Question: If the Holy Spirit is taken out at the rapture, how will people be saved during the tribulation?
People will be saved during the tribulation the same way they have always been saved – through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is not taken out of the earth
Firstly, the Holy Spirit is not taken out of the world at the rapture. Many people today believe that the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth during the rapture along with the believers. They base this teaching on 2 Thessalonians 2:7-9 where it says that before the coming of the Antichrist, the One who restrains him will be “taken out of the way”.
2 Thes 2:7-9 (KJV) “7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,”
If we look at those verses carefully we see that the Bible does not say that the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth. It only states that He will be taken out of the way – i.e. no longer restrain the Wicked, who is the Antichrist. Therefore there is no reason to believe that the Holy Spirit will not be present on Earth after the rapture. That would be going beyond what the Bible says and entering into error.
We believe that the Holy Spirit has always been present on the Earth for the following reasons:
- The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). He is not limited only to dwelling in believers, He is omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-8). By His very nature it is impossible for Him to be in one physical space and not in another.
- The Holy Spirit was present on Earth well before Pentecost. Here are a few incidents that demonstrate this:
- The Holy Spirit was present during creation:
Genesis 1:1-2 (KJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
- Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah was filled with the spirit of God, according to God Himself.
Exodus 31:3 (KJV)
3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
- Seventy men prophesied when the Spirit came upon them (Numbers 11:16-25 KJV).
25 And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
- The Holy Spirit came upon Balaam
Numbers 24:1-6 (KJV)
2 And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him.
- The Holy Spirit came upon Othniel
Judges 3:9-10 (KJV)
9 And when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.
10 And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the Lord delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.
- The Holy Spirit came upon Gideon
Judges 6:34 (KJV)
34 But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him.
- The Holy Spirit came upon Jephthah
Judges 11:29 (KJV)
29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.
- The Holy Spirit came upon Samson
Judges 13:25 (KJV)
25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.
- The Holy Spirit came upon Saul and caused him to prophesy.
1 Samuel 10:10 (KJV)
10 And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.
- The Holy Spirit came upon David
1 Samuel 16:13-14 (KJV)
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
14 But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.
- The Holy Spirit came upon the messengers of Saul
1 Samuel 19:20-23 (KJV)
20 And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.
21 And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.
22 Then went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah.
23 And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah.
Thus the argument that the Holy Spirit was given to the world only at Pentecost is invalid and we can be sure of His presence in the world even during the tribulation period.
Our God is a gracious and loving God. Even during the tribulation, He will continue to reach out to people, wanting them to turn back to Him. The Gospel will be preached through the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3), through the 144000 Jews and through the rest of the Gentile believers who will believe during that time. God will also send His angel to preach the gospel to the whole world (Revelation 14:6-7).
Therefore, we can be sure that the Holy Spirit will continue His saving work during the tribulation. Note that the Bible does not say whether people who be saved during the tribulation will be indwelled by the Holy Spirit or whether they will be like the Old Testament believers, although this is a possibility. We trust this answer has helped you to understand the end times better.
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