The Moderating Influence of the Holy Spirit
Here below Paul tells us of another major event that will mark the time of the Rapture. The loss of the moderating influence of the Holy Spirit on the social order due to the out-taking of the members of “the Body of Christ” must come before the “WICKED (the wicked one, the Antichrist) BE REVEALED,”
“6And now you know What Is Restraining (Gk., katecho, holds down) Him (Antichrist); it is so that he may be manifested (revealed) in his own [appointed] time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] RESTRAINED only until he (the Holy Spirit) who restrains is taken out of the way. (2 Thess 2:6-7 (AMP)
“And now ye know what (that which) Withholdeth (Gk., katecho, Limits, Restrains) that he (Antichrist) might be revealed (only) in his time. 7 For the mystery (secret) of iniquity doth already work: only HE (the Spirit of Christ) Who Now Letteth (Gk., katecho, limits or restrains) WILL LET (limit or restrain), (only) UNTIL HE (the Spirit) BE TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY (by the Rapture). (2 Thess 2:6-7)
8 And THEN SHALL that WICKED (Wicked One, Antichrist) BE REVEALED, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even (that is,) him, whose coming is AFTER THE WORKING OF SATAN WITH ALL POWER AND SIGNS AND LYING WONDERS, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness IN THEM that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11)
As we see above, the unhindered release of evil in the Tribulation will come by the loss of the moderating influence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the social order.
“BUT UNDERSTAND this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. 3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. 4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. 5 For [although] they hold a form of piety (religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].” (2Tim 3:1-5 (AMP)
How is “the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority)” that is “at work in the world” restrained even to the extent that it is today? Presently the Holy Spirit indwells each member of “the Church, which is His body,” serving to foster restraint upon the destructive evils of society such as homosexuality, abortion, and other degrading societal elements. Today we see evil getting stronger as the influence of the apostate Christian church-at-large wanes. After the Church and its indwelling Holy Spirit of Christ is removed from the earth, its moderating influence upon evil will be totally lost. Evil, will no longer be tamped down, limited, or hindered by the Holy Spirit working in and through believers on earth.
We’ve already seen what the evil lies and deceit of sovereign governments can do to weaken a nation and lead it to ultimate destruction. Antichrist’s worldwide government will be powerfully multiply that evil in the Tribulation period. That “Wicked one” will be absolutely free and uninhibited during the Tribulation.
God has been audibly silent during this “dispensation of the grace of God” in which we live today, since Jesus’ passion, but we are not without guidance. Our authority is the written “Word of the Lord,” that is “rightly divided” concerning the pre-tribulation Rapture as revealed by “Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles (Rom 11:13). “For this we (Paul and his co-workers) say unto you by THE WORD OF THE LORD, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep (have died).” (1 Thes. 4:15)
The apostasy of the church-at-large is a “falling away” (2Thes 2:3) from “the faith.” It is due to the church’s marginalization of Pauline Biblical truth for us in this age. Paul wrote Holy Spirit inspired words in his thirteen epistles to “the body of Christ” as “the Apostle to the Gentiles” and as “the commandments of the Lord”
“For I (Paul) Speak To You Gentiles, Inasmuch As I Am The Apostle Of The Gentiles…” (Romans 11:13)
“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I (PAUL) write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 14:37)
“… I PAUL, the prisoner of Jesus Christ FOR YOU GENTILES, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to youward: How that BY REVELATION HE (CHRIST) MADE KNOWN UNTO ME (PAUL) THE MYSTERY; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST) 5Which IN OTHER AGES WAS NOT MADE KNOWN unto the sons of men” (Ephes. 3:1-5a)
“Even THE MYSTERY which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints (believers): To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of THIS MYSTERY AMONG THE GENTILES; which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:26-27)
“Behold, I shew you a mystery (secret); We shall not all sleep, but WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED, IN A MOMENT, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, AT THE LAST TRUMP: FOR THE TRUMPET SHALL SOUND, and THE DEAD SHALL BE RAISED INCORRUPTIBLE, AND WE SHALL BE CHANGED. FOR THIS CORRUPTIBLE MUST PUT ON INCORRUPTION, AND THIS MORTAL MUST PUT ON IMMORTALITY (ETERNAL LIFE).” (1 Cor. 15:51-53)
Paul wrote concerning the Rapture “by the Word of the Lord” (v15, below) to “the Church, which is His body” and our “blessed hope” (confident expectation) concerning our being taken to heaven to ever be “with Him.” At the Rapture there are to be two categories of peoples to consider; 1) those “caught up” (taken up to heaven) and, 2) those that remain on earth to go into the Tribulation and suffer God’s judgment and wrath.
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For THE LORD HIMSELF SHALL DESCEND FROM HEAVEN With A Shout, With The Voice Of The Archangel (Not Angels), And With The Trump (Not Trumpets) Of God: And The Dead In Christ Shall Rise First: Then We Which Are Alive And Remain Shall Be Caught Up (Raptured) Together With Them In The Clouds, To Meet The Lord In The Air: AND So Shall We Ever Be With The Lord. WHEREFORE COMFORT ONE ANOTHER WITH THESE WORDS. (1 Thes. 4:15-18)
In 1Thessalonians 5 (below) Paul contrasts two different destinies one for “them” versus one for “ye.”
- One group will endure “The day of the Lord” whose coming is wrath upon “THEM.”
“1… For yourselves know perfectly that the DAY OF THE LORD SO COMETH (suddenly) AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT. For when THEY (the unbelieving lost) shall say, Peace and safety; then SUDDEN DESTRUCTION cometh upon THEM, as travail upon a woman with child; and THEY SHALL NOT ESCAPE…” (1 Thes. 5:1-3)
- The other group is “the body of Christ,” referring to us as “Ye” of the “children of the light.” “4BUT YE (the members of His body), brethren, are NOT in darkness, that that day (of the Lord’s vengeance) should overtake you as a thief. 5YE are all the children of light, and the children of the day…” (1Thes. 5:4-5) His children will “be caught up together … in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air” (1Thes 4:13-18).
Thus Paul writes of the lost as “they” and “them” in “the day of the Lord,” which is the subject of prophecy’s judgments to “cometh upon them” on earth during the Tribulation. Paul continues in verse 4 by using the important word “But” to note the contrast between the awful destiny for “them” in verses 1-3 and that of the secure destiny of believers who are “all the children of light” and “NOT in darkness.”
True, the believers of this age of grace will likely see a time of great trouble, as many already have, with the decline and degradation of the apostate church, society and fallen mankind (2 Timothy 3:1). But we should be those who know the truth of Paul’s doctrines of “the faith” (2Tim 3:10) and are secure in that knowledge. Today we see the Lord is setting the stage for “the last days” of this age, But we are secure, having “the blessed hope” of the Rapture whether we are dead or alive at His appearing, some time before “sudden destruction cometh upon them” (v3, above).
Paul then writes of the “Helmet, (of) The HOPE (= confident expectation) of Salvation (by Rapture) (v8 below) for “body of Christ.” Continuing, Paul writes, “God Hath NOT Appointed Us to WRATH but to obtain salvation (v9)”
“But let us, who are of the day, be sober, PUTTING ON THE Breastplate Of Faith and Love; and for an HELMET, THE HOPE (confident expectation) OF SALVATION. 9 For GOD HATH NOT APPOINTED US (the grace Believers) TO WRATH, But To Obtain SALVATION By Our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who Died For Us, (So) That, Whether We Wake Or Sleep (Have Died), WE SHOULD LIVE (Grk, zao, Have Eternal Life) TOGETHER WITH HIM. (1 Thes 5:8-10)
Deliverance by the Rapture is for “We” of “the body of Christ.”
“…WE say unto you by the word of the Lord, WE which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep. 16the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then WE which are alive and remain shall be Caught Up Together With Them In The Clouds, To Meet The Lord In The Air: and so shall WE ever be with the Lord. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thes. 4:15-18)
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump (of God): for the trumpet shall sound, and the DEAD SHALL BE RAISED INCORRUPTIBLE, and WE SHALL BE CHANGED (allasso, made different). 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Cor 15:52-55)
The Rapture will come at all those of the “body of Christ,” those who “love His appearing,” still believing that we should be “looking for that blessed hope” (2 Tim. 4:8; Titus 2:13).
In contrast to the church Raptured to eternal life in heaven (2Cor 5:1b), the fate of a very large number of those who are on earth after the Rapture in the time of the Tribulation period will be death. Some ask, “How many of the earths population will die during the Tribulation?”
Most Bible teachers believe two-thirds of earth’s population will die during the Tribulation, but I cannot exactly find it in the Bible. Estimates of end times deaths are based on the assumption that 1/4 of the world’s population will die during the “seven seal” judgments. This comes from an interpretation of Rev 6:8 where Death and Hades are given power over 1/4th of the earth to kill by the sword, famine, plague, and wild beasts. If 1/4th of “the earth” refers to the population, which leaves 3/4ths of the population still alive at the end of the Seal Judgments.
Then, by the “Trumpet” judgments of Rev. 9:15, four angels are released to “a slay 1/3rd part of men” (1/3 of 3/4ths = 1/4th). So, 1/4th will die in the Seal Judgments, plus another 1/4th in the Trumpet Judgments, equaling ½ of the earth’s population. Therefore, between the Seal and Trumpet judgments 1/2 of the world’s population that was alive at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week will have died before the 2nd half of the 7-year Tribulation called the “Great Tribulation.” We’re not told how many die during the Bowl Judgments, but certainly there will be many more.
Zech 13:8-9 concerns the Lord’s “sheep,” which is
. It says “8it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, Two Parts Therein Shall Be Cut Off And Die; but The Third (part) Shall Be Left. 9I will bring the Third Part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined,” Israel
The refiner’s “fire” is thought to refer to the Great Tribulation. This means 2/3rds of the people of
Israelwill die sometime before the Great Tribulation begins; then 1/3 of alive at the time of the Great Tribulation will pass through and survive, being purified in the Great Tribulation trials. Israel
A more careful reading of Zechariah 13:8-9 shows that 2/3rds of
will perish sometime between the scattering that took place after the crucifixion, in 70AD and the beginning of the Great Tribulation. One interpretation of this has the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust representing the 2/3rds, but it’s also possible that this many Jews could be added to the dying during the Seal and Trumpet judgments of Daniel’s 70th Week. Israel
No matter how we calculate it, the fact remains that Daniel’s 70th Week will be the deadliest time the people of Earth have ever experienced.