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A Future Promise From Christ for Suffering Saints

Revelation 3:10 (ESV) … “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.”

The believers had endured patiently, as Christ had commanded, so Christ promised to keep them from the hour of trial that would come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

Some believe that the phrase “I will also keep you from the hour of trial” means there will be a future time of great tribulation from which true believers will be spared. This is a key verse for those who subscribe to the pre-Tribulation-Rapture theory—that believers will be kept from the hour of trial because they will not be on the earth during that time of great tribulation. Christians will have been taken to heaven in what is called the “Rapture” (based on 1 Corinthians 15:51–53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17).

Others believe that the verse refers to times of great distress in general, the church’s suffering through the ages. Others interpret “keep from” to mean that the church will go through the time of tribulation and that God will keep them strong during it, providing spiritual protection from the forces of evil (7:3). The verb “keep from” is the same Greek verb in the Lord’s prayer (“Deliver us from the evil one,” Matthew 6:13 nlt). As Jesus said before his death, “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one” (John 17:15 nlt).

This “hour of trial” is also described as the Great Tribulation or Day of the Lord, mentioned also in Daniel 12:2; Mark 13:19; and 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12. All the judgments recorded in the remainder of the book of Revelation take place during this time of tribulation. While believers may have to face difficulty and suffering, they will certainly be protected from God’s wrath and judgment.


Jesus promised protection for the obedient church at Philadelphia (3:10). We cannot interpret from this verse when or for how long Christians will experience the “hour of trial.” Today, millions of Christians are suffering and dying at the hands of godless tyrants throughout the world. To them, the “hour of trial” has already begun. But whenever Christians suffer, Christ promises protection of their eternal souls. Jesus said, “Everyone will hate you because of your allegiance to me. But not a hair of your head will perish! By standing firm, you will win your souls” (Luke 21:17–19 nlt). [1]

[1] Barton, B. B. (2000). Revelation. (G. R. Osborne, Ed.) (p. 44). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

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