April 21, 2016

Revelation 3:10 and the pre-trib rapture

by Jesse Johnson

While there are several verses that are strong arguments for the pre-tribulational rapture, Revelation 3:10 is one of the most persuasive. In it, every single phrase (and word!) points to God’s plan to remove his church from the earth before the seven-year tribulation.

I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth (Revelation 3:10).

“I will keep you”

The subject of the promise in this verse is Jesus, and the object is the “you,” in this case: his beleaguered and persecuted church. The content of the promise is that he will “keep” them. That word translated keep means to “reserve, preserve, guard.”

It is the word used by the wedding guests when they say they are surprised by the host because he has kept the good wine until last. It is the word Jesus uses in his prayer in John 17:11 (Father, keep them in your name”). When Paul appealed his arrest, the king “ordered him to be kept in custody” until he was sent to Cesar (Acts 25:21). It is also used of keeping your virgin daughter (1 Cor 7:37), keeping the commandment of God (1 Tim 6:14), keeping the faith (2 Tim 4:7), and of the fact that God reserves our inheritance for us in heaven (1 Peter 1:4). In all these cases the idea is that the object is kept close to the person doing the guarding, so that nothing bad can happen to it.

Moreover, this word is used of the guards by Jesus’ tomb (keeping watch over the body, Matt 27:36), and by Luke to describe Peter being kept in prison (Acts 12:5). But in these cases the keeping is over the grave, and in the jail. In Rev 3:10, the keeping isn’t over or in, but:

From

In English, prepositions are often interchangeable. My sermon last week was about Revelation 3, in Revelation 3, on Revelation 3, out of Revelation 3, over Revelation 3, and through Revelation 3. All of these phrases mean basically the same thing.

But Greek doesn’t work like that. In Greek, prepositions are spatially related. In Revelation 3:10, the preposition (ek/from) indicates removal of the object from one location to another. The idea is that God will keep us out from:

The

The use of the article before “hour of trial” serves to show that Jesus has a specific time period in mind. In Greek, the article functions to show identity (and lack of an article shows quality). An example: if I said “a cat came to my door,” you would want the rest of the story. But if I said “the cat came to my door,” you’d wonder what you missed, because by wording it that way I’m implying that you should know what cat I’m talking about.

By using the Jesus indicates that the period of trial in mind is not generic, but known to his readers. In other words, he doesn’t mean “I’ll deliver you from the concept of trials that generally are on earth since the fall” but rather “I’ll deliver you out of this specific period of trials that you are easily able to identify.” In the context, I think the period of trial he is referencing is what comes next in Revelation (Rev 6-18).

Hour

Here the word is idiomatic, much like the English word season. If you told me that you were in a rough season of life, I wouldn’t assume you meant a literal three months. The same is true here; Jesus means that there is a period of trial that is about to come upon the earth. In other words, it is not the normal trials that churches go through (and which are described in Rev 2-3), but he has in mind a distinct future period of time.

Of trial

That distinct period of time will be known as a period of trial. This word can also mean testing or tempting. It is the word used by Jesus in the Lord’s prayer “lead us not into temptation.” It is what people who desire riches fall into (1 Tim 6:9), but also what the Lord knows how to deliver his people out of (2 Peter 2:9). Interestingly, it is the word Peter uses in 1 Peter 4:12: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing.”

That is coming

The word used here literally means “about to happen; at the point of happening.” In other words, Jesus is referencing a future period of trials. He is not talking about the trials the church is already going through, but rather a future period of trial about to be revealed to his readers.

Upon the whole earth

This future period of trial will fall upon the entire earth. While some want the world to mean “only the entire known earth” (as if that was a distinction that matters to Jesus), the point is still that this period of trial will be not be local, but will in fact be global.  The phrase is expanded at the end of verse 10 to “those who dwell on the earth.” Clearly this is not some localized municipal or national event, but rather will affect all those who live on the planet.

To try

This period of trials has an objective: to try people. This is the same word used earlier, hence the ESV (“hour of testing that is coming…to test”). The one sending the trial—God—has a goal, to expose the people that “dwell on the earth” as falling short of his standard. It’s the word used to describe how the Pharisees demanded Jesus perform a sign to prove that he was the Messiah (Mat 16:1), the same concept for which Jesus rebuked the crowds later (“Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?” 22:18).

In closer context, in Revelation 2:10 the devil was “testing” the church of Smyrna to provoke them to sin. The idea in Revelation 3:10 is that God is doing the testing to expose the lack of faith and the love of sin in the hearts of those that dwell upon the whole earth.

Who dwell upon the earth

The universality of this testing is repeated, and the repetition of it makes it even less likely that Jesus had in mind something local to Israel, Turkey, or Patmos. It refers to those who “dwell” (which means “to live/reside”) but it is interesting that Paul/Luke use the same word in Acts 17:24 to say that the Lord “does not dwell” in temples made by human hands.

When you take all of this together, Jesus is encouraging the beleaguered church by telling them that because they overcome the world and hold on to their faith until the end, he will rescue them from period of destruction about to fall on the earth, which he will describe next in the book of Revelation. This period of destruction is of course described elsewhere (e.g. Dan 9, Jer 30, Mat 24). But here in Revelation it is going to be described in detail, and so it is introduced with a reminder that God will rescue his elect across the face of the earth by removing them from the trial that is about to fall on it.

In other words, the removal of the overcomers will happen before the great tribulation.

Jesse Johnson

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Jesse is the Teaching Pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA. He also leads The Master's Seminary Washington DC location.
  • JorgTammie Cappel

    But the first 3 1/2 years of the 7 years are peaceful . Could we get raptured
    then?

    • Out of curiosity, where do you get that from?

      • JorgTammie Cappel

        I guess upon thinking of this I was taught that the anti christ with sign a peace treaty and until the set up of the abomination of desolation it will be peaceful. Ah ,Dr Bob Shelton know him?

        • Well, the second seal is “war” and the third is “famine” and fourth is killing 1/4 of the earth. This is all in Revelation 6, well before we see the lady and the dragon. Even the peace the antichrist sets up sort of demands the question “peace from what?”
          I agree that the anitChrist will bring a period of peace, that is broken by the abomination of desolation. But I don’t think that its fair to say the entire first half of the great tribulation is peaceful. After all, its called “the great tribulation.”
          Even the pre-wrath view, which sort of hinges on God’s wrath being reserved for teh second half of the trib, grants that the first half has wrath and war, but its just the anti-Christ’s wrath/war as opposed to God’s. Either way, I think Rev 3:10 applies to it. I hope that helps.

          • Rachel

            Jesse, I have heard this viewpoint/interpretation as well, I think people have said it because they do not see the 1st 3.5 years as God’s wrath being poured out but more so men pouring out their evil on the earth with God’s restraint on them lifted, and so God will remove the saints before He punishes the unbelieving world because of their unbelief and resulting sin/rebellion, because “We have not been destined to wrath” is the half verse usually quoted.

  • Jane Hildebrand

    Let me just start by saying that more than anything, I hope you’re right. I would love to leave my clothes in a pile and meet Christ in the air as the world goes dark. But allow me please to play the “what if” game.

    What if we were to enter into this tribulation period where catastrophic tragedies threaten our air, water and food? What if we are all expecting (because we have been told) that Christ would spare us this time of testing and then we find ourselves in it? We lift our heads up for redemption, but the years roll on and we are still in the dark?

    What if God would choose to test this health and wealth drenched, biblically illiterate, counterfeit spirit accepting generation that the world mocks in Hollywood films and on the nightly news? What if a weak, “expecting (demanding) to be rich and healthy” church finds themselves desperate and sick, not able to find their “breakthrough” because they’re out of seed faith money? And so for a moment there is panic…Santa has left the building.

    And so enters the rock star. The charismatic, miracle performing, pseudo-Jesus, promising the church food, protection and power (just like he did to Jesus in the desert). He sets himself up in the church, the abomination standing where it ought not, and through a counterfeit holy spirit look alike, deceives a weakened, materialistic, it’s all about me, unrepentant church who arrogantly refuses to listen to the truth, claiming that they won’t put “God in a box.” We are over-comers!

    And here stands the enduring few, yelling to the others to get away. But clearly suffering indicates God’s condemnation, not favor, or so say their wolves. And so the rock star demands the lives of these faithless apostates. “Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on.” (Rev. 14:13)

    Yes, it would be great to be spared this time of testing and I truly hope we are! But I have to wonder, what if?

    • Well, the answer to all your “what ifs” would be “in that case, Rev 3:10 doesn’t make a lot of sense. So I suppose I could turn it to you, and say it this way: “What if Revelation 3:10 doesn’t mean what it says?”
      So I’m more comfortable answering differing interpretations of Rev 3:10 than I am answering “what if its wrong?”
      IOW, do you think I missed a point in Rev 3:10?

      • Jane Hildebrand

        What I’m saying is, we know that the church of Philadelphia was undergoing severe persecution, as well as several earthquakes around this time. So is it possible that Rev. 3:10 was not to be taken as a promise to the end time church, but rather a promise to this church at this specific time in an effort to dissuade any fears or rumors that they may be entering into the foretold “time of testing”? Just a thought.

        • Got it. I’d say that all seven churches have promises attached, and in all seven of them they apply to all who are “overcomers.” It doesn’t sound convincing to me to say that “six of the promises apply to all members of the church, but Philadelphia’s promise is only to Philadelphia.” I also think that all of the promises are showing scenes that unfold later in Revelation, and that the localized earthquakes and persecution do not adaquetly meet the description of “all who dwell upon the earth” or the images in the seven seals that begin in chapter 6. I hope that helps explain why I say that.
          I’m grateful for your interaction Jane, and your comments are always thoughtful, so I hope I dont’ sound like I’m being too harsh! We can disagree on this and still fellowship on the same blog 😉

          • Jane Hildebrand

            You are in no way harsh! And I am truly grateful for the interaction. I value the opportunity to discuss these difficult subjects and appreciate the fellowship we have on the CG. Thank you for taking the time to serve us in this way.

      • BruceS

        Jesse, I am intrigued as to how you think you have _gained_ the point of Rev 3:10 by doing the sort of study you have done above. Does language work this way — by looking at each word individually? Why do evangelicals continue to think that this is what interpretation is about?

        • Alex

          I’m not Jesse, but I’ll try to venture a response until he rides in on the white horse to save the day (c’mon, that’s a little funny in an eschatology comment, right?).

          Our shared goal is to understand the author’s meaning in what he writes. We do this through language – specifically looking at semantics and syntax. Or to say this differently, we have to understand what words mean and how the relate to one another if we hope to understand what the author was trying to convey. In fact, I just did this same process in reading your comment, and I assume you are doing it with mine.

          But when it comes to Scripture, the stakes are raised. Unlike you or I, who might choose the wrong word, speak unintentionally vaguely, or even *gasp* make a mistake, the words found in Scripture are not chosen by accident. Men carried about by the Holy Spirit spoke the very words of God (2 Pet 1:21). So, semantically and syntactically speaking, the individual words matter a great deal in Scripture.

          Additionally, we would all agree that words (by this I mean the linguistic building blocks) carry a wide range of meanings, which can be narrowed down as we examine their interactions with the words they are combined with. It seems that Jesse is appropriately looking at the individual semantic spectrum for each word and then more narrowly understanding them as he considers their interactions with the words around them. He isn’t spiraling off into the ether with some far-flung definition of a term, but rather showing how these words come together to convey the author’s intended meaning.

          In fact, Jesse seems to be showing a great degree of desire for interaction on his conclusions regarding Rev 3:10 (at least in the comment section). Although he has certainly landed his plane on the topic – I would argue, at the correct airstrip.

          So, my question to you is, how would you propose looking at language if not by understanding the individual words and their interaction with one another?

          • BruceS

            Alex. thanks for your response and the question. My answer to the question is quite simple — by context, which the piece talks about only in the last two paragraphs.
            Consider the utterance “Coffee will keep me awake”. We can study each individual word here and their interactiion with each other until the cows come home. But unless we consider the context we will not know whether the person is wanting a cup of coffee or not.
            So we need to look at more than “the individual words and their interaction” if we want to understand what the writer was intending to communicate.

    • Emma Iris Noble

      Hi, Jane (and everybody!). I’m Emma. I’m new here… just found this blog a couple of weeks ago.

      First, let me say that I am by no means a scholar on End Times issues, and I really, really hate to argue, and I’m short on time because I need to go get dinner started so that my sweet and hungry husband can get fed when he gets home from work =)

      So quickly… What you said really resonates with me, Jane. I think you’ve captured something really important here. The corruption of local churches and the persecution of the Church are issues NOW. And I’m not saying that we have to define that as being the tribulation, but I am saying that we need to be aware of the slippery slope.

      There’s a Reformed Baptist church near where I live that–despite having a typical Reformed Baptist “statement of faith” on their website–is really “out there.” When you actually talk to the church leadership, they speak about an entirely different “salvation” then what they talk about on their website. In short–and I’m trying to be vague here because I don’t want to gossip–they believe that God elects people based on their works. They have a list of certain works that they claim God approves of (and it’s a very short list). And, in short, if you do one of the items on this list, they believe that God will automatically save you. Furthermore, they believe that God is so sovereign that He’s able to do this “in secret,” meaning that the saved person won’t necessarily know that he’s saved, and could potentially go his whole life not having any interest in God and then be very surprised when He ends up in Heaven. Obviously, repentance isn’t even part of the picture in this church’s view of salvation! And yet they call themselves Reformed Baptists.

      This counterfeit Christianity is everywhere here. I have heard the most absurd things here about how one can supposedly get saved… from churches that claim to be Reformed. This is frightening on many levels… To mention just a couple: First, there are lots of people who love false doctrine and who laugh in your face if you even suggest reading the Bible in context. Second, these people who love false doctrine are persecuting genuine believers: tarnishing their reputations, threatening lawsuits against them, placing them under church discipline. Why? Because they stand up for the Gospel, saying things like, “I understand why you want to think that anyone who does XYZ would go to heaven. XYZ is a wonderful thing to do and it can be difficult to wrap our minds around the fact that people who do nice things could actually be going to hell. But the Bible says that ALL have sinned and ALL are subject to God’s wrath… etc.”

      I guess what I’m trying to say is that we do well to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that that we could be called on, at any moment, to suffer for the name of Christ. And, again, I’m not saying that I’m living through the tribulation, just that we don’t want to lapse into the mindset where we believe that God always allows us to escape intense, painful trials. And I’m NOT saying that this article is even remotely suggesting that, just that I know Christians who hold to the pre-trib rapture view who believe it to be true for unbiliblical reasons… chiefly because they believe God would never call upon them to suffer. And so they don’t prepare themselves… and that’s a really dangerous place to be in.

      • Jane Hildebrand

        Hi Emma, welcome to the CG! This is a great place to learn and interact. Glad you’re here. 🙂

        • Emma Noble

          Thanks!

      • Brett Schlee

        Is this church part of a denomination or organization that you could report this wacky works salvation to?

        • Emma Noble

          Brett, no, this particular congregation has no accountability, except to God directly, of course. They refer to themselves as Reformed Baptist and claim (on their website) to hold to traditional Reformed Baptist beliefs, but they’re not part of any larger organization. They’re independent, I guess you could say.

          That example is definitely the worst “church” here that I’m aware of, but it’s becoming very commonplace for Reformed churches here to stray into very strange ideas. I’ve seen a few people who I genuinely believed to be saved slip into serious doctrinal errors…

          But what really gets me is that even those who aren’t in error are so complacent about all of this. It’s like hardly anyone is actually concerned that false teaching is abounding in the churches here. I just hope and pray that I never become that way… that I remember that even if God brings His people home before THE tribulation that this isn’t some across-the-board guarantee that Christians won’t be called to endure tribulation and trials.

          So many of the people I know have this attitude that everything is okay and that Jesus will come back before anything too bad happens. They hold onto this ridiculous idea that false teaching won’t happen until the tribulation is here, so that they can just blindly believe everything they hear. But I look around and I see that bad stuff is happening now… false teaching is happening now. No, it may very well not be THE tribulation, but that doesn’t mean that I can just sit around and say, “Oh, well, I’ll be in Heaven soon enough… no point bothering myself with any of this.” And yet, that’s what so many people are doing. They’re just so sure that God would never make them suffer or never allow them to be exposed to false teaching, that they walk around with their heads in the clouds. If they would actually stand up the Gospel, I can guarantee they’d experience some suffering… at least in this town.

          And I’m rambling again… I need to stop.

    • Archepoimen follower

      Jane,
      The idea that if you don’t accept the authors understanding of Rev 3:10, then it doesn’t mean what it says is ludicrous! Many solid bible teachers have and continue to hold to plenary inspiration without holding the authors understanding.
      Your questioning the possibility of our facing tribulation has much biblical support throughout the scriptures. The best answer is for us to live as Jesus lived and to be focused on the heavenly realm so that even if we face martyrdom we are ready.

      Tim

      • Jane Hildebrand

        Thank you, Tim. Eschatology is one of those subjects I believe we need to approach not just humbly, but with the wisdom of what our position may produce if it is wrong. In other words, I would rather be joyfully surprised at a pre-trib rapture than disillusioned and frightened as to why we’re still here when we were assured that we wouldn’t be. So either way, I plan to remain watchful and prayerful, trusting that His plan is perfect.

        • Emma Noble

          I agree!

      • Fibber MaGee

        Tim,
        Can you explain to me what plenary inspiration is? I did investigate, but there were differences in the explanations. Who are the solid bible teachers?
        Thanks

        • Archepoimen follower

          Hey Fibber,
          . The idea is that all of the words of scripture are inspired and that we can count on their truthfulness. In this case, I used plenary as shorthand to convey that just because someone disagrees with the authors interpretation, they do not automatically ignore what the verse says. Context, language, syntax and a variety of other things are involved in interpretation. Certainly, the author is free to allow his eschatology to impact his understanding of this verse, but to claim all others who do not hold to his interpretation do not hold to literal interpretation is inaccurate.

          Carson, Stott, Beale, Hanegraff come to mind. There are many more to include some reformed believers, which I am.

          Long winded answer to a short question.

          Tim

          • Fibber MaGee

            That’s what I thought it meant, thanks for the clarification. One more question, why do you assume that Jesse’s exegesis is based on his eschatogy and not the other way around?

          • Archepoimen follower

            Yeah Fibber, that comment probably is more assumption than fact! Thanks for holding me accountable.

            Tim

  • calebkolstad

    Thanks for the article.

  • Nirman Pradhan

    We are living in the end times and must be ready for persecution. The real question is whether Antichrist will rule the whole World or not?

    http://www.saveandrevive.com/end-time-signs-spiritual-revival/

  • johntjeff

    My bibliography of sources both pro and con on the significance of Revelation 3:10 for the necessity of a pretribulational rapture is below.

    The page numbers for the journal articles are from the Galaxie Software online editions and may not correspond exactly to the print edition in every case. PDF files are available for all of the journal articles listed below. Sources that are in my opinion the most significant are marked with an asterisk.

    1. Pro: The sources below present Revelation 3:10 as teaching the necessity of a pretribulational rapture.

    Thomas R. Edgar, “Robert H. Gundry and Revelation 3:10,” Grace Theological Journal 3:1 (Spring 1982), pp. 19-49.

    Keith H. Essex, “The Rapture and the Book of Revelation,” Masters Seminary Journal 13:2 (Fall 2002), pp. 215-239.

    * Paul D. Feinberg, “The Case for the Pretribulation Rapture Position,” in The Rapture: Pre-, Mid-, or Post-Tribulational?, by Richard D. Reiter, Paul D. Feinberg, Gleason L. Archer, and Douglas J. Moo (Grand Rapids: Academie Books, 1984), pp. 63-72.

    William K. Harrison, “The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Scriptures Part IV: The Time of the Rapture in the Revelation,” Bibliotheca Sacra 115:459 (Jul 1958), pp. 201-211.

    A. Boyd Luter and Emily K. Hunter, “The “Earth Dwellers” and the “Heaven Dwellers”: An Overlooked Interpretive Key to the Apocalypse,” Faith and Mission 20:1 (Fall 2002), pp. 3-15.

    Richard Mayhue, “Why a Pretribulation Rapture?,” in Christ’s Prophetic Plans, gen. eds. John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue (Chicago: Moody Press, 2012), pp. 94-96, 98.

    John Niemelä, “For You Have Kept My Word: The Grammar of Revelation 3:10,” Chafer Theological Seminary Journal 6:1 (Jan 2000), pp. 14-38; and “For You Have Kept My Word: The Theology of Revelation 3:10 (Part 2 of 2)”, Chafer Theological Seminary Journal 6:4 (Oct 2000), pp. 52-67.

    * Gerald B. Stanton, Kept From The Hour: Biblical Evidence for the Pretribulational Return of Christ, 4th ed. (Miami Springs, FL: Schoettle Publishing Co., Inc., 1991; London: Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1958, 1964; Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1956); on Rapture Ready at http://www.raptureready.com/resource/stanton/k2.htm [accessed 16 JUL 2012]; and Rapture Forums at http://raptureforums.com/GeraldStanton/stanton2.cfm [accessed 16 JUL 2012]; Ch. 2: “Not Appointed Unto Wrath.”

    Michael J. Svigel, “The Apocalypse Of John And The Rapture Of The Church: A Reevaluation,” Trinity Journal 22:1 (Spring 2001), pp. 23-74.

    * Jeffery L. Townsend, “The Rapture in Revelation 3:10,” Bibliotheca Sacra 137:547 (July 1980), pp. 252-263.

    David G. Winfrey, “The Great Tribulation: Kept “Out Of” Or “Through”?” Grace Theological Journal 3:1 (Spring 1982), pp. 3-18.
    ________________________________________________________________

    2. Contra: The sources below do not see evidence in Revelation 3:10 for the necessity of a pretribulational rapture.

    Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, eds. G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), pg. 1097.

    G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011), pp. 209-210.

    G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God, New Studies in Biblical Theology 17, series ed. D. A. Carson (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), pg. 250, note 10.

    Craig L. Blomberg, “The Posttribulationalism of the New Testament: Leaving “Left Behind” Behind,” in A Case for Historic Premillennialism: An Alternative to “Left Behind” Eschatology, eds. Craig L. Blomberg and Sung Wook Chung, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009), pp. 81-82.

    Wilfrid C. Meloon, “Pre-Tribulation Proof Texts Examined: Revelation 3:10”, on PB Ministries at http://www.pbministries.org/Newsletter/2000/Jan/meloon01_01.htm [accessed 16 MAR 2014].

    J. Barton Payne, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy: The Complete Guide to Scriptural Predictions and Their Fulfillment (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1973), pp. 102, note 187, 606, including note 71.

    J. Barton Payne, The Imminent Appearing of Christ (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962), pp. 77-79.

    Eckhard Schnabel, 40 Questions about The End Times, series ed. Benjamin L. Merkle (Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2011), pg.55.

    Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria,

    John T. “Jack” Jeffery
    Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
    Greentown, PA
    16 JUL 2012
    Revised:
    16 MAR 2014
    21 APR 2016

  • Ber

    I think you hit on a key point in your reply to Jane when you say,

    ‘So I suppose I could turn it to you, and say it this way: “What if Revelation 3:10 doesn’t mean what it says?”‘

    I’m reminded of John MacArthur’s message(s) on Why Every Calvinist Should be a Premillenialist; he made the point that a) these things hinge on the hermeneutic used to arrive at a particular conclusion, and b) we shouldn’t “change the rules midstream” when it comes to passages such as these without Biblical warrant to do so.

    With that in mind, could you maybe offer some expanding thoughts (and/or point to some good resources) on differing interpretations on Revelation 3:10, particularly with regards to the view the historical premillenial view?

    • Jane Hildebrand

      Just to clarify, I wasn’t implying that Rev. 3:10 “doesn’t mean what it says”.
      I was simply suggesting that it was directed at the church of Philadelphia at that time, not a promise to the end time church.

  • csquared78

    Sorry, not convinced this passage addresses a pre-trib rapture. I think the case for amillinealism is stronger.

    • Jerod

      So you’re not going to interact with any of his explicit grammatical and theological points? Just a de facto, “I don’t think it is, so it’s not”? No reasons supplied as to why Amillennialism is stronger?
      Also, you perpetuate the mistaken notion that Premillennialism is held together only by the Rapture–it is not. It is held together by hermeneutics that deal honestly and at face value with the author’s intended meaning of the text–especially Old Testament promises and Covenants.
      Can you supply explicit textual reasons why God is not going to fulfill His eternal, unconditional promises to Israel? Can you truly supply texts that explicitly teach the Covenant of Works and Redemption? Can you supply texts that disprove a literal, physical Millennial kingdom on this planet?
      Honestly, I find that my comrades who are Amil are Amil not because the text brings them to that conclusion, but because they simply want to believe it. Which is what your brief post reveals.

      • 4Commencefiring4

        Let me try.

        Question: What is the Bible the story of? Dispensational premills essentially say that the Bible is the story of a nation called Israel and God’s dealing with them over time. Non-DPs would say the Bible is the story of man’s fall and redemption. That may be somewhat oversimplified, but essentially true.

        And that difference is highlighted by the fact that DP theology can’t seem to let go of their fixation on a nation and instead see that God has always been about a lot more than merely a nation and a people. He’s been about the human race and our collective state of sin. We all fell as His created beings, and He’s redeeming us–some of us–as a demonstration of His grace and love for us, whether Jew or Gentile. He’s focused on our eternal salvation, the calling out of a people for His own possession who will be with Him eternally, not future real estate grants for Jews, or mistaken peace treaties with evil leaders. That’s all small ball.

        The future isn’t about what’s happening in or with a nation; it’s about what’s happening with God’s program to redeem us and eventually remake the whole world once again into a victorious place of sinless peace and eternal fulfillment.

        But to hear some tell it, God has two completely separate salvation paths: one for the Jews, and another for the rest of us; that the Church, the very Body of Christ, was all simply a Plan B–a “parenthesis” in God’s real intended salvation program–after Israel rejected their Messiah; and to confuse the two paths is a violation of the worst kind. Under DP, there are separate judgments, separate resurrections, separate outreaches, separate this and separate that.

        But the NT says, in several places, that Christ is coming again–not two more times–and it will be Judgment Day for the whole world. The End. Wrap it up and put a bow on it. It’s on to the Eternal State and everlasting fellowship with the One who redeemed us. No more death, no more Satan, no more battles, no more old regime. Certainly no waiting another 1,000 years. Our redeemer has conquered our old adversary and accuser, and he is dispatched to the lake of fire forever.

        Doesn’t that sound a lot better than having to get through another 10 centuries of partial victory, where death and sin still hang on and haunt us, and where Satan is still in the on-deck circle waiting for his last fight? To be still fixated on Israel is to have that to look forward to. I prefer a totally victorious Savior who, when He comes, is done with His enemies, done with death, done with sin, done with competition for domination, and is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

        • Fibber MaGee

          You just made Jerod’s point.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            Read Matthew 25 and tell me where and how there’s actually a 1,000 years crammed into the time between “When the Son of man comes” and when He sits and judges “the nations” and sends them to their respective eternal destinies: eternal life and eternal punishment.

            That’ll be some hat trick.

          • Jerod

            4Commencefiring4,

            Your refutation of Premillennialism had all of the same worn out misrepresentations and unfair caricatures that most of my Cov Theo comrades recycle as well.

            For instance, the “two plans” or “paths.” Nope. DP doesn’t actually teach that. “Plan B”? Not even close.

            You say: “Doesn’t that sound a lot better than having to get through another 10 centuries of partial victory, where death and sin still hang on and haunt us, and where Satan is still in the on-deck circle waiting for his last fight?”
            Well, I suppose, but the question is not: “What sounds better”, but, what does the text say? And also, sure, the Millennial kingdom sounds bad when you put it in such pejorative terms all designed to make it sound so ridiculous that it can’t possibly be true. When you slant someone else’s position with a mocking “tone” like that, it’s a bit of a straw man, don’t you think?
            Bottom line, Cov Theo is a good system, but it is an artificial framework superimposed over the text of Scripture, with verses arbitrarily pasted in to make the system work. It does not account for the glorious plan of salvation described in Scripture which unfolds through eternal, unconditional and irrevocable Covenants (I.e., Abrahamic, 12:1-3; 17:1-8; Davidic; 2 Samuel 7:9-16; Jeremiah 33:14-26 and the New, Ezekiel 36:24-26; Jeremiah 31:31-40).
            Can you please deal with these texts and explain to me why they were not in your plan of salvation as you described it? Can you please account for the irrevocable nature of these Covenants?
            That would be quite a hat trick indeed.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            I know it’s Kryptonite to DPs, but if you can accept the notion that Israel and the OT ceremonial law were a type of NT truths, it makes it a lot easier to understand which way the hole slopes.

            For instance, notice carefully the Abrahamic Covenant. There are actually two kinds of promises there: one to the seed of Abraham (12:7), and a very different one to Abraham AND his seed (17:8). The latter carried an important modifier that the first didn’t: it was to be an “everlasting possession.” The first promise, to his seed, was fulfilled–see Joshua 21:43–45. It says all the promises He had made to the house of Israel came to pass. Done and done. That was temporal, and temporary. But they lost the lease through their disobedience and got themselves expelled. Another story.

            But the second promise is eternal. Abraham died, so he will see it fulfilled when he is raised at the end of time. What he will inherit will be what all believers (called “Abraham’s seed” in the NT) also will inherit–the eternal land of the New Earth. The meek shall inherit the Earth, as Jesus said. Not this present sin-cursed Earth; the new one.

            Davidic? God promised to establish the throne of David FOREVER. Is 1,000 years “forever”? No. Christ is the fulfillment of that. And He will reign FOREVER.

            New Covenant? Jesus instituted that through His blood. Remember? That promise is in effect right now.

            So Israel isn’t owed anything by God now. He offers them salvation, as He does all of us. They don’t get second and third chances; they get the same Gospel offer we all do. Take it or perish.

            Bottom line: There’s one Body of Christ, one salvation offered to all men, Jew or Gentile; that Body was God’s eternal purpose since the fall. His promises to the people of God in the OT are fulfilled in the New Covenant offer in His own blood of life eternal. We don’t go from the type (OT), to the anti-type (NT), back to the type again–which is what millennialism does with temple sacrifices and all. That would stand redemption on its head.

          • Jane Hildebrand

            4C4, since I am still new to what the different positions of DP’s, covenant theology, Amil’s even are, what are you? I tend to agree with much of your thought.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            I was saved in college back in 1970, primarily after hearing a cassette tape of Hal Lindsay speaking on this subject that my roommate left out on his desk one weekend and I listened to out of sheer curiosity. If you’re old enough, you will know that Lindsay was the guru of the “end times” talk that was so common back then with his “Late Great Planet Earth” tome. It was a huge hit among the Jesus crowd, a community I hadn’t yet joined, and I soaked it in like so many others.

            Whatever else I could say about it, it did serve to bring me to Christ, so I’ve got that goin’ for me. Needless to say, I came to faith under the premill teaching of Lindsay, a teaching with which many popular authors and conference speakers agreed wholeheartedly. My new Navigator and CCC friends on campus did, as well. There was no other game in town, so what did I know? That’s what they believed; that’s what I believed.

            We had coffee and chatted anxiously of Christ’s likely return in our lifetimes, that the anti-christ was probably alive and walking around as a child somewhere in the Middle East, that Europe was going to form a 10-nation confederacy (probably the Common Market) that would be the revived Roman Empire the anti-christ would use to take over the world, that the Soviet Union was going to invade Israel and be soundly defeated, that when the rapture came, airplanes would crash, cars would drive off the road, clothes would be left in piles, and everyone who remained on Earth would wonder what happened to millions of people who were there one moment and gone the next.

            But then a strange thing began to happen. I noticed that much of what I thought the future held–according to this school of thought–I couldn’t find in the Bible. I could find it in Scofield’s notes, yes, but the NT was strangely scrubbed of much of it. Where was a description of a world of confusion left by the disappearance of millions of people? Where did it say Christ was returning TWO more times? I could only find references to things like “at the revelation of Christ”, “when the Son of man comes”, “at His appearing”, etc. I couldn’t find any “secret” coming that would be followed seven years later by a “visible” one. He was coming again, and that was it. Peter said we are looking for a new heaven and new earth where righteousness dwelt. Not a millennium.

            Speaking of which, why did the ONLY place in all of the Bible that actually cites this 1,000 year period–which was supposed to be the Lord’s fulfillment of promises to Israel–not mention anything about Israel, the Abrahamic or Davidic Covenants, a restored ceremonial law with animal sacrifices, global peace, the kingdom, a temple, Jerusalem…anything. It just said SOULS of believers lived and reigned with Him 1,000 years, Satan was bound 1,000 years, etc. Nothing even approaching a description of the millennium all those books told me about. Shouldn’t this be where the Bible puts it all together and spells out the whys and wherefores of the millennium in all its glory? But instead we get an angel who chains up the devil, souls come to life, this or that group of people are raised, etc. World peace? Lions and lambs? Child playing with vipers? Hello? Perhaps all this Revelation language was all symbolic. After all, it’s found in a book that’s symbols from start to finish. Maybe that’s a hint?

            And I found where Scofield was a bit tricky. For instance, his note for Isa 65:17, which says, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth…” Scofield acknowledges that v 17 speaks clearly of the new earth, but then makes the rest of the passage (18–25) refer to the millennium, despite it saying “…rejoice FOREVER in that which I create…”, which was the new heavens and the new earth in the previous verse. Why does he do this? Because it makes reference to infants dying and sinners being accursed, and death and sinners aren’t part of the new earth. But there are ways of understanding that language without having to insist that the passage is dealing with two different ages.

            In any event, I began to see that the more likely understanding was that the NT didn’t repeat all this kingdom language of the OT because it was fulfilled by the church, which was the whole point of the redemption story from the very beginning. It was never about a nation. It was about a people–God’s people. His Body, the Body of Christ. Not land, not thrones, not the Jews, and not the Gentiles. A redeemed race, a royal priesthood, a people for God’s own possession. Us. You and me.

            That’s why Gal 6:16 uses the term “the Israel of God” to refer to ALL those who are the company of the redeemed, not just Jews. We–all believers–are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to promise. We get the promises, not a nation. We ARE that nation.

            So no, I’m not expecting a 1,000 year period after Christ comes where Israel has a special place in a kingdom and the Gentiles are somewhere on a back-burner. That’s just not in the NT anywhere. As Peter said, I’m looking for a new heaven and a new earth. When? Beats me.

          • Jane Hildebrand

            Thanks for that explanation, 4C4. I love hearing people’s stories! I remember RC Sproul saying something to the effect that if everyone just read the Bible alone, they would never come to the dispensational position.

            So tell me, what position is this identified as? Covenant?

          • 4Commencefiring4

            Well, since it doesn’t look for a literal 1,000 year age to come, it’s basically Amill. But, like the unlimited options Rolls Royce gives its buyers, one might prefer a host of flavors and variations in this or that in one’s eschatology. Frankly, I think we spend far too much time and energy debating all this (as I’ve just done, don’t ya know), and we should all just take a chill pill and let God play out His hand as He sees fit. We’re not going to change anything, but I suppose all Bible study benefits us to one degree or another.

            In the meantime, will Hillary be indicted? That’s all I want to know.

          • Jane Hildebrand

            Lol, can’t answer the Hillary question, but I wholeheartedly agree that we expend a lot of energy on debating all this. Kinda fun though.

            I have to say I was unaware of how many differing positions there are! I know after reading the Bible (and being saved in it) I heard my pastor talk about a pre-trib rapture and I was like, wait, what? Two returns? Wait. You mean the unbelievers left behind become believers and have to immediately be tested and martyred? Why? How does that even work?

            Anyway, I still don’t know what box I fit it and since I spend more time looking up definitions of what means what, I will rest in the fact that God has it all in control. No doubt He has some surprises and mysteries yet to reveal. 🙂

          • 4Commencefiring4

            I wish we’d all just forget boxes anyhow. Many churches, unfortunately, use them to exclude those who don’t check off all the same boxes on the spiritual survey as the officials of that church do, and hence lose the input (and money) of those who might have been of value to them.

            I’m not saying admit out-and-out heretics to fellowship, but for some, if you don’t immerse–or if you don’t sprinkle–you’re not worth spitting on. I know of one pastor who excluded anyone from his church who wouldn’t use the KJV, and then was surprised when they voted him out.

            Oh, well. Carry on.

          • Jane Hildebrand

            Ah yes, pride will always seek to divide. As Augustine said, “It was pride that changed angels into devils. It is humility that makes men as angels.”

          • Matthew

            Hillary indicted, doubtful. And you are absolutely right about Christians spending time arguing, way to much time. Sola Eschatology?
            http://www.gotquestions.org/Christians-arguing.html

          • Fibber MaGee

            I don’t see a time constraint in Matt 25. Maybe you could explain it to me. Revelation 20 seems pretty clear to me regarding the millennium. Dispensationalism (in my case) is not a fixation on a nation, but rather an understanding of God’s sovereign election. So really, the burdon of proof is on you to show why the Abrahamic, Davidic, and the New covenants are no longer in effect.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            If your Bible, in Matt 25, says what it seems to say, it’s pretty clear how it’s all going down:
            “When the Son of man comes, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
            And after 1,000 more years pass, during which Israel will get an inheritance of land that was supposed to be an everlasting possession, not just for 1,000 years (but who’s counting), THEN the nations will be gathered before Him. And He will separate them…”

            Is that what yours says? Because mine says the gathering and separation of the nations of the world pretty much follow immediately on the heels of the “coming of the Son of man” when He “sits on His glorious throne” to judge them and send each group into their respective eternal destinies–the wicked into “eternal punishment” and the righteous into “eternal life”, which isn’t the same as the millennium.

            All this happens “when the Son of man comes and all the angels with Him”, which sounds pretty much exactly like what He describes in the prior chapter (24:29-31) which is “immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days…” when He comes in the clouds of the sky with His angels.

            So, call me nuts, but that all sounds to me–when you sum it up–like He’s coming back openly in the clouds of the sky, with His angels, He will sit on His throne, and then immediately proceed to judge the world and issue final destination passes.

            If you can find somewhere in that clear sequence for the passage of 1,000 years of more Earth history–the amount of time from AD 1016 to today, then I give you great props, my friend. But I can’t find it.

          • Fibber MaGee

            Mine (NKJV and ironically a Sproul study bible) says what yours says except for the 1000 years and the “immediately” part. Are you saying that because the 1000 years is not mentioned in Matthew that it doesn’t exist? I see Matt 20:31 as His earthly reign. (Rev 20:4-6) Matt 25:32-46 is the judgment of the nations which is not the great white throne judgment of Rev 20:11-15. It doesn’t seem explicit to me in Matthew, however when taken with Revelation it makes sense.

            I would not call you nuts, but your language (“seems to”, “pretty much”) indicates that you’re not really convinced. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you also seem a bit cavalier towards the 1000 years. I count that 6 times in Rev 20. It seems that God thinks it is important. Perhaps I’m not fully understanding what your position is. I’m assuming you are Amil and don’t read Rev 20 in a literal way.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            Do you read most of Revelation literally? I hope not, or you’re expecting some pretty weird things to happen. When is a red dragon with a tail that can destroy 1/3 of the stars going to show up? How will a “great star” fall to the earth and manage to land on just 1/3 of the rivers of this world instead of totally obliterating the entire planet? Do you expect there’s really going to be locusts with men’s faces, long hair, and teeth like lions? What woman can be “clothed with the sun” and have “the moon beneath her feet”? Or is this all just a vision that means something entirely different?

            C’mon–this is all symbolic language. It’s not literal descriptions of anything. It’s apocalyptic literature; it’s in a class by itself. It’s painting word pictures of judgment, not telling us that stars–that we know are billions of miles from us and are billions of times our mass–can ever literally fall to earth. These are visions John had, not literal depictions of actual things that will someday come on the scene.

            As for Matthew, no–I’m not saying the 1,000 years isn’t to be expected because Matt 25 doesn’t mention it; I’m saying it’s not to be expected because–among many reasons–the flow of Matt 25 doesn’t allow for 1,000 years to pass before the judgment takes place: He returns, He sits, He judges the world, sending the wicked into eternal damnation and the righteous into eternal life. If there were a delay of ten centuries between His coming and seating, on one hand, and His judging on the other, I’d say we have a pretty significant omission here. 1,000 years ago was the year 1016 AD. Do you really think Jesus would have not mentioned an equivalent period of time in describing what He would do when He returned?

            I’m sure you’ve heard of the “gap theory” of Genesis where some claim there’s actually billions of years between Gen 1:1 and 1:2. Doesn’t appear in the text, but it’s said to be there. Most reject that idea, as they should. Well, I reject the notion that there’s actually 1,000 years that pass between “…then He will sit on His glorious throne” and “the nations will be gathered before Him.” The events of that chapter, as Jesus describes them, just don’t lend themselves to all these extra innings.

            And finally, if you look at the OT vs the NT at 30,000 feet, so to speak, you immediately realize that all the language of the OT that seemed to predict a glorious future for Israel (all the passages we’re familiar with) all but evaporate in the NT. The former is all kingdoms and possessions and temples and ruling and the gathering of God’s people, but the latter–after the Gospels–is all about our new life in Christ, the walk of the believer, growing in grace, a New Covenant, etc. Nothing about any coming Golden Age for the Jews that we were expecting from the OT.

            What happened? It’s as though the Church–the Body of Christ–became the whole focus of NT writers, and the previous talk of “kingdom” and “inheritances” and God’s people became what we all are in Christ Jesus. We–all believers, Jew an Gentile alike–are His kingdom; we are heirs of the promises and are “Abrahams’s seed”, even if we’re Gentiles. We are the royal priesthood, the people for God’s own possession. We–all believers–are the “Israel of God”, according to Gal 6:16.

            But the DP view rejects this vehemently. No, no–Israel always must mean the literal nation. We must not confuse Israel and the Church. God has an eternal plan for Israel, but a different one for the rest of the world. He has a special outreach for them, unfulfilled promises for them that don’t apply to Gentiles. He will take up with the Jews again in the future, but first He must wrap things up with the Church.

            But that’s not the NT as I read it. I see an eternal New Covenant in His blood that encompasses all believers, Jew and Gentile, something all OT promises always had in view, not land and tribes and temporary states of possession that would only last 1,000 years.

          • Fibber MaGee

            On vaca with just a phone. For anyone following this I would recommend as one of your research tools to listen to MacArthur’s series, “why every Calvinist should be premillennial”.

      • csquared78

        Jerod…read what those two “heretics” Michael Horton and RC Sproul say about this (They are not heretics, of course that is merely hyperbole). I would also look at what John Fesko has written. The response by 4Commencefiring4 lays out my argument better than I could.

      • Jason

        “Can you supply explicit textual reasons why God is not going to fulfill His eternal, unconditional promises to Israel?”

        You’re asking the same question Paul uses to introduce Romans 11, and subsequently answers himself.

        He states that Israel has been preserved in the disciples of Christ (verse 5), that the rest of the Jewish people have been “broken off” (verse 17), and that they can yet (and should more easily be) grafted back in if they have faith (verse 23).

        Verse 26 is stating that the way in which Israel is saved is by a temporary hardening of it until all the Gentiles who are elect are included (this verse should be understood the same way as 2 Peter 3:9).

        Israel would not be saved if the Gentiles were not included, because the “Israel” in mind here is all of the elect and not simply Jewish people, though those who were described as hardened were likely almost entirely Jewish (since they were the only ones who initially had even heard the promises of God’s Kingdom, being almost the exclusive focus of Jesus’s earthly ministry).

        We need to resist falling into the same error that Jesus corrects in Matthew 3:9 and remember that not all of the offspring of Abraham were children of promise (Ishmael), nor the offspring of Isaac (Esau). Instead, God chooses whom he wills (Romans 9:13).

        I don’t accept Amillennialism. I don’t think it’s wrong to consider that the ruling of Jesus could be spiritualized and that 1,000 years may simply be used in place of “a long period of time”, but what really makes me hesitate is when I realize that the first resurrection (those who will not be touched by the second death) has already occur at the establishment of that kingdom. I’m not willing to say that their “coming to life” is only in the spiritual sense, because it is associated to the second resurrection which I believe scripture makes it clear that the resurrection is bodily and because the resurrection is described as them coming to life to counter a bodily death.

        However, the divorce of our understanding of Israel and the church has lead to a lot of misunderstanding. We’re still shaking off all the paganism that Roman Catholicism has introduced to our understanding. It often helps to try to consider scripture with a Hebrew understanding more than the Roman philosophy we (in the western cultures) tend to have been raised in.

  • So nobody has a comment on the picture I used? Anyone get the joke, or only me?

    • Beland Huang

      is that 10th avenue pres in philly? good one 🙂 even better post. i thought it was very helpful. thanks jesse

      • Josh Miller

        It is 10th Pres. And a fun fact is that when James M. Boice was pastor the pew Bible was a Scofield Reference Bible.

    • Elizabeth Prata

      is it that the rapture happened and most of the people in church weren’t taken, because so many professing Western Christians are not really saved?

      • Emma Noble

        Do you mean a partial rapture, as in God took only some Christians to be with Him, OR that the rapture was complete and that those in church who are left should assume they’re not actually saved?

        • Emma Noble

          Or you’re just commenting on the photo and not serious? And I’m silly for taking you literally? =)

          • Elizabeth Prata

            Miss Emma, I was answering Mr Johnson’s question, as to whether anyone got the joke of his having chosen that particular photo. My comment was related to the sad state of affairs that since there are so many falsely professing Christians today, if we were in church and the rapture occurred, would anyone notice? (Mt 7:14, Mt 7:21)

            There is no partial rapture. ALL Christians who are truly sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 1:22) and whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be taken in the rapture and escape the wrath (Rev 3:10). There will be those who come to faith after the rapture during the Tribulation, but they will face the wrath, and most likely be martyred (Rev 20:4)

          • Emma Noble

            Thanks for clarifying what you were talking about =) I definitely don’t believe in a partial rapture… it just sounded like you might be referring to that, and I wanted to clarify before I addressed it =)

            Agreed about the sad state of affairs… not sure many would notice…

          • Elizabeth Prata

            Thank you Miss Emma for your question and kind reply.

    • Ray Adams

      The joke passed over my head. Because my head was down. I enjoyed the presentation of a great verse. Agree with its application to “the whole world” and anticipate release from this sinful & perverse generation with confident joy before that Great and Terrible day which completes God’s Judgment on the Nations. Thanks!

  • Armando Deanne Romero

    Thank you for the blog it was very informative and helpful to see the breakdown of the word’s definitions. However you make a theological leap as informed by your presuppositions of the rapture. You Make “remove” synonymous with rapture eschatology. Does “from” necessarily have to mean removed from the earth by a rapture? But you conclude that it does!

    Couldn’t God remove his people out of the trial that descends upon the earth some other way? Or rather can’t God also keep his people like Noah was kept from the global deluge? Noah too was in a different location, in the ark, safe from the flood. Lot was also kept and removed from harm’s way and judgement. The Isrealites were also kept from God’s judgement upon Egypt. If John wanted to hammer home the pre-trib rapture point why didn’t he say they would be “raptured.” He missed a perfect opportunity and could have been more pervasive! Thus killing any other view of eschatology. I am arguing for a kept from judgement through the judgement as the examples above. My thought is that the verse doesn’t seal the deal as much as the pre-trib adherents may suggest or is not as “pervasive”as initially considered. Rather one’s presuppositions must be read back into the verse to maintain a consistent eschatology of pre-tributional rapture theology. Can God also “keep” the overcomers from of His judgement in the midst of the judgement? I think Scripture has shown that He has and can!!

  • Ajit Tak

    Dear Friend, I am just curious about the rest of the Shepherds Conference 2016 videos which are not put up on YouTube. I am eager to watch them. Is it possible to find them somewhere on internet? I need help.

    • Dont’ know man. Most of them are up. I dont’ know what the hold up is on the other ones.

  • Elizabeth Prata

    In Rev 13:7 we read that “Also it [the Beast] was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation,”

    and yet in Matthew 16:18 we read “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

    The only thing that makes sense and avoids an inconsistency is that the Revelation verse is speaking of the saints and NOT the church, if they had already been raptured beforehand.

  • Gary V

    I used to be a pre-trib adherent, but after many years of study have come to the prewrath view as being the most biblical. The church will enter the Great Tribulation, which begins at the midpoint of the final seven-year period, as attested to by Jesus in Matthew 24:15 and following. Then, during those times of tribulation against the church, God will intervene to rescue His elect, the church, and will then pour out His wrath through the Day of the Lord judgments of the trumpets and bowls. The sixth seal represents the sign of the impending Day of the Lord, Rev. 7 pictures the church in heaven (the great multitude), and then the 7th seal, which unleashes the trumpet judgments, is the start of the Day of the Lord. This sequence lines up perfectly with Matt. 24, 2 Thess 1 & 2; Rev. 6-7, and others. As for Rev. 3:10, yes we are kept from the hour of testing. But who is the testing for? “Those who dwell on the earth.” This is a technical term used throughout the book of Revelation for the wicked, those who refuse to repent, those who follow the Antichrist. They will be sorely tested during the Day of the Lord’s wrath, but believers are promised deliverance from God’s wrath (but not tribulation). Check it out!

    • Jane Hildebrand

      “We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at ‘the last trumpet.’ For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. (1 Cor. 15:52)

      • 4Commencefiring4

        At the last trumpet. Very important time clue. Search the Scripture for any mention of last trumpets, and we see that there is one: a 7th trumpet–there’s no 8th–in Rev. 11:15. We read how that’s the time when “the dead” are to be judged and the saint to get their reward (v 18). So any notion that “at the last trumpet” is somehow 7 years–or 1007 years–before Judgment Day is wrong.

  • 4Commencefiring4

    If we’re going to apply the 3:10 promise to a future, very small portion of the Church–one existing in the 21st century or beyond and who represent but a fraction of all believers who have ever lived–and not to the church at Philadelphia, why not also say the same thing about other promises and/or threats that Christ makes to this and other churches? He says to another that Satan would throw some of them into prison and that they’d have tribulation ten days. But you applied that to just that church–THEY would be thrown into prison; THEY would have tribulation ten days. Not us; not a future part of the church. Them. Back then.

    To another church He said, “you have left your first love”; another was to “strengthen the things that remain”; another “tolerate[d] that woman Jezebel.” Who? Us? Or them?

    I understand the “you” in 3:10 as “you in Philadelphia”, not “you in the far distant future.” What would the church in Philadelphia care about a future church being “kept from” anything? That’s why I don’t see any sense in assigning a future tribulation period as the meaning of “hour of trial.” If the promise is to carry any significance for them, it has to mean something that affects them. They didn’t go through the tribulation, of course, but neither did anyone who lived back then–or anyone else since.

    • Lead Salad

      I agree. Also, the only other place in the NT where “kept from” (tereo ek) appears is here: I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. – John 17:15….we are NEVER promised to be kept from trials and tribulations. Spiritually protected…..ABSOLUTLEY. And I will take that…..any day, Praise God.

  • Chuck

    I must respectfully disagree. This verse (Rev. 3.10) is a promise to the faithful church for protection through the Great Tribulation. The Church will be delivered from God’s wrath (1 Thes. 1.10, 5.9, 2 Thes. 1.5-10). God’s wrath, the Day of the Lord, is never described as a trial or test upon the whole world, it is judgment; it is God’s wrath outpoured. God’s wrath comes at the end of the opening of the sixth seal (“For the great day of his wrath has come.”). The church is then raptured before the opening of the seventh seal (the great multitude from every tribe, language, nation and tongue). The entire Church (body of Christ) will go through Satan’s reign of terror but the faithful church is promised protection through the Great Tribulation because she has kept God’s word and has watched.

  • Zachary

    2 Peter 3:8

    • 4Commencefiring4

      That’s another misused verse, I would say. Some insist it means we should use it mathematically, that “1,000 years = 1 day” anywhere we encounter either one in Scripture, so therefore Rev 20 is saying Satan will be bound for a “day”, and the “days” Genesis are 1,000 years each.

      Of course, that’s all nonsense. It’s just saying that our sense of time and God’s are not the same; that He is timeless and we are creatures of time. So don’t get impatient waiting for something to happen because God isn’t wearing a watch.

      • Zachary

        Misused or misinterpreted? This verse is key to understanding the millennium spoken of in Revelation, its application has no such bearing on Genesis, as it is clearly written about judgement DAY. Applied as such, supported by 2 Peter 3:7, 2 Peter 3:9-10, one may see Peter clarifying the end as presented in Revelation to be ONE final day of judgement.

  • Heather

    Jesse,
    Thank you for your time, effort, and heart in writing this article 🙂
    And just for clarity, I consider myself neither pre-trib nor post-trib so far, but from everything I’ve read in the *English* Bible, I lean post-trib 😉
    I agree with your article and appreciate the Greek meanings, however, I can see your interpretation to mean that God will indeed keep the elect from the wrath that will come in the great Tribulation, but not by “rapturing them up”, instead by merely keeping them from it. I mean, didn’t God do that for Daniel’s friends in the fiery furnace, and when Paul got bit by a snake but God didn’t let it effect him, and even how God made Philip miraculously go from one place to another after he baptized the Ethiopian, etc…? The Bible is chock-full of examples of God’s power like these.
    In short, could it be that the Church won’t be raptured out of the earth during the Tribulation, but God will miraculously keep them from wrath since we are not appointed to wrath?

    • 4Commencefiring4

      I’m at a loss to understand the pre-trib scheme for many reasons, but one that is particularly troublesome for it is the parable of the wheat and tares. No, we can’t make parables “walk on all fours”–that is, not every single detail in a parable has to correspond to some reality. Some of it may be there to flesh out the story. But the main gist of a parable has to teach us some basic truth.

      And so, Jesus says in that parable that the wheat (the righteous) and the tares (the wicked) will be allowed to “grow together until the harvest.” And how then does He describe that “harvest”? Exactly like He described His return in the Olivet Discourse: angels are dispatched to separate out the wheat from the tares, the righteous from the wicked, the children of the kingdom from the children of wrath, etc. And what time clue is given? “Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days…” (Matt).

      So unless one is ready to posit that there will actually be TWO different dispatches of angels, TWO instances when righteous and wicked are separated, TWO different groups of wheat to be harvested (because the larger group–the church–was taken out seven years earlier), then it would seem clear that there’s to be ONE time in history when Christ is going to return and cut the deck–once and for all. If any wheat is taken out earlier, then it won’t be true that they are to “grow together until the harvest.”

  • Tim Bates

    I’m actually a full-preterist post-trib premillennialist.

    Good luck sorting that out.