If Revelation 3:10, is not also a promise to the believer finding himself in the midst of the Great Tribulation then just how is the Word of God to be taught and understood during the time of Great Tribulation? Tribulation Saints are believing in Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of sin or if not in who or what? How are they to be saved? If you can’t explain another way of being saved now; then how will men find this way during the period known as Great Tribulation, when they have nothing but the Bible? Under Dispensationalism there is to be no church and the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way. The Bible says that being in Christ is the only scriptural way of being gifted eternal life. If you disagree with this; then where is the Scriptural teaching, which makes allowance for salvation apart from being in Christ? And if they are in fact “in Christ”, then what is the meaning to them of Ephesians 2:1-6?
If Revelation 3:10 is not for them, then why isn’t it? Is it because of the belief in the 7 church age theory? Listen, this is one theory of the Dispensationalist. It is a necessary teaching for them, in order for them to have some proof that the end time church represented in Philadelphia is promised to escape Great Tribulation. Revelation 3:10’s hour must equate to Great Tribulation (even though there is no scripture telling us that it does) or else they only have one other proof remaining, which they say teaches that the church will escape Great Tribulation. And when this point is examined it is also weak. It is the promise for our escape from God’s wrath to be equivalent to the promise to escape Great Tribulation. This promise however is one which is made to every believer to have ever existed in Christ, and conversely it is also a promise for every non believer to experience God’s wrath. So the understanding that Rev. 3:10 is the Churches promise to escape Great Tribulation is a must understanding for a pre-Trib Rapture.
So what is the teaching used to make Rev.3:10 so important to their entire doctrine? Listen to this teaching on the Spiritual gift of tongues, which becomes key to their understanding:
“God’s people must evaluate all things claimed to be of God by proper interpretation of Scripture. When done so, it becomes apparent that this phenomenon [the gift of tongues] cannot be justified from the word of God. Having said that, Scripture does teach that there existed a miraculous gift of languages during the foundational, apostolic era of the New Testament church. As clear from Scripture,”
So I’ll paraphrase their reason: this gift has ceased, why? Because it was only given for The Apostolic Church era, which is the first of the 7 church eras in Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
So, If they truly believe this 7 church era or age theory; then the return of Messiah cannot be taught as having always been imminent. Which is their teaching. Why? — it is obvious that if 7 ages/eras were necessary for God’s plan to be carried out culminating wit Philadelphia, then Jesus could not return without the fulfillment of six of the seven church ages. Yet, if the coming has not always been imminent; then their theory on many of their doctrines will fall apart.
Now therefore it must be determined when it is that His coming might become imminent. The signs given in Scripture then must become the sole source of the Imminence associated with Christ’s coming. And you can say that you don’t believe it that way (that you don’t believe in 7 church ages, which is a prevalent teaching within dispensationalism), but then you also bring doubt upon other statements made by Jesus if you persist with the Tribulation as a dispensation in order to simply create a pre-Trib Rapture.
For If one disavows this 7 church age theory, which itself in reality is an addition to the very words of Revelation and therefore becomes dangerous territory (I’ll explain later); but without 7 church ages; then you must say that Rev 3:10 is a promise to all 7 churches (even to the Laodicean church) or to all believers in the gospel being presented to them. That would mean that all, who are found to reside in Jesus at HIS return must have the same promises; because Jesus states that the messages to the 7 churches are “for whoever has ears to hear from within these 7 churches”.
So, this, then brings all of the messages for all of the 7 churches into play for all believers in Christ, which causes these messages to include believers EVEN of the Great Tribulation.
So let’s look at what I’m saying from Revelation itself, without adding to or taking away from this book.
Revelation 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. (KJV)
This verse is especially troublesome to a pre-Trib teaching if it includes all 7 churches, which it must. It is troublesome for two reasons. Remember it must be for anyone in all 7 churches who will have ears to hear. And secondly it is troublesome because of where Jesus announces this, His coming, as a theif, — Listen:
Revelation 16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
Revelation 16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
So we see here that the preparation for the battle of Armageddon at this point has been complete, and it is now unleashed, and then we hear:
Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (KJV)
Paul says that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5). When does the Day of the Lord come according to the scriptures surrounding this thief and His Day, which Paul would have known very well? Listen:
Joel 2:1 Blow a trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, For the day of the LORD is coming; Surely it is near, 2 A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness. As the dawn is spread over the mountains, [So] there is a great and mighty people; There has never been [anything] like it, Nor will there be again after it To the years of many generations. (NASB1995)
These verses tend to confuse some theologians, but listen to the sequence above. The day of the Lord is near in the above verses: and what is happening when it is near? Something is happening when this day is near that will not be matched again for many generations. So could what is happening when it is near be the Tribulation? Let’s consider.
Joel 2:31 “The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. (NASB1995)
So what does Jesus say is happening before He comes?
Mark 13:23 “But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance. 24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, 25 AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. (NASB1995)
The Day of the Lord’s coming requires this darkness in the heavenly skies before it’s coming.
Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. (KJV)
The day of the Lord is near when men are in the valley of decision. Final decisions will be made by man when mankind is within what is called the Great Tribulation.
So what does it mean in verse 2. that “There has never been [anything] like it, Nor will there be again after it To the years of many generations.” Following Tribulation we know that Jesus is king over all the earth for 1000 years when man once again will surround His holy city in what is again in total rebellion. It will be smashed to make a complete end to mortal man. But this rebellion must be similar to the rebellion of Great Tribulation.
So this revelation concerning when the thief is coming on His day is not the end of the problems for pre-Trib believers because the messages to the 7 churches are applicable to the entire group of believers in Christ, who also believe the Bible, and they have as much claim to believe in Rev 3:10 as any other believer.
There is a further problem. Jesus in Revelation 2:23 made the Great Tribulation relevant for all of the seven churches. Listen to what our Lord states to the church in Ephesus:
Revelation 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
Revelation 2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
Revelation 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (KJV)
Great Tribulation is brought into view here, and it is the exact Greek wording translated “Great Tribulation” as used by Jesus in Matthew 24. Only one other place in Revelation is it used (Rev 7:14). But to Ephesus we hear as the Lord continues:
Revelation 2:23 Furthermore, I will strike her followers with a deadly disease, and then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts. I will repay each one of you what your deeds deserve. (NET)
So not only does Jesus place these churches in the position of learning from what He does to Jezebel during Great Tribulation, even as they observe the consequences for her sins; but He sets the timing of this teaching at the very time (the great tribulation) when the dispensationalist states that there is only one church in existence (one bride), who is supposed to be at this very time present in heaven as one bride, and in the process of being married to her bridegroom.
But then we here more, for Jesus Himself again seems to defy this thinking by telling the Church of Ephesus exactly when it is that He will repay or reward each of us. He says: “I will repay each one of you what your deeds deserve. But this payment by Jesus we are later told in Revelation, is not to occur until He Returns:
Revelation 22:12 (Look! I am coming soon, and my reward is with me to pay each one according to what he has done! (NET)
Jesus makes clear that rewards good or bad are not handed out until His Coming.
So if one insists that Rev 3:10 is to us the promise to be kept from the great Tribulation; then one must consider is this understanding itself adding to what is actually stated in Rev 3:10? Also this one who has this understanding must be able to adequately answer these objections that Jesus Himself is teaching in the Revelation. Which If one were to make argument against His teaching; then that one is treading on dangerous turf — remember:
Revelation 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Revelation 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Revelation 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (KJV)
I want to state here, that it is dangerous to take away from or add to the Words of Revelation. In fact this is likely true of any book of the Bible. This is why I believe that every prophecy recorded in scripture must be applied (God’s word) in order to understand these our times. This is also why I am not Calvinist nor am I Dispensationalist in my teaching of Biblical doctrine. All that one must do to understand from scripture, that one can lose one’s salvation is to read the above verses. Many, who are from the Amillennial or Dispensational Premillennial camps are at least to some extent Calvinist, and they need to consider what these verses say. God is Sovereign and has reserved for Himself the final say in the recording of the book of life. He also has the final say in
There is an hour coming that the church including the believers entering and exiting the Great Tribulation will escape. It is in fact the hour of Orge = Wrath.
For more information about this promise Read my post on Wrath titled: God’s Promise is to Keep Us From His Wrath, But What Does That Mean? Posted Apr. 13, 2019.
May God bless you and keep you from falling as you study.
I will conclude once again with this statement from Paul to Timothy.
Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. 1 Timothy 4:15-16 NASB
Even so come Lord Jesus.