Bible Question:

I have read the study of Revelation that you have sent out about salvation during the Great Tribulation I always thought there would be salvation, but I thought it was exclusively for the Jews that rejected Jesus as Messiah and not the Gentiles because that is why we preach now! How can there be salvation during the tribulation when the Holy Spirit is needed to bring conviction to a sinner? The Bible says that the Holy Spirit will no longer be here during the Great Tribulation. I thought the 144.000 bond servants would preach to only the Jews. I really enjoy this study, and want to let you know that I'm praying for it to continue till the end of the world as we know it. God Bless!

Bible Answer:

It is easy to understand why people question if  the Holy Spirit will be present and active on earth during the Tribulation. The answer is found by comparing the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament with His ministry in the New Testament.

Old Testament Ministry

The first question we need to ask is, “How did people become believers – “obtain salvation” – in the Old Testament?” Was the Holy Spirit present in the Old Testament? How did the Old Testament saints such as Enoch (Hebrews 11: 5-6), Abraham (Rom. 4:3-4), Moses (Heb. 11:24-26) and others become believers in Jesus Christ? In 1 Peter we discover that the prophets understood that Jesus was coming to rescue us from our sins.

As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things into which angels long to look. (NASB) 1 Peter 1:10-12

How did they know? Why did they believe? The answer is found in the fact that the Holy Spirit was present in the Old Testament, and He helped people to believe in Jesus Christ, their coming Messiah.

In fact, the Holy Spirit ministered during the Old Testament period in a variety of ways. The chart below provides us a glimpse.

Holy Spirit In The Old Testament

It is also important to remember that the Old Testament prophets and King David wrote scripture by the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit who came upon them and “moved” them to write (2 Pet. 1:20-21). The Holy Spirit has always been present.

. . . Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers . . . (NASB) Acts 28:25

. . . who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Thy servant, did say . . . Acts 4:25

New Testament Ministry

When Jesus was here on this planet, the Holy Spirit was still present. He ministered to Jesus in a number of ways. One of the most obvious was during the time He was in the desert when Satan tried to cause Him to sin (Matt. 4:1-11). Matthew 4:1 says the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness. Jesus also told the religious leaders that He cast out demons by the Spirit of God (Matt. 12:28). Later in His ministry He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21). In fact, His mother Mary had become pregnant by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20). What does all of this mean? The Holy Spirit has always been present and working among us.

But the ministry of the Holy Spirit changed after Jesus returned to heaven. Jesus had promised that He would send the Holy Spirit.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (NASB) John 14:26

And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. (NASB) Luke 24:49

. . . you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. (NASB) Acts 1:8

Now we must ask a key question. Why did Jesus say this if the Holy Spirit was already here? The answer is found in this next verse.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you. (NASB) Romans 8:11

The Holy Spirit now lives inside of those who believe in Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit only came “upon” an individual. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit did not remain with a person (Ps 51:11). Since Pentecost the Holy Spirit does not leave believers (Eph 4:30).

Ministry During The Tribulation

At the start of the Tribulation the Holy Spirit will no longer restrain Satan and his evil angels.

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. (NASB) 2 Thess. 2:7

The Holy Spirit is currently limiting evil. That seems hard to believe, but things will get worse during the Tribulation. The message in this passage is that He will no longer be restraining. That does not mean that men and women will not be able to become Christians. The Holy Spirit will still be at work just as He was in the Old Testament, but he will no longer be living within individual believers. He will influence them or come upon them.

Conclusion:

The book of Revelation also makes it clear that many people will become Christians. That is the message of Revelation 6:9-11; 7:4-17; and Revelation 20:4. God desires all men to believe in Jesus Christ.

. . . who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (NASB) 1 Timothy 2:4