The righteous man perishes, and no man lays it to heart; and merciful men are taken away while no one understands, for the righteous man is taken away from the evil to come. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.Isaiah 57:1–2 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
I love little surprises. There is one here.
The book of Isaiah is filled with apocalyptic descriptions of Jesus in both advents. That is to say, the events are not written as separate in the book. God’s program for Israel was for the kingdom to come after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Israelis as a nation rejected that.
Though Isaiah is not quite narrative, portions of it read that way. The first phrase about a righteous man perishing is a rebuke of pervasive evil. People do not care when a righteous man perishes. Nor would those consider changing their behavior to right.
Those that practice mercy are taken away. Of course, there is a change in the phrase. Maybe it is in assent to the idea that when someone dies it is God taking them out. Yet, this is where the surprise is.
The one that dies and the one taken away enter into rest. They walk in their own uprightness. These are the ones that have moved on to the next life where they live eternally.
There is that “evil to come.” As I read that, it was impressed upon me that this is specifically referencing what we would call The Tribulation.
And the surprise… Those “taken away” is a veiled reference to the rapture.
To impress the point further, it is done in such a way that the rapture will be easily explained away so as most will just go on with life as If deceived.