The Harlot Rahab – A Wonderful Picture of Salvation

Matthew 21:31 – Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

Hebrews 11:31 – By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

Rahab was a harlot in Jericho. In the story of Rahab, which we read of in Joshua 2 and 6, we see the wonderful picture of salvation.We see the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, sent to sinners, received by sinners, saving us from our sins and God’s wrath and judgement, freely giving us eternal life. God looks on the inside. Rahab is in heaven right now, she was a harlot in Jericho, but has gone to eternal sinless perfection with Christ her Saviour in glory. Her title of guilt, sin and shame has been turned into a badge of honor for the unsearchable redeeming power of the Lord Jesus Christ. She is in the lineage of the Saviour, she is in Hebrews 11, the great chapter of faith. She was saved by the mercy and grace of God through faith.

Firstly, in the story of Rahab we see that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance – 2 Peter 3:9. Joshua sent the spies into Jericho before the city was destroyed. Judgement had been pronounced on the city, the city was doomed, God had delivered the city into the hand of Israel. Similarly, the world that we are living in now is heading for judgement, but just like with Rahab, the free offer of eternal life remains available to those who will receive it. God makes sure that whomsoever will, may come. The Bible says that Jesus has lighted every man that has come into the world – John 1:9. We are without excuse, there are no innocents in hell, if you go there, it’s because you chose to go there, it’s because you refused the gospel. God knows whether you will receive him or not, whether you want the truth or not. Hebrews 4:13 – Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. 2 Chronicles 16:9 – For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Although the spies came to spy out all the land, only Rahab the harlot received them. Rahab was truly searching for the truth, her house was on the wall, she was looking for truth. The Bible says Jesus stands at the door and knocks, will your door open to him? Rahab’s door opened to the spies. Her heart was ready to receive the word of God. She had heard of the God of the Israelites. 1 Corinthians 8:3 says if any man love God, the same is known of him. If you want truth, if you love truth, you will find the truth.The work of the Holy Spirit is to guide into truth through the Word of God. In John 6:36 – Jesus said,  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. In John 10:27 – Jesus said, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

The spies represent the living Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead – 1 John 5:7.The Bible says the Lord Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost. The spies also represent the written Word of God, which is the Bible consisting of the Old and New Testament, both of which bear perfect witness of Jesus Christ.  They represent the perfect harmony and agreement of the word of God in speaking the same thing. The represent the inerrancy, preservation and authority of scripture. The spies had the authority to tell Rahab how to be saved and she was saved. Their promise did not change, their promise did not fail. In the spies keeping their promise they show that we can trust God with our lives. 1 Peter 4:19 says we commit our souls unto him as unto a faithful Creator. All that we have to trust is God’s word, and we can trust his word completely. Do not look for more beyond God’s word, base your salvation on the truth of God’s word alone. The devil easily exploits those who stray from the security of the word of the Bible looking for experiences, emotions and feelings. There is a day coming when we will physically see, but for many it will be too late, as it was too late for the inhabitants of Jericho.

Rahab had no assurances beyond the spies promise to her, she was trusting the spies would keep their word.This is why she is a great woman of faith, she trusted completely, and she had confidence in her salvation. As she was looking expectantly out of her window for her deliverance from Jericho, we too can live in the assurance of salvation, and know we are saved based on the word of God. Rahab putting the spies in the roof shows her acknowledging and receiving God’s authority. For those that are saved, Christ is our head. Christ stands between us and the Father. He is our mediator. He is our intercessor. He pleads our case. As the spies told Rahab how to be saved, the Bible tells us how we can be saved and know it. The spies said they would be blameless, and God is blameless of his promises.

We see that Rahab was a woman of immense faith. The Bible says that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God – Romans 10:17. Rahab was ready to receive the word, she was ready to be saved, the Holy Spirit had worked in her life. She had heard of the Israelites, she was convinced their God was the one, true, real God. She received the spies with peace into her home. She hid them. We like her, need to hide the word in our hearts. When the enemy comes to take it away, we need to protect the word, we need to keep it. Do not surrender your Bible, do not surrender your faith, do not surrender your simple, childlike faith in God’s promises. Rahab was saved by her faith alone. She was helpless in her house as the children of Israel surrounded the city, she was completely relying on the grace of God. We also see that Rahab’s faith produced works. The story says she sent the messengers out another way. She received them by the door of her house, and they departed a different way through the window, symbolizing the change in her life. True faith produces works – James. Works are a result of faith. Works follow faith. She was not just a hearer of the word, she was a doer. She had true repentance. She had genuine faith. The word of God changes us. New leaves and trying harder to do better do not change us and do not earn us favour with God. We are born again by the incorruptible seed of the word of God.

The story of Rahab shows that we have an enemy who doesn’t want us to receive or believe the Word. The king of Jericho represents Satan, the ruler of this world. He takes unbelievers captive at his will. Satan has always had a problem with God’s word – Genesis 3. The Bible says that when the seed of the word of God is sown in the heart of man, unless the seed finds good soil in the heart, Satan will come immediately and take away the word that was sown – Mark 4. Satan will distract us, he will overburden us with the cares of this life so that we do not consider and prioritize our salvation. As the arrival of the spies aroused the attention of the king of Jericho, so Satan and his followers are  desperate to prevent us from hearing, receiving and believing the word.  He wants to snatch the word out of our heart, the enemy comes quickly when the word comes. Satan came for the word of God in the heart of Rahab, but the seed had already found good soil in her heart. She received the messengers, she received the word. She trusted the word, the oath of the spies. Her life hung by their word. The Bible instructs us to keep God’s word, this means not only to obey it, but also possessively keep it. Satan is a thief, he will try and steal the word from our hearts. However, he could not touch the word that found the good soil in Rahab’s heart. She was saved. She was on the Lord’s side. The Bible says that God knows how to save his own, the spies made it to Rahab’s place easily and successfully. She was translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. She was now in the world, but not of the world.

We see in the story of Rahab that salvation will cost friendship with world. This is one of the main barriers to salvation that Satan will use. Many people do not get saved because  they are not willing to forsake things that they are attached to in this world. Satan uses things in this world to keep us from being saved. The king of Jericho said that the spies were come to search out all the land. The Word of God searches all our heart. Will we receive him with all our heart, or is there a room in your heart which he is not allowed access? Are you willing to let God search all of your heart, are you willing to give him all your heart? Satan wants to keep you in Jericho, he will appeal to your flesh, your lusts, your pride, your physical needs to do so. Will you be offended by the word of God when it comes. Will you receive the word of God or will your door slam in the spies face? Let God search out your heart, let him set you free from all the strongholds the Devil has in your life. Psalm 139:23-24 – Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. God can deal with Satan. As Rahab did not have to obey the King of Jericho anymore, when we are saved we do not have to obey Satan anymore. The authority of God’s word trumps the authority of the Devil. Rahab was in Christ, she was not cursed, she was not doomed, she was safe in Christ, the house with the scarlet thread, the house covered by the blood of Christ.

In the story of Rahab we see that only few are saved. Matthew 7:14 says Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Rahab was the only one in the city with a heart ready and willing to receive the word. To human eyes, this would have seemed unlikely. It was a harlot that received the spies. In this, we see that the gospel is for sinners. The self righteous, the proud, the independent, the self sufficient, the satisfied see no need for the gospel, for the free gift of salvation, for a Saviour. Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, was a prime candidate for God’s grace. God looks on the inside. Unlike the Priest and the Levite that passed by, Jesus does not pass us by, he is the good Samaritan. He seeks, and finds those that are lost. Like blind Bartimaeus desperately calling for the son of David, Jesus hears the cry of the lost, he seeks and save the lost. He stops their tears. He gives the water of life freely.

In Rahab lowering down the spies out of her window, we see here the great Biblical principle of substitution, without which we cannot be saved. Rahab lowering the spies shows her placing her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ’s  death, burial, and resurrection in her place, as her substitute. John the Baptist baptized Jesus. At first, he did not understand why and said, I have need to be baptized of thee. What John did not realize is that we each personally have to own Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection for us. Our own death is insufficient, we need to be united with Christ to live – Romans 6. We live because he lives. This is why we need a Saviour, we have no life, no hope without Jesus, we need to personally accept Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection in our place. We do this by simple faith. We are spiritually baptized when we are saved, it is done to us, for us. Water baptism is just a picture of what has spiritually happened to us the instant we receive Jesus Christ as our Saviour. We are baptized into Christ’s death, burial, resurrection. This is the difference between head belief and true heart belief. The Bible says the devils believe and tremble, we need to have a belief that receives what Christ has done for us.

We also see from the story of Rahab that it is the precious blood of Jesus Christ that alone has paid the price for our sin. This is typified in the scarlet thread which Rahab let the spies down by, and which hung on her window in anticipation of her deliverance. It is Jesus blood that satisfied the holy wrath and judgement of God against sin, against us. Rahab was showing her complete and total trust in the blood of Jesus Christ. The scarlet thread alone hung in her window. She asked the spies for a true token. The Bible gives us the true token. The true token of our salvation is the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood paid the price for our sins, once and for all. It is final. It is finished. It is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ alone that has paid the price. It is his blood that clears us, that covers us, that purges our guilty consciences. His blood is incorruptible, undefiled, holy, eternal. His blood washes away our sins.

Rahab lying to the spies shows us that those who come to God for the wrong reasons will end up following a lie. The Bible says in Hebrews 4:2 that the word not mixed with faith does not profit those who hear it. The Bible says that there is another Jesus, another gospel – 2 Corinthians. If you reject the truth of the word of God, you will be deceived by the Devil. The people of the city were sent to find the messengers to do them harm, not to receive them with peace. Because Rahab was now on the Lord’s side, we see how the believer does not have any further agreement with the world. We see that the kingdom of light is irreconcilable with the kingdom of darkness. Jesus said of Satan in John 14:30, the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. Christ has no concord with Belial. Elijah said, How long halt ye between two opinions? Either serve God or serve Baal. You cannot have both. The believer should not compromise with the world. There is the way of the world, which leads to death and the way of God, which leads to eternal life. Those who came to get the spies believed a lie, they went out into the night, and the gate was shut behind them. This is symbolic of the gate of hell being shut forever on those who do not receive the truth, it shows that unbelievers are doomed to eternal, outer darkness. Their journey will terminate at Jordan. Such life ends in waste, futility, pointlessness. Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me, and ye shall die in your sins – John 7, 8. The spies went to the mountains.  This shows that God’s ways are higher than our ways. God’s ways are beyond finding out. God’s wisdom is infinitely superior to the world’s wisdom. The world cannot comprehend God. The world cannot figure God’s ways out. The enemy has lost. 1 Corinthians 2:8 – For had they known it they would not have crucified the king of glory.

There is much more than can be learned from the story of Rahab. We have barely scratched the surface, it is more than just a story, we see salvation, we see the gospel in the story of Rahab. The most important issue is, what will you do with the spies and the message they are carrying? Will you by faith receive the spies with peace? Will they find a lodging in your home, in your heart? The Bible says that Rahab came to the spies before they were laid down. Salvation is of the utmost importance, do not put it off, do not let Satan distract and delay you, do not let him take the saving word from you, do not let him rob you of the free gift of eternal life. The Bible says that now is the accepted time. Today is the day of the salvation.

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3 thoughts on “The Harlot Rahab – A Wonderful Picture of Salvation

  1. Terrific insight!! Keep preaching the Gospel from the law an the prophets. It is all in there. The sun and the moon represent the two covenants. If you walk in darkness you will see the moon and the stars which represent the Law and the prophets. We now know that the light of the moon is simply a reflection of the true light which comes from the sun. Jesus said that He is the light of the world so we can understand from this that the light of the law is a reflection of the true light of the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah.

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    1. Hello typological1, thanks for the comment 🙂 Bible study is exciting, it is great when the Holy Spirit gives understanding to what we are reading. He guides us into truth. It is wonderful to have peace in our hearts when we rest in the truth of his word. It is important to remember not to force typology etc if it doesn’t match with the rest of the Bible. Compare scripture with scripture. Rightly divide the word of truth. We must humble ourselves and submit to the authority of God’s word as God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. God shows us things when we are humble.

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