Answers to Reader Questions

Q: In Revelation 3:10, God makes a promise to the Church of Philadelphia to "keep" them from the hour of trial. If this means that the Philadelphian Church can be expected to be spared the worst of the Tribulation, isn't this just pre-trib lite?

A: I don't see God's promise to the Church of Philadelphia as pretrib "light" because this promise is not made to the Bride of Christ as a whole, regardless of level of sanctification. It is made to only one segment of the Body: those who have kept the commands of Christ, who have not strayed from their first love, and who have persevered in their daily lives. In verse 10, Jesus tells us that these believers are kept because they have already passed the test — they have gotten an "A" — - and that this is a reward for faithful service. The other five churches (excluding the Persecuted Church, which Jesus makes clear is undergoing persecution through no fault of its own) require further testing.

Q: Once the Antichrist signs his treaty with Israel, won't most of Christianity recognize their mistake and abandon the pre-trib position? I can't see them undergoing the seal judgments and still expecting an "any moment" rapture.

A: I agree that, once the treaty is signed (actually, the wording is "confirmed," so we must be careful not to watch only for a brand new treaty), most Christians will abandon the pretrib position. They will have to do so — the 70th Week will have begun and Jesus will still be delayed. This is why Jesus tells His followers three times in Matt. 24:23-26 not to be deceived. This warning is necessary because believers will be panicked, wondering why He hasn't come, and will be susceptible to deception.

At this time, the danger will be two-fold: In 2 Thess. 2:11, Paul tells us that God will send upon the world a delusion, "that they will believe the lie." We also know that not all who profess to know Christ are truly saved (Matt. 7:22). I call these "professors" as opposed to "confessors" (no disrespect to the university population!). One can say many things with the mouth, and even believe them to be true, yet these words may not come from a truly regenerated heart. Those who profess to know Christ at the beginning of the 70th Week, but who are not truly saved, may not have a second chance if they fall under this delusion. If the promise of a pretribulational coming contributes to this complacency, this could be a very serious thing.

Second, although many believers will "wake up" at the signing of the treaty, the kind of faithful service promised to the Church of Philadelphia (the Loving Church) is not something you can go out and get at the last minute. Those in the Compromising, Lukewarm, Corrupt, Loveless, and Dead churches may be saved, but they will still undergo the intense refiner's fire at the hand of our loving and gracious Lord.

Q: What is the standard for being in the Philadelphian church? How will God protect them?

A: Only God really knows. We know the praise and rebuke given to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, and we know the standards of submission and obedience given throughout the scriptures, but only God

knows who are truly faithful and who are not. How will the Church of Philadelphia be kept? We can speculate, but nobody really knows for sure. God keeps some secrets, after all. If you want more information, I do address this question more in-depth in the chapters titled, "Kept From the Hour" and "Are the Letters to the Churches for Us Today?"

A: Scripture isn't clear on all of the details. Here's what I feel is certain: Many people, both Gentiles and Jews, will become believers after the rapture and will enter the trumpet judgments. Many will be martyred or perish as a result of the trumpets (which are not God's wrath — God's wrath starts with the bowls).

While my belief about Gentiles coming to faith in Christ is speculation, my statement about the Jews is not. According to scripture, two-thirds of the Jews will perish during the 70th Week, but one-third will survive, refined by fire, and will become the believing remnant ("and so all Israel will be saved" — Zech. 13:8–9; Eze. 36:20–28). They will flee to the wilderness, where they will be protected for three-and-a-half years (Rev. 12:6). It is likely that Christians will flee with them, but not specified.

Because believers are not destined for wrath (1 Thess. 5:9), those who are saved after the rapture may either perish during the trumpets or be martyred, preventing them from entering God's wrath; or they may receive special protection during His wrath, whether in the wilderness or elsewhere, in keeping with this promise. Although all three forms of protection are possible, any attempt to nail down the specifics would be to delve into the realm of speculation. The verse you mention is at the end of the trumpet judgments, just prior to the bowls, so by this time, it is likely that whatever form of "not entering God's wrath" believers will receive, it will have occurred by then.

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