Is the Holy Spirit going to be present during the tribulation?
Some people believe that the Holy Spirit will not be present during the tribulation. This belief is based on a verse which says "For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way" (2 Thessalonians 2:7). This passage is referring to the Antichrist who will appear during the tribulation. The power and sway he will hold over the world is going to be partly due to the fact that the Holy Spirit will not be restraining evil during that time. However, this does not mean that the Holy Spirit will not be present during the tribulation.
Salvation, regeneration, and sanctification cannot happen without the power of the Holy Spirit. The believer is born of the Spirit and without that birth cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5). The Spirit regenerates the soul of man by the Spirit, to ready that soul for salvation (Titus 3:5). Sanctification also happens "by the Spirit" (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Man is drawn to God by the Holy Spirit, born of the Spirit until salvation through faith in Christ, and it is also by the Spirit that we grow and mature in Christ. Without the presence of the Holy Spirit, none of these things would occur during the tribulation. But we know that people will be saved during that time. Thus, the Holy Spirit must be present during the tribulation.
The Bible is clear that people will be saved during the tribulation. While the apostle John was in exile on Patmos, he had a vision that later became the book of Revelation. One of the things he saw was "a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamp, clothed in white robes" praising God for His salvation (Revelation 7:9). One of the heavenly beings present (an elder) came to John and asked him: "Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?" (v. 13). John responded that he didn't know, so the elder told him, "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (v. 14).
This is very encouraging for believers in pre-tribulation times. We often worry deeply about our friends and family who will have to endure the tribulation without Christ. But the Bible promises that a "great multitude" will be saved during that time. Because of this, we should be careful to live godly lives and to share the gospel, in an effort to "hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter" (Proverbs 24:11).
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