The format of this particular study is going to be a little bit different. After reading the chapter, we’re going to discuss the basic characteristics of Rahab, a woman about whom more is written in Scripture than even Mary. It’s important to understand how Rahab represents a greater spiritual picture of every believer’s spiritual history in Christ, and that in her we see the mirror of God’s salvation at work in our own life.
Read Chapter 2
Q: What is Rahab’s obvious spiritual condition in the very beginning?
A: She was a sinner.
Point: It does not matter that her particular sin as a harlot was moral impurity, for Scripture teaches that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. (Rom. 3:23) She starts out exactly as WE start out.
Q: What was the spiritual condition of the place where Rahab lived?
A: Jericho had already been declared condemned by God and it was just a matter of time before His final judgment would be executed against it.
Point: Whether the people in Jericho “felt” condemned or not did not matter because everything and everyone in the city would be destroyed. However, they were aware that something was not right and did not feel fully confident nor peaceful, and yet did nothing to change their spiritual circumstance. Although they sense the end was near, they remained hardened until the very end.
Q: How long had the city been set aside by God for judgment?
A: God first identified their predicament more than 470 years earlier. (Gen. 15:13-16) This included the 430 years Israel lived in captivity in Egypt and the additional 40 years Israel wandered in the wilderness after leaving Egypt.
Point: God provided an extended period of grace, many centuries of opportunity for them to repent and be saved.
Q: How do we know that God extended a second period of grace beyond the first one promised in Genesis 15?
A: In v.10 the residents of Jericho admit they heard about the Exodus from Egypt that took place some 40 years prior. In fact, Joshua 4:19 and 5:10 indicate that there were even a few additional days of waiting leading up to the final week when Israel would march around the city providing an additional opportunity for them to repent.
Point: Rahab represents the remnant, the few who respond the right way to the signs of God and repent, whereas the others typify the condemned who steadfastly refuse to change their ways even though presented the opportunity to do otherwise time and time again.
Q: What is implied about Rahab where the Word of God is concerned?
A: Rahab heard the Word and acted upon it. Note that in her conversation with the spies that she refers to God as “lord”, not merely as “your God” or “the God of Israel”.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
— Romans 10:17
Q: How do we know for certain that it was Rahab’s faith in God’s Word which saved her?
A: Not only does she state in v.9, “I know that the Lord had given you the land”, but it’s confirmed for us in Hebrews 11:31…
“By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.”
Point: It is faith and commitment to God’s Word which causes people to understand and properly respond to End Times situations. Just as by God’s Word Rahab was able to act in faith during the last days of Jericho, so is the example for us in these very Last Days before Christ’s return.
Q: How did Rahab prove and act upon her faith?
A: By her works. The fact that she risked her own life to protect the spies is proof she trusted God, identifying herself with God’s people rather than the heathen unbelievers around her.
In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
— James 2:25
Point: Faith is not merely believing the truth of God’s Word – that’s only the first step. Faith is proved by taking action on those beliefs.
Q: How is Rahab a type of Christian in the way she considered others?
A: Rahab sought to win others. She had to take the risk of sharing the Word with her family.
Point: When people trust Christ, their first desire will be to share it with others, especially their own family. (Jn. 1:35-42; Mk. 5:18-20)
Q: So how do the end results for Rahab mirror those of all believers from any age?
A: She was delivered from the wrath of judgment.
Point: Rahab and her family experienced the initial shaking that destroyed the city and then the fire which destroyed all of its contents, but Rahab and her loved ones were protected by God from the ultimate death and destruction. This represents the typology of the Rapture, when believers will be rescued by God prior to the expression of His ultimate wrath of judgment
and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
— 1 Thessalonians 1:10
For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
— 1 Thessalonians 5:9
Q: What special place will Rahab ultimately be found to hold within Israel’s history?
A: The genealogies record that through her is not only descended King David, but eventually Christ Himself. This illustrates biblically that both the Jew and the Gentile are to be reconciled in Christ as they are both participants in His lineage.
Q: But what does this imply about Rahab that we know will happen to all believers?
A: Rahab went to a wedding feast! Just as in Rev. 19:7-9 and 17-19, all believers will go to a wedding feast.
Rahab was saved the only way that God saves people, by faith and not by character or religious works.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.