Revelation 3:10 Teach an "Any Moment" Rapture?
Rev. Roger Best
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 upon the earth." (Revelation
a crucial verse for dispensationalists, and they repeat it often
to prove their pretribulation rapture position. The majority of
pretribulationalists will place their hope of an "any moment
rapture" on this verse when, in fact, one of the leading proponents
of the pretrib position, Dr. John Walvoord (former president of
Dallas Theological Seminary) states in his book "The Rapture
Question" on pages 70-71 that "it may be debatable to
what extent this (verse, Rev. 3:10) constitutes absolute proof for
pretribulationism." Obviously there is some confusion! In this
brief study let us take a look at this verse of Scripture and examine
it to see what it really is teaching.
us look at the context of this important passage. It is found within
the sixth letter (of seven written to the churches) and is addressed
to the church at Philadelphia. By examining the content of these
letters, one can easily see that they fall into three major categories.
First there is the dead church, Sardis, whose only word from the
Lord is to "Wake up." Because of the influence of unbiblical
doctrine five of the seven-Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira,
and Laodicea-are compromising churches; the major exhortation to
these churches is to "Repent." When you realize that in
the scheme of end-time events these seven church represent conditions
as they will be at the time of the coming of Christ, one can readily
see where the church is today. Finally there is a faithful church,
Philadelphia, to which no negative warning is given, only praise
and the promise of a reward. Notice it is because these dear believers
"have kept the word of My perseverance." As a result,
Christ will "keep them from the hour of testing."
"perseverance" in the Greek is HPOMONES which has the
basic meaning of hiding under, of patient enduring and fortitude,
or remaining behind. In the context of this passage you will notice
that the "perseverance" is closely related to the "hour
of testing," which is the translation of the Greek word, PEIRASMOS
which means to examine or prove. Peirasmos is frequently translated,
"to tempt" and that is important because the Bible teaches
that it is Satan who tempts. "For this reason, when I could
endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for
fear that the tempter (Satan) might have tempted you, and our
labor should be in vain" (1 Thessalonians 3:5, emphasis added).
James 1:2 and 12 tell us "Consider it all joy, my brethren,
when you encounter various trials (peirasmois). Blessed is the man
that perseveres (hpomenei) under trial (peirasmon)." James
is quick to add in the next verse (1:13) that God "does not
tempt anyone." From the endnote on page 469 of The Sign,
Mr. Van Kampen adds this thought, "It is interesting to note
how the 'hour of testing' that is referred to in Revelation 3:10
is also referred to by Peter, using the identical Greek word: 'The
end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and
sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. . . Beloved, do not be
suprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for
your testing (peirasmos), as though some strange thing were
happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings
of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation
of His glory, you my rejoice with exultation' (1 Peter 4:7,
12, 13, emphasis added). And then again the second epistle of Peter
states, 'then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation
(peirasmos), and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the
day of judgment.' (2 Peter 2:9). In both cases the believer is present
during the peirasmos, the great tribulation of Antichrist, rather
than being protected away from it."
let us take a close look at the important words that the pretribulationist
hang their hat on; "keep you from." In the English translations
it would appear that we, the believers, are kept from entering the
"hour of testing." But is that what it is really saying?
There seems to be a volume of Scripture such as Matthew 24 and 2
Thessalonians 2 that would clearly indicate that believers are going
to experience the testing during the Great Tribulation of Antichrist.
In the Greek "will keep you from" is TEREO EK. TEREO means
to "watch over protectively, guard" and with the preposition
EK it carries the idea of being guarded or protected and rescued
out from the midst of danger. If the idea of keeping one from entering
were intended the preposition APO would have been used. So it is
the idea of deliverance out from within rather than an external
a look at what some others have to say:
translates 3:10- "Because you have kept in mind the message
of what I endured. I will also keep you safe in the time of testing
that is going to come upon the whole world, to test the inhabitants
of the earth."
Moffatt- "Because you have kept the word of my patient
endurance, I will keep you safe through the hour of trial which
is coming upon the whole world to test the dwellers on earth."
Fausett- "so as to deliver thee out of, not to exempt
Swete- "to the Philadelphia Church the promise was
an assurance of safe keeping in any trial that might supervene."
Zahn- "Testimony is borne once more to the Bishop
of Philadelphia's proved faithfulness up till now, and he is assured
that Jesus will requite him for this, when He preserves him at
the time of the great temptation that is to come and test the
inhabitants of the earth, and will rescue him out of the danger
that will exist even for Christians found in it."
Beckwith- "The Philadelphians and those who show the
same Christian steadfastness are promised that they shall be carried
in safety through the great trial, they shall not fall."
Trench- "The promise does not imply that the Philadelphia
Church should be exempted from the persecutions which should come
on all other portions of the Church; that by any special privilege
they should be excused from fiery trials through which others
should be called to pass. It is a better promise than this; and
one which, of course, they share with all who are faithful as
they are - to be kept in temptation, not to be exempted from temptation."
Alexander Reese- "The use of EK in Revelation 3:10
distinctly implies that the Overseer would be in the hour of tribulation;
the promise refers, either to the removal out of the midst of
it, or preservation through it."
Robert Gundry- "to keep or protect in a sphere of
danger, and that because ek means emergence out from within, the
combination of the two Greek words (TEREO EK) means to protect
believers in a sphere of danger (the tribulation period), with
a final emergence out from within this sphere."
and obvious meaning concerns protection within the sphere of danger
and not protection from danger. Christ has promised the faithful
believers that He will deliver them at the revelation of His Glory
at His Coming. To make this verse of Scripture mean "deliverance
before the testing begins" is manipulating the Scripture to
support a false position rather than accepting what the Scripture
Is the rapture
seen in Revelation 3:10? Absolutely! Right where Christ says it
will occur when He cuts the persecution of Antichrist short and
comes in Glory to deliver the saints out of Great Tribulation.