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How can people be saved during the Tribulation?

Kelly from Tennessee asked: “I’ve heard that people will be saved during the tribulation, but how is that possible since believers will be removed, and the Holy Spirit dwells in believers?”

Kelly,

It’s true that people will be saved during the Tribulation. Revelation records a scene in heaven where a multitude is before the throne of God, and they're singing praise to God. John wondered where they came from, and the answer is given:

Revelation 7:14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “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. (ESV)

As you pointed out, it’s also true that the church will have been raptured prior to that. But just because the church is raptured, that doesn’t remove the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, and the power of God’s Word to save. The Holy Spirit will have a ministry on earth through the Tribulation, just like he had before the day of Pentecost when He began dwelling in believers. 

Just because believers leave and the spirit indwells us, it doesn't mean that the spirit of God will leave the planet at the rapture. He's alive and well, and is going to continue here on earth. 

Some people have looked at 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 as the removal of the Holy Spirit from the earth.

2 Thessalonians 2:7–8 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. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. (ESV)

The Holy Spirit is currently restraining lawlessness, and that influence will be removed, allowing Satan to run wild. But the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit being removed does not mean He leaves the earth. 

So, Kelly, you can't be saved without the work of the Holy spirit through the truth of God. That is true. But the Holy Spirit will be at work during the Tribulation, drawing people to salvation through the power of God’s Word. 

Thanks for your question,

Stephen

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