The doctrine of the Rapture of the church taking place before the Tribulation is known as the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Those of us who hold to the Pre-Trib Rapture doctrine believe that God will remove His Holy Spirit from the church at an appointed time known only to Him.
Along with the removal of the Holy Spirit—those within whom He is sealed will be removed from the earth as well:
“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, the apostle Paul describes the Holy Spirit as the One who is actively restraining—or holding back—the appearance of the Antichrist until the time of God’s choosing:
“And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 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. Then that lawless one will be revealed….” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8a).
The Holy Spirit is spoken of in connection with the restraint of evil in Genesis 6:3, John 16:7-11, and 1 John 4:4:
“Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years’” (Genesis 6:3).
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me” (John 16:7-9).
“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
God uses the number seven to represent totality or completion:
“By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Genesis 2:2).
In the same way, God defines His Holy Spirit as being complete in the seven Spirits of God:
“And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God” (Revelation 4:5).
The “seven Spirits” represent the Holy Spirit in His fullness with seven being the number of perfection and completeness. Incidentally, the number seven is found 54 times in the Book of Revelation.
The apostle John begins the Book of Revelation by describing the seven Spirits that are before the throne of God:
“John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne” (Revelation 1:4).
In Revelation 4:5—see above—John describes the seven lamps burning before the throne of God as being “the seven Spirits of God.”
God also writes letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation. He both condemns and commends certain activities, attitudes, and behavior of the different churches.
In one particular example—in His letter to the church in Ephesus—the Lord Jesus writes the following:
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place-unless you repent” (Revelation 2:1-5).
Did you catch that in verse 5? Jesus said that if the church in Ephesus did not repent—He would remove their “lampstand out of its place.”
The Lord Jesus gives no warning that the church in Ephesus would suffer any type of severe persecution akin to the Tribulation before He removes their lampstand.
Revelation 2:5 describes God’s removal of His Holy Spirit from the false and unrepentant church at the Rapture—Before the Tribulation.
No human being knows the exact date when God will choose to remove the Restrainer from the earth.
However, based upon what He Himself said all the way back in Genesis chapter 6— “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever”—and based upon the signs of our times, we can be sure that He will indeed remove His precious Holy Spirit from this earth one day very soon.