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Rapture Typology in Acts 9: The Dramatic Escape from Damascus

Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Rom. 11:25, ESV).

The mystery of Christ and the Church, a secret sealed up and hidden in past ages (Rom. 16:25-26; Eph. 3:8-10; 5:32), is now unsealed and ready to be examined by those with eyes to see and ears to hear. Like a precious diamond, the biblical teaching of the ingathering of Gentiles during the "Church Age" is a multi-faceted, shimmering, and grand display of God's glory in both the Old and New Testaments. In this article we'll shed more light on yet another facet to the mystery referenced by the apostle Paul in Romans 11:25.

Before we leave the shallow water for the deep end, let's confirm the precise referent of Paul's phrase, "until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in." This phrase refers to a specific time in the future when the Church Age comes to a close, and, afterward, God begins to "unharden" the remnant of Israel's elect during another specific time—a time referred to elsewhere in Scripture as "Jacob's trouble" (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 30:7) and the final "week" of (seven) years remaining on the (temporarily paused) prophetic clock of Dan. 9:27. Thus, it's important to understand that this particular facet of the mystery revealed in Romans 11:25 delineates and draws a fine line between God's agenda for the Church during this current dispensation and His plan to tie up loose ends with Israel during the coming Tribulation period (note: after the rapture of the Church in Romans 11:25, Israel's rehabilitation isn't concurrent or instantaneous with the rapture event; it takes some time for Israel to thaw out and fulfill what Paul writes about in Romans 11:26–27. . . seven years to be exact).

Moreover, the context preceding Romans 11:25 provides strong support for this understanding of Paul's phrase as referring to the conclusion of the Church Age and start of the Seven-Year Tribulation. In Romans 10:19-21, Paul affirms that he did not invent new Scripture to justify his understanding of the Church Age prior to Israel's time of trouble. Rather, he "fishes" out texts from Deuteronomy 32 and Isaiah 65 to show how God has already scripted this end-time narrative from the beginning, albeit in an intentionally cryptic and puzzling manner.

And though Paul is singled-out for special service regarding the ingathering of Gentiles, he is by no means the only voice in the New Testament confirming the mystery of the Church Age. The apostle John joins in on the treasure hunt, and he, too, prefigures a specific point in time when the fullness of the Gentiles will be brought in (cf. Jn. 10:16). Through the Holy Spirit, John telegraphs a message about the final result of the apostolic mission: when the last Church Age believer has been caught, the "full net" will be "caught up" and brought to Jesus without a single "fish" falling out of the hands of the Master Angler:

Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn (Jn. 21:20–21, ESV).


More details from the last chapter of John confirm that the apostles' ministry will eventually reach a full or complete number of Gentiles. For example, note the specific number of disciples mentioned in John 21:2:

Simon Peter, and Thomas who is called Didymus, and Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, and the [sons] of Zebedee, and two of His other disciples were together (LSV).

After doing the math, that's a total of seven who went fishing in this account of the full net of 153 fish. As many of you already know, the number seven represents "completeness" or "fullness" in the Bible. Additionally, this entire scene from John 21 is reminiscent of the miraculous feedings of 5,000 and 4,000 people during Jesus' ministry. While Jesus' power accomplishes the miracle of multiplication and provision, it's important to note that the disciples are the servants who take the food from Jesus and deliver it to the people:

...[T]herefore, they came to the land, [and] they behold a fire of coals lying [there], and a fish lying on it, and bread . . . Jesus, therefore, comes and takes the bread and gives [it] to them, and the fish in like manner . . . (Jn. 21:9, 13, LSV).

The emphasis on "fish" and "bread" (the only two items on the menu during the miraculous feedings of 5,000 and 4,000) is followed by Jesus' command to "feed" His flock in John 21:15, 17. Thus, with John's clue of Jesus appearing for "the third time" after His third-day resurrection (Jn. 21:14), these seven are finally ready to be sent out to bring in the fullness of the Gentiles. Fast-forward to the 21st-century now, and the apostles' great commission portrayed in John 21 is nearly complete.

Like Catching Fish . . . in a Basket

All right, I hope no one drowned back there in the shallow water, because we are going to dive into the deep end of this mystery! Now that we've established the biblical precedent for a specific time in the future when the full number of Gentiles signals the completion of the Church Age (Paul and John testify as two witnesses), we are ready to go after even bigger fish. And if we are on the same page about a divide between the end of the Church Age and the start of Israel's Tribulation as prefigured and prophesied in John 21:11 and Romans 11:25, then let's move on to the focus of this particular study.

There is another rapture pattern or typology drawn from Paul's humble beginnings in Acts chapter 9. However, before we get on the road to Damascus and join up with Paul, we'll take a brief detour through the outskirts of Galilee and follow the footsteps of Jesus and His chosen "fishermen" (Mk. 1:16–20). Before Saul became Paul, there was a rag-tag band of brothers whose discipleship training prefigured a greater, widespread ministry to the Gentiles.

Although there are two miraculous feedings recorded in the Gospels (5,000 and 4,000 respectively), the "Feeding of the Four Thousand" has ministry to the Gentiles written all over it, whereas the "Feeding of the Five Thousand" has more connections to the Jews. For example, let's compare Mark 6:30–44 (5,000 fed) and Mark 8:1–10 (4,000 fed):

  • The Mark 6 feeding takes place during Jesus' ministry in Jewish territory, and the account in Mark 8 locates Jesus and the disciples in the Decapolis, a ten-city, "global" province of the Roman empire (the northernmost city is Damascus and the southernmost is Philadelphia). Contextually, the focus of Mark's narrative shifts from Jewish to Gentile outreach with the Syrophoenician woman (Mk. 7:24) and a deaf and mute man (likely Gentile) from the Decapolis region (7:31).
  • In Mark 6, the focus is on correcting the false teaching of Israel’s religious leaders as Jesus has compassion on the "sheep without a shepherd" and begins to "teach them many things" (6:34). Conversely, in Mark 8, Jesus has compassion on the crowd, because the Gentile multitude are starving "having nothing to eat" (mentioned twice for emphasis; Mk. 8:1, 2) and many have "come from afar" (Acts 2:39; 22:21; Eph. 2:13, 17). Note also the mention of "three days" in Mk. 8:2.
  • In Mark 6:41, Jesus’ action with the bread is reminiscent of a typical Jewish blessing (He looks to heaven and "blesses" the Father, not the bread). In Mark 8:6, Jesus takes the bread and immediately "gives thanks." The phrase "having given thanks" (8:6) comes from a single Greek verb, eucharisteo, which is used only two times in Mark’s gospel. The other usage is found in Mk. 14:23: the "Lord's Supper" and formal commencement of the New Covenant—a covenant in which Gentiles are the predominant beneficiaries during this present age until the full number comes in!
  • In Mark 6:43, the term for "basket" is distinctly Jewish, whereas in Mark 8:8 the term originates from Greek influence. This particular distinction between two kinds of baskets is even maintained by Jesus in His recounting of the two feedings (Mark 8:19: "When I broke the five [loaves of] bread for the five thousand, how many hand-baskets [kophinos. . . " in contrast to Mark 8:20: "And when [I broke] the seven [loaves of] bread for the four thousand, how many large baskets [spuris. . .”). Note: In Mark 8:5, the disciples start with seven loaves and leave with seven large baskets of leftovers (in addition to being a number of fullness or completion, seven is also a distinct "Gentile" number: Deut. 7:1; Acts 13:19; Lk. 10:1; the Septuagint/LXX=70; the seventy nations of Gen. 10).

Strong's 4711, spuris ("large basket"), the key takeaway from Mark 8:8, 20, gets us on the road to Damascus. There is only one other text in the New Testament that contains this peculiar Greek term other than the four occurrences in Matthew and Mark—both use spuris in their accounts of the "Feeding of the Four Thousand." Like leftover food for a Gentile multitude, look at who is being preserved in a similar manner:

But his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket [spuris] (Acts 9:25, ESV).

What a fascinating thread!

Paul, an apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21; 26:17–18), is placed in the same type of container that stored the leftover bread and fish from the outreach to the Gentiles as recorded by Matthew and Mark. This distinctive Gentile basket becomes the vessel by which Paul is delivered, so that he can fulfill his mission as God's vessel to preach the gospel that will bring in the full number of Gentiles!

And before Paul is officially sent out to bring in the Gentiles, he is first made to identify with them. Note the comparisons of Paul's conversion experience with that of the Gentile multitude in Mark 8: Like the Gentiles who walk in darkness (Isa. 9:1–2; Eph. 4:17–18), Paul is blinded and has to be led by hand (Acts 9:8). Furthermore, as the Gentiles are with Jesus for "three days" and have "nothing to eat," Paul walks in darkness for "three days" and does not eat (Acts 9:9). The remainder of the account in Acts 9 is very "fishy" and can only be explained by the Holy Spirit's inspiration. After God's "grace" (Ananias) lays hands on Paul, something like "scales" fall from his eyes (Acts 9:18). The word translated "scales" is the Greek lepis, which is used only one time in the New Testament. However, in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, five out of the six uses refer to the "scales" of a fish (cf. Lev. 11:9; Deut. 14:9)! Also, just as the Gentiles are fed and satisfied in Mark 8, Paul is also fed and regains his strength in Acts 9:19.

There is one other Greek word in Acts 9:25 that is infused with John 21:11 and Romans 11:25 theology: But his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering [chalao] him in a basket

The verb chalao, Strong's 5465, is used in reference to Peter and the other fishermen "letting down" their nets into deep water (Lk. 5:4–5). Note also the mention of nuktos ("night") in Acts 9:25 and Lk. 5:5. This usage of chalao in Luke's gospel contains an aspect of a "full net" of Gentiles, and two other occurrences of chalao in Luke's other book apply to the end of the Church Age: Acts. 27:17 and Acts 27:30. The salvation of the Gentiles through Paul's ministry in the final chapters of the book of Acts is a type and shadow of the end of the Church Age when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, having been rescued out of the chaotic "sea" of this world, and transferred to the heavenly shores of "Malta."

And on that note. We've come to the end of the Damascus road . . .

The Dramatic Escape from Damascus

At the present time, Damascus is considered by many to be the oldest and most continuously inhabited city in the world. Biblically speaking, this ancient city is more than simply a place where Gentiles live and do business. Like Sodom, Babylon, Egypt, and Rome, the city of Damascus represents what the apostle John refers to as the kosmos ("the world"). Therefore, "Damascus" is a symbol and broadly represents this present evil age and Satanic world order that believers in Christ are called out of and will eventually be physically taken out of before Israel's day of reckoning (Gal. 1:4; Rev. 3:10).

Therefore, from the very first mention of Damascus in Gen. 14:15 (Abram's victory over Gentile kings) to the 15 occurrences of "Damascus" in the New Testament (all in relation to Paul), God's word speaks of more than mere setting and location. For the Body of Christ, "Damascus" in Scripture is a cue for a curtain call, an exit—a dramatic end-of-the-age escape!

Paul's escape from Damascus in Acts chapter 9 is more than a record of a one-time event that occurred in the first century. Not only does Paul's story in Acts 9 connect us directly to "the fullness of Gentiles," but the narrative of Acts 9:20–27 also mirrors the consummation of the Church Age. In other words, Acts 9 and Revelation 12 have a lot in common: Paul's dramatic escape from an evil plot in Damascus follows the same pattern as the dramatic escape of the male-child from the evil plot of the Dragon.

The pattern begins with Paul's proclamation of Jesus as "the Son of God," the empowerment and success of his testimony, followed by the growing opposition from a group of conspirators that Jesus' refers to as "the synagogue of Satan" (Acts 9:20–22; cf. Rev. 2:9; 3:9).

Next, in Acts 9:23, the plot thickens, threats intensify, and the days of fulfillment arrive:

And when many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel together to kill him (LSV).

The LSV translates this all-important opening phrase literally, "And when many days were fulfilled [pleroo]. . ." The word pleroo is the verbal form of the noun pleroma, as in the phrase "until the fullness [pleroma] of the Gentiles has come in" (Rom. 11:25). Similar to the way that the Jews conspired with the Roman authorities to kill Jesus, the Jews were not alone in their plot to kill Paul in Damascus. Paul's testimony in 2 Cor. 11:32 adds another layer:

In Damascus the governor [under] Aretas the king was watching the city of the Damascenes, wishing to seize me (LSV).


I'm not an anti-Semite, and you can call me a conspiracy nut, but isn't there a plot presently underway to kill and enslave people through the coordination of world governments, banks, and other global corporations? As the Scriptures say about the coordinated threat against Paul, the dragon continues to work through governments and religious institutions, "watching" and "wishing" to seize the male-child as soon as he is born (Rev. 12:4). Furthermore, those of us with ears to hear (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17; 3:6, 13, 22) have already caught on to the current plot to devour the male-child. And we also hear what the Spirit is saying about our coming escape. 

Paul also had ears to hear:

And their counsel against [him] was known to Saul; they were also watching the gates both day and night, that they may kill him (Acts 9:24, LSV).

Note how Paul's persecutors were "watching the gates" intently, waiting for him to come out of the opening so that they could take him out. Likewise, the dragon of Revelation 12:4 watches the "gate" day and night, waiting for the male-child to come out of the opening of the womb.

But, we know the rest of the story. God makes a way:

But having taken him by night, his disciples let him down through the wall, having lowered him in a basket (Acts 9:25, Berean Literal Bible).

Paul receives divine intervention with a little help from his friends. Note: he is taken by night (like a "thief in the night," 1 Thess. 5:4; Rev. 3:3), and the apostle to the Gentiles finds a way out of this devilish trap, not through the expected opening, but rather through the wall and inside a Gentile basket. The parallel account of 2 Corinthians 11:33 adds two additional layers to Paul's dramatic deliverance: the words "window" and "escape." The Greek word thuris ("little door, window, opening") is used in Genesis 8:6 and Joshua 2:15, 18—the escape of the spies from Jericho (known for its walls)!

Thus, having been taken like a thief in the night, Paul's escape from Damascus through another opening finds another fulfillment in Revelation 12:5. The male-child is taken through an unexpected opening, a door in heaven (Rev. 3:8–10; 4:1–4)—almost like a sudden C-section (cf. Isa. 66:7–8)—and dramatically escapes the clutches of the dragon and his advances.

Finally, after his unconventional and thrilling escape, Paul goes up to Jerusalem, reunites with the rest of God's family, and receives an encouraging word about his work for the Lord:

And Saul, having come to Jerusalem . . . and Barnabas having taken him, brought [him] to the apostles, and declared to them how he saw the LORD in the way, and that He spoke to him, and how in Damascus he was speaking boldly in the Name of Jesus (Acts 9:26–27, LSV).

As the pattern goes, when that basket full of the Gentiles has come in, the male-child of Revelation 12 will be taken up to Jerusalem—the New Jerusalem above (Heb. 12:22; Rev. 3:12; 4:1; 12:5). And many that we did not expect to be there (like Saul) will be there, and they will be vindicated by their testimony of Jesus! As a second witness to the Acts 9 pattern of "Damascus Escape" + "Taken Up to Jerusalem," the sudden narrative transition from 2 Corinthians 11:32–33 (Paul's escape from Damascus) to 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 (Paul's rapture to heaven) also supports the Revelation 12 narrative sequence of the dramatic escape of the male-child and subsequent rapture to heaven!

So there you have it: Yet another confirmation of the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church through the typology and pattern established in Scripture. How fitting that Paul's escape from Damascus at the beginning of his ministry also speaks of the end of his ministry when the fullness of the Gentiles will come in and suddenly be taken out!

Is it any wonder why so many in the Body of Christ today are laser-focused on Israel's military forays into Syria? And where have we heard of conspiracies and evil plotting going on in Damascus before? Remember, the focus on Damascus in these last days is no accident. One day, this ancient city that symbolizes the world in rebellion against God is going to be leveled to the ground (Isa. 17:1).

Therefore, as the world waits for things to go nuclear between Israel and Iran in Syria, don't be surprised when people who speak boldly "in the name of Jesus" (Acts 9:27) suddenly go missing from "Damascus."

It is written!

*For the Damascus/Rapture pattern in Isaiah 17 & 18, please see two previous Unsealed articles: Isaiah 17–18: The Root, Shoot, and Fruit of Jesse (Part I, and Part II).

Post A Comment


  1. Boom, goes the dynamite! Awesome work Jeff!

  2. Truly amazing, Jeff, you must have been so excited when you were seeing all this and putting it together. Perhaps the destruction of Damascus and Rapture will be the very thing that gets the attention of the 144,000 young Jewish men in Yeshiva schools (see Lu Vega https://www.postscripts.org/ps-news-655.html )

  3. A very insightful and quite interesting piece to read. Yet another cold, hard-hitting and bitter slap upside the noggin' that demonstrates the Divine inspiration and structure of scripture and the hidden plan within.

    It's insightful articles like these that demonstrate the utter foolishness of the world's view of the Bible as a text that cannot be trusted.

    Nice job Jeff and thanks 666 baskets full of fish for yet another solid thrashing of the darkness. That was a tall, smooth and bitter can of word whuppin'.


    1. Amen, beautiful comparison of the redemptive work on Paul and the upcoming rapture. Like Paul, we escape by His power. And the destruction of a city, Damascus will be completed on God's timetable. With its rebellion and warehouses of war tools, Damascus will cease to be and turn into a ruinous heap. We pray Lord for the soon coming "dramatic escape" Amen!.

  4. grace, grace, grace*... our Ace in the hole! \o/ Jeff, i have to hand it to ya brother, ty so much. What a dig! ~ Shalom ~

  5. Great article! I love seeing the results of your devotion to digging out hidden gems if scripture. This was an insightful look into something that would never have occurred to me to ever connect.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Instead of using a diamond as the gemstone in your article for illustrative purposes, you may want to use one of the 12 precious stones on the priestly breastplate instead after watching this very short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WABRzJ0ULBc

    1. SoCal Guy, that was very interesting! Thanks for sharing, and how like God, hidden in plain sight.

  7. Great article Jeff, my man! And great thoughts everyone. Lots of meaty bits to chew on in this one.

    1. Perhaps Gary should have an additional arricle category in the side bar at the top of the page titled "Word Whuppin." It can be for articles such as these. 🤣

    2. Ha! This was quite the word whuppin for sure lol.

  8. Hi Jeff! Who exactly are the Gentiles? Are you and I, Gentiles? I asked my mom once and she said yes. Help?

    1. Hi @Mark,
      A Gentile is a person who is not a Jew, or people's or nations who are not jewish.

    2. Hay Mark

      Ther are 3 types of people not counting the innocent, and they are Jews, Gentiles(people other than Jews) and the new creatures in Christ Jesus.

    3. Thank you JS & Gregg! Be safe!

  9. Since we're in the season of wheat harvest, chapter 6 of the book of John and its introduction of Judas correlates with the arrival of the Antichrist in Revelation 6 (same chapters). Further, you will notice that this 6th chapter of John sees Jesus introducing the subject of Judas in verse “67.” Taking the first two numbers together (chapter number and first verse number), you get “66” (John 6:67-71). The Sphinx in Egypt with the body of a lion (lion represents Jesus) not only stands 20.22 meters high (2022), but when translated to feet, you end up with 66.34 feet. It sits in front of the Great Pyramid, which Isaiah 19:19-20 declares to be an altar and sign to the Lord.

    Here, we see the theme of two sixes as it seems to reflect the two sixes of John 6 and Revelation 6. How so? It is here in 2022 (hearkening back to the height of the Sphinx) that we see global food shortages and mass deliberately orchestrated wheat problems beginning to surface that will only get much worse in the days ahead. Given this fact, we can logically correlate the ominous sign of the rise of global food shortages in 2022 to the rise of the chapter 6 Judas with the chapter 6 Antichrist. It is no small coincidence that Jesus should be introduced as the “bread of life” in the 6th chapter of John given that the 6th chapter of Revelation tells us of not only the rise of Antichrist on the symbolic white horse, but that also on the heels of his rise, we see global famine strike the earth using the language of “wheat” and “barley” (the bread theme) as severe inflation and economic collapse stalk humanity …

    “And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” (Revelation 6: 5-6).

    The message we see being Providentially displayed here is that, as humanity rejects the “bread of life” [Jesus] and refuses to eat of His flesh for the gift of eternal life, we see the physical earthly bread and food beginning to disappear - which goes full Monty during the Tribulation Period in Revelation 6 as humanity starves in judgment due to inflation. So, am I saying that the Tribulation Period and the Revelation 6 judgment will begin in 2022? No, not necessarily. What I am saying is that it is likely no coincidence that we are seeing the nascent beginnings, or shall we say “birth pangs,” of this judgment beginning in this particular year due to the aforementioned scriptural number clues. On the other hand, perhaps the rapture and this judgment will begin this year. At the very least, we are seeing the signs of its nascent beginnings.


    1. Article update information: See new section titled "The 6:6 Chapter/Verse Pattern"

      Looking like that Damascus rapture escape typology is closer to playing out than some might think. I never thought the Sphinx would factor in to a chapter 6 study of the book of John and the subject matter of the "bread of life," but there it is (seemingly anyways).

  10. https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/357490 "Will the Temple be built this year?".

  11. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11080711/NATO-chief-warns-Putin-alliance-react-invades-NATO-nation.html "NATO chief warns Putin 'the whole alliance will react' if he invades a NATO nation and says Ukraine war 'is the most dangerous situation in Europe since WW2'".


    In watching a documentary on Gulf War I and the Battle of 73 Easting I was reminded of the day and hour that US Forces (US Army) ground units crossed over from Saudi Arabia to Iraq. It was at 1300 hours (local time) on February, 24, 1991. Thirty-one (31) years to the day before Russia crossed into Ukraine in what they call their "Special Military Operation" this year. Some interesting numbers there...13 is half of 26 as 31 is half of 62. (Think the number of the Name of the LORD here!) The fact that major ground operations for both wars began on the same day separated by 31 years is, IMHO, interesting.

    Speaking of historic events, don't forget that Tisha B'Av is this weekend. (9 Av) This year it falls on the Sabbath so is offset one day on the civil calendar. The 9th of Av begins at sunset on Friday, August 5, 2022 and runs until sunset the following day. But this year it is generally observed from sunset on Saturday, August 6, 2022 through sunset the following day.

    Here's a quick read on the day for those not familiar with the "saddest day" of the Jewish calendar,

    The 9th of Av - Tisha B'Av

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.


    Today marks fifty (50) days to the 5th Anniversary of the Great Sign of Revelation 12. 1,290 days after 9/23/22 is the mid-point of Pesach in 2026. 1,260 days later is Shabbat Shuva and what could be a Glorious Day! (The Second Coming of our Lord and Saviour Christ, Jesus). No, not being dogmatic but I am hopeful that this study model is right!! But when am I suggesting the harpazo may be you ask? On the anniversary of the Great Sign.

    Continuing to watch, wait and witness!!



    Explainer: How Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, works

    Quoting, i24news,

    With the fifth round of elections since 2019 looming, how exactly does Israel’s government function?

    Elections for Israel’s 25th parliament will be held on November 1, after former prime minister Naftali Bennett and then-alternate prime minister Yair Lapid announced the dissolution of the government in late June.

    However, as Israel heads to its fifth round of elections since 2019, many abroad - and some Israelis - are left wondering: How does the parliament in Israel, known as the Knesset, work?



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