|By: Dr. John Ankerberg; ©1996|
|Bible Prophecy Questions Answered by Leading Christian Scholars.|
Dr. John Ankerberg: There are some Christians who, after reading the promise on Revelation 3:10, do not believe that Christ will come and keep Christians totally from the hour of trial via Rapture because of a parallel verse in John 17:15. In that passage the same Apostle John who wrote Revelation 3:10 also writes and uses the same phrase found in Revelation 3:10. Jesus is praying to the Father and the verse reads, "I do not pray that you should take them out of the world but that you should keep them from the evil one." The word ek is found in "out of the world" and then the same phrase, "keep them," tereso ek, "keep them out" or "keep them from" the evil one. As a result, some folks look at this and argue that Jesus clearly asked the Father not to remove Christians from out of the world. Rather, He only asked that Christians be protected ek, from the devil, while living in the world. They see the use of ek in Revelation 3:10 saying the same thing; namely that Christians will be kept through the time of trial by God’s special providence, not by their being raptured out of the world before the hour of trial. Now, I personally believe there are three reasons why their views are wrong and this is not what the Scripture teaches.
First, in the Gospel of John, protection is from the devil and his harmful power while Christians live in the world. But in Revelation 3:10, protection is from a time period, the hour of trial.
Second, the hour of trial in Revelation 3:10 is a judgment of God on the rebellious inhabitants of the earth called "earth dwellers." Where as God has promised faithful Christians, "God hath not appointed us to wrath," 1 Thessalonians 5:9, and according to 1 Thessalonians 1:10, we are "waiting for God’s Son from heaven whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus who rescues from the coming wrath." In Philippians 3:20 the Apostle Paul tells Christians, "For our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."
Third, I believe the Lord’s promise here is that He will rapture the Church saints before the hour of trial, the seven-year Tribulation time period, ever begins. Because it’s impossible to say that the saints of the Tribulation time period are going to be protected while they’re going through it.
All one needs to do is to look through the Book of Revelation to see that Christians are not preserved but they’re martyred during this time. Then, what kind of promise would it be if Jesus said to these faithful Christians, "Because you have passed the test of faithfully and obediently living for me, I want to promise you that in the future you will go through the final terrible test that will come on all those who have lived ungodly all of their lives." That wouldn’t be any promise at all. The real promise is that they will be exempt from this final period of testing. They’ll be separated from it. They won’t go through any part of it.