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