A CHURCH SEALED AND INDWELLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT--OUR GIFT AND POSITION IN JESUS.
Do you realize that the Church has been SEALED? The Holy Spirit has SEALED us! We understand that by being SEALED, there’s special protection upon us, and a very wonderful guarantee. Let’s look at Ephesians 1:13-14.
“In Whom (Christ) you also TRUSTED, after that you HEARD THE WORD OF TRUTH, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also AFTER that YOU BELIEVED, you were SEALED with the HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE, which is THE EARNEST of OUR INHERITANCE until THE REDEMPTION of THE PURCHASED POSSESSION, unto the PRAISE of HIS GLORY.”
What does this mean?
Have you ever paid for a house, or another piece of property? In doing so, we lay down a smaller sum which is THE EARNEST, or the GUARANTEE, that the PROPERTY truly belongs to us, even BEFORE we’ve completed the remaining legal papers.
The Holy Spirit is THE EARNEST--it is He Who GUARANTEES that Jesus OWNS us (after we’ve BELIEVED and put our TRUST in Him). We are SEALED by the Holy Spirit! This means we’re Jesus’ BLOOD-BOUGHT and TOTAL possessions, and the Holy Spirit SEALS US (binding us to Jesus) until ALL the other legalities of THE REDEMPTION are completed.
What legalities? OUR FULL REDEMPTION! The COMPLETED redemption happens for us--when we cast off these MORTAL bodies to OBTAIN bodies like Jesus’ GLORIFIED ONE! The completed redemption will occur for the true Church in THE EVENT called the RAPTURE--when those remaining unto Jesus’ appearing will be INSTANTLY CHANGED to IMMORTAL (and those who died WHILE HAVING FAITH in Jesus--during the age of the Church--will be RESURRECTED--raised INCORRUPTIBLE--at that time).
We’re ALREADY Jesus’ possessions, bought and paid for by His blood! The Holy Spirit is a further GUARANTEE that NOTHING will PREVENT Jesus from OBTAINING that which He DIED for--our redeemed souls and lives. We BELONG to Jesus, NOT to this WORLD! Therefore, we will NEVER be cast into a terrible time which will test those who DWELL on the WORLD. The Holy Spirit SEALS us until the day of our redemption--when we will meet Jesus in the air in a PRE-TRIBULATION Rapture (and resurrection).
A CHURCH INDWELLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT--WHO HAS THE POWER TO RESTRAIN, AND THEREFORE MUST BE TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY.
BEFORE the Antichrist can be revealed, He Who WITHHOLDS (or restrains) will be TAKEN OUT of the way--2 Thessalonians 2:6-7. He Who RESTRAINS the revealing of the Antichrist is the Holy Spirit. When that HINDERING force is gone, THEN the Antichrist will be revealed. But WHEN?
After the “Restrainer” is removed, that evil man will have the FREEDOM to gather his power, unhindered. The Antichrist will be revealed WHEN he confirms a “peace treaty” with Israel, an ACT which BEGINS the 70th WEEK, the SEVEN-YEAR TRIBULATION (as prophesied in Daniel 9:24 to 27----and seen also in the WHITE HORSE of the FIRST JUDGMENT SEAL of Revelation 6). In order for these events to happen, the RESTRAINING ability of the Holy Spirit must be TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY.
That fact is clear now, right?
So I ask this question: “If the Holy Spirit is TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY, what happens to the Church, we who are INDWELLED by Him?” Will God RIP the HOLY SPIRIT from the HEARTS of the Church in sort of a reverse Pentecost? HEAVEN FORBID!
We are SEALED by Him! Wherever the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way (as His hindering force is REMOVED), we can BE SURE the CHURCH will GO WITH HIM! Indeed, the Holy Spirit will be lifted back to the throne of God in Heaven, and from there, He will reach out to minister to people on the earth like He did in the Old Testament.
God will NOT rip the Holy Spirit from the hearts of the true Church when He’s taken out of the way (in order for the Antichrist to be revealed when he signs the SEVEN YEAR covenant with Israel). Therefore, the true Church will be CAUGHT UP to heaven as the Holy Spirit is taken up and out of the way. It will INDEED be like Pentecost IN REVERSE, but our TRANSLATED--“changed into immortal bodies”--will rise to heaven also, as the Holy Spirit returns to God’s throne (and this event--the Pre-Trib Rapture will INCLUDE the resurrection of those who died while believing in Christ during the CHURCH AGE).
There’s STILL another FACTOR about the Holy Spirit being taken out of the way. The restraining force as provided by Him LIVES WITHIN the REGENERATED hearts of the true Church. You see, the true Church is VITALLY LINKED to Him.
That truth will be the subject of the next few paragraphs. These will show THE POWER which God has invested in us who truly believe. It’s through the FAITHFUL Church on earth that the Holy Spirit operates His RESTRAINING and HINDERING. Full evil and corruption cannot rise up as long as there is a PRAYING and BELIEVING Church on the earth!
Times may get really bad in the end, but FULL EVIL cannot come UNTIL the true Church is taken out of here!
A CHURCH INDWELLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, WITH THE POWER TO OVERCOME.
“And you shall receive POWER after that the HOLY SPIRIT is come upon you…” Acts 1:8. “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My Father’s name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” Mark 16:17-18. “These things I have spoken unto you, that IN ME you might have peace. In the world (while we minister here as THE CHURCH) you shall have tribulation (which is a “general” earthly trouble): but be of good cheer, I (Jesus) have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
Read what Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:18 about the Church. Think deeply upon this and allow the words to bury themselves into the very fiber of your being. Jesus did NOT BIRTH His church in an attitude of weakness or failure. He FILLED us with ALL we need to SUCCEED--IF ONLY we’ll BELIEVE (have unwavering confidence) in His Word and His promises! YOU SEE, WE MUST ACT UPON THESE TRUTHS IN FAITH!
Matthew 16:18--“And I say unto you, That you are Peter, and upon this ROCK will I build MY CHURCH; and the GATES OF HELL shall NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT.”
“To NOT prevail against it” means that powers of the devil will NOT be able to “stand” against, hold off or STOP the Church! The forces of evil cannot “overwhelm” or “overpower” the Church either! Instead, the Church has the POWER invested in us by the Holy Spirit, and WE ARE the ones who OVERCOME the forces of the enemy, the temptations the world, and the lures of our own sinful flesh nature.
Simply stated--The powers of evil will NOT conquer a Spirit-filled CHURCH, who TRUSTS totally in Jesus, and ACTS UPON God’s Word (by faith, unwavering)--drawing upon the power of the Holy Spirit inside us.
In verse 19, Jesus ADDS to this powerful promise, offering us a MIGHTY Holy Spirit TOOL-- prayers of BINDING and LOOSING. With powerful Holy Spirit WEAPONS like these, we can PULL DOWN STRONGHOLDS! Nothing should be IMPOSSIBLE to us! And yes! There’s scriptures to back those last two statements! Matthew 18:18. Matthew 17:20.
“For the WEAPONS of our WARFARE are NOT carnal, but MIGHTY through God to the PULLING DOWN of STRONG HOLDS”--2 Corinthians 10:4. “IF you CAN believe, ALL things ARE POSSIBLE to him THAT BELIEVES.”--Mark 9:23.
This BELIEF is one which is CENTERED upon the PROMISES of God in His Word, which is God’s WILL for us--NOT our own will. (God must be supreme in ALL things, and the works we do by FAITH and through the POWER of the Holy Spirit must always bring GLORY to Him!)
Above are just a few samplings of what BELIEVERS (in the Church) should be able to do by the POWER and MIGHT of the Holy Spirit Who lives INSIDE us. We can DEMAND that devils flee in THE NAME of JESUS, and they will. (I have lived by this and have witnessed it happening. And in humility I remember the words of Jesus. Do NOT rejoice that devils obey you--but rejoice that your name is written in heaven!)
We are given the Holy Spirit, so we can OVERCOME the WORLD, our SIN NATURE and THE DEVIL, thereby glorifying God as we live for Jesus, growing in our faith. The Holy Spirit’s power makes us OVERCOMERS, which means we GAIN THE VICTORY.
1 John 5:4-5 makes this truth ABUNDANTLY CLEAR. “For whatsoever is born of God OVERCOMES the world: and this is THE VICTORY that OVERCOMES the world, even our FAITH. Who is he that OVERCOMES the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
As if this weren’t enough, we see promises given to the OVERCOMERS in every one of the SEVEN CHURCHES of Revelation 2 and 3. By the INDWELLING POWER of the Holy Spirit, a true Church should OVERCOME in ALL things, even the ERRORS shown in some of those Revelation Churches! OVERCOMING equals VICTORY--an awesome quality shown by a Church of faith!
A CHURCH INDWELLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL NOT BE PRESENT IN THE TRIBULATION.
What INDEED will happen DURING the TRIBULATION?
Let’s consider a FACT about that coming time of judgment--for the purpose of ANSWERING these questions: What happens to SAINTS during “JACOB’S TROUBLE” when God’s wrath hits the world? What HAPPENS to those who accept Jesus as Savior during those SEVEN FINAL YEARS?
“And it was GIVEN unto him (the Antichrist) to MAKE WAR with the SAINTS, and TO OVERCOME THEM…” Revelation 13:7. “I beheld, and the same horn (the Antichrist) made war with the saints and PREVAILED AGAINST THEM.” Daniel 7:21.
The TRIBULATION SAINTS are OVERCOME by evil forces! (We understand that the Antichrist ranks at the TOP LEVEL of EVIL--stemming from that man’s utterly wicked heart, AND from THE POWER invested in him by the devil!) Will that wicked one OVERCOME the Church? According to our PROMISES, and to the POSITION given to THE CHURCH in Jesus, HEAVEN FORBID! “The gates of hell shall NOT PREVAIL AGAINST us.” Matthew 16:18.
Tribulation saints CANNOT be the true Church!!! WHY?
Because, we, the true Church, are NOT PREVAILED AGAINST or OVERCOME BY the powers of the enemy! The Holy Spirit, Who INDWELLS us--also EMPOWERS us--(as I have already made abundantly clear). It’s so that we can gain the VICTORY over EVERY FOE (the world, the flesh and the devil)! We are EQUIPPED for that victory with potent weapons of warfare--and with our ARMOR, as listed in Ephesians 6:10-18. (PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ THAT SCRIPTURE).
Pay careful attention to this--We, the true Church ARE OVERCOMERS--as we draw upon (in confidence) the INDWELLING POWER of the Holy Spirit, and the Person of Jesus Christ!
BUT the TRIBULATION SAINTS are instead OVERCOME!
The Tribulation saints are OVERCOME by the Antichrist and by the devil who fuels that man! These people CANNOT be the same as the OVERCOMING CHURCH! Do you see it? Do you understand it? I repeat: The gates of hell will NEVER overcome the true Church. Matthew 16:18.
Therefore, the true Church, made ONE with Jesus Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit, CANNOT be the saints of the Tribulation! The true Church will be TAKEN TO HEAVEN in a PRE-TRIB RAPTURE! There’s NO OTHER way to explain these details (and the apparent contradictions)!
Remember, God NEVER contradicts Himself--what He says in ONE PLACE, He will REPEAT in ANOTHER!
All praise be to Jesus! He will see to it that His blood-bought Church, Who are BORN AGAIN and full of the Holy Spirit, will NEVER be abandoned in the midst of the Tribulation. It just CANNOT happen that way and remain true to the Church’s promises.
Even so, come Lord Jesus. We long to see You face to face!