Does Revelation 3:10 Support Pretribulationism?

One of the most debated verses in the book of Revelation is Revelation 3:10. The Philadelphian church is given a promise: “Because you have kept my admonition to endure steadfastly, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is about to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth” (Rev 3:10). The crux interpretum of this verse is two-fold: (1) what is “the hour of testing”? Does it refer to the great tribulation or the day of the Lord’s wrath? (2) What sense should we understand “keep you from”? Keep in the sense of physical protection or keep in the sense of spiritual perseverance within? There are other exegetical considerations in this verse, even on how English translations render the punctuation. Without minimizing the importance of the exegesis of the verse, I would like to step back and propose a simple response, particularly to the way pretribulationism interprets this verse. Pretribulationism reads this verse as a promise to the church that they will be raptured (“keep you from”) before the day of the Lord’s wrath (“the hour of testing”). This is supposed to prove a pretribulational rapture. However, there is one flaw if they think they “own” this conclusion. Prewrath also affirms that the rapture occurs before the day of the Lord. The hour of testing, as I believe is the day of the Lord’s wrath, only proves that the church will not experience the day of the Lord’s wrath (cf. 1 Thess 5:9). So Revelation 3:10 does not address when the day of the Lord starts, which is the fundamental question. The verse only gives a promise of a particular protection. As for when God’s wrath begins, we must look elsewhere in Scripture. Therefore, pretribulationism cannot use this verse as a proof text for their position.


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