How the Exodus Foreshadows the Tribulation

How the Exodus Foreshadows the Tribulation

How the Exodus Foreshadows the Tribulation

It is interesting and comforting how many Old Testament stories foreshadow events profiled in the New Testament. For example, the story of Noah and the Ark notes how God provided an escape from judgment for those who heeded His message. Noah’s Ark foreshadows the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. God provided a ram, a substitute sacrifice for Abraham when he was about to offer up his son Isaac. That story foreshadows how the Father would provide a substitute sacrifice for our sins via Jesus’ Crucifixion as the perfect Lamb of God. 

The Jewish Spring Festivals in Lev. 23 foreshadow the Crucifixion, the time that Jesus was in the tomb, the resurrection, and the day of Pentecost. There are dozens of examples. It is amazing how stories, events, festivals, locations, and dates can take on prophetic significance. This list details ten ways the story of the Exodus foreshadows the Tribulation.

  1. In the Exodus story, God’s people are oppressed by a powerful adversary – Pharaoh. This enemy resists God, even amid terrible judgments and plagues. During the Tribulation, God’s people will be persecuted by a powerful enemy – the Antichrist. He will resist God, even amid the Trumpet, Seal, and Bowl Judgments.
  2. In the Exodus story, Pharaoh agrees to support God’s people and let them leave. However, Pharaoh reneges on his agreement and orders his troops to destroy the Hebrews. During the Tribulation, the Antichrist will make a covenant with Israel and will, for a time, allow them to offer sacrifices in the new Temple. However, at the mid-point of the Tribulation, Antichrist will break the covenant, forbid Temple sacrifices, and later rally his troops at Armageddon in an attempt to destroy God’s people. 
  3. In the Exodus story, Pharaoh orders his army to destroy God’s people. But despite overwhelming odds, the enemy army suffers a humiliating defeat because God intervenes on behalf of the Hebrews. At the end of the Tribulation, Antichrist will try to destroy God’s people with overwhelming force at the Battle of Armageddon. Despite the odds, the enemy’s forces will suffer utter defeat due to God’s intervention. 
  4. The Exodus story is marked by numbers that are spiritually symbolic and significant to the Hebrew people. For example, there are 10 plagues, 10 commandments, and the people wander 40 years. The Tribulation is also marked by numbers spiritually symbolic and significant to the Hebrew people. There are 7 churches, 7 candlesticks, 7 years of Tribulation, 12,000 sealed from each of the 12 tribes, 7 trumpet judgments, 7 seal judgments, and 7 bowl judgments. Also, the dimensions of the heavenly city are significant. 
  5. The Exodus story notes how God’s people fought many battles before possessing the Promised Land; Numbers 33 lists dozens of battle sites. The Tribulation will also be marked by many battles, some of which are listed in Revelation 6, 9, 12, 13, 16, 17, 19, and 20. In both stories, God preserves His remnant people. 
  6. In the Exodus story, only the faithful who persevered with courage and did not falter in their spiritual walk could enter the Promised Land. In the Exodus story, that was only two people – Joshua and Caleb. The book of Revelation stresses that “those who are faithful to the end” will receive their reward (Rev. 3:12, 21, 15:12, 13:10b) and enter into the Millennial Kingdom, a renewed Promised Land. 
  7. The Exodus story demonstrates God’s miraculous provision. Without His help, the Hebrews would never have been able to move into the Promised Land. Numbers 33 references 40 locations where God miraculously sustained His people. During the Tribulation, 144,000 believers are sealed and protected by God. Also, many believe that at least some aspects of the Tribulation-era judgments will be used by God to thwart the enemy’s attempts to destroy believers. God always sustains His remnant. 
  8. Central in the Exodus story is the establishment of the Tabernacle. A major focus point of Israel’s history during the Tribulation period will be when they build the 3rd Temple. 
  9. There are similarities between the plagues in the early Exodus story and Tribulation period judgments. For example, both the Plagues and the Judgments include water turning to blood, mass animal die-offs, boils/sores on humans, hail, locusts, and darkness.
  10. The Exodus story ends with Joshua leading God’s people into the Promised Land. By Joshua 13, the battles end, and there is peace in the land. The Tribulation period battles will climax with the Battle of Armageddon. The land will be cleansed, and Jesus will lead Tribulation Saints and Christians who survive the Tribulation into a rejuvenated Promised Land.

Closing thoughts

The Exodus story speaks of supernatural provision, epic struggles, the ultimate victory, and the grace of God. The Exodus story notes that the journey to the Promised Land would have been faster and easier if Israel had displayed true faith. Still, even to the willful, God extended the promise of salvation and the hope that their people would enter this Promised Land. 

Similarly, all who manifest true faith in God through Jesus Christ will avoid the terrible trials of the Tribulation through the Rapture. Even for those who fail to exercise faith before the Rapture, there is hope, but they must endure the long journey through the Tribulation. 

Forgiveness and salvation are possible for anyone who will trust Jesus. All who yield to Christ and confess Him as Savior and Lord will enter into the Promised Land and the Millennial Kingdom.

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