Q. Please explain what Revelation 3:10 means.
A. The verse reads, “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
This is a part of Christ’s messages to the seven churches of Asia, specifically here to the church at Philadelphia, which was a Bible-believing, evangelizing church in John’s time. It also may represent faithful and true churches that continue on to the Rapture, when Christ will catch away all of His saints (believers). The church mentioned after the Philadelphia church, the church at Laodicea, represents lukewarm, apostatizing churches. Unbelievers-and they in general comprise what we know as today’s ecumenical movement-will ultimately go into the tribulation period. Saved people finding themselves in this movement have been getting out of it for a number of years now. Revelation 3:10 is a powerful proof of a pre-Tribulation Rapture. Notice that the verse does not say that the Lord will keep His people through or during the hour of trial (the seven-year tribulation period; see also 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:4, and Titus 2:13). It says, rather, that the Lord will keep His people from the hour of trial. We know that this “hour of trial” refers to the tribulation period because it “shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (fitting in with Revelation 6-19).
This article appeared in the “Q & A” column of the Baptist Bulletin by Norman A. Olson.