Q. Is not the biggest proof about there being a rapture of the Church the fact that God is going to remove the Holy Spirit from the earth in the last days?
If the Holy Spirit lives in us, we cannot live without it therefore we must be raptured when He removes the Restrainer from the earth.
I don’t understand what more proof those who do not believe in the Rapture could need. All Christians know that we would be lost without the Holy Spirit. I cannot fathom being here if I don’t have the Spirit living within me!!
Thank you so much for all your hard work, you keep me focused on the Lord more than I ever have been in my life.
A. You’re referring to 2 Thessalonians 2:7 where the One restraining the work of lawlessness is taken out of the way (literally out of the midst). This passage is thought to foretell the removal of the Holy Spirit from the world, and since the Holy Spirit is sealed within us, logic says we have to go too. It’s a hint of the Rapture of the Church before the anti-Christ is fully revealed. By the way, the Holy Spirit does have a ministry during the End Times. He’s just not sealed within believers, like He is with us. It’s more like Old Testament times.
There are also other valid reasons why the Church must disappear before the Great Tribulation. The fact is that the pre-trib rapture is the only position that can be supported by a strict literal interpretation of Scripture. But recognize that the debate over the existence or timing of the rapture is not based in logic, but rather emotion.
The real issue is the nature and extent of God’s Grace. It doesn’t take a genius to know that we deserve to be punished for our sins. Somehow the idea that Jesus took all our punishment for us doesn’t seem fair, especially to those of us who were taught that we have to bear the consequences of our behavior. Grace is counter-intuitive to the mind trained to believe in justice and fairness, because it lets us escape, to “get away with it.” It’s not fair. We should get what we deserve.
Those who deny the pre-trib rapture often point to the early church. They were saved by grace too, but they still suffered horrible persecution. Why should we escape? These folks need to really study the Seven Letters of Rev. 2-3 as a prophetic chronology of Church History. The Church of the persecution is personified in the Letter to Smyrna. It wasn’t promised any relief, only admonished to hold on through the reign of 10 Caesars (250 years) even till death in order to receive life. In fact none of the first three letters promised relief. It wasn’t till the Letter of Thyatira that any hope of escape was offered, and only the Letter to Philadelphia promises to keep us from the time of trial altogether.
There are no modern equivalents to Ephesus, Smyrna or Pergamum. I believe they served a specific purpose designed to accelerate the early growth of the Church, and occupy a special place in God’s heart. They might be the ones depicted in Rev. 6:9-11. But Thyatira symbolizes the Catholic Church, Sardis the main line Protestants, Philadelphia the Evangelical Church, and Laodicea the Apostates. All four of them are still on Earth today, and in three of the four, escape is promised to at least some. Only Laodicea is omitted.
The reality is that the Grace of God is beyond the ability of our guilt laden minds to comprehend, and for many it’s too much to even hope for. When our dreams exceed the limits of our imaginations, we’re more likely to fear the consequences of failure than to anticipate the rewards of success. A post-trib rapture, or even none at all, becomes the safer alternative.