Revelation 3:10 & Rapture
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. ESV
The Philadelphian church will be "kept from the hour of trial which is about to come upon the whole earth to try those who dwell on the earth." Debate revolves around the phrase "kept from" which could mean "physical removal from" (pre-trib) or "preservation from or in the midst of" (post-trib).1 However it is interesting to point out that the verse denotes the divine testing is for "those who dwell on the earth." This is a common phrase referring to unbelievers. Contextually, on at least 3 occasions, the saints are "sealed" and kept out of harm's way when God pours out specific judgments which only affect His unbelieving enemies.2 (Rev 6:15-17 depict judgments on the kings of the earth; in 9:4 “locusts harm only unbelievers;” see also 12:6,14 where the woman is preserved in the wilderness amidst persecution).
Obviously, John 17:15 bears upon the interpretation of Revelation 3:10 because of its usage of tereo ek.. There it says, “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from (tereo ek) the evil one.” This is the only other place this verb is used with ek. IT seems to denote preservation, not removal from. Leon Morris says the matter could be interpreted either way whereas A.T. Robertson and Marvin Vincent opt for “not a keeping from temptation, but a keeping in temptation.” Since disagreement among scholarship exists support must come from the context. (See above).
1. Johnson, Alan F. The Expositor's Bible Commentary: Editor Frank E. Gaebelein. The Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, Michigan, volume 12, p453, 1981.
2. Osborne, Grant R. Baker Evangelical Commentary of the New Testament: Revelation. Baker , p 193, 2002.
Leon Morris, Revelation. Eerdmans, 79, 1987.
Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament. http://www.godrules.net/library/robert/robertrev3.htm and Vincent’s Word Studies. http://www.godrules.net/library/vincent/vincentrev3.htm.