Holy Spirit (Restrainer) Taken Out of The Way…
I had someone comment on DTW and ask what happens when the Holy Spirit (Restrainer) is removed from earth, what happens during the Tribulation. He said; “If your PTR doctrine was sound, how can anyone become a child of God if the Holy Spirit is taken away? Never! But still PTR doctrine indicate that the Holy Spirit is taken away.” [DTW note: PTR stands for Pre-Tribulation Rapture]
How were people saved in the Old Testament? Does New Apostolic Reformation teaching imply that no one was saved until the Holy Spirit (the Restrainer) came to indwell believers at Pentecost 2000+ years ago?
Israel and the Old Testament
Israel’s salvation was individual and national. They believed by faith based on blood sacrifice that foreshadowed the True sacrifice of their Messiah (Jesus Christ) to come; this salvation was presented to them as an inheritance, a salvation that they would be receiving in the future. They also awaited for a future salvation of the nation of Israel at Jesus’ Second Coming. In the Old Testament, the Israelites had to build the Temple of God, the Holy Spirit did not indwell in them as a temple. The Israelites of the Old Testament never had the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, yet when they believed by faith, their salvation was by the working of the Holy Spirit.
John 3:5-6 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Who is the Restrainer?
Now, Pre-Trib Rapture doctrine is sound because quite simply put, the Holy Spirit who is the Restrainer, is removed from earth right before the Tribulation starts; to give Satan the freedom to release the antichrist on mankind, so that he can make himself known. The Holy Spirit is the Restrainer because:
- He is the 3rd person of the Godhead.
- He is a Person and He is a Spiritual being.
- He is more powerful than Satan and can keep him in his place. (1 John 4:4)
- The Holy Spirit even restrained Satan in the Old Testament.
Isaiah 59:19 So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.
The Holy Spirit’s ministry during our Church dispensation is to: empower each believer as it was in the OT and as it will be during the Tribulation. The big difference is that during the Church dispensation (the Bride of Christ) the Holy Spirit indwells each believer, each Saint’s body is a temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19), and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit joins all Saints together in union as the Bride of Christ: the Temple of God. In the OT, the Temple was built by Israel, sacrifices took place in the Temple. Now in the Church dispensation, the Bride of Christ indwelt by the Holy Spirit is the Temple of God and Jesus Christ who is the Lamb died on the cross for our sins.
The church has taught us incorrectly that salvation equates to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. If this is true then no one in the OT could have been saved as the Holy Spirit never indwelt believers, He was however WITH THEM. And The Holy Spirit will be WITH believers during the Tribulation and empower them.
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture
When the Bride of Christ is ‘caught up’ to meet Jesus Christ in the air. The Holy Spirit who is the Restrainer who abides in (indwells) the Church then leaves the earth. Repeat: The Church leaves the earth. But we must NEVER VIEW this as though the Holy Spirit leaving the earth, or that the Holy Spirit is not omnipresent or that He becomes inoperative, or that the Holy Spirit has now left the earth permanently. Never! This is a lie that people who are against a pre-tribulation rapture love to promote.
The Holy Spirit’s who is the Restrainer, His office during the Church dispensation was that of indwelling the believer. Once the rapture takes place and the Restrainer who indwells the Church has been taken out of the way in a split second – a new dispensation will start, the Holy Spirit then stays, He will remain, He is eternal, omniscient and omnipresent.
Psalm 139:7-13 “Where shall I go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence?”
Faith as always and the Holy Spirit
During the Tribulation salvation will be solely based on FAITH as it was in the Old and New Testament. Hebrews 11:1-40 makes that very clear. Faith is based on the cross, the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins. The Holy Spirit who was the Restrainer during the Church dispensation will not indwell believers during the Tribulation as He did during the church age. Believers will however still be born again during the Tribulation just as believers were during the Old Testament and the Holy Spirit will be with those during the Tribulation as He was with a child of God during the church dispensation. Tribulation Saints will not be without the Holy Spirit! They will be empowered!
“The special presence of the Spirit as the indweller of saints will terminate abruptly at the parousia as it began abruptly at Pentecost. Once the body of Christ has been caught away to heaven, the Spirit’s ministry will revert back to what he did for believers during the OT period. . . . His function of restraining evil through the body of Christ (John 16:7-11; 1 John 4:4) will cease similarly to the way he terminated his striving in the days of Noah (Gen. 6:3). At that point the reins will be removed from lawlessness and the Satanically inspired rebellion will begin. It appears that to katechon (‘what is holding back’) was well known at Thessalonica as a title for the Holy Spirit on whom the readers had come to depend in their personal attempts to combat lawlessness”. (1 Thess. 1:6; 4:8; 5:19; 2 Thess. 2:13). —Robert L. Thomas, 2 Thessalonians, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 11, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978), pp. 324-25.
Outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the Tribulation
In Joel 2:28-32 it explains the salvation of Israel with regards to the ministry of the Holy Spirit during the Tribulation before the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ.
Joel 2:28-32 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. 32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
John 3:1-21 is another passage where Jesus speaks to Nicodemus and explains that there will be salvation during the tribulation and that it will be the work of the Holy Spirit.
John 3:1-21 1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
It is important to note that during the coming Tribulation, as it was in the Old Testament, that even though the Holy Spirit did not indwell believers, people were born again, just as we are today. Salvation of all believers depends solely on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and only the Holy Spirit can baptize you INTO Jesus Christ by faith and faith alone in his finished work on the cross. We are in a New Covenant, and it will remain so even though the dispensation changes at the time the Tribulation starts. To believe by faith in the blood of the Lamb, that being Jesus Christ and his saving work on the cross, salvation will be made effect by the working of the Holy Spirit from the beginning of time (Genesis) right until the end of time (Revelation).