Sunday, February 05, 2006

Revelation 3:10 — Pre-trib Foundation

The seven churches in the beginning of Revelation each receive a letter coming from the mouth of Jesus. Each letter addresses that church’s present state, as well as a future promise, both of which are relevant to us in this lifetime. The promises given to these churches are based on the same principle as the promises given to men like Abraham in Hebrews 11, meaning that they didn’t get to see them fulfilled in their lifetimes, but they will be fulfilled in the future.

Within the letter directed to the Church of Philadelphia is one of only two verses in the entire Bible that appear to teach that we will not experience the final persecution in the last days. But appearances can be deceptive, especially when we’ve been brainwashed by pre-trib scholars, pastors, books, and movies that have repeatedly told us what this particular passage means.

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 (Rev. 3:10, NASB).

It is a complete assumption that the “hour of testing” we will be “kept from” is the 70th Week, or the Great Tribulation. When the entirety of the Bible contradicts this interpretation, it seems more than unlikely that this is what an isolated passage would be teaching.

I suggest that most have been wrong about this hotly debated section of scripture, including those who believe as I do – that we will not escape the future suffering. I even have to admit that I was wrong about this passage when I first wrote my book, wasting ten pages (pp. 87-97) analyzing the Greek meaning and the pre-trib interpretation. No such elaborate linguistic gymnastics are necessary.

While I formerly showed that that the translation, “keep you from the hour of testing,” can also be translated (according to the Greek), “preserve you while within the hour of testing,” I now reject that this is what the passage is conveying. I believe that the test has absolutely nothing to do with the Church, or the “tribulation saints,” as the pre-trib theory would call them. The test is not for the followers of Christ, but for enemies of God. The test is not the 70th Week in its entirety or the time span of the Great Tribulation, but rather, the Day of the Lord.

Think about it. If those who hold the pre-tribulation position can assume the “test” is the entire 70th Week, why can’t we just as easily assume the “test” is not the 70th Week, but strictly the Day of the Lord? There is nothing within the passage clearly answering what the “test” actually is, but there is a hint that is usually overlooked, and helps us to avoid jumping to conclusions based on complete assumptions. Notice who the test is for in Revelation 3:10.

…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.

The test is for “those who dwell on the earth.” “Yeah, so what,” you say. There are many keys within the language in the book of Revelation, and “those who dwell on the earth” has a distinct meaning that goes far beyond a simple statement concerning people living on planet earth. The phrase, “those who dwell on the earth,” is used 9 times in Revelation, and each time it is referring to those who are the enemies of God and worshipers of the beast.

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 (Rev. 13:8).

How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth (Rev. 6:10)?

See also: Revelation 8:13, 11:10, 13:12, 13:14 (twice), 17:2, 17:8

I’ve been wrestling with this concept on and off for about a year, and the other evening, a few months ago, the simplicity of it hit me when I read the following verses. It became obvious that the test is, in fact, the Day of the Lord, and is for those hostile towards God.

When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You 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, would be completed also (Rev. 6:9-11).

We know from the above passage that God is not “judging” or “avenging” the blood of the martyrs, and is therefore not pouring out end-times wrath during the seals as pre-trib teachers would claim. But I believe there is more going on here. WHY isn't God judging or avenging the martyrs' blood by distributing wrath upon "those who dwell on the earth?" Because it's not about THEM yet! God clearly tells the martyrs to rest – or, as the NIV more accurately translates it, “wait” – until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed was completed. THEN He will judge “those who dwell on the earth.”

Up to this point in the 70th Week, the followers of Christ have been the ones suffering, but this will soon change so that the “earth dwellers” will become the objects of suffering. It is no coincidence that the sixth seal follows His promise to avenge the death of His martyred servants and judge “those who dwell on the earth.”

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. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then 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 (Rev. 6:12-17)?"

We know because we have seen the sign in the sun, moon, and stars that the Day of the Lord will soon follow, for the prophet Joel informed us that this sign would take place before the Day.

The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes (Joel 2:31).

The fact that the Day of the Lord cannot take place until after the sign in the sun, moon, and stars verifies that the time period previous to this is not aimed at the enemies of God, “those who dwell on the earth.” Never is there a biblical mention of end-times wrath that will precede the Day of the Lord. It is always the Day of God that evil men are warned about when the subject is concerning God’s wrath.

Since the Day of the Lord has not begun before the sixth seal, no wrath is being poured out upon the “earth dwellers,” and He is not judging or avenging the blood of the martyrs, so the “test” for them couldn’t possibly be under way, no matter what pre-trib teachers proclaim. But once the sixth seal is opened, the triple sign in the sky is displayed, and the sky opens up like a scroll, it is time for the earth dwellers to fear. It’s time for them to hide themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, and from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, because the time has come—it is NOW about THEM! The hour of testing has arrived to test “those who dwell on the earth.”

I have connected the two passages in question to simplify what I believe is being taught.

…“How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”…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, would be completed also...Then God will avenge their blood by throwing those who dwell upon the earth into the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test them.

And fortunately we will be “kept from” the hour of testing, because we will be rescued from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10). When we see the triple sign in the sky we will know that our redemption draws near (Luke 21:28). The sky will split apart (NASB) and recede (NIV) like a scroll (Rev. 6:14), and relief will be given to the afflicted as Christ is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels (2 Thess. 1:7). Christ will gather us from the furthest end of the earth to the furthest end of the heaven (Mark 13:27), and His presence will make the inhabitants of the earth fear for their lives and recognize that the wrath of God has come (Rev. 6:16). The test will begin, and all who have worshiped the beast will fail the test and pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day (2 Thess. 1:8-9)!

For added detail and possibilities, I suggest the following three articles.

An Analysis of Revelation 3:10

The Promise of Revelation 3:10

Earth Dwellers Identified

15 comments:

Recovering said...

Dave - my head hurts...

Dave Bussard said...

Okay Recovering, here’s the simple version (I hope). It is a complete assumption by pre-tribbers when they conclude that the “hour of testing” in Rev 3:10 is the entire 70th Week, and that we must therefore be raptured previous to the 70th Week because we will be “kept from” the “hour of testing.”

This isn’t the case. The “test” in Rev 3:10 is for “those who dwell on the earth.” “Those who dwell on the earth” is a phrase used in Revelation describing God’s enemies.

Rev. 6:10 shows us that God’s wrath, as of the fifth seal, is not yet falling on “those who dwell on the earth.” Therefore, God’s focus, as of the fifth seal, has not yet honed in on “those who dwell on the earth.” Because His wrath and focus is not aimed at the “earth dwellers,” His enemies, it should be clear that the “test” has not begun for them at that point.

The “test” cannot begin for the “earth dwellers” until after the triple sign in the sun, moon, and stars, when Christ comes, He gathers the elect, the Day of the Lord begins and His wrath is poured on His enemies. The “hour of testing” is the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord and the “hour of testing” begins sometime after the sixth seal is opened and the triple sign is revealed.

Do you still need Excedrin?

Dave

Recovering said...

Thanks. I'm down to two Tylenol...

The Orange Mailman said...

Testing... 1... 2...

Testing... 1... 2...

Yes there will be a test.

I've come to the conlusion that the seven letters to the churches are proof of the church in the midst of the great tribulation. Verses like 2:10, 2:13, 2:16, 2:22, 2:25, 3:3. And given the fact that we have the definition of how to overcome in 12:11. So to say that 3:10 means deliverance from the day of the LORD and not the great tribulation is right on the money.

Have fun and stay busy - Luke 19:13

Dave Bussard said...

>I've come to the conlusion that the seven letters to the churches are proof of the church in the midst of the great tribulation.<



I want to hear more!

Have fun and stay busy...elaborating!

Dave

The Orange Mailman said...

Elaborate? Without audio?

First off, take those above verses and just read them out loud. A friend of mine asked me what my view was on the seven churches. He had heard about the seven churches representing the seven periods of church history. I'm sure you've heard this theory. So in response to his query, I opened the Bible and read those select verses, maybe a couple more. After I got done reading those verses with no commentary of my own, he said, "So you believe that the seven churches represent the church in the great tribulation?" It really is that simple to me.

There really were seven churches. There is an application to these churches and to all churches. But in the language there is the pattern for the end.

It is a time period when Satan will have a synagogue and a seat.

The coming of Christ is truly imminent during this time. He says, "Hold fast until I come." "Repent or I will come quickly." "If you don't watch, I will come on you as a thief."

The persecution of the church is intense. They will be thrown into prison for ten days then executed. It will be a true test to hold fast to the name of Christ. He threatens one church with the great tribulation. How is that possible?

Israel will play a significant role. Being a genuine Jew will become so central that some will impersonate Jews. Eating things sacrificed to idols will be an issue again.

Remember the whole book of Revelation is about the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Have fun and stay busy - Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

Dave Bussard said...

I agree. Thanks for your thoughts. It seems pretty clear, especially when the book begins by addressing the 7 churches, and concludes in the same way. Everything in between should be speaking to the same people.

I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches (Rev 22:16).

Katherine Hall said...

I just listened to Charles Cooper today and he came up with the same interpretation on Rev 3:10. I don't see how it can be any other way. I keep seeing verse after verse and passage after passage that supports the prewrath rapture model. So many Scriptures now make sense and it is exhilarating!

David J. Butterfield said...

"The fact that the Day of the Lord cannot take place until after the sign in the sun, moon, and stars verifies that the time period previous to this is not aimed at the enemies of God, “those who dwell on the earth.” Never is there a biblical mention of end-times wrath that will precede the Day of the Lord. It is always the Day of God that evil men are warned about when the subject is concerning God’s wrath."


That's it!!!

Overcomer said...

Hi Dave,

I thought I'd tell you that I just posted on Rev. 3:10.

Enjoying those video clips of your little man. What a cutie!

Hope you are enjoying your sabbatical.

Kathy

Chris said...

Very interesting. I am going to have to look at this. I am writing a book, and did the standard argumentation for this verse. I think I will have to change that section in my Book

Mark said...

Dave,
I think your assertion that this verse speaks of our being kept from the wrath of God poured out during the day of the Lord is the simple and plain truth of it. Soon as you mentioned it, the truth just fell into place. Thanks for this post..though it was quite a while ago. I am thinking about setting up my own blog dealing with end times discussion from a pre-wrath perspective. I hope you get the desire back to continue your blog. The Church needs to be prepared for the times which are surely coming upon us. I don't see it as a matter of understanding prophecy only, but heading the warnings and being moved to answer God's call for people to stand up for the truth and against the false teaching and deception (which are signs of the times) which are rampant in the so called Church today.

Regards, Mark

Anonymous said...

Brother, Dave,

Just a thought. If it is a time of testing of unbelievers, does that not go toward bringing some from that group to a saving faith?

Granted, there may be far fewer who will come to the faith under Satan's persecution; but, that would presuppose that we have an idea how the Spirit will be working at that time.

Also, I'm inclined to think of the "keeping you" as something that refers to our spiritual testing as Scripture is clear on how many of us will be martyred during this time.

Just a thought.

Love ya, Brother!

Mick in Atlanta

Anonymous said...

Looking at the dates of previous posts, I'm a late-comer to the conversation here. I see a lot of merit in the PreWrath view. A question here, though. If this hour is one of testing, what is the test? I understand the wrath of God outpoured on the unregenerate but, again, what test is taking place? Thanks.

Simon Muya Kasanda said...

In his priestly prayer,Jesus said (John 17:6,15): "... and they have kept your word. (...) I do not ask that you take them out of the world , but that you keep them from evil .". I think this shares a light on the true meaning of Revelation 3:10 and it uses almost same words! Jesus clearly asks the Father that those who have kept the word may be protected from the evil and not taken out of the world. I believe that this request was granted and Revelation 3:10 is the promise thereof.

Simon M. Kasanda
21 Sept 2015