Q & A Series:  If there is no rapture, then what does Revelation 3:10 mean when Philadelphia is promised to be kept from the hour of temptation?

 

By Craig Bluemel

 

 

 

January 2007

 

Beth writes:

 

Craig,

 

Thanks for your teachings; I had a quick question about the Day of Yahweh and the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.  I actually don't know much about the rapture teaching.  If there is no rapture, then what does Revelation 3:10 mean when Philadelphia is promised to be kept from the hour of temptation?  Is there was a place of safety on earth from the hour of testing?

 

There must have been a 1st century implication, but does the Bible explain anything about this?  I appreciate any clarifications you are able to provide, knowing your physical health causes you a great deal of pain.  Thanks again for your teachings.

 

Beth

 

 

 

Craig’s Answer:

 

 

Hi Beth,

 

The believer that comes into any new doctrinal insight and changes his or her views of scripture in sync with current revelation must first count the cost.  He or she must be willing to be at odds with friends and others in the church, but at the same time seek peace and pursue it in love.  If a new doctrinal view is held to be controversial by many in the church, you can usually be certain that by others, it is considered blasphemy.  Paul wrote to the Philippian church and admonished each believer to continue walking in the standard:

 

&   Philippians 3:7-8 But those things which were profit to me, I gave up for Christ.  8 Yes truly, and I am ready to give up all things for the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, which is more than all: for whom I have undergone the loss of all things, and to me they are less than nothing, so that I may have Christ as my reward… 1985 Bible in Basic English

 

&   Philippians 3:13-16 My brothers, I do not consider myself to have grasped it fully even now.  But I do concentrate on this: I forget all that lies behind me and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal; 14 my reward the honor of my high calling by God in Christ Jesus.  15 All of us who are spiritually adult should think like this, and if at present you think otherwise, yet you will find that God will make even this clear to you.  16 It is important that we go forward in the light of such truth as we have already learned.  Phillip’s New Testament

 

The precepts that are applicable to each church in the Book of Revelation are also applicable to every believer for all ages.  No individual church in and of itself holds any elite status.  By reading the entire context of Revelation 3:10, it will help you to gain some understanding, however, you need to know some Greek to interpret verse 10. 

 

Sometimes it is best to start with explanations of what the verse does NOT mean, which is a process of deductive reasoning, a principal of logic. 

 

&   Revelation 3:8-10 ‘I know your deeds.  Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.  9 Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie — I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.  10 Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.  New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition

 

There is only one other passage in the original language of the Greek New Testament that uses the same phrase ‘from the hour,’ which is spelled in Greek ek teés hoóras.’  This Greek phrase is found in the context of John 12:23-28 below (verse 27), but it is translated differently than in Revelation 3:10, due to contextual reasons:

 

&   John 12:23-28 And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour (teés hoóras) has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.  26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there my servant will be also; if anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.  27 Now my soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ' Father, save me from this hour '(ek teés hoóras)?  But for this purpose, I came to this hour (teés hoóras)  .  28 Father, glorify Your name.”  Then a voice came out of heaven, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”  New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition

 

Jesus did not pray that his followers be removed from the hour of testing, but just the opposite.  A true disciple of Jesus must lose his life, and die to self-preservation by following in the footsteps of the Master.  Revelation 3:10 does not mean that Jesus will take believers out of this world to avoid tribulation because elsewhere in the New Testament, he promises his disciples they will endure tribulation. 

 

Jesus is commending the believers in the city of Philadelphia because they have ‘kept’ the ‘word’ of his ‘perseverance’.  Note the similarity of verse 10 (‘…have kept the word of My perseverance’) to that of verse 8 (‘… have kept My word’).  Both verses use ‘kept’ (Greek = teréo; to guard from harm or loss). 

 

The Greek term for ‘perseverance’ is hupomonē; from hupo (under) & monē (to abide; to remain), and literally, it means ‘to remain under.’  Hupomonē means ‘a bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances and is a Greek word associated with hope (1 Thessalonians 1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.’

 

Revelation 3:10 is better rendered using the literal meanings of the Greek words teréo and hupomonē as follows, ‘Because you have guarded {yourselves from spiritual loss or harm} by remaining under my word (i.e. under its authority, which comes from the Father)…’

 

The Greek word ‘hoóras’ for ‘hour’ means either the 12 hours of a day, a season, a short period, or a brief time, with a wide range of applications.  This Greek word hoóras is used oftentimes when Jesus speaks of his coming on the Day of Yahweh which is the final judgment for every person. 

 

Unlike what Pre-Tribulation Rapture advocates teach, Matthew chapter 24 uses this word in its context of the ‘hour’ that Jesus is coming for each and every person.  This is a PARALLEL CONCEPT to Revelation 3:10 (see Matthew 24 context below):

 

&   Matthew 24:36-51 {Jesus taught his disciples saying}, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.  37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,  39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.  41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.  42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 

 

&   43-47 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.  44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?  46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.  47 Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. 

 

&   48-51 But if that evil servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, 51 and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites.  There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  New King James Version

 

Notice in verse 50 that when the Son of man comes, those unprepared ‘servants’ (i.e. backslidden or hypocritical Christians) are not zapped out of their tennis shoes at the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, but rather, they shall be where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Those who have ‘kept the word’ of Jesus ‘perseverance’ will be ‘kept from’ the ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’ like those faithful believers of the church in Philadelphia.

 

Therefore, Revelation 3:10 uses hoóras as both commendation to Philadelphian believers and an exhortation to all believers to always be ready for the day they will stand before the Judge.  Below are some examples fr0om the New Testament of hoóras:

 

&   John 16:1-4 These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.  2 They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour (hoóras) is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.  3 These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me.  4 "But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour (hoóras) comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.  New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition

 

&   John 16:32-33Behold, an hour (hoóras) is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet  I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.  33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”  New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition

 

The apostle Paul worked a secular job at his trade as a tentmaker while he stayed for the first few years of his gospel preaching in Corinth.  You can read about this in Acts chapters 17-20, and learn the details of his adventures before, during, and after establishing the churches of the Corinthians.  When writing to this church in his second letter, Paul uses the IDENTICAL SPELLING found in Revelation 3:10 of the words ‘teereésoo ek’ as are used in the phrase ‘kept from’ the hour of testing.

 

&   2 Corinthians 11:9 and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept from (teereésoo ek) being a burden to you, and will continue to do so. 

 

You can easily see Paul’s intent in what is written; by using this Greek wording teereésoo ek, he means that he prevented his reputation and that of the Lord’s from being falsely accused of working for hire in the ministry.  This is also the sense conveyed in Revelation 3:10; i.e. that the Philadelphian believers were kept from the unjust accusations of the adversary Satan by patiently remaining under the same authority of God during their time of testing that Jesus also was in subjection to. 

 

Finally, the Greek word used in Revelation 3:10 for the hour of ‘testing’ is peirásai (from peirásmos).  Peirásmos means a putting to proof by experiment of good OR by experience of evil.  In other words, peirásmos of itself does not connote something evil and wrong; rather, it is an ‘experiment’ that will test the believer who patiently remains under the care and leading of Jesus during his or her trial.

 

On the flip side, peirásmos can also imply a solicitation by the devil to experience his evil while failing the test, or repeatedly yielding one’s character to the evil effects of sin during the testing hour, and then unexpectedly find himself or herself standing before the Lord at his coming to them personally.

 

Below is a brief list of the many places in the New Testament that peirásmos is used, which prove beyond question that it is not something Christians should expect to be raptured away from earth to avoid.

 

&   Luke 8:13  But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation (peirásmos) fall away.  New King James Version

 

&   Luke 22:28-29 You are those who have stood by me in my trials (peirásmos).  29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me,  New International Version

 

&   Luke 22:40  On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation (peirásmos)."  New International Version

 

&   Acts 20:19 Serving the Lord with all humility in tears and in the midst of adversity , affliction and trials (peirásmos) which befell me.  Amplified Bible

 

&   1 Corinthians 10:13-14 No temptation (peirásmos) has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (peirásmos) will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.  14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.  New American Standard Bible

 

&   1 Timothy 6:9-10 People who want to get rich fall into temptation (peirásmos) and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  New International Version

 

&   Hebrews 3:7-8 So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing (peirásmos) in the desert.  New International Version

 

&   1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials (peirásmos), 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested (peirásmos) by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition

 

&   1 Peter 4:12-16 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing (peirásmos), as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.  New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition

 

&   2 Peter 2:9-10 Now if [all these things are true, then be sure] the Lord knows how to rescue the godly out of temptations (peirásmos) and trials, and how to keep the ungodly under chastisement until the day of judgment and doom,  10 And particularly those who walk after the flesh and indulge in the lust of polluting passion and scorn and despise authority.  Amplified Bible

 

&   James 1:2 Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort (peirásmos) or fall into various temptations (peirásmos). Amplified Bible

 

&   James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial (peirásmos), because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.  New International Version

 

In summarizing and closing, read the portions of the text from John chapter 12, which depict Jesus’ intercessory prayer for his disciples that keep his word, which is the word that he received from the Father and passed onto them.

 

&   John 17:1-2, 6-8, 11-12 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour (hoóras) has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,  2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life…6 I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept (teréo) Your word.  7 Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You;  8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them11 I am no longer in the world; and yet  they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep (teréo)  them in Your name, the name  which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.  12 While I was with them, I was keeping (teréo)  them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded (teréo) them.  15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep (teréo) them from the evil one .” New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition

 

In closing, I’ll leave with with yet another proof of the absurdity and futility of trying to escape from trials when God’s word commands us to endure, persevere, and overcome in them.  In heaven presently, Jesus says to all true Philadelphia believers these words below in Revelation 3:12

 

&   Revelation 3:12.‘He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.  New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition

 

Selah…take time to reflect

 

 

Craig Bluemel

The Bible Answer Stand Ministry

1 Peter 3:15 Always be ready to give reasonable justification to anyone who asks you for an explanation of the hope that is within you,  but do it considerately and courteously.

 

 

 


 

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