If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. (Psalm 139:7-8 NASB)
There is a doctrine that is pretty much universal within the body of Christ. It is this understanding that God is omnipresent. He is everywhere at all times, just because He is. David understood that doctrine. He could not escape the Holy Spirit. But David also understood something else that is not a universal understanding within the body of Christ. He understood that God must be personally involved in the believers day to day walk through this life if we are to enjoy His salvation and deliverance from sin. On one occasion following one of David’s overnighters into Sheol He penned these words:
Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. (Psalm 51:11 – NASB) Some would say that these two concepts of God’s presence are totally contradictory. (How can God be everywhere and still cast us from His presence?). But for one to say that there is a definite disconnect between them and the truth must be error–isn’t it? For The Spirit of God was definitely with David even there in Sheol where he made his bed, but He was highly disturbed. David understood that there was a distinct change in the personal relationship he normally would share with the omnipresent God of creation when his own heart was stained with sin.
How does this apply to the end times and the teachings surrounding them? One writer Terry James has this to say concerning 2 Thessalonians 2:3; “That man of sin—the Antichrist—can’t appear to institute that devastatingly brilliant marks-and-numbers system of absolute control until the apostasy is full blown. That means the church of Jesus Christ will be first taken from the planet to receive rewards and to dine at the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
Terry continues: “Apostasy, the Greek word apostasia, has two definitions, and I believe both are in play in this prophecy (I suggest you get our book published some years ago, The Departure, to ascertain the meanings offered here): 1) The “falling away” means the departure of the church from earth; 2) The “falling away” means the departure from the truth as given by God. The Bible is the prescription for living by which man should comport himself in order to live in true, godly peace.”
Of course his book DEPARTURE, has its main focus on the #1 scenario. And should you want to know more about why that is a fallacy based the definition itself, read the article posted here: Strong’s #646 How Is “apostasy” Being Used To Prove The Imminence of The Rapture? (Nov.23, 2017), or you can read my cretic of it in my book. But the number one reason Dispensationalist’s believe that 2 Thessalonians teaches the rapture is seen in another of Terry’s articles [Laodicea on display] where he makes the statement that the restrainer of 2Thess. is resident in the church. This is a reference to the Holy Spirit as the restrainer in this passage. And is indicative of the pre-Trib argument stating that the church must be removed if the restrainer is removed. Of course we find many variations of this argument within the pre-Trib camp. But when we make application of the universal doctrine of God’s omnipresent state achieved through His Holy Spirit, then this passage makes much more sense. Listen:
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.(2 Thessalonians 2:3,6 NASB)
When reading this passage literally as the pre-Trib camp claims to do it becomes obvious that what restrains the Antichrist does not have to be removed in order to no longer restrain. I can restrain my dog from attacking an intruder or I can release or remove my restraint. That does not necessitate my removal. The Holy Spirit can remove His influence on ones life prompting David’s prayer — take not thy Spirit from me, but in so doing He does not change the fact that He is omnipresent.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (2Thess. 2:7 NASB)
There are many ways to view this passage. If the Holy Spirit is the restrainer how can He be taken out of the way? Some say He actually removes the church which is the true restrainer. If you consider what is happening today in the world the church does not have to be removed for evil to no longer be restrained. But the restraint is not over evil it is over one man — the Antichrist. The church is obviously not being used to keep the Antichrist from coming. In fact Peter says that even in his day there were already many Antichrist’s present. The Antichrist is being restrained but not buy the church. Some say that Michael who constantly conducts war in the heavens against Satan and his horde is this restrainer. What we know for sure is that the Holy Spirit is not removed, He is omnipresent. We also know that the church has not been effective at restraining evil in this world. Think about it. There was Nero, there was Hitler, Stalin, Ben Laden, and of course we can’t forget The Clintons. So why would we think that we are restraining the most evil person who will ever enter onto the earthly scene.
But the final coffin nail is contained in the Great commission itself. Jesus said go, make disciples, teach, and I’ll be with you until the end of the age. Nothing is mentioned of a church age here, and the things mentioned here by Jesus are all being done during the Tribulation time frame. Witnesses are going out — overcoming Satan (the Antichrist) with the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony. The gospel is still being offered. Repentance is still accepted—. This is A TIME THAT Jesus still called and included in this age. Conclusion we the offspring of Israel, the one new man, are present in power to proclaim Christ to the Nations including Israel during that time. Will we lose our lives for Messiah? Did He ask us to? Are you prepared to do that should you find yourself there in that biblical time period? Have you prepared your kids in case they are the ones? Do you have itching ears seeking for preachers who will tell you what you want to hear? But as usual you be the judge. But remember one day you will be judged for how you judge the words you hear and believe as to their Scriptural truthfulness. Many things are claimed today in the name of Jesus, the truth, but are they His truth? Until next time. May the Holy Spirit keep you and lead you into all truth.