I used to believe that the Rapture would need to happen before either Psalm 83 or Ezekiel 38 could occur. My reasoning was that as long as America was both a super-power and Israel’s ally, no one would dare attack Israel (although it never stopped the Arabs in the past, I was thinking more along the lines of Russia and Iran). With our economy on precipice and the world no longer fearing us (watch the news), I’ve begun to think that the Rapture would not be necessary to weaken America sufficiently to encourage Israel’s enemies to attack. And having just read your article about the Restrainer, the sad thought that the Rapture might not occur until after the battles of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 entered my mind.
Since Paul stated that the Restrainer (Holy Spirit) will be removed at the “proper time” to reveal the anti-Christ, wouldn’t that suggest that the Restrainer would be removed just before the opening of the first seal rather than at an earlier point in time (e.g. before either Psalm 83 or Ezekiel 38)?
I have always said the rapture does not have to precede the fulfillment of prophecies in Isaiah 17 and Psalm 83, only that it could. But I do believe the rapture has to precede the Battle of Ezekiel 38 because that’s when God will turn His attention toward Israel again, permitting the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week. To me Ezekiel 39:22, Acts 15:13-18 and Romans 11:25 all support this view.
I also believe Rev. 4-5 contain John’s view of the rapture of the Church and show that it will precede Rev. 6 which describes the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week.