Does Revelation 3:10 Prove a Pre-Trib. Rapture?

By: Nelson Walters

Author of : Are We Ready For Jesus? How to Prepare for His Return  (May 2015)

Because you have kept the word of my perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Rev. 3: 10 NASB)

One of our brothers who is reading through this website had a question about this particular verse and what it says about the timing of the rapture.  I decided to write a post on it so I could share my thoughts on what it says and what it doesn’t say about that topic.

The timing of the rapture is a very controversial issue.  Unlike some other aspects of prophecy, it is more than a question of just interpreting scripture correctly.  It is much more than just an issue of being right or wrong. What is at stake is one of the most central questions in all of Christianity.  Unfortunately because it is controversial, it is avoided.  It’s called an “academic” question.  It is far from academic.

The concept of having to face the Tribulation fills most Christians with fear.  If those who believe the rapture will come before  the Tribulation are correct, the Church can relax.  If they’re correct, those who believe the rapture comes after the Tribulation are needlessly scaring the Church.

If those in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture “camp” are incorrect and believers face the Antichrist,  however, tens or hundreds of millions will enter the greatest challenge the Church has ever experienced completely unprepared. Potentially they may face falling away from the faith during the great apostasy because of this lack of preparation.

The question of rapture timing is not an idle question, so we need to understand this issue.  We must not avoid the question, but need to research and understand it so we can inform the Church.  Everything is at stake.

A single post cannot answer this thorny issue.  The purpose of this post is to address this single question.  We are not going to settle the timing of the rapture in this post.  If you wish to learn more about the timing of the rapture, let me recommend these books:

Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord by Alan Kurschner

The Last Shofar! by Joseph Leonard and Donald Zoller

What Does Revelation 3:10 Really Say?

Many of those who trust a Pre-Tribulation timing of the rapture point to this verse as one of the best proofs of that position.  It appears to say that God will keep certain Christians ( in the Philadelphia Church) from having to face the Tribulation, but is that what it really says?

The words on this page are an English translation of the original verse that was written in Greek.  Two of those Greek words hold the key to understanding .

Keep is the Greek word téreó meaning “to guard” or to “keep watch over.”  It does not mean “to remove from”.  The verse says that members of this church will be guarded from the trial or will be guarded in the midst of the trial.  It  does not say they will be removed from the trial.

Trial is the Greek word peirasmos meaning trial, test, or temptation.  It does not say tribulation.  This is the same word Jesus used in the Lord’s Prayer when he said, “Lead us not into temptation.”  The most clear meaning of this verse in my opinion, is that God will guard the believers during their temptation during the “great falling away” which occurs after the midpoint of the Tribulation. (see MIDPOINT OF THE TRIBULATION: EARTH’S PERSPECTIVE)

Even in an extreme translation where the meaning of téreó (to guard) is ignored, the trial or test described could easily also mean the Wrath of God which occurs after the Great Tribulation.  (see my new book for a proof of this fact.)

In all cases this verse does not prove a Pre-Tribulation rapture despite the fact I have heard hundreds of teachers claim that it does.  If anything, this verse tends to support a position where believers will face the “great falling away” and the Tribulation.  I would not go far enough to say it is a proof text of that position, but it favors it.

As a final suggestion,  carefully examine all evidence, for and against, a Pre-Tribulation rapture.   I would not just rely on the advice of others but read a lot of opinions and decide for yourself.


16 thoughts on “Does Revelation 3:10 Prove a Pre-Trib. Rapture?”

  1. Again, another good article brother!

    I would like to add an observation. What is the “hour” of trial? It isn’t the whole tribulation period, only the last part.

    Rev 17:12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for ONE HOUR as kings with the beast.

    The hour of trial is strictly about the 1260 days of the beast. This is what Jesus will shelter them from. That is what Rev 12 is all about. The woman flying into the wilderness of Moab away from the dragon. Rev 3:10 is not about a pretrib rapture. It isn’t even about any rapture, simply the gathering of the elect away from the beast and dragon. The end of the second watch.

    1. You are correct Harvos, that Rev. 3:10 isn’t about a Pre-Trib Rapture. It is about a Rapture, however, the Pre-Wrath Rapture which occurs after the Sixth Seal. At this point I recommend Revelation Deciphered, but later this year Rapture: Case Closed will fully explain the Rapture with 147 separate proofs

  2. Ask any pre-triber to explain what Revelation 14:14 is all about where Yeshua himself descends from heaven and orders his angels to reap the earth. Trust me on this subject, it will get very ugly, very fast….

    1. Getting ugly is not a good way to convince a brother or sister in Christ about the timing of the Rapture! Unfortunately that is what happens on a daily basis. There are methods, but that is not one IMO.

  3. In my humble opinion, the Evangelical Church in North America is woefully unprepared for ‘real’ persecution. We think a rainy day or some other superficial circumstance is ‘persecution’. I was ‘born n raised’ on Pre-Trib teaching, and I hope n pray it is true but there isn’t conclusive evidence this is entirely accurate or true. What we know is there will a Rapture, what we don’t know 100% is when. So, the fix is to be always ready at all times in god times or in persecution or trials or temptation.

    Believers really do need to educate thenselves as brother Nelson is recommending and while we may never ‘solve’ the timing issue, we can hopefully have it ‘resolved’ in our minds an be at peace.
    Bronx, NY

  4. Good explanation, I wouldn’t be mad if the rapture occurred before the tribulation (if it happens in my lifetime) however I just don’t see scripture to support it. I really wish more believers paid more attention to what the scriptures really say as opposed to what their favorite Christian leaders are saying. I also believe that it will be devastating for many to realize one day that what they thought was true really wasn’t. The question is will we be willing to lose our heads for the sake of the gospel as so many have already? I am continually praying that the Lord prepare me (and my children) as He has so many others before me should it be my fate.

  5. Nelson, this is good. We can’t build our eschatology on one verse. There are some of the pre-tribulation view who also use 1 Thessalonians 5:9 to prove their position (“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”). But God’s wrath is never directed toward believers, only unbelievers. It really helps to go back to the original text to see which words are used and what they actually mean.

    Furthermore, I don’t understand how people can say we won’t go through the great tribulation when the pattern through history has been the suffering and persecution of believers, even now. The terrible, unimaginable savagery being directed against believers in the Middle East at this moment should cause one to question a pre-trib view. They certainly are not living their “best life now.” What a deception!

    “Trial is the Greek word peirasmos meaning trial, test, or temptation. It does not say tribulation.”

    The KJV reading of Rev. 3:10 actually uses the word temptation: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”


    1. Jeanne, I used to be an adept of Pre Trib, because all the teachers convinced me to believe so; and let’s be honest, it is convenient to believe we will escape the first half of the 7 years of the GT. However, from the same points you made, the facts are pointing we may very well have to face it, until God removes us right before His Wrath. I’m praying and watching.

    1. Ed,

      The answer to your question is to avoid the “Wrath of God” which God will pour out on the ungodly. God has promised that Christians will not experience the Wrath of God. (1 Thess. 1:10 and 1 Thess. 5:9) The main positions on the rapture all center on when the Wrath of God occurs and how God helps believers avoid it.

      Pre-Trib. teaches the Wrath of God begins at the beginning of the Tribulation.
      Pre-Wrath teaches the Wrath of God begins after the Great Tribulation but before God pours out his Wrath at the Seventh Seal of Revelation.
      Post-Trib. teaches God protects believers from his wrath while they are still on earth in the “secret place.”

      I assume from your question, you are Post-Trib. or even a no rapture believer. But this is way too complex an issue to discuss in a comments section. Let’s agree not to do that. My advice is to purchase Alan Kurshner’s book which is probably the best book on the critical subject. It will answer you questions, and give you something to think about.

Tell us what you think