Kept From The Hour

But as I have said before: Even if it is insisted that “kept from the hour” should be interpreted as physical exemption, the word “hour” in Revelation is never used of the entire tribulation, but most particularly of the day of God almighty at its end (compare Rev 16:14-16 w/ Rev 18:10). A number of OT passages show that the tribulation reaches an ultimate intensity of testing for the nations just before the Lord’s return (compare Dan 11:40, 44; Joel 3:2, 14; Rev 16:15-16:14-16).

If “kept from the hour” is taken to mean physical removal, then this text alone is insufficient grounds to teach exemption from the last persecution. According to the post tribulational view of the rapture, the church is physically removed through the miracle of translation at Christ’s return to destroy the Antichrist (Mt 24:31 w/ 1Cor 15:52; 2Thes 2:1-3, 8 etc.). This is everywhere identified as the day of the Lord, or the day of God almighty.

I labor this point only to show that the post-tribulational view of the rapture can bear the physical removal interpretation of Rev 3:10 as well as the pre or mid-trib view, particularly since the final destruction that comes upon the wicked is said to come “in one hour.” Therefore, the phrase, “kept from the hour” in Rev 3:10 provides no sanctuary for pre-tribulationism.

The popular pre-tribulational concept that exemption from the wrath of God requires physical removal from the tribulation will not stand up under scriptural examination. The scriptures are clear that the measured judgments of the tribulation leading to the final strokes of divine wrath are directed most specifically upon the wicked (scriptures). Whereas saints are depicted as sealed and protected (scriptures).

Of course, the saints will suffer the wrath of man, as in all other ages. Doubtless many will also suffer from the privations (“hunger and thirst;” Rev 7:16) that will attend the distress of those days, but this is not the wrath of God. It is tribulation; and Christians have always been called to “enter the kingdom through much tribulation” (Acts 14:22).

The truth that believers are “not appointed to wrath” (1Thes 5:9) is somehow interpreted to mean that the church cannot be in the tribulation period. This would mean that the blood washed believers that are depicted as enduring the persecution of evil men during the tribulation are not to be counted as belonging to the church (according to the pre-tribulational view of the church as belonging only to the time between Pentecost and the rapture). But does this mean that believers that come to faith in the tribulation are “appointed to wrath?”

This is surely a view that is more the result of emotional wishful thinking than serious exegesis; since even pre-tribulationists allow that there are blood-bought believers who suffer persecution in the tribulation along with the elect Jews who have not yet come to faith in Jesus. Surely no one supposes that any of these have been “appointed to wrath.”

The only explanation for this kind of thinking has to be the presumption that those that miss the rapture have missed their opportunity to avoid the tribulation. Tribulation is interpreted as wrath and punishment for failure to respond to the gospel before the rapture happens. It gives the impression that those who “volunteer” to follow Christ now, enjoy special exemptions and privileges not accorded to tribulation believers. It is all too ‘meritorious’. Such an eschatology (view of the future) exposes a seriously flawed soteriology (doctrine of salvation). In fact, it reveals many things concerning our view of God and reality in general that is humanistic to the core. Reggie

Filed under
Church Doctrine, Judgement, The Day of the Lord, The Last Days, The Rapture
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