2 Thess 2:7 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. NKJV
The pre-trib rapture group claims that the entire church is the restrainer because the Spirit of Jesus is in them. They say the church restrains the lawless one because of the Spirit of Jesus within them. That is why the church has to be taken out of the way prior to the tribulation.
The Spirit of Jesus that is within all believers draws all people to Himself. But there is another Spirit that influences the world in a way that curtails sin. He could be taken from the church while the church remained on earth.
Let's look at the church prior to the tribulation.
Rev 3:7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens": 8 "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name........ 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. NKJV
Rev 3: 14 "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth..............NKJV
Jesus gave the church history in chapters 2 and 3. There are probably elements of all churches in every age. And any one christian will have membership in one and maybe more of the churches. These are the last 2 listed and all believers will be in one or the other.
Whether you like it or not if Jesus calls an assembly a church it is a part of His body and part of the redeemed. Those believers in Laodicia were lukewarm but they were saved. To be vomited out of a body one has to be in the body.
John 15:26 "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning. NKJV
One function of the Helper, who comes from the Father, is to be a witness for Jesus. The Helper comes from the Father, not the son.
John 16:7 Nevertheless 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 depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: NKJV
One function of the Helper is to convict unbelievers. If His conviction is taken away the world is not convicted of sin and has no fear of judgment.
John 14:15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. NKJV
10% of the believers in most churches do 90% of the work. They are the ones who have the Helper. Which of the 2 churches in the last times do you think would have the Helper. (Hint it's the one He promised to keep from the worldwide trial) People can be without the Helper and still be true believers whereas every true believer has to have the Spirit of Jesus. The Helper is only sent to those who prove they love Jesus by doing the work that He wants done. If God called the Philadelphia church to heaven it would leave the world with no awareness of their sin and no fear of judgment.
There is not one physical church of Philadelphia or Laodicia. Every believer would fit spiritually into one of those churches. Those who are in the Laodicean church would be left behind to suffer until the end of the age.
Luke 21:34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." NKJV
Jesus was talking to His disciples in the scriptures above. He continued to warn His church to always be alert. However, in this one He explains why we should not be lukewarm believers.