Revelation 3:10 is often cited as evidence for a pre-tribulation rapture the text says, “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 text does speak to Lord’s protection for the believer in face of tribulation, but beyond that one has to read into it to conclude it means the pre-tribulation rapture.
Here is what we do know about the text…
- The Lord’s promise is to the church of Philadelphia and to us through as being part of the church, since the seven churches of Revelation 2-3 have application to the literal churches in Asia-Minor at John’s time and across church history.
- It is a promise like Psalm 91:10-11 that says, “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”
- It is a promise like Revelation 16:2 that promises that the seven last plagues will not harm believers, but only fall upon “the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.”
- It is a promise to keep us from a trial that will face the whole earth, though not a reference to wrath of God that Revelation unfolds in later chapters. One, the promise is to “keep” us from, and that word means to “care for” or “to guard” or “to keep in the state in which he is” despite whatever circumstance. Had Jesus used the term “harpazo” and not “keep” Futurists would have a good proof text in Revelation 3:10., but “keeping” is not the same as to “catch-up.”
- It is a promise regarding a trial. The King James uses the translation “temptation” because the Greek word for “trial” and “temptation” is the exact same. In fact the word for trial in Revelation 3:10 is the exact same word used by Paul translated “temptation” in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “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.”
- The term “hour” of trial in Revelation 3:10 does seem to signify a particular period, and it does seem to get qualified with the second half of the verse as dealing with the entire earth. Perhaps in a similar way that Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).
I certainly don’t mind anyone using Revelation 3:10 as their promise to claim regarding the coming tribulation, pre-trib or post-trib, and it is not a salvific issue that will prompt me to want to make it a point of contention.
In fact, this may be a good time to mention my pet peeves in this whole pre-trib and post-trib debate… Historicists peeve me with their propensity to want to argue with Futurists and Futurists peeve me with their propensity to parrot popular prophecy teachers explanations without actually dealing with the Scriptural text.
And one last thing and my rant will be over… I have this sense that many of us who do enjoy these theological debates will likely be laid to rest before Jesus returns and in the resurrection we will never know or care which of us were actually correct.
Anyways, this post is part of my Thru Revelation study and my conclusion is that Revelation 3:10 can certainly be used in a general sense of God’s shielding us from tribulation but it’s not a clear proof text for evidence of a pre-tribulation rapture.