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Saturday, 6 January 2018


     When pretrib promoters are asked for a single verse proving a pretrib rapture, they invariably bring up Rev. 3:10 with a "I gotcha" look on their face. This verse says "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 Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible states: "This [Rev. 3:10] is the most specific guarantee from our Lord Himself that Christian believers will not go into that seven-year Tribulation period He is about to unveil (Rev. 6-18)."
     Thomas Ice, in an article titled "Kept From The Hour," writes: "I believe that Revelation 3:10 is a verse teaching that the church is promised exemption from the seven-year tribulation period, thus supporting the pretrib rapture."
     Hal Lindsey's 1999 book (the cover of which says "Hal Lindsey...Vanished Into Thin Air...The Hope of Every Believer" - a cover that is unintentionally humorous!) has this comment about Rev. 3:10 on p. 231: "The promise of being kept from the hour...[does] fit into the pattern of a pre-Tribulation Rapture scenario."
     This escapist interpretation of Rev. 3:10 (which was never a part of any official Christian theology or organized church before 1830) can be traced, unhindered, all the way back to a 19th century British group called the Irvingites who admitted they had been influenced by young Margaret Macdonald of Scotland. In Dec. 1831 one Irvingite writer identified as "Fidus" included the following in an article in his group's journal "The Morning Watch" (pp. 260f):
     He said that after "Philadelphia" is "caught up, that which withholdeth shall have been removed; all, on pain of death, shall be obliged to receive the mark of the beast...." "...that, being translated, we may in the pavilion of God escape the desolation of the wicked one and that universal hour of trial....that as the church of Philadelphia, in preserving the word of patience, refuses to let it go; so her being preserved from the hour of trial is not her being enabled to bear it, but her being exempt from undergoing it...."
     He added that the saints are "caught up...under the second woe (Rev. 11:13)...translated before the supremacy of the man of sin...." "Thou may be translated on the morrow...."
     (Note the "pretribness" - a word I coined - as well as imminence in Edward Irving's group, the first group to publicly teach what even John Darby admitted later on was then a "new" view that had never been known before! Mountains of details on the earliest pretrib rapture development of the 1830s, curiously found in no other work examining the start of pretribism, are found in my book "The Rapture Plot.")
     Was Darby correct? Let's see how the greatest Greek NT scholars of the past had interpreted Rev. 3:10.
     John Wycliffe: "Wherefore let us pray to God that he keep us in the hour of temptation, which is coming upon all the world, Rev. iii."
     Matthew Henry: "Those who keep the gospel in a time of peace shall be kept by Christ in an hour of temptation [Rev. 3:10]."
     John Newton: " 'Fear not temptation's fiery day, for I will be thy strength and stay, Thou hast my promise, hold it fast, the trying hour [Rev. 3:10] will soon be past.' "
     Albert Barnes: "...he will keep them in the future trials that shall come upon the world [Rev. 3:10]."
     R. C. Trench: "...the Philadelphian church...to be kept in temptation, not to be exempted from temptation...."
     Alexander Maclaren: "He will keep us in the midst of, and also from, the hour of temptation" [Rev. 3:10].
     J. H. Thayer: "To keep [Rev. 3:10]:...by guarding, to cause one to escape in safety out of."
     M. R. Vincent: "The preposition ['from'] implies, not a keeping from temptation, but a keeping in temptation" [Rev. 3:10].
     H. B. Swete: "The promise [of Rev. 3:10], as Bede says, is 'not indeed of your being immune from adversity, but of not being overcome by it.' "
     Theodor Zahn: "...He will preserve...at the time of the great temptation [Rev. 3:10]..."
     A. T. Robertson: "In Rev. 3:10...we seem to have the picture of general temptation with the preservation of the saints."
     R. C. H. Lenski: "...it [Philadelphia] shall be kept untouched and unharmed by the impending dangers [Rev. 3:10]."
     E. J. Goodspeed: "...I also will keep you safe in the time of testing that is going to come upon the whole world [Rev. 3:10]...."
     Emil Brunner: "The Church of Philadelphia [Rev. 3:10] receives a wonderfully comforting message: 'Because you have endured and kept faith with me therefore I will preserve you in the hour of trial.' "
     John R. W. Stott: "He would not spare them from the suffering [Rev. 3:10]; but He would uphold them in it."
     The next time you hear persons claiming that Revelation 3:10 is proof of a pretribulation rapture, feel free to share the information in this paper with them. Hopefully they will thank you even before the "hour of trial" arrives.
     (The preceding experts are just a portion of the 124 most eminent Bible scholars, from Christ to the present day, that I include in my lengthy online article entitled, fittingly, "Famous Rapture Watchers" which includes sources and pages alongside all of the quotes.) 


Anonymous said...

It is always an education reading this ere blog, I never knew there was such a thing as a "Tim LaHaye Prophecy Bible"! The "Scofield Reference Bible" is bad enough, is this Johnny come lately version even worse?

The testimony of those old time writers ought to "clinch the deal" on Revelation 3.10, but, sadly with the pre-trib diehards, methinks not.

God bless
Colin Ford

Irv said...

Thanks, Colin, for your worthy comments. If Rev. 3:10 is seemingly pretribism's best "I Gotcha" argument, can you imagine what thin ice they must be skating on with their other "proof texts"? Re your reference to Tim LaHaye (whose "Left Behind" partner in crime was Jerry Jenkins), new readers here will benefit by Googling "Jerry Jenkins: Betting on Pretrib" and "Prof. Wm. L. Craig Leaves Tim LaHaye Behind" - two eye-opening and breath-taking compositions that Treena aired on this blog last March and April, respectively.