter your chambers,

    and shut your doors behind you;

hide yourselves for a little while

    until the fury has passed by.

For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place

    to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity,

and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,

    and will no more cover its slain.

Can you read this and not see John echoing this in the verses noted above?  God’s people are called to their chambers, i.e. the rooms or mansions in heaven, that He has prepared for them.  They provide refuge, that is a hiding place for believers (my people) while God reigns down wrath upon the earth for the sins of mankind.  It will be a bloody, awful time of punishment.

The takeaway is that God will protect His own.  He intends great harm to come upon this unbelieving world, yet because of His love and mercy, He will shelter those who have chosen to align with Him prior to His judgment.

Any other position besides belief in a pre-Tribulation Rapture fails to understand the character of God.  He is our blessed hope.  Because He loves the Bride of Christ, He will provide safe quarters for her.  Jesus is returning soon.  We stand upon this Rock in our faith.  Because of that, He will keep us from the great and terrible Day of the Lord.


[Author Note: Briefly, I want to set the stage for you as to the nature of most of my articles in this season.  Each year I read the Bible through completely at least once – that has been my practice since I came to the Lord in 2005.  I remain astounded at what God has done in my life because of that discipline!  Each day I read from both the Old and New Testaments.  I choose a verse from one of those passages and write my commentary and reflection based on that.  In the title of my article, you’ll see the verse I chose.  In addition, you’ll see the reading for that day if you’d like to follow along with greater context.]

Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor, Bible teacher, and prolific author.  His Whirlwind Series comprises three books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is A Time.  These books are contained in the collected volume of the Whirlwind Omnibus.  Gary has been given the Christian Redemptive Fiction award for three novels: The Tattooed Cat, Alien Revelation, and for his collaboration with Terry James in writing The Minion Protocols, the third book in James’ Second Coming Chronicles.  Earlier this year Gary released a four-volume set of Awaken Bible Study Notes that comment verse-by-verse through Scripture from a Biblical prophetic lens.  He is currently editing a sequel to Alien Revelation called Alien Zombie Plague, which he plans to release later in the fall of 2021.  Recently, Gary wrote a novella for the new Kindle Vella platform.  That story is called Tribulation Rising: Seal Judgments – The Coming Apocalypse.  This seven-part short work can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099Z462WD.  Each day this year Gary has been writing commentary and reflections based on his reading through the Bible in a year.  The intent in all his writings is to bring a strong Christian witness to what people read.  You can see all his books and blog articles and reach him at his website: www.GaryRitter.com or his Facebook Author page:  https://www.facebook.com/gritter3390.  You can also see his older video Bible teachings on his Gary Ritter YouTube channel – look for the fish symbol, and more recently on Rumble on his Awaken Bible Prophecy channel: https://rumble.com/c/c-783217.

13 thoughts on “Isaiah 26:20 – Isaiah’s Pre-Trib Rapture Passage

  1. Dale Vernon

    For those of us who are aware of the 4 major Tribulation views ie Pre, Mid, Post & no Trib there is possibly one more for those of us who cant decide which one is legit. That view is Pan-Tribulation. Some may not of heard of that view but basically it means we dont know which view is correct so we subscribe to the so called Pan-Trib view which means that somehow it all pans out in the end.
    Hopefully the reader sees some humor in this. Personally I am PreTrib because God has an excellent track record of keeping His children from His wrath which means that a truly born again believer will not be subject to the wrath of God being poured out on the earth during the 7 year Great Tribulation. Are you truly born again? Are you in doubt of the salvation secured by the Lord Jesus on Calvary? Are you still written in God’s Book of Life? Seek the Lord while He may still be found. It’s not rocket science as He is knocking on the door of your heart this instant but you must open it as He only enters as an invited guest. Taste the Lord for He is good!

    1. Hi Dale…..first of all, Tim loved the “pan” tribulation! He laughed out loud! I truly appreciate your comment about the Lord not allowing His children to go through His wrath against this sinful world…..AMEN!

  2. Karen Kimball

    “Why is our generation so much worse than that of believers in 1700, 1800, 1900, or whatever earlier time, which necessitates our having to suffer through the Day of the Lord?” This is a brilliant rebuttal to those who I have heard say, “why are we different than martyrs of the past that we shouldn’t have to go through death in the Tribulation?” Your comment I copied above completely refutes that idea and turns it on its head!! I will print this out to keep and also share it online.

    1. Thanks, Karen. There’s SO much evidence for a pre-Trib Rapture. I think as I say in the essay, what it really comes down to is the character of God. How could He allow His Bride to endure the sufferings of the Tribulation when it’s not at all intended for true Christians? Jesus already paid the price for our sins and took God’s wrath upon Himself for us.

      1. Mark V

        “Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, SO THAT the righteous fare as the wicked!” As God delivered righteous Lot, so He has promised to deliver His children. “Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.” We are called His children through faith because of His righteousness alone.

  3. Dale Vernon

    Hi Karen & Gary..I’d like to add my 2cents worth +5.9% if it can help another reader. There’s a big difference between The Great Tribulation and Tribulation. Christians will go thru tribulation in life because that’s part of our “job description” and a given for standing for Christ, spreading the Gospel & living a holy lifestyle. It happened to Christ & surely will to those born again because the servant is not greater than his Master. Jesus warns people to consider the cost in following Him. Come the BEMA judgement for believers, we don’t want to stand b4 the Lord Jesus and say to Him “Well I didn’t help You but I didn’t hurt You.” In other words, if we are accused of being a Christian today would there be enough evidence in a court of law to convict us? Is there anyone in our sphere of influence who would testify that we are indeed a real Christian? Christians have been and are persecuted for the faith even unto death (martyrs) & it has been going on since Pentecost but that is not the Great Tribulation.The “GT” is God’s wrath stored up & poured out on an unbelieving world that hates Him & has persecuted & murdered believers thruout the centuries since Pentecost. Born again believers are adopted sons of God & the Bride of Christ. We are to meet Him in the air at the Rapture. Our 1st face to face meeting with our wonderful Savior & Lord. We will safely be with Him in heaven during the 7 years He pours out His anger on earth. Do you think the Groom would also then want to beat up His bride for the next 7 years as we are finally together with Him? Is that a natural & reasonable assumption to make from a loving God who loved us so much He suffered & died a most miserable death to procure our eternity in heaven with Himself? There is much more in the Bible about the believer’s ironclad guarantee of salvation (about 300 verses) from our God who cannot lie. As Biden would say, “C’mon man.”

    1. Karen Kimball

      Just to clarify my comment, I was commenting in favor of a pre-trib rapture. Nothing I have read in Biblical prophecy points to anything else and all prophecy points to a pre-trib rapture and a literal 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ on earth. I take the Bible literally unless the text makes it clear that it is allegory. Not sure if my comment was unclear, but I was just pointing out what I had heard said a couple of times and I was saying that this article was a wonderful argument in favor of a pre-trib rapture.

  4. Dale Vernon

    Hi Karen
    I understand u are pretrib & I apologize if somehow I offended. Recently I decided to write my comments with an attitude towards the unsaved. In other words what i write is mostly old news to believers but the lost are still out there & some are searching. I am sure God uses Geri’s site to bring in unbelievers. Hopefully my contribution as well as others will appear according to His impeccable timing & stir that person’s heart. You know the plant, sow, water thing & God gives the increase. We just wont know the results until we meet the Lord. Take care Sis

  5. Thank you for sharing Geri. I cannot understand how anyone can believe in anything other than a pre-trib rapture. If God poured out His wrath on Jesus on the cross–which He did–and Jesus was our substitute, then why would He pour His wrath out on His people during the Tribulation? Makes no sense. I have found over a dozen scriptures in more than half a dozen books of the Bible which all point to pre-trib, and the Isaiah 26 quote you gave has been one I have often quoted over the years. It is clear that we won’t go through the Great Tribulation though we do experience tribulation in one degree or another while we go through life. But we have the Lord to strengthen us, protect us and guide us through it.