The Land Of Goshen Is Set Apart

“And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.” (Exodus 8:22-23)

There is no mention in the first three plagues that fall upon the land of Egypt whether or not the Israelites were affected. Since in every other plague following, the fourth through the tenth, we are specifically told that the people of God were not affected, we may assume that the turning of the Nile into blood, the frogs covering the land, and the plague of lice were poured out indiscriminately. Preceding the swarms of flies, however, God stipulates that He will put a division between the people of Egypt and His own people. The word for division literally means a redemption (it is translated as such in Psalms 111:9 and 130:7; and as redeem in Isaiah 50:2). In the plagues that God pours out on Egypt and the saving of His people from these plagues, we have a portrait of God’s judgment and redemption.

The Plagues Are Judgment

“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:9)

The first thing we should consider is that the plagues God poured out on Egypt were His judgments against a wicked people who defied Him. These plagues were the wrath of God being revealed against those who denied and rejected Him. Wherever we read in the New Testament about the wrath of God, we are reading about His judgment. Verses such as Romans 5:9 and 1 Thessalonians 1:10 promise that those who trust in Christ shall not come under the wrath of God, we shall not come under His holy judgment. God’s redemption saves His people from His wrath and judgment, just as it did for His people living in the land of Egypt. God does chasten those whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6-7), but we are never judged by God’s wrath. In fact, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:32 that God’s judgment on us is His chastening that we might not be condemned with the world. God never judges those who belong to Him with destruction or condemnation like He judges those who reject Him and defy Him. He corrects His own as a loving Father corrects a son.

The plagues of Egypt are punitive in nature, not corrective. They are the direct actions of God upon a people in judgment for their rebellion. Yet even in this judgment there is the opportunity for repentance and a turning to the Lord. Had Pharaoh submitted at any time during this process we can be sure that the judgments would have ceased.

God’s People Are Not Immune To Difficulties

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

While we are promised that we will not suffer the wrath of God, we are never promised that we will escape the trials and difficulties present in a fallen world. The Lord Jesus Christ made it clear that we would not be immune to the troubles of life and that we should expect them. As Christians, we have more than our share of suffering. This world, the devil, and even our own flesh are all in conflict against the things of God. 1 Timothy 3:11-12 tells us that even the sincere desire to live a godly life that honors the Lord will bring persecution and affliction (though we have the promise that God will deliver us from them all!). But God’s wrath and judgment are not among the adversities that the child of God will have to face.

Kept From Judgment

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)

Like the plagues of Egypt, the judgments listed in the Book of Revelation which will occur during the “Great Tribulation” are judgments from God. These judgments are the final outpouring of God’s wrath on a sinful and rebellious world that has utterly rejected Him. When God judged the world with the Great Flood, He set apart those belonging to Him; He redeemed Noah and his family. When God judged Sodom and Gomorrah, He set apart those belonging to Him; He redeemed Lot and his family. When God judged Pharaoh and Egypt, He set apart those belonging to Him; He redeemed the children of Israel. Will God do any differently when He pours out His greatest judgments upon the Earth? In each of these cases in the Old Testament, God removed those belonging to Him before He poured out His wrath. The Israelites may have endured the consequences of the first three plagues of Egypt, but the implications and severity of these three were nothing like the remaining seven. The bloody river, the frogs and the lice were certainly annoying and bothersome, but they were nothing like the plagues to come. They did not involve death, loss of livestock/property, or physical pain as the latter plagues would. Before these would come, God set His own people in safety. He set apart the land of Goshen.

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of [Babylon], my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4)

One common objection raised against the idea of a “pre-Tribulation Rapture” (that the Lord Jesus will take His own out of the world before the Tribulation begins) is that the Bible does not teach that God ever removes His people from danger and hardships. But such an objection seems to seriously misunderstand both the nature and severity of the judgments that will occur during the Great Tribulation. The events described are not mere “trials”, “hardships”, or “difficulties.” They are the judgments of God Almighty, pouring out His wrath on the entire Earth in an unprecedented way! Yes, the devil will have his season during this time, but it is the hand of God that will be responsible for the most dramatic and awe-inspiring judgments that man has ever known. God has promised that those belonging to Him will escape His wrathful judgment. A “pre-Tribulation Rapture” of those who trust in Christ definitely appears to be the way that the Bible shows this promise will be carried out.

Until next time: May the Lord bless and keep you. To God goes all glory.

In His service,

Loren

Advertisements

11 responses

  1. Thank you, Loren, for such a thoughtful and well supported approach to the pre-tribulation rapture idea. What really impacted me was how you explained that the Great Tribulation was not going to be like trials and hardships . . .but a judgment and the wrath of God such as never before seen. Many suffer death and persecution already, for their faith in Jesus. But the kind of suffering that Revelations describes is totally different.
    God bless you and thank you so much for helping us understand His word and heart more!

    Like

  2. Hi Loren,

    I think this is the first time I’ve visited your blog and I loved this piece! Yes indeed, you did a remarkable job of explaining how we will be kept from God’s wrath and making the case for the Pre-Trib Rapture.

    I just finished going a round with someone who is Post-Trib and I tried to explain, much like you have but to no avail. I just for the life in me cannot comprehend how folks are missing the examples given to us of how God removed His Children before His wrath.

    The Bible says the Trib will be a time like no other time before than man has seen, nor will ever see again, nor will ever be again. That no flesh would survive if not shortened…I mean how much clearer can it get. Frogs and lice is a walk in the park compared to flesh that will be scorched to death, men wanting to die but unable…100lb hail stones dropping on your head, etc…

    Thank you so much for such a excellent and Biblical explanation. From the OT to the NT, God does not change! He said we are not appointed to wrath, he meant that!

    Blessings!

    Like

  3. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

    You’re absolutely right. I know a lot of the controversy amongst Christians concerning the subject of the Rapture is typically centered on semantics. A lot of people are skeptical because the Bible does not seem to say a whole lot about the matter, and it never just comes right out and spells it out in black and white. Some have even complained that the word Rapture does not appear in the text.

    But to know where God is going, it helps to look where He has been. A major concept that I like to write about on this blog is the way that God has always done things in a similar manner. Like you mentioned, God doesn’t change. So it is helpful to look at examples, even from the Old Testament, of the way God dealt with people in the past in order to learn about how He will continue to deal with people in the present and future. If God “raptured” His people in the Old Testament, is it not conceivable that He will do so for His people living under the New?

    Thank you so much for your wonderful comments and encouragement! May the Lord bless you and I hope to hear more from you in the future :)

    Loren

    Like

  4. Hi Deb, thanks so much for the excellent feedback :)

    I think that this is exactly where it is helpful to see the distinction. It seems that a lot of the arguments against a pre-Trib Rapture centers around the idea that God never gives His people a “free pass.” But the catastrophes of the Tribulation are not the persecutions from the outside against the people of God (though anti-Christ will carry out his persecution against those coming to Christ during this period); the catastrophes are God’s judgments on a fallen world.

    I once heard someone make the comment that God often allows His people to remain in difficult circumstances in order to strengthen their faith and build their character, so it would follow that He would do the same at the End Times. God certainly does allow difficult circumstances to come into our lives for such purposes but, my goodness, I wonder if the person making these comments has really read what is going to happen during the Tribulation! No “character-building” there, just an outpouring of God’s wrath. To me, saying something like that would be like saying that God should have left Lot in Sodom when the fire and brimstone rained down so that his “character” might have been built up. Yikes!

    Thanks again, Deb, God bless you and i hope your week is going well :)

    Loren

    Like

  5. You claimed that if the Pharaoh repented at any time that the plagues would stop, but the Bible mentions that God hardened Pharaohs heart. God wanted to disprove the Egyptian gods and show His power. Pharaoh would not have repented even if he wanted to.

    Like

  6. @Anonymous, if you read Exodus 3 God clearly knows the future and therefore mentioned beforehand that Pharaoh will not let the Israelites go unless a heavy hand is laid on him. This showed that God allowed Pharaoh’s willingness not to listen to prevail. God did not take Pharaoh’s free will away at anytime God saying I will harden his heart is in essence saying that I allowed him to harden his heart if that makes sense.
    @Loren I agreed with almost everything you wrote with the exception of the rapture. Like you mentioned the first 3 plagues were experience by both Israelites and the Egyptians but the last seven were distinctively experienced by the Egyptians and as you read on, it will tell you that God knows how to set His own apart. The last seven plagues happened while the Israelites were still in Egypt but God shielded them. Are you doubting that God can still shield His children here on earth as the tribulations are poured out? Because like you mentioned yourself, there is no biblical base for that statement of us being taken out the world before the tribulations.

    Like

  7. Jeremiah 32:27 “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”

    Like

  8. Thanks for reading this and taking the time to share your thoughts!

    Just wanted to clarify two things. I am not doubting God’s ability to shield His people, or to do anything else for that matter. Secondly, I in no way mentioned or even insinuated that there is no Biblical base for the Rapture. On the contrary, this post is all about an Old Testament metaphor, or type, of a Rapture in the removing of God’s people from the place of judgment. That is to say, the removing of the Israelites into the Land of Goshen is representative of what He will do in the End Times for those sealed by the Holy Spirit in Christ. The Israelites were still in Egypt, of course, but they were placed safely in an area separate from the Egyptians as God poured out His wrath on a defiant Pharaoh.

    What I did write about our suffering in this world has to do with the fact that we as Christians are susceptible to the same trials and hardships of life as everyone else. We get sick, we have car accidents, we experience financial hardships, we grow old, we die. But none of these are the “wrath of God” nor are they God’s judgments. They are consequences of living in a fallen world. They are the result of the mar and stain that sin has brought upon the earth.

    Whenever we see God pouring out judgment in the Bible, His “target” is specifically those who reject and defy Him. Every time. We never see God judging those who belong to Him. The examples I cited, such as Sodom and Gomorrah and the Great Flood, all involved God bringing His own people out of harm’s way before He poured out judgment.

    Can God “shield” His people from His own judgments? Of course. And He will do so for some during the Great Tribulation, such as the 144,000 Jewish witnesses. But these are people who will come to faith in Christ after the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.

    The subject of whether or not there will be a Rapture before the Tribulation is not a topic I care to argue or debate about. My own study of God’s Word has convinced me unequivocally that such is the case and I find ample evidence within Scripture to support this belief. My intention on this website is to share insights and observations from each passage of the Bible as I come to it. There are certain doctrines which are non-negotiable truths the rejection of which constitutes heresy. This is not one of those issues.

    Thanks again for reading this and commenting. May the Lord bless you in the study of His Word!

    Loren

    Like

  9. […] (more info – There is no mention in the first three plagues that fall upon the land of Egypt whether or not the Israelites were affected. Since in every other plague following, the fourth through the tenth, we are specifically told that the people of God were not affected, we may assume that the turning of the Nile into blood, the frogs covering the land, and the plague of lice were poured out indiscriminately. Preceding the swarms of flies, however, God stipulates that He will put a division between the people of Egypt and His own people. The word for division literally means a redemption (it is translated as such in Psalms 111:9 and 130:7; and as redeem in Isaiah 50:2). In the plagues that God pours out on Egypt and the saving of His people from these plagues, we have a portrait of God’s judgment and redemption. https://answersfromthebook.org/2011/04/12/the-land-of-goshen-is-set-apart/) […]

    Like

  10. I am not sure if there is a pretrib rapture or posttrib rapture. I am a graduate of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary that holds a pretrib view. I was a pretribulationist; however, I have now come to the conclusion that we really cannot be sure. It is possible to be a partial preterist and to believe in historic premillennialism. It is also possible that the plagues on ancient Egypt and the survival of the Hebrews may be a typology of what is to come. The Church, which is the New Israel of God, may remain on earth during the tribulation and be protected by God as the ancient Hebrews were. I am a Southern Baptist; however, not all Southern Baptists hold pretribulationism. My question to you is this: Babies born before the rapture, if pretribulationism is correct, will go to heaven. What about babies that are born after the rapture? Can you give me an answer to that? May God bless all here.

    Like

  11. Thanks for reading this and taking the time to share your thoughts.

    My convictions concerning eschatology come from considering the entirety of Scripture, including typologies such as the one before us. My belief about the reality of the Rapture doesn’t just come from a few verses in 1 Thessalonians, but from looking at incidents such as Lot’s rescue before the destruction of Sodom. Does it make sense that God would save one person from the outpouring of His wrath in judgment but would allow His Church to suffer through His greatest judgments of all time? If so, then why are we even told of Lot’s rescue if it is not a typology of the Rapture? When it comes to trials and tribulations, that is, the consequences of living in a fallen sin-stained world, then the righteous are seen in the Bible as suffering right alongside the unrighteous. But when it comes to God pouring out judgment, God seems to invariably “remove” His people from the place of judgment before He acts.

    To me, it seems far more consistent with God’s character that He would remove the Church before judging the world during the Great Tribulation. Add this to the other Scriptural evidences that we have suggesting a pre-tribulation rapture and I feel very strongly that this is definitely the most Biblically sound scenario. However, doctrinally, this is certainly not an area wherein we must be dogmatic.

    As far as Preterism and the idea that no such future Tribulation will occur, well, I think there are far too many problems with this theory for it to be plausible. Full Pretersim is heretical in that it denies the bodily resurrection of believers and a literal, physical coming of Christ. Partial Preterism, while not as extreme, still has many hurdles to overcome. First of all, Preterism to any degree must necessarily presuppose that the Book of Revelation had a writing date prior to A.D. 70 or else the entire theory crumbles away. The best scholarship on the subject strongly points to a date of around A.D. 95 or 96 (as attested to by Irenaeus, writing less than a century later, who placed the Apostle’s vision of the Apocalypse “toward the end of Domitian’s reign”). Secondly, the sheer magnitude of the global scale of the events described preclude a small, localized siege of the city of Jerusalem as “fulfilling” the prophecies. Take for instance Rev. 8:12,

    “The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.”

    Not to mention the Bowl Judgments of Revelation 16; either the Apostle John was grossly exaggerating or these prophecies could have in no way applied to the events of A.D. 70!

    I respect your viewpoint and am really not attempting to convince you otherwise, but I feel that a Pre-millenial, Pre-Tribulation viewpoint makes the most sense and is the most in line with the teaching of the Bible. As long as the essential doctrines of the Faith are intact, I would agree that these areas should not be insisted upon dogmatically. My honest belief is that much of what Revelation teaches is only pertinent to that single generation who will live through it and the Lord has been content to let many of our current questions go unanswered.

    Finally, in address to your question, I would think that the destiny of babies born in any time period would remain the same. Babies born after the Rapture would not be accountable for sin anymore than babies born before it. Similarly, even holding to a pre-tribulation viewpoint, we recognize that many will come to Christ even during the Tribulation, i.e., the 144,000 Jewish believers and the Gentile Multitude of Revelation 7.

    God bless you in your study of His Word.

    Loren

    Like

Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: