Dr. Couch, could Isaiah 26:20-27:1 be a rapture passage?
No, not really. Paul calls the doctrine of the rapture a mystery, i.e. "something not before revealed" in the OT. He writes: "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; … and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed" (1 Cor. 15:51-52).
The believing Jews will "hide for a little while, until indignation runs its course. For behold, the Lord is about to come out from His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity …" (Isa. 26:20-21). By this the people of Israel, who are believers living on the earth during the tribulation, escape God's wrath and that wrath is likened to the birth pangs (Isa. 26:17) of the tribulation described in Jeremiah 30:6.
The Jews in Isaiah 26 do not go up to heaven but they find a hiding place on earth (probably Petra) from God's wrath which is the tribulation. The context of Isaiah 26 is the Jews "in the land of Judah" (verse 1). This has to do with the Jews who during the tribulation become believers in the Lord. THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE CHURCH!
Keep your dispensational lines straight. Don't mix them all up as the covenant guys do!
On this Isaiah 26 passage Unger, my dearly beloved OT professor wrote in his commentary:
The Lord spoke through Isaiah to give a note of cheer. Deliverance from Great Tribulation and its fearful anguish will be near for the beleaguered remnant. "Come My people, enter … into your chambers," their divinely provided place of safety, for the Lord will soon take vengeance on the fully developed, ripe-for-judgment iniquity of the ungodly."
You won't find the rapture or the church in the OT! I'm still waiting! No one has found these doctrines in the OT yet!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch