FROM PASTOR TIM:
Thank you all for some really thoughtful comments after church this past Sunday. Two excellent questions were posed that I think might have been considered by others as well and merit some further reflection.
First question: “If Jesus reigns on earth for 1,000 years how can there be a rebellion for Satan to lead at the end of the 1,000 years? Where do the rebels come from?”
Possible answer…not all of those who rebel against Jesus will die at His coming, where He defeats the anti-Christ see Revelation 19:19-21.
It is also possible that generations born and raised during the 1,000 reign of Jesus will fall to the temptations of sin and reject Jesus. While the power of sin has been defeated at the cross, and while the anti-Christ is destroyed at Jesus’ coming, sin is not destroyed in totality.
The picture of a sinless heaven does not emerge until AFTER Satan is released and destroyed, which is AFTER the 1,000 year reign. See Revelation 21:11-15 for the final judgment and then see Revelation 21 and 22 for the sinless, pure heavenly realm.
The other reason it seems there will be resistance to Jesus’ rule during the 1,000-year reign is found in Zechariah 14:16-19, which many view as a picture of the 1,000-year reign, punishment is exacted on those who do not go to Jerusalem every year to honor the Feast of Booths.
This suggests there will be people and nations that resist Jesus’s reign during the 1,000 years. It’s important to see that the 1,000-year reign is NOT heaven; heaven does not arrive until AFTER the 1,0000-year reign.
Second Question: If the Holy Spirit departs with the church at the Rapture, how will people be saved during the Tribulation?
The Holy Spirit is always present. He is present in the Old Testament, but He is present in a unique way for the sake of the Church. The fact that the Holy Spirit entered in a new way to begin the Church at Pentecost (see Acts 2), does NOT imply that He was not present prior to Pentecost.
While the Holy Spirit may be present in some capacity during the Tribulation, it is also possible that He does not function during the Tribulation in the unique way He has been while the Church is on earth.
For example, people trusted God before Pentecost. Was that through the power of the Holy Spirit, or through an act of God, or both? When Jesus declared that He himself must go to heaven in order for the Helper (Holy Spirit) to come to earth (John 16:7), did that suggest that the Holy Spirit was coming for a “season”, which will end with the Rapture?
It’s not clear how the Holy Spirit works in the process of salvation outside of the season the Church is on earth, whether before Pentecost or after the Rapture. But the Holy Spirit is still present in some capacity.
Thus, if the Holy Spirit departs with the Church at the Rapture, thereby revealing that He is the power that restrains the Man of Lawlessness (Anti-Christ, Beast); see 2 Thessalonians 2:5-8, there is no reason to think that God, either by means of the Holy Spirit or not, cannot grant faith to trust in Jesus any less than He did prior to Pentecost.
Rescued by Christ,