“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10).
Many sincere prophecy students interpret these words as referring to a rapture, the sudden removal of the Christ’s followers from this earth prior the final great tribulation. Jesus spoke these words to the “church in Philadelphia” (Revelation 3:7) which was sixth out of the seven churches receiving messages in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. It is obvious that Christ’s words do not apply only to the literal church of Philadelphia which existed almost 2000 years ago in Asia minor, but also to the second before last church ever as most scholars understand that those “seven churches” represent seven periods in the history of Christianity. We know it is only the seventh and last church that will go through the great final tribulation.
The truth is Revelation 3:10 does not speak of a rapture. It simply says the faithful in the church of Philadelphia, who have “kept the word,” will be kept from the hour of trial. But for final days of history, during with the seventh church would exist, the scriptures say, “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1). This text basically says that God’s righteous people will endure the period of tribulation but not that they will be untouched by it; they would be delivered.
Jesus said that a terrible time of trouble would come upon the world just before His return and that it would be more intense than any other in the history of this world. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matthew 24:21, 22). Also, John the Revelator writes that God’s end time people “came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14). They did not escape it, but endured through it being purified.
The good news is that God’s children will survive the final tribulation. Jesus assures His faithful children, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). And if Jesus is with His children who can stand against them? (Romans 8:31).
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In His service,
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