The Church Age Ends

On the first Day of Pentecost after Jesus' resurrection, the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples. They then went to the Temple and preached the gospel. Three thousand persons were saved that day and began what some theologians call The Church Age. Since then billions of people have heard the gospel preached in churches and received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Accordingly, we are still living in the Church Age.

Those that subscribe to the Church Age doctrine believe that this age will end with the Rapture of the Church from the earth. The apostle Paul might have been referring to this removal in his letter to the Thessalonian Church:

"3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8)

It is possible that "he who restrains" refers to the Holy Spirit. Thus, before the wicked Antichrist can be revealed the Holy Spirit has to be removed from the earth. Since the Holy Spirit resides in the followers of Jesus Christ, they too must be removed by the Rapture from the earth. Then the Tribulation Period can start and the Antichrist can come to power.

This would mean the end of the Church Age. However, if the Rapture does not occur at the beginning of the Tribulation then the Church Age would continue. The Tribulation Period may begin with the rise of the Antichrist or the signing of a seven-year peace treaty or the coming of Elijah. In that case I would think that the followers of Jesus would continue to meet, if not openly in churches, then clandestinely wherever they could hold their services.

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