For You Have Kept My Word: The Theology of Revelation 3:10 (Part 2 of 2) -- By: John Niemelä

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 06:4 (Oct 2000)
Article: For You Have Kept My Word: The Theology of Revelation 3:10 (Part 2 of 2)
Author: John Niemelä

For You Have Kept My Word:
The Theology of Revelation 3:10
(Part 2 of 2)

John Niemelä*

[*Editor's note: John Niemelä received a B.A. (University of Minnesota) and earned the Th.M. and Ph.D. degrees in New Testament Literature and Exegesis from Dallas Theological Seminary. John is Professor of Hebrew and Greek at Chafer Theological Seminary. His email address is [email protected]]


Every conceivable eschatological theory has claimed Revelation 3:10 as a proof text. Theologians become passionate about their positions on this verse but this is time for a calm appraisal. An event after the author had presented a paper on the passage at the January 1999 National Teaching Pastors’ Conference, started a process that led to this article. The paper dealt with:

  1. the grammar of Revelation 3:10, and
  2. the resultant theology.

A few non-attendees requested copies. One man’s email response to the paper said, “I agree with your translation, because of my theology.” He accepted my conclusions, but for the wrong reason. When grammar precludes a translation, it does so, whether or not a corrected translation fits into a given theological system. That email changed the way this author split this article into two parts.

Specifically, the first installment of this article scrutinized Revelation 3:10’s grammar.1 This concluding part will examine the passage’s theology in light of:

  1. Grammatical considerations (discussed in part 1), and
  2. Revelation 3:10b’s relationship with 1 Thessalonians 5:1–11.

Grammar Review

The first installment of this article discussed four grammatical issues affecting translation:

1. hoti as a capitalized “Because” is a rare suspensive use,2

  1. and I rarely links independent to dependent clauses,3

  2. and (also) links 3:9–10’s three first person verbs,4

  3. keep means “obey” (3:8, 10a), but “deliver” (You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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