by Paul Benson
The folly of Dispensational Theology states that the Age of Grace comes to an end at the event they call the Pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church; and that the Holy Spirit is also removed from the Earth at this time. But then they also claim there are those who get saved and follow Christ to the point of martyrdom during this time of tribulation.
The notion there will be followers of Christ during the time of great tribulation who are saved but not born again, and who are not indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, presents many problems both theological as well as practical. Let’s look at a few points I feel prove this notion is totally out of accord with the Scriptures; and therefor completely bogus.
A Tribulation Church Without The Spirit?
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 2Thessalonians 2:7
This is probably one of the most frequently mistreated verses in the entire Bible in our day. This verse has been twisted and stretched out of measure until a whole series of false concepts have been fabricated to shore up the wonky pre-trib doctrine. We are informed this verse says the Church as well as the Holy Spirit will be *taken out of this world before the great tribulation. But, there is nothing in this text or any collaborating passages anywhere in the Bible that promote such a notion; this is absolutely false doctrine. In fact it is an impossibility!
*(Some are now teaching He is not completely taken from the earth, but reverts to a pre-Pentecost role where He does not ‘indwell’ those who are saved during the tribulation. But this revision of the pre-trib theory still presents the same exact problems as version 1.0; and they have solved nothing with this upgrade to their theory!)
The idea that the Spirit of an omnipresent God will somehow at this time be not-present goes against the fundamental doctrines of who God is as revealed in the Scriptures. Given as truth supposedly extracted from this verse is the claim that the Holy Spirit in the Church restrains the spirit of Antichrist, and must be removed before the Antichrist can rise up. Where did they get all *that out of this one verse (or any others)?
*RESEARCH ASSISTANCE NEEDED! I have been asking for many years: ‘Could someone PLEASE show me where you get the biblical foundation to come to that conclusion?’ But strangely no one ever has! If it is ‘Bible Truth’ then where oh where are the Bible verses behind it? There are none! It is merely unsupported speculation (a main ingredient in whipping up a batch of pre-trib theory).
Was there not a Christian Church in Nazi Germany? Or in Jerusalem when Titus came in the spirit of Antichrist and destroyed the city? I suppose the Lord removed the Holy Spirit from this earth for a few generations so the spirit of Antichrist could seize control of the Catholic Church and slaughter countless Christians? To teach that the Holy Spirit will leave this world, along with the Church, in a pre-trib rapture contradicts the teachings of the Bible on so many levels. It baffles me that anyone who even casually reads the Word of God could seriously suggest such a thing!
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:20
What a wonderful promise Jesus made that he would be here on earth with the believers until the end of the world! Will he someday change his mind? What a shocking statement made by those promoting the pre-trib theory that the Holy Spirit would be taken from the earth at this ‘rapture’ before the Tribulation! Shocking because Jesus keeps all his promises. All of them!
Comfortless Followers Of Christ?
Before Jesus left he promised to return to dwell in those who believe in him in the form of the Holy Spirit.
If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14:15-18
How could Jesus be WITH the believers (and IN them) on earth until the end of the world if the Holy Spirit was taken out seven years before the end? Could someone please show me a passage of Scripture where Jesus or Paul or one of the other writers ever said such a thing? You won’t find any such teaching in the Bible; because it is not true!
The idea that God would leave the (supposed) tribulation Saints to face the hardship and chaos of those days without the life, power, edification, and gifts of the Holy Spirit is absurd. It was the indwelling of the Spirit that brought forth the entity we know as the Body of Christ. To say that God would remove the Spirit, and tell Jesus’ new ‘tribulation disciples’ to serve him without that indwelling life and power, denies the very concept of what our salvation is: All those who are truly saved have the Spirit of God dwelling inside them. They are the temple of God; and Jesus is with them and in them through the presence of his Spirit!
But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. Mark 13:11
Who is going to strengthen these tribulation Saints against the persecution they will face? A large share of the difficulties faced by Christians during the tribulation will concern being ostracized from society. Forbidden to take part in the Antichrist controlled system of buying and selling, believers will be forced to resort to the then illegal activity of bartering. They will have made themselves outlaws by refusing to take the Mark of the Beast and worship him.
This will cause many of God’s children to be brought before the magistrates of that day to give an account. How could they properly speak forth God’s words, and also overcome the temptation to give in to the system of the Beast, without the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit? Are they going to do this in their own strength? Get real!
This notion that God would send a group of new believers through the darkest time this world has ever known without the Comforter is hard for me to grasp. How about you? Besides, how could the folks the pre-tribbers refer to as the ‘tribulation Saints’ have gotten saved in the first place without the Holy Spirit?
Saved But Not Born-Again Followers Of Christ?
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44
No one can be saved except the Spirit of God convinces them of their lost condition and reveals Christ to them. To say there will be people saved during the Tribulation without the Spirit of God here flies in the face of the Biblical teachings about salvation.
The grace of God is more than a contract to go free from the consequences of sin. It is the presence and strength of God’s Spirit abiding in the heart of the believer, giving us the power to become the very sons of God. There is no other way of salvation!
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. John 3:5-6
Here is something vital to understand about this issue. The pre-trib doctrine (dispensational theology) teaches the tribulation Saints are NOT saved like we are. They prove their faith by their willingness to die for God. They are saved and enter the Kingdom of God through their martyrdom! (sound like Islam to anyone but me?)
This aspect of the pre-trib theory is more than just erroneous.
IT IS HERESY!
This is quite serious. Are YOU believing heresy? To state there is another way to be saved other than being born again through faith in the blood of Jesus and the work he accomplished on that Cross is outright heresy (which according to Gal. 5:19-21 will damn a soul to an eternal Hell)! Some of us may want to give that a little thought.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Romans 8:9-11
A Resurrection Without The Holy Spirit?
I have pre-trib promoters telling me the tribulation Saints are saved apart from the indwelling of the Spirit; and then I have the Scriptures telling me if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them they are not even his! Who should I believe? Who do YOU believe? And also, according to verse 11 above, the indwelling Spirit of God IS the resurrection power! No Holy Spirit – no Resurrection!
In Revelation 20:5 we see where those who have been martyred for the witness of Jesus during the tribulation have taken part in the ‘First Resurrection’. Without the Holy Spirit on earth dwelling in these Saints they could not have been ‘quickened’ into immortality!
PLEASE get this! Even if the pre-trib rapture theory were true (and it is absolutely NOT) the Scriptures clearly show a resurrection at the Second Coming of Christ after the tribulation. Again, without the Holy Spirit dwelling in those folks this resurrection could not happen! This proves the presence of the Spirit in God’s people during the great tribulation.
And that therefor proves the Church IS present during the time of tribulation (and also that the pre-trib theory is bogus)! If you refuse to see that, and sadly some of you will, it is nothing short of willful ignorance! Why keep on deceiving yourself? Why keep on deceiving others, and face the accountability that will bring on the day of judgment? I was not being trite when I said this is serious. I am not typing these words just to exercise my fingers here. I write these articles out of a genuine concern for my fellow believers who are being ill effected by this deception of a pre-tribulation departure. Embracing falsehood is not without consequence. Ingesting error defiles a person’s heart!
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63
The Holy Spirit MUST be on earth, and active IN the believers, during the time of the great tribulation or there could be no believers, no overcoming, or no one who was martyred (or left alive) being transformed and caught up unto the Lord at his Return. It is the Spirit that gives life to the believer, and to the Body of Christ. A body without a spirit is a corpse (James 2:26)! Is Jesus returning for a corpse; or a living Body? Come on pre-tribbers; wake up and smell the deception. You’ve been hoodwinked!
The Tribulation Saints And Their Awkward Little Bible Studies!
There are many well meaning letters and notes written to the (supposed) tribulation Saints all over the internet, and in all kinds of Christian literature, telling them to read the Bible and it will plainly show them how to truly follow Christ. They are told, “You might have been ‘left behind’, but if you read the Bible you won’t be left in the dark!”
Oh really? Let’s take a look at that shall we?
The New Testament was written for a Spirit-filled Church saved by grace and not by works. Without the Spirit of God in them these left-behind tribulation believers would not be quickened to receive the truths of the Word of God. It would be just a lifeless book to them. Just ike it is to the rest of the unregenerate world!
Fact! The New Testament of the Bible would become obsolete at the (supposed) end of the Age of Grace! It would make no sense to the tribulation Saints whatsoever! It would totally confuse them with all that teaching on salvation by grace through faith; and the spirit-filled life with all the many benefits received from such.
Let’s look at some of the benefits we enjoy from the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us that they would be robbed of (and keep in mind how confusing it would be for a ‘tribulation Saint’ reading the passages in which these things are discussed and promised):
- They would not be able to comprehend the spiritual truths of the Scriptures! (1Cor. 2:9-12)
- There also would be no praying for self, or interceding for others, in the power of the Holy Spirit! (Romans 8:26-27) (1Cor 14:15)
- There would be no anointed preaching or teaching among them! (Romans 12:5-8)
- There would be no singing in the Spirit! (1Cor 14:15)
- There would be no walking in the Spirit! (Galatians 5:16)
- There would be no worshiping God in Spirit and truth! (John 4:23-24)
- They could not be ‘strengthened with might in the inner man by the Spirit’! (Ephesians 3:16)
- They would not be able to have ‘joy in the Holy Ghost’! (Romans 14:17)
- There would be no ‘edifying one another’ because you would have no spiritual grace to minister to each other! (1Thess. 5:11) (1Peter 4:10-11)
- There would be no gifts of the Spirit including the working of miracles! (1Cor. 12:4-11) (I wonder what the Two Witnesses will use for a power source to preach and perform the signs, wonders, and chastising judgments they are prophesied to unleash? Boy, that’s going to be tough without the Holy Spirit!) (Revelation 11:3-6)
- They would also have no Holy Ghost to guide them and reveal the will of God to them! (John 16:13)
- And we could go on and on and on!
Oops! Wait just a minute! HOLD THE BUS! Let’s not forget all those wonderful promises to the believer to escape the (supposed) wrath of the great tribulation the pre-trib preachers are always citing! How in the world would they handle the verses that promise ‘God hath not appointed us to wrath’ and he ‘delivered us from the wrath to come’ and he will ‘keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world’ when they are supposedly suffering under that very outpouring of wrath? Hello! Will certain promises to the followers of Christ no longer be true in that day? Will God rapture away parts of the Bible when he raptures away the Church?
To the saved but Spirit-less tribulation Saint the New Testament teachings would be an undecipherable hodge-podge of confusing ideas (such as spirit-filled life); and chock-full of empty promises of which they have no hope or means of attaining. Thanks a bunch! I think that to these folks the Bible would be more along the lines of confusing gibberish than any thing that was comforting or useful. What good would a Bible be to them if the promises of God contained therein did not apply to them; and its teachings were on Spirit-filled living in an age of grace that had since passed away? Might as well just rip the New Testament out of the Bible and return to the Old! Which is exactly what pre-trib theory says; they are saved in like manner as the O.T. Saints were. That is why this teaching is dangerous. It sets aside and disregards the Sacrifice of the Cross! It denies Christ as the only means of salvation. Again, it is heresy!
REALITY CHECK: The reality is that there will NOT be any catching away of the Church until the Second Coming of Christ AFTER the tribulation of those days. The tribulation Saints will be none other than us – the Body of Christ! And the true promises of the Bible will be just as sure then as they are today. And the Holy Spirit will not be absent, but right there with us and IN US bringing whatever grace, strength, and comfort needed! Whether martyred for our faith, or left alive to see the Return of Jesus, God will see us through and be glorified in the midst of his people. Praise the name of Jesus forevermore!
A Closing Jab
We could go on and on about this ridiculous notion of a tribulation Saint who has not the Holy Spirit. But I hope this has been enough to provoke some thought on your part as to the folly of thinking there could be followers of Christ, living and dying for him, without the indwelling Holy Spirit to give them the grace, enlightenment, comfort, and endurance they need to make it through the time of tribulation.
Realistically speaking though, the fable of a catching away before the tribulation has a very limited shelf-life. There will come a day soon when enough events will unfold that the pre-trib theory is shown to be absolutely false; and many preachers, teachers, and prophets who have promoted that hoax will find themselves totally discredited (and most likely minus a paycheck)! OH NO! What will they do for a living now that they have lost their livelihood?
Maybe they can go hire on with CNN, or some other mainstream news outlet, and preach fake news! Why not?
They certainly have the experience for the job!
But honestly, I hope they just shut up and go home. And stay home. I don’t know about you but I am getting a little tired of being constantly lied to by those who ought to be speaking the truths of God’s Word to the Church and to the world. We live in an age where lies and fables have become the norm, and truth telling the exception. May the Lord grant us a love for the truth, and the strength of heart to proclaim it!
Lord have mercy upon us! Your truth lies fallen in the street, and your people are trampling it under foot! Revive us in your presence, and in your truth. No matter what it takes.
Even if it takes a time of great tribulation!
In Jesus Name!
Here are two more articles on the tribulation Saints:
Will YOU Become A Tribulation Saint? -by Paul Benson
Does Antichrist Defeat The Tribulation Saints? -by Paul Benson
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