The Vision of the

Church in Philadelphia

Part 4

 

Revelation 3:7-13

 

7.        And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

 

8.        I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

 

9.        Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

 

10.   Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

 

11.   Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

 

12.   Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

 

13.   He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. KJV


 

Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

 

Matt 25:35-36 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ NAS

 

The LITERAL TRANSLATION of Revelation 3:10 reads, “Because you guard, (from loss or injury, properly, by keeping the eye upon), and you fulfill the command to maintain, and to keep unmarried, the thoughts, reasonings, and teachings of My trials (i.e. the trials I have had to undergo, suffer, bear, have fortitude, and persevere under) with endurance; therefore, I also, will be keeping you out of the hour, or the time testing (of putting to proof by experience of evil, discipline, provocation and adversity), which is about to be coming upon the whole inhabited earth to try those dwelling on the earth.”

 

Philadelphia is comprised of God’s spiritual watchmen (and women).  The apostle Paul gave the elders from the church in Ephesus a sober warning to guard the flock of God.  He warns them to carefully observe the behavior, thoughts and speech of fellow elders, because some will become deceived, and draw away disciples after themselves.

 

·         Acts 20:27-35  ”For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.  Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.  I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.  Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.  And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build {you} up and to give {you} the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.  I have coveted no one's silver or gold or clothes.  You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my {own} needs and to the men who were with me.  In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”  (NAS)

 

The Philadelphia church is faithful to guard the words of Jesus, whether expressed in his teaching, or the thoughts and reasonings give to them by his spirit (such thoughts will never contradict the scripture). 

 

When the LITERAL TRANSLATION states that Philadelphia will, “guard from loss or injury, by keeping the eye upon,” this implies more than merely reading or studying the scriptures.  The elders of the Philadelphian church must be in tune with what is being taught throughout Christianity. 

 

Today false teachers abound, some teaching a gospel of financial prosperity, others teaching either strict legalism or extreme fanaticism.  False teachings do more than pollute Scripture; they can cause loss or injury to God’s people who imbibe such teachings. 

 

The elders who labor hard in the scriptures must keep the word of God unmarried from traditional and manmade teachings of man that run contrary to scripture.  They do this, not only in their ability to refute those who are false teachers, but also how they live their lives.  The elders of the Philadelphia church must follow the exhortation given by the apostle Paul in Acts 20:27-35

 

·         Acts 20:27-35  ”For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.  Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.  I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.  Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.  And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build {you} up and to give {you} the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.  I have coveted no one's silver or gold or clothes.  You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my {own} needs and to the men who were with me.  In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”  (NAS)

 

The elders are to guard both themselves and the flock of God.  There must be equality amongst them in order for them to guard each other and the flock.  They must be on the alert, and show by their example of hard work that it is more blessed to give than to receive.  This will be especially difficult, as they will have to walk in opposition to the selfishness of the Laodicean church.

 

Selfishness abounds in the American culture and in the churches.  It will be a difficult job for the elders of the church in Philadelphia to undo what Satan has promoted in Western society.  The best way they can teach Philadelphia to be unselfishness is through their lifestyle and example of being servants. 

 

The leaders in Philadelphia are not expected to be sinless.  However, as they share in the sufferings of Christ and bear up under them with fortitude and perseverance, they acquire the desire to do only the will of God.  As the leaders follow carefully the pattern set forth for them by the glorified Son of man, the church of Philadelphia will see and follow their example.

 

Because the Philadelphians are faithful to God by following His Son Jesus, therefore He will keep them out of the time of testing that is about to come upon the inhabited earth.  This time of testing was translated as, “the hour, or the time testing (of putting to proof by experience of evil, discipline, provocation and adversity), which is about to be coming upon the whole inhabited earth, to try those dwelling on the earth.” 

 

The hour and the time of testing are for the next church age, the lukewarm church of Laodicea.  God will discipline them for their lukewarmness by putting them “to proof.”  The means of discipline for the Laodicean church will be the experience of evil, provocation and adversity.  In other words, they will endure great persecution, most likely from the one world government that exists at that time period. 

 

This one world government is described as the “beast” in the Book of Revelation.  The one who leads the “beast” is called “antichrist,” (1 John 2:18), and as the “man of lawlessness,” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).  He is also described as the “little horn” that speaks blasphemy (Daniel 7:8; 8:9).  The antichrist will most likely be a man who is possessed by Satan himself, and he will seek to eradicate anyone who holds fast to the name of Jesus Christ. 

 

The following lists of Scriptures are passages that refer to those who are NOT part of Philadelphia, and therefore will be persecuted during the reign of the beast:

 

·         Revelation 7:13-14 And one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and from where have they come?”  And I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 13:7-10 And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.  And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, {everyone} whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.  If anyone has an ear, let him hear.  If anyone {is destined} for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 14:12-13 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.  And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Write, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them."  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I {saw} the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  (NAS)

 

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience”

 

In Revelation 3:10 and the phrase, “thou hast kept” is defined as:

 

·         Thou hast kept” = 5083 tereo (tay-reh'-o); from teros (a watch; perhaps akin to 2334); to guard (from loss or injury, properly, by keeping the eye upon; i.e. to note (a prophecy; figuratively, to fulfill a command); by implication, to detain (in custody; figuratively, to maintain); by extension, to withhold (for personal ends; figuratively, to keep unmarried): KJV-- hold fast, keep (-er), (pre-, re-) serve, watch.  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

The church in Philadelphia is very attentive to keeping the word of Jesus’ patience.  Specifically, “kept” (tereo) meaning, “to guard (from loss or injury, properly, by keeping the eye upon; i.e. to note (a prophecy; figuratively, to fulfil a command).” 

 

Believers in Philadelphia “keep” a watchful eye upon the prophecies and commands of Jesus in the scripture.  They ‘note’ and guard His commands, preventing them from injury by false teaching, or by willful disobedience.

 

Also in view is the idea of detaining in their (Philadelphia’s) custody, or maintaining the things, which Jesus has commanded them.  They keep Jesus’ word so that it is uncontaminated by the world and unmarried to the traditions of the man.  They even withhold these precious prophecies from those who would defile the word of the Lord.

 

The Greek word for “kept” is “tereo” (5083) and it is used elsewhere in scripture in this regard:

 

·         Matthew 28:19-20  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe  (tereo) all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  (NAS)

 

To “observe” all that Jesus commanded; this is tereo.  We must have a careful eye upon our lives to make certain of his calling.  Philadelphia must ‘observe’ by ‘keeping’ Jesus’ commands; they keep them as precious.  They keep His commands in their lives by remaining undefiled like Christ is undefiled.  They keep them by staying unmarried with the world and with religious tradition.  This is what ‘tereo’ implies.  :

 

·         Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed (tereo) the things, which are written in it; for the time is near.  (NAS)

 

Philadelphia must not merely hear the words of this prophecy, but they must be carefully guarding them, making special note of them, and heeding the things written in it.  Many last days Christians read Revelation intellectually; they are enamored of the events in the book, rather than carefully heeding the commandments written to them in it.

 

·         Revelation 14:12 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep (tereo) the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 22:7  “And behold, I am coming quickly.  Blessed is he who heeds (tereo) the words of the prophecy of this book.”  (NAS)

 

·         Jude 1:21 Keep (tereo) yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.  (NAS)

 

·         I John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep (tereo) His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.  (NAS)

 

·         John 14:15  “If you love me, you will keep (tereo) my commandments.”  (NAS)

 

The word “tereo” implies action along with the mental disposition.  If we love Jesus, we won’t merely guard the words of the commandments he gave; we will guard them from loss or injury.  In other words, the commandments won’t fall upon deaf ears.  To the Philadelphia church, the commands of Jesus, along with his example of living, are their pursuit.

 

·         John 2:10 And said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when {men} have drunk freely, {then} that which is poorer; you have kept (tereo) the good wine until now.”  (NAS)

 

As a man keeps careful watch over the best wine, to serve it at the appropriate time, so too, Philadelphia watches over the word of God, to present it as the ‘best’ to those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.  Like Jesus, they wait until the time is right to deliver the word of God; they are opportunistic.

 

·         John 8:55  “And you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I shall be a liar like you, but I do know Him, and keep (tereo) His word.”  (NAS)

 

To keep the word of Jesus’ perseverance, Philadelphia must come to know the Father.  To know the Father is to keep His word.  The evidence that we know God is our obedience to Him.  Much more could be said of tereo.  It is a word that is used in numerous passages, and in most cases, in relationship to keeping the commands of God.  One last example:

 

·         John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep (tereo) my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him.  He who does not love me does not keep (tereo) my words; and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me.”  (NAS)

 

“The word of my patience”

 

We learned what tereo is, and how Philadelphia must guard, with a watchful eye.  Now we will examine WHAT they are specifically commanded to “maintain a watch” over.  Jesus said they are to keep “the word of my patience.” 

 

In Rev. 3:10 and the phrase, “the word of my patience” is defined as follows:

 

·         Word” = 3056 logos (log'-os); from 3004; something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive.   (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

·         Patience” = 5281 hupomone (hoop-om-on-ay'); from 5278; cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy; 5278 hupomeno (hoop-om-en'-o); from 5259 and 3306; to stay under (behind), i.e. remain; figuratively, to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, persevere.  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

The two words “logos” and “hupomone” reveal a state of mind and heart that the man Christ Jesus maintained in his life.  It means to “remain under” the trial, and persevere in it.

 

Jesus kept his mind and heart in a position to “remain under” (i.e. – in submission to) God the Father in the trials and suffering with fortitude, perseverance, endurance, constancy, and cheerful hope for the final outcome.   Jesus could only do this because he had learned to trust in, and completely rely upon his Father in heaven for everything.

 

It was not easy for Jesus to maintain this attitude when enduring hardship, ridicule, persecution, or just the everyday pressures of life.  Even more intense was the spiritual conflict he endured.  This attitude of constancy, having set his mind to finish the race, is what Philadelphia must do by following Jesus’ example.

 

Philadelphia is to follow in Jesus’ footsteps; he is the pattern; he is our elder brother; he is a high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses, having been tempted as we are:

 

·         Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (NKJ)

 

The following is a list of scriptures that use either hupomone (remaining under) or its root word origin.  These demonstrate the kind of endurance God requires of the Philadelphia church:

 

·         Luke 8:15  “And the {seed} in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance (hupomone).  (NAS)

 

·         Luke 21:14-19  “So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.  But you will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put {some} of you to death, and you will be hated by all on account of My name.  Yet not a hair of your head will perish.  By your endurance (hupomone) you will gain your lives.”  (NAS)

 

·         Romans 5:3-4 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance (hupomone); perseverance (hupomone), character; and character, hope. (NIV)

 

·         Romans 15:3-6 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached Thee fell upon me.”  For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance (hupomone) and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  Now may the God who gives perseverance (hupomone) and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus; that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (NAS)

 

·         2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Blessed {be} the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.  But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring  (hupomone) of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are {sharers} of our comfort.  (NAS)

 

Hupomone is a Greek word adequate to illustrate Jesus’ example of patient endurance under affliction and suffering; we have him as our role model to follow.  When life gets tough, and we are down in the dumps, we only need look to Jesus. 

 

Jesus is both an example (as we see His life in scripture), and a heavenly mediator; he is a life-giving spirit, and our Parakletos called alongside to aid and counsel us..  Jesus gives us access to the Spirit of God, and there is no better time for this access than when we are afflicted.

 

·         II Thessalonians 3:5 And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness (hupomone) of Christ.  (NAS)

 

Hupomone has so many applications; it would be impractical to list them all.  This Greek word is associated with patient endurance under hardship and persecution, which fits with the context of Revelation chapter three and the message to Philadelphia.  Also, hupomone involves one’s mental and spiritual outlook and disposition in the midst of difficulty.  Keeping one’s heart and mind fixed on God and His plan, is critical to becoming part of the completed church in the Philadelphia church age.

 

In the text of 1 Corinthian chapter three, hupomone is used in association with “comfort.”  As we patiently, and steadfastly endure (that is, hold up under trials) the sufferings of this life, we become a source of comfort to others who encounter similar trials. 

 

This is particularly true in the Philadelphia church, characterized by its devotion to fixed and stable friendships.  These friendships are not the ‘fair weather’ type; they are friendships that are lasting, having weathered the severe storms of life together.  They are friendships with a close association, affection, and love.  This is what hupomone means to the Philadelphia church.

 

The next scripture using hupomone reveals the variety of difficulties one endures in Philadelphia (or any church age for that matter).  Please note that in 2 Corinthians chapter six, hupomone is necessary not only for the internal growth (maturing) of the individual, but in order that the ministry of their lives not be discredited:

 

·         2 Corinthians 6:3-10 Giving no cause for offense in anything, in order that the ministry be not discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance (hupomone), in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; {regarded} as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all...   (NAS)

 

Jesus told Philadelphia that because they “kept” the “word” of His “perseverance,” therefore He would keep them from the hour of testing.  Without patient endurance (hupomone) it is likely we won’t finish the race towards God’s eternal kingdom:

 

·         II Thessalonians 1:4-5 Therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance (hupomone) and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.  {This is} a plain indication of God's righteous judgment so that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.  (NAS)

 

The last example of hupomone is used shows it in stark contrast to the “love of money.”  Remember, Philadelphia precedes the church of Laodicea, the “lukewarm” church.  The Laodiceans are lukewarm primarily due to their pursuit of the material things. 

 

Jesus’ rebuked them, “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.  Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”  (Revelation 3:16-17; NAS)

 

Philadelphia believers do not pursue material gain as their chief ambition in life.  They are more focused on doing the will of God (i.e. - being servants, discipling others, etc.).  So, the scripture, true to its divine inspiration, confirms this:

 

·         1 Timothy 6:6-12 But godliness {actually} is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment.  For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.  And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.  But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.  But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance (hupomone) and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  (NAS)

 

“The hour of testing”

 

In Revelation 3:10 and the phrase, “I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon the entire world, to try them that dwell upon the earth,” is a reference to a specific “hour of testing” coming upon the entire world. 

 

Theologians, scholars, and eschatologists have debated the time frame of this prophecy for many years.  Some have called this “The Great Tribulation” which follows the Rapture, and others say it is a time of great tribulation which all Christians must endure (the mid-tribulation and/or post tribulation rapture view) until Jesus Christ returns at his second Coming. 

 

Most theologians who teach the Rapture believe the church (meaning all born-again Christians) will escape the Great Tribulation.  They teach if you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, this qualifies you to escape God’s wrath, and the period of global rule by a wicked world despot known as the “antichrist.” 

 

Further, it is taught that all Christians will escape the Great Tribulation time of testing because they have accepted Christ as their Savior.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Not all believers will escape the hour of testing coming upon the entire earth.  In fact, MOST Christians in America will most likely have to die as martyrs during the reign of the antichrist.

 

It is not the intent of this study to get into a debate over the Pre-Tribulation Rapture verses a Mid or Post-tribulation Rapture view.  The scripture does not use terms like “ The Rapture” or “The Great Tribulation.” 

 

Jesus did, however, promise that he would return this earth.  The Scripture says that Jesus will return at different times, and for different purposes.  On one occasion Jesus returns to take away his people from the earth, another time he returns with his glorified church to render judgment on the forces of evil (the antichrist and those who follow Lucifer).

 

Some passages of scripture indicate Jesus will return prior to the time of “testing” mentioned in Revelation 3:10.  It is at this time that Jesus appears for the purpose of taking particular believers with Him.  Jesus will snatch them from this earthly realm into his realm of spiritual monarchy.  The Greek renderings of so-called “Rapture” passages seem to indicate that the Lord Jesus will be “seizing” Christians into a spiritual dimension.

 

Perhaps the most familiar of the “Rapture” scripture passages is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18:

 

·         1Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  (KJV)

 

In the text above, Jesus is seen descending from heaven (LIT the “heavenlies”), with a shout, and both the dead (reposing ones) and the living believers are “caught up.”  It is useful in this text to consult with the Greek definitions of various terms before concluding what this event refers to:

 

·         “Caught up” is the Greek word, “harpazo” It is defined as “To seize upon, spoil, snatch away.”  In Classical Greek, another form of this word, “harpázomai” is used more often than in the NT. Literally, to seize upon with force, to rob; (differing from klépto (2813), to steal secretly). It denotes an open act of violence in contrast to cunning and secret stealing.  Though generally harpázo denotes robbery of another’s property, it is not exclusively used thus, but sometimes used generally meaning forcibly to seize upon, snatch away, or take to oneself (Matt. 13:19; John 6:15; 10:12, 28, 29; Acts 23:10; Jude 1:23). Especially used of the rapture (Acts 8:39; 2 Cor. 12:2, 4; 1 Thess. 4:17; Rev. 12:5); to use force against one (Matt. 11:12).   Deriv.: harpagem (724), robbery, plundering; harpagmós (725), robbery; hárpax (727), a rapacious person; diarpázo (1282), to seize, plunder; sunarpázo (4884), to seize or grasp with great violence. (AMG Study Bible).

 

Since harpazo for “caught up” denotes a seizing, or snatching of believers, someone must be to be doing the snatching.  The text indicates it is Jesus that is the one doing this seizing.  Since harpazo is used of a violent seizure of property (as opposed to a cunning stealing), Jesus appears to be involved in a conflict with someone, or something else.  In other words, Jesus must forcibly seize these believers from a realm or force they are held captive to.

 

The Philadelphia church is “kept from the hour of testing” coming upon the entire world, they obviously live in perilous times.  Today, there is great persecution of Christians.  The 20th century alone saw more persecution of Christians than the previous 1900 years!  Communist China and The Soviet Union account for the murder of between 60-100 million people, many of whom were faithful Christians.

 

With the advent of world government, and the antichrist sentiment being promoted (even in the free world), this persecution will intensify in the 21st century.  There will be a great oppression and aggressive attacks on the Philadelphia church, in both slave states (e.g. - China, Pakistan, Sudan, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Cuba, etc.) and in the West (USA, Europe, Canada, etc.). 

 

Those who are being martyred even as this study is being written are also a part of the Philadelphia church, and they will be the dead in Christ who are rising first. 

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16 says the dead in Christ shall “rise” first, but it does not mean they will come flying out of their graves, as popular Christian authors and theologians suppose.  The Greek word for “rise” means,  “to stand.”  The same Greek word is used of Jesus when he stood up to read on the Sabbath in Luke 4:16.  The dead in Christ shall stand up in the presence of God (figuratively speaking) to be joined with the living that Christ seizes.

 

The living ones, whom the Lord Jesus snatches away from the violent clutches of the enemy (i.e. - Satan and his wicked disciples), these will have to be taken forcefully; hence, “harpazo”; a violent seizure of property (the church), which belongs to Jesus.  This snatching, or seizing, corresponds to the Philadelphian church being kept “from” (LIT “out of”) the hour of testing, which shall come upon the entire earth. 

 

Jesus will return for the Philadelphia church who has kept the word of his perseverance, while the lukewarm Laodicean church will have to suffer complete martyrdom at the hands of antichrist forces; thus purging them of their lukewarmness, and joining them with the rest of Christ’s glorified body.

 

The Greek word for “up” in the phrase “caught up” means “into.”  It is not a directional word, but positional.  God is neither “up” not “down.”  The church is snatched “into” the air.  The Greek word for “air” is “aer” and refers to a spiritual dimension:

 

·         Ephesians 2:1-2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Greek = aer), the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  (NIV)

 

The Greek word “aer” refers to the spiritual domain where Satan is the prince of darkness, ruling his dark kingdom.  It is also where Michael and his angels are engaged in warfare against the devil.  It is the spirit realm, the unseen realm, where spiritual warfare is happening.  We don’t see this realm, but we are aware of the conflict happening there at this time:

 

·         Ephesians 6:11-12 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual {forces} of wickedness in the heavenly {places.}  (NAS)

 

The church in Philadelphia is “snatched” into the heavenly places where, at present, there is a great spiritual struggle ensuing.  Since Philadelphia is an overcomer church, and completed in Jesus, something wonderful happens in this spiritual realm when they are snatched there. 

 

Once the overcoming Philadelphia church has been joined to the Head, which is Jesus the Christ, the devil is cast down out of the heavenly realm:

 

·         Revelation 12:5, 7-8 And she gave birth to a son, a male {child} who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up (harpazo) to God and to His throne…And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon.  And the dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.  (NAS)

 

Revelation 12:5 also uses the Greek word “harpazo.”  Before quoting the text again, a brief description of it’s contents and meaning will be given.

 

As you begin to read Revelation chapter twelve, you see a picture of a pregnant woman (perhaps symbolic of the church at large) seen about to give birth to a manchild (symbolic of believers in the church of Philadelphia) during the time when the great red dragon (Satan) has seven heads (during the 7th kingdom, the antichrist world government) with ten horns (these represent 10 kings who have not yet received a kingdom; most likely referring to those globalist banking families who have given their power and authority to the beast; that is, the antichrist world government).

 

This is a graphic picture of the intensity of persecution for Philadelphia just prior to being “snatched” (harpazo) into the air (are; the spiritual realm, or the heavenlies).

 

The dragon (Satan) and his world government is financed and ruled through his pawns, globalist bankers and their agencies (e.g. – Freemasons, Club of Rome, Bilderbergers, etc.) that have schemed for centuries to rule the world. 

 

This machine of world government, with all of its evil influence, is standing before the pregnant woman in the form of a dragon, ready to devour her child (the Philadelphia church) when it is born.   As soon as the child had matured in the womb, and it is birthed (symbolizing when the Philadelphia church comes to completeness as a body), then the child is “caught”  (harpazo; “seized”) towards the throne of God.

 

Even though Revelation 12:5 uses the phrase “caught up” to refer to the snatching process, the Greek rendering does not use the Greek word “apo” for “up.”   In other words, they are not snatched “up” but “towards” the throne. 

 

The preposition “pros” is used indicating direction “toward” the throne.  This is a positional movement towards God.  Pros comes from a root word ‘pro’ indicating that which is first in rank or priority; it is a priority to Jesus to snatch his Philadelphia church out of the hour of testing coming upon the earth, and to deliver her from the clutches of Satan’s destruction through the beast.

 

After the manchild (Philadelphia) is snatched toward God’s throne, there is an immediate war in the heavenlies between Michael and his angels, and the devil and his angels.  In this particular battle, Michael prevails, and the devil and his angels are cast out of the heavenlies (where spiritual warfare was engaged previously). 

 

Now, having been cast out of the heavenly realm, because the kingdom of our Christ has come, the devil makes war on the “remnant” of the woman’s children.  This remnant of children represents the lukewarm Laodicean church that is not a part of the snatching.

 

Then the dragon devours them; that is, the church of Laodicea is martyred at the hands of Satan and his angels working in the principalities and powers on earth.  These are wicked people in positions of political, religious, and social power who overcome the remnant (Laodicean church) and kill them.

 

This is a brief description of the events you are about to read in Revelation chapter 12.  Much more comprehensive detail could be given here, but that would be an entirely different study in itself!  Now the text:

Revelation 12:1-17

1.                  And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;

2.                  and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

3.                  And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads {were} seven diadems.

4.                  And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven, and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

5.                  And she gave birth to a son, a male child who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up (harpazo) to God and to His throne.

6.                  And the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she might be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

7.                  And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war,

8.                  and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.

9.                  And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

10.              And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.

11.              "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.

12.              "For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has {only} a short time."

13.              And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male {child.}

14.              And the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, in order that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.

15.              And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood.

16.              And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth.

17.              And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.  (NAS)

 

As you can see, this text fits compatibly with 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.  There are other scriptures that picture Jesus returning for the church in Philadelphia, to keep them out of the hour of testing coming upon the entire world:

 

·         Matthew 24:36-44  “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.  For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.  For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.  Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left.  Two women {will be} grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left.  Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.  But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.  For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think {He will.}”  (NAS)

 

·         Luke 21:28-36  “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”  And He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth {leaves,} you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near.  Even so you, too, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.  Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.  Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.  But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  (NAS)

 

Note that in both of the texts above, the main warning and admonition given by Jesus to keep on the alert, being in expectation for His coming (appearing).  The church in Philadelphia has kept a watchful eye, and a careful guard retaining an attitude of perseverance. 

 

Thus, Philadelphia is like the one “taken” and not like the one “left” behind.  The church in Philadelphia is made up of believers whose hearts are not weighed down with drunkenness and the cares of this life; they are busy about the Father’s business, as their Lord Jesus also was.

 

Philadelphia is a praying church as well.  As Luke 21:36 says, they are praying in order to have strength to escape all the things about to take place.  The “things” are described throughout Luke chapter 21, and refer directly to the hour of testing (the Tribulation time) about to come upon the entire earth.  For more detail, re-read the entire chapter of Luke 21. 

 

·         The Greek words for “escape” is “ekpheugo” (ek-fyoo'-go) and means to “escape or flee out of.”  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

Thus Philadelphia prays for strength to, “escape out of all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  

 

Breakdown of the Greek key words & the application to Philadelphia

 

In Revelation 3:10 there are key words that help us understand what the text means.  Note the words that are highlighted:

 

·         Revelation 3:10 “I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

 

In this section we will use the Greek text to break down the meaning of the individual words highlighted above.

 

“Keep”

 

Jesus will “keep” Philadelphia from the hour of testing.  The Greek word for “keep” is:

 

·         Keep” = to guard (from loss or injury, properly, by keeping the eye upon, to detain (in custody; figuratively, to maintain); by extension, to withhold (for personal ends; figuratively, to keep unmarried).  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

Jesus will guard Philadelphia, by keeping a careful eye upon them.  Jesus will detain them in the heavenlies, so they are not a part of the hour of testing coming upon the entire earth.  By extension, Jesus will “withhold” Philadelphia from the great tribulation time for His own personal ends (his own desires). 

 

Jesus will keep Philadelphia from being married to the world and from being joined with the Laodicean church in that hour of testing.  Philadelphia will be married to Jesus; like a bride loves her groom; they will have a single eye.  Jesus will keep Philadelphia unmarried from the lukewarmness of self-centered and materialistic Laodicea.

 

Other scriptures using “tereo” in regards to the “keeping” power of God and Jesus Christ:

 

·         John 17:12 “While I was with them, I was keeping (tereo) them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”  (NAS)

 

·         John 17:15 “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep (tereo) them from the evil {one.}

 

·         1Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved (tereo) complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (NAS)

 

“From”

 

Jesus will guard Philadelphia “from” the hour of temptation.  The Greek word for “from” is “ek” meaning, “out of.” 

 

·         From” = 1537 ek (ek) or ex (ex); a primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence action or motion proceeds), from, out (of place, time, or cause; literal or figurative; direct or remote).  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

Picture a circle with a small dot in the center of it.  The dot begins to travel from the center of the circle outward towards on edge of the circle’s circumference.  As it reaches the edge of the circle, the dot actually passes through the outer wall of it, and arrives safely outside of the circle.  This is what the Greek word “ek” (out of) means when applied directionally. 

 

Jesus will withhold the Philadelphia church “out of” (ek) the hour of testing which is coming upon the whole world.  Just like the dot was inside the circle, and removed to the outside of it, so Jesus shall take Philadelphia from being in this inhabited earth, outside of it, to a different realm.

 

“The hour”

 

·         “Hour” = hora ^5610^, whence Lat., hora, Eng., "hour," primarily denoted any time or period, especially a season. In the NT it is used to denote (a) "a part of the day," especially a twelfth part of day or night, an "hour," e. g., <Matt. 8:13; Acts 10:3,9; 23:23; Rev. 9:15>; in <1 Cor. 15:30>, "every hour" stands for "all the time"; in some passages it expresses duration, e. g., <Matt. 20:12; 26:40; Luke 22:59>; inexactly, in such phrases as "for a season," <John 5:35; 2 Cor. 7:8>; "for an hour," <Gal. 2:5>; "for a short season," <1 Thess 2:17>, RV (KJV, "for a short time," lit., "for the time of an hour"); (b) "a period more or less extended," e. g., <1 John 2:18>, "it is the last hour," RV; (C) "a definite point of time," e. g., <Matt. 26:45>, "the hour is at hand"; <Luke 1:10; 10:21; 14:17>, lit., "at the hour of supper"; <Acts 16:18; 22:13; Rev. 3:3; 11:13; 14:7>; a point of time when an appointed action is to begin, <Rev. 14:15>; in <Rom. 13:11>, "it is high time," lit., "it is already an hour," indicating that a point of time has come later than would have been the case had responsibility been realized. In <1 Cor. 4:11>, it indicates a point of time previous to which certain circumstances have existed.  Notes: (1) In <1 Cor. 8:7>, KJV, "unto this hour," the phrase in the original is simply, "until now," as RV (2) In <Rev. 8:1>, hemioron, "half an hour" (hemi, "half," and hora), is used with hós, "about," of a period of silence in Heaven after the opening of the 7th seal, a period corresponding to the time customarily spent in silent worship in the Temple during the burning of incense.#  (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

 

The “hour” of testing denotes a specific period of time, “a point of time when an appointed action is to begin.”  Because hora has a definite article preceding it (the Greek “ho” meaning “the”), it is more than just a period of time; it is a specific period of time.   The definite article in Greek differs from English in that it places special emphasis on the noun that it precedes.  We would say it in English as, “THE point of time when action is to begin.”

 

Jesus will detain the Philadelphia church by keeping them out of the point of time when the testing (an action) is to begin.  This is not just any testing, but one that occurs at a specified point in time (an “hora”). 

 

The New Testament uses this word hora in other places to refer to a short time or season corresponding to the great tribulation, or time of trouble, from which the Philadelphia church will be spared:

 

·         Matthew 24:36-39  “But of that day and hour (hora; time period or season) no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.  For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.  For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.”  (NAS)

 

·         Matthew 24:43-44  “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.  For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour (hora; time period or season) when you do not think {He will.}  (NAS)

 

·         Matthew 25:10-13  “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.  And later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.'  But he answered and said, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.'  Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour (hora; time period or season). (NAS)

 

·         Mark 13:32-33  “But of that day or hour (hora; time period or season) no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father {alone.}  Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the {appointed} time is.”  (NAS)

 

·         Romans 13:11-12 And this {do,} knowing the time, that it is already the hour (hora; time period or season) for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.  The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  (NAS)

 

·         I John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour (hora; time period or season); and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour (hora; time period or season).  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 3:2-3 ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.  Remember therefore what you have received and heard; and keep {it,} and repent. If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour (hora; time period or season) I will come upon you.  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 9:15 And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour (hora; time period or season) and day and month and year, were released, so that they might kill a third of mankind.  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 14:7 And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour (hora; time period or season) of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 18:10 Standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour (hora; time period or season) your judgment has come.'  (NAS)

 

“Of temptation” 

 

This Greek word has a very detailed use, particularly to this specific time. It is very graphic.  Let us trace the meaning to all of its root origins:

 

·         Temptation” = 3986 peirasmos (pi-ras-mos'); from 3985; a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication, adversity; from 3985 peirazo (pi-rad'-zo); from 3984; to test (objectively), i.e. endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline; from 3984 peira (pi'-rah); from the base of 4008 (through the idea of piercing); a test, i.e. attempt, experience; from 4008 peran (per'-an); apparently accusative case of an obsolete derivative of peiro (to "pierce"); through (as adverb or preposition), i.e. across: (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

This season of temptation is actually a period of time when the believers (i.e. - the church of Laodicea) will be put to the ultimate test of their faith.  They will be forced, of necessity, to choose this world’s system, or to follow Jesus.  There will be no more room for lukewarmness.

 

All of the highlighted definitions above (under the “Hour”) could refer to this period of time, depending on how you look at it.  This will be a period of time when there is a globally run world government.  There will be tremendous pressure from religious, political, social, and military forces to conform.  This will be the hour (period of time) when the beast rules (the antichrist, symbolized by a seven headed dragon with ten horns of power).

 

At this time, people shall neither buy nor sell unless they possess the mark of the beast, or the number of his name.  The ten kings (i.e. - globalists; ruling banking families in the world, who seek domination as elite Cabbalists) give all their wealth and power, and authority into the hands of a coalition of world government, run by a global despot (known in scripture as the “man of lawlessness” and the “antichrist” and the “beast”).  This world government will control buying and selling, making people submit to their solicitation and coercion.

 

·         Revelation 17:12-13 “And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour.  These have one purpose and they give their power and authority to the beast.”  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 13:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, “Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?”

 

·         Revelation 13:14-18 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.  And there was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.  And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead, and {he provides} that no one should be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, {either} the name of the beast or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.  (NAS)

 

The Greek word for “temptation” in Revelation 3:10 is, “peirasmos,” and it indicates what God will be doing with and to the Laodicean church. 

 

God will be, “ putting to proof,” the Laodicean believers because they were unlike the Philadelphians; they did not maintain a careful watch, and were not obedient to the word of Jesus’ perseverance; they had lived their life in pursuit of material gain and the cares of this life.

 

Now Laodicea will be put to the ultimate test; they will be, “scrutinized, tested, and disciplined,” by Jesus through this experience.  The antichrist will take their lives in the furnace of affliction.  They will be pierced through, as their Lord (not literal crucifixion, but having their lives taken). 

 

Philadelphia, the faithful few, will be kept “out of” this period of testing.  There are many scriptures that use “peirasmos” in relation to putting God’s people who are disobedient, or even obedient, to the test, for the purpose of, “putting them to proof”:

 

·         Matthew 26:41 “Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation (peirasmos - experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation; by implication, adversity) ; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  (NAS)

 

·         Luke 8:13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing (peirasmos - experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation; by implication, adversity) they fall away.  (NIV)

 

·         1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation (peirasmos - experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation; by implication, adversity) 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 (peirasmos - experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation; by implication, adversity) will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.  (NAS)

 

·         1 Timothy 6:9-10 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation (peirasmos - experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation; by implication, adversity) and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.  (NAS)

 

·         James 1:2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials (peirasmos - experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation; by implication, adversity), knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have {its} perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  (NAS)

 

·         James 1:12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial (peirasmos - experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication, adversity; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which {the Lord} has promised to those who love Him.  (NAS)

 

·         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 (peirasmos - experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation; by implication, adversity), that the proof of your faith, {being} more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  (NAS)

 

“Shall come upon”

 

The time of great testing “shall come upon” the whole inhabited earth.  These words give us an idea as to how (in what manner) this time of distress shall arrive:

 

·         “Shall” - 3195 mello (mel'-lo); a strengthened form of 3199 (through the idea of expectation); to attend, i.e. be about to be, do, or suffer something (of persons or things, especially events; in the sense of purpose, duty, necessity, probability, possibility, or hesitation): (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

When correlating the three Greek words above in the text,  these refer to the time of great “suffering is about to becoming” upon all the inhabitants of the earth, directed at them personally, as judgment for their lawless deeds and wicked lives.  The Greek word “epi” for “upon” indicates an encircling of the globe during this time of testing. 

 

Epi is a preposition, which denotes the complete enclosure of something; like the epicenter of an earthquake.  The great tribulation shall be “distributed” all around the entire globe.  The tribulation period involves more than the rule of a wicked despot (the antichrist).  The great tribulation involves the direct judgment of God through catastrophic disasters:

 

·         Matthew 24:15-30 “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down to get the things out that are in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to get his cloak.  "But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days!  But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath; for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.  And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short.  Then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or 'There {He is,'} do not believe {him.}  For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.  Behold, I have told you in advance.  If therefore they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go forth, {or,} 'Behold, He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe {them.}  For just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.  Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.  But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.  (NAS)

 

·         Mark 13:19-26 “For those days will be a {time of} tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created, until now, and never shall.  And unless the Lord had shortened {those} days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect whom He chose, He shortened the days.  And then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ'; or, 'Behold, {He is} there'; do not believe {him;} for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order, if possible, to lead the elect astray.  But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.  But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken.  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 2:20-23  ‘But I have {this} against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray, so that they commit {acts of} immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.  And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality.  Behold, I will cast her upon a bed {of sickness} and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.  And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.’  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 6:10-17 And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"  And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until {the number of} their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also.  And I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth {made} of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.  And the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.  And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?"  (NAS)

 

“All the earth” OR “The whole world” 

 

·         All - 3650 holos (hol'-os); a primary word; "whole" or "all", i.e. complete (in extent, amount, time or degree), especially (neuter) as noun or adverb. (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

The great tribulation period of activity shall come upon, in a complete degree, the whole, or every amount of the world.

 

·         “World” - 3625 oikoumene (oy-kou-men'-ay); feminine participle present passive of 3611 (as noun, by implication of 1093); land, i.e. the (terrene part of the) globe; specifically, the Roman empire; from another Greek word, 3611 oikeo (oy-keh'-o); from 3624; to occupy a house, i.e. reside (figuratively, inhabit, remain, inhere); by implication to cohabit; from 3624 oikos (oy'-kos); of uncertain affinity; a dwelling (more or less extensive, literal or figurative); by implication a family (more or less related, literal or figuratively).  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

This tribulation of judgment will encircle, and include all the land of the globe; that is, by implication, all those who inhabit the earth’s surface.  It shall affect the dwelling place (i.e. - the homes and human bodies) of every individual.

 

“To try them that dwell upon the earth”

 

·         To try - 3985 peirazo (pi-rad'-zo); from 3984; to test (objectively), i.e. endeavor, scrutinize, to discipline.  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

·         That dwell - 2730 katoikeo (kat-oy-keh'-o); from 2596 and 3611; to house permanently, i.e. reside (literally or figuratively.  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

·         “Upon” - 1909 epi (ep-ee'); a primary preposition; properly, meaning superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution [with the genitive case], i.e. over, upon, etc.; of rest (with the det.) at, on, etc.; of direction (with the accusative case) towards, upon, etc.: (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

·         Dwell” - 2730 katoikeo (kat-oy-keh'-o); from 2596 and 3611; to house permanently, i.e. reside (literally or figuratively).  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

·         Earth” - 1093 ge (ghay); contracted from a primary word; soil; by extension a region, or the solid part or the whole of the terrene globe (including the occupants in each application). (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

The literal translation of Revelation 3:10 “To try them that dwell upon the earth” reads:

 

·         “To scrutinize, objectively test and discipline those who reside permanently all around the circumference of the whole terrene globe.”

 

This means that God’s judgment during the time of the great tribulation shall be to scrutinize and discipline all who reside in houses or human dwellings (referring to the human body) all over the entire globe.  Some of this discipline will be for the ultimate salvation of the human soul. 

 

One such example will be the lukewarm Laodicean church.  They had not heeded God’s warnings prior to the snatching away of the Philadelphians.  Now they have opportunity to buy gold refined in the furnace of the great tribulation:

 

·         Revelation 3:18-19  “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and {that} the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.  Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.”  (NAS)

 

The remainder of those not a part of the Laodicean church, but are caught in the conflict of the great tribulation, are there by virtue of the life they lived in wickedness and rejection of God and His truth. Other than the 144,000 of Israel who are sealed from the judgments poured out, the remainder of humankind refuses to repent during this period, even though they experience horrific judgment:

 

·         Revelation 9:6 And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; and they will long to die and death flees from them.  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 9:18 A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone, which proceeded out of their mouths.  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 9:20-21 And the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.  (NAS)

 

Selah

 

Continued in Part 5


Links to the Entire "The Vision of the Church in Philadelphia” Series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7



 

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