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A hymn I often hear is "Prepare to Meet Thy God," which has the following verse:

If you spurn the invitation

Till the Spirit shall depart,

Then you’ll see your sad condition,

Unprepared to meet thy God.

What does it mean to say "the [Holy] Spirit shall depart"? Does it pertain to Revelation 22:17, in which the Spirit and the Bride say, "Come"?

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  • Why do you think it's the Holy Spirit and not an individual's spirit (which may or may not be distinct from their soul)
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 15:13
  • Isn't the departure of one's spirit simply a euphemism for dying? As in "he gave up the ghost"? If so, it simply means rejecting the offer of salvation until you die and it's too late. Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 15:54
  • @RayButterworth That's an interesting thought, which would make more sense to me. Of course, the version from which I quoted capitalizes "Spirit," suggesting it's the Holy Spirit.
    – The Editor
    Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 14:58

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The hymn in question is based on Amos 4:12, where God warns the nation of Israel that they have not returned to him, therefore, they will need to "prepare to meet thy God, O Israel".

This cannot pertain to Rev.22:27, which is an invitation to those who have already gained access to the heavenly Jerusalem, where there is symbolic waters of life, and fruit from the Tree of Life. All those allowed in are invited to partake freely of the water of life.

Amos 4 is addressing those in real danger of being cast out by God, while they are on earth. This does not indicate any connection with Rev.22:17.

However, there is another Old Testament warning similar to that in Amos, which is more clear about 'spirit'. It shows the need to seek the Lord while he may be found, indicating that a time will come when he will not be found. A couple of chapters on comes this statement from God:

"I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth, for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made." Isaiah 55:6 & 57:15-16 A.V.

I'm not prepared to comment on what the lyricist of that hymn meant by the Spirit departing. I've looked at all the verses, and the chorus, and the theology is not really clear. But by sticking to what the scriptures state, it seems that God's Spirit deals with man's spirit, to draw sinners to repentance and faith in God. When that happens, they are prepared to meet their God because God has saved them. There is another place in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 4:17-22) where the name Ichabod was given to a new-born baby as his mother died, because she knew that the glory had departed from Israel that very day. The glory of God was withdrawn by God.

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    Up-voted +1. I am also reminded that David 'wist not that the Lord had departed from him' at a certain stage in his life. 1 Samuel 16:14.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 19:02

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