|By: Dr. John Ankerberg; ©1996|
|Bible Prophecy Questions Answered by Leading Christian Scholars.|
Dr. John Ankerberg: In brief, He says, they won’t be there. They won’t experience this final test at all. This goes back to 1 Thessalonians 4. There, the apostle teaches that Christ Himself will someday catch up all Christians living on planet earth to meet Him in the air. This is the Rapture. And the result will be that the Church will be separated from or exempted from this future time of testing, the seven-year Tribulation time period. The very same event the Thessalonian Christians were waiting for when Paul wrote them in 1 Thessalonians 1:9, "Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." Let me illustrate. When I was attending college, I remember one semester which was especially tough with many hard courses, and I struggled along. One day the professor came in and told us that all those who had done well on the previous small tests and had done well on the mid-term examination, they would not have to take the final exam. I could hardly believe it. Talk about music to my ears! I had done well enough all along and passed the everyday tests to show that I knew the material. So as a result, I was now exempt. I didn’t have to take the big final exam. And that’s what Christ promised these faithful Church saints. Because they had patiently endured and lived for Him and never stopped believing in His return, He said they had already passed the test—they wouldn’t have to take the final exam. They would be exempt from the final hour of testing that would come upon the world.
In Revelation 3:10 Jesus specifically used the Greek words tereso ek. The verb tereo means "to keep" or "to guard." The preposition ek means "out" or "out of. To separate one thing from another." Jesus promised, "I will keep you out of the hour of trial." Some believe that Christians will be kept "through" the Tribulation time period. There’s a Greek word for "through," dia, but our Lord didn’t use it. Some say the Lord will keep Christians "in" the Tribulation. But again, there’s a Greek word for "in," en, and He didn’t use that word. Our Lord used the word ek, "out from." So our Lord didn’t say: I will keep you during or through the hour of testing, or in the hour of testing, but "I will keep you out of the hour of testing." That’s why this is a special promise.