In the midst of Isaiah’s description of God’s judgment of the world, was a bright spot that appeared as if it were a silver lining to the cloud of doom that hung over God’s people. Speaking of the Messiah, Isaiah declared, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces” Isaiah 25:8). Isaiah portrayed the Messiah in that passage as both God and man. It was clear that Isaiah saw the Messiah as one who would arrive on the scene after God’s judgment was completed.
The belief that the Messiah would triumph over death may have been why his disciples were confused when Jesus said he would be crucified (Matthew 26:2). Jesus stated plainly that his victory over death would not come through avoidance of death, but through his resurrection (Luke 18:33). In spite of his explanation, Jesus’ followers were unaware of his impending resurrection at the time of his death (Luke 18:34). It wasn’t until the apostle Paul wrote about the transformation of believers that would occur when Christ returned, that the resurrection was finally understood (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).
Isaiah’s depiction of the resurrection implied a separation between the lost and the saved. Referring to the enemies of God, Isaiah said, “They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, the shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish” (Isaiah 26:14). The Hebrew word translated perish, ’âbad (aw – bad´) “represents the disappearance of someone or something. In its strongest sense the word means ‘to die or cease to exist'” (6).
In contrast to those whose memory would cease to exist, Isaiah said of God’s people, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Arise and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead” (Isaiah 26:19). Isaiah spoke of dead bodies coming back to life. His reference to the earth casting out the dead implied a restoration to normal life (7496).
The context of the resurrection Isaiah depicted was what is now referred to as the great tribulation. It is possible that Isaiah was actually describing the event known as the rapture which is expected to occur immediately prior to the great tribulation. After stating that the earth would cast out the dead, Isaiah went on to say, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut the doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over past. For behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity” (Isaiah 26:20-21).