The controversy concerning Rev.3:10 revolves around the Greek word “tereso.” It is used twice in this verse.
“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.”
The primary meaning of the Greek word “tereso” is “to guard, watch over, or keep.” It also means “to observe and to follow.” There is a word play in this verse, a cause and effect. Because you have kept the word of my patience or perseverance, I also will keep…….. Because you have observed and followed what is of great value to me, I also will watch and guard over something of great valued to you. This is the idea that the writer is conveying by the double use of the word tereso. Because you have been faithful to me, I also will be faithful to you. In other word, Christ will keep us because we kept. What is it that we kept? The word of His perseverance.
The Church Of Philadelphia has kept the word of His patience or perseverance, and did not deny His name. Likewise in the last days, believers will be called upon to keep the word of His patience or perseverance, and not deny His name. When will we be called upon to persevere and not deny His name?
“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.”(Matthew 24:9-10). He who endures unto the end(of the ages) shall be saved. “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”(Matthew 24:13).
In the Olivet Discourse in Matt.24, the who, what, and when of the perseverance or endurance is specified. The Who is the believer. The what is standing steadfast in His name. The when is the “Great Tribulation.”
The Philadelphians were already spiritually saved(sozo). The salvation or redemption or deliverance here is physical(sotheseitai). The one who endures unto the END(of the ages) shall be delivered. The one who endured antiChrist’s persecution unto the end(of the ages) shall be delivered.
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”(Revelation 13:7-10).
During the Great Tribulation, the antiChrist will make war with the saints and overcome them. All that dwell on the Earth will worship him, with the exception of only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book Of Life. Who are those whose names are written in the Book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world? Are they not the true believers? The KJV translation of verse 10 is not accurate. It should read,
“If any one is destined into captivity, into captivity he goes: if any one is destined to be killed with the sword, with the sword, the one shall be killed. Here is the patience or perseverance of the saints that is spoken about in Rev.3:10.
We can hide and take refuge in the security of His love, knowing the outcome have been predetermined in eternity past by Abba, our Father. If anyone of us is destined to go into captivity, into captivity the one goes. If anyone of us is destined to be killed with the sword, with the sword the one shall be killed. This understanding will bring comfort to us in the midst of the hour of testing. The is the patience and comfort of the saints.
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”(Revelation 14:9-12).
Do you notice that it is emphasized that “here is the patience or perseverance(huopomone) of the saints” mentioned in Rev.3:10? This warning is given in the midst of the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist. It is the hour of testing that shall come upon all those who dwell on the Earth.
Another Greek word we shall consider is the preposition “ek.” Let us assume that the Great Tribulation is a circle. If Christ intended to tell us His followers will not pass through the Great Tribulation, He would have used the preposition “apo” which means “away from.” “Tereso” would have been coupled with “apo”(tereso apo) to mean “keep away from.” But in Rev.3:10, “tereso” is coupled with “ek.” “Tereso ek” means “to guard, watch over, or keep,” and “to follow or observe” out from within. So, Christ promised the Philadelphians that because they have kept the word of his patience or kept His instruction concerning perseverance, He would keep, watch or guard them out from within the Great Tribulation. The KJV rendition would mean Christ used the phrase “tereso apo” which would mean Christ would keep the Philadelphians away from the sphere of danger which is the Great Tribulation. The Greek word “peirasmos” which is rendered “trial” or temptation” is undoubtedly the Great Tribulation. The hour of temptation which is to test or try everyone who dwells on the Earth is the Great Tribulation. The hour of temptation tests everyone that dwells on the Earth to prove their faithful or unfaithfulness to Christ.
The wrath of God in the Day Of the Lord is punishment to those who failed the test and cannot be the hour of trial or temptation for fidelity or infidelity to Christ. There is no test or trial in the Day Of His Wrath. What is in view is God’s final and eschatological punishment of the unrighteous wicked who remain after He evacuates the saints from within the sphere of danger. It is intellectual dishonesty and theological gimmickry for those who understand the Greek language to insist that the Church will not go through the Great Tribulation which undermines the preparedness of the saints.
For the purpose of clarity, let us take a look at Jon.17:15 where this same Greek phrase is used by the same person, our Lord Jesus the Christ in His High Priestly prayer.
“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”
The phrase rendered “keep them from” is “tereses autous ek.” In the margin of the Greek Text, “ek” is rendered “out of” or “out from.” The saints are in the world. The evil is also in the world. They live in the midst of this evil, but are not part of it due to divine protection. Do not take them out of the world but protect them from the evil in the world. To be protected from the evil in the world, one must be in the world. To be kept out from the hour of temptation which will try all those who dwell on the Earth, one must be on the Earth during the hour of testing in the Earth. In Rev.3:10, it is Earth(ges). In Jon.17:15, it is world(cosmos). “Ges” speaks of the physical planet Earth, whilst “cosmos” speaks of its embellishment, the cosmeticus, garishness, or simply the system of this world. It is obvious they are used interchangeably in these two verses of the Holy Writ. The physical planet, Earth is the locale. The evil is the system of this age. The Great Tribulation is the ultimate evil on Earth in this age.
The original Greek does not make the same case as does the KJV rendition. It does not say what the KJV says. The Greek phrase is “tereso ek,” which means “out from within”(the sphere of danger), not “tereso apo,” which means “away from”(the sphere of danger). If Jesus intended that the faithful and uncompromising saints will not witness the hour of testing(temptation), “tes horas tou peirasmou,” He would have used “tereso apo,” not “tereso ek.” “Tereso apo,” means that the Philadelphian believers will not witness(kept away from or kept outside) the hour of temptation at all which is the Great Tribulation. Our brother Apostle John the revelator was told by one of the 24 elders in the Throne Room of the Temple Of God in Heaven that the innumerable multitude from all tribes, kindreds, nations, tongues etc, “came out of or from” the Great Tribulation. The Greek phrase is “oi erchomenoi ek tes thlipseos tes megalas.”(Rev.7:14), which means “came out from the within the Great Tribulation.” In other words, they were in the midst of it and came out successfully. They witnessed the Great Tribulation. They passed through it all. They did not cave in nor succumb to the antiChrist. They either died for their Faith and were later resurrected at the Rapture, or survived the satanic onslaught and were translated at the Rapture(raptured alive). They made their garments white by passage through the Great Tribulation during which they proved their faithfulness to Jesus by their refusal to succumb or cave in to the antiChrist.
The pretribs will not agree with this obvious simple grammatical and textual analysis and interpretation simply because it undermines their view that the Church will not pass through the Great Tribulation. They will make the case that the innumerable multitude were those unfaithful and compromising saints “left behind” after the Rapture, the so called “Tribulation Saints,” who obtained salvation by martyrdom. Since there would be no second Rapture, they all would have to die to attain resurrection. What a theological legerdemain? The point is how such an innumerable multitude will get born again during the 70th week of Daniel, the so called “Tribulation Period,” at a time there would be no “Open Air Crusades,” all the faithful pastors, evenagelists, ministers and saints are gone in the Rapture, and all we have left are “the refuse of the Church,” the feeble, unfaithful and compromising saints who could not make the first roundup, at a time in which the Bible and the preaching of the Gospel is outlawed, they have not been able to profer answers and the Scriptures are silent.
The Hour Of Testing[tes horas tou peirasmou]
Pretribs teach that the hour of testing[kJV:temptation], literally the hour the testing, is the wrath of God. They also equate the wrath of God which occurs in the Day Of the Lord with the whole length of the 70th week of Daniel which also includes the Great Tribulation which begins at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel. But what is the meaning of the hour of testing and when does it occur in the eschatological timeline?
The Greek word translated testing in Rev.3:10 is “peirasmou” which means “putting to the proof,” either for good or for evil. Jesus told the Philadelphians that the “hour of testing” will try or test all whole dwell upon the Earth. What will be the reason for Christ to put the whole world to the test after He has evacuated the saints from the Earth in the Rapture? That would be partial and unjust though Christ knows who will endure and who would not. He has to put everyone to the same test in order that no one would be confused about the justice of God. Everyone living, believers and unbelievers must be given equal opportunity to prove their faithfulness or unfaithfulness to Christ by subjecting them to the same hour of testing. The essence of the hour of testing is to separate the righteous from the wicked. The hour of testing cannot refer to the wrath of God. There is no testing in the wrath of God inasmuch as the wrath of God is the final eschatological outpouring of His righteous indignation on the unrighteous wicked. The wrath of God must come after distinction and separation have been made between the unrighteous wicked and the righteous. This is simple logic and common sense which is in consonance with the Scriptures.
In James 1:13-14, it is written: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
The Greek word used here is “peirazo.” It comes from the root word “peira” as does “peirasmou” translated testing in Rev.3:10. God does not tempt anyone to do evil. Everyone is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Does God draw away anyone to do evil? No. Does God draw away anyone of his own lust in order to entice him to do evil? The answer is emphatically no. So, how can the hour of testing be the wrath of God in the Day Of the Lord. Let us remind ourselves that in the Day Of the Lord, no man or idol is exalted but God only(Isa.2:10-22). How can the antiChrist arise in the Day of The Lord, in the day when God alone is to exalted and gain world domination, and persecute the saints?
In 1 Thess.3:5 the tempter is mentioned.
“For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.
In 1 Cor.7:5, He is identified as Satan.
“Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.”
Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil(Matt.4:1). Every form of the word tempt comes from the same root “peira” as “peirasmou.” They all say the same thing. Satan is the tempter and the source of testing[peirasmou]. So the hour of testing in Rev.3:10 cannot be the wrath of God(Rev.14:10) but the wrath of Satan(Rev.12:12). When we are tempted, it is God who makes a way of “escape” that we may be able to bear it.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”(1 Cor.10:13).
God helps us to escape from testing. Without His help we cannot escape from testing. To escape here does not mean we are kept away from testing, but that we went through it successfully through God’s help. Some have interpreted this escape to mean we are not in the midst of it at all. If we are not in the midst of it why talk about escaping from it? God also determines the length and depth of testing. He cuts short the hour of testing in order to save some saints alive for Rapture. “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”(Matt.24:22).
How can Satan tempt men in the day and hour when God alone is exalted? Not at all. When does this wrath of Satan occur? When he is cast down to the Earth and has Great wrath knowing that he has but a short time.
“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”(Rev.12:12).
This is the starting point of the Great Tribulation which begins at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel and is cut short by the cosmic and celestial disturbances which is the sixth seal(Rev.6:12-14). When Satan is cast down to the Earth, he gives his seat, power, and authority to his minion, the antiChrist(Rev.13:2). At that time, the whole world will be made to choose whom to serve, either God or Satan and his minion, the antiChrist. At this time, the antiChrist will make war with saints and overcome them(Rev.13:7). The antiChrist will be able to kill some of the saints of the Most High. Why? Because they repudiate his authority. They reject the mark of the beast and refuse to worship the Dragon-Beast. It will be only the saints whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book Of Life that will be able to resist him. This is the patience or perseverance and faith of the saints. These are the ones who will not shrink from before Him at His coming. “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”(1 John 2:28). The little children will not shrink from before Him at His coming[parousia] because they abide in Him at the hour of testing. Those who do not abide in Him at the hour of testing will be ashamed and therefore shrink from Him at His coming. Why will they be ashamed and shrink from Him at His coming? Because they denied Him at the hour of testing. This also conclusively proves that the Rapture occurs at the parousia[coming].