Revelation 3:10 And The Rapture: A New Departure -- By: John H. Niemelä

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 30:58 (Spring 2017)
Article: Revelation 3:10 And The Rapture: A New Departure
Author: John H. Niemelä


Revelation 3:10 And The Rapture:1
A New Departure

John H. Niemelä

President
Message of Life Ministries

I. Introduction

Revelation 3:10 in the New King James Version 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 article argues for a change in punctuation. Misplaced periods and commas have hopelessly confused the meaning of Jesus’ words.

II. Two False Views

Incorrect punctuation has led some to view Rev 3:10 as Jesus promising that He will rapture the Philadephians because they were exceptionally faithful. Anyone less faithful than the Philadelphians might be left behind. Puritan Dispensationalists brand such as unbelievers. Partial Rapturists contend that Jesus will leave unfaithful believers behind.

The Puritan-Dispensational view affirms the pre-tribulation rapture, but denies the possibility of a straying believer. Consider John MacArthur’s view of the passage. After quoting the verse, he states:

“That, dear friends, is a pre-tribulational Rapture verse. You’ve kept My Word, You’re Mine. I will keep you from the hour of testing2 (emphasis mine).

What about people whose faithfulness is less than that of the Philadelphians? His Puritan theology yields the following converse (by adding not to each of his propositions):

You’ve not kept My Word; You’re not Mine. I will not keep you from the hour of testing.

MacArthur rightly sees the rapture as promised to all believers. He wrongly imagines that all true believers will persevere to the end.

By contrast, Robert Govett, a partial rapturist, rightly acknowledges that unfaithful Christians exist. Unfortunately, he denies (from Rev 3:10) that these eternally-secure believers would be raptured:

“The hour of temptation” specially begins with the apostasy, and attains its full tide under the Man of Sin. The present rapture must therefore be before his revelation. It [Rev 3:10] is a promise, not to all the church, but to a certain clearly-defined portion of it—those who keep the doctrine of Christ’s secon...

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