“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.”
Jesus now turns to a promise for those who persevere under trial.
Because you have kept My command to persevere
We can translate the above phrase “the word of My patient perseverance.” This translation would make this phrase refer to New Testament teaching to endure a contrary world similar to Christ’s perseverance with contrary people (2 Th 3:5; He 12:3). The Philadelphia church was faithful to the Word when they faced trial. They kept the Word of perseverance that constituted Jesus’ perseverance. This perseverance amid trials serves Jesus. They did not fall to the seduction of immoral pagan worship.
The word “persevere” means to endure under. The church at Philadelphia, like their Lord, hung in there. They kept Christ’s command to stay under pressure. They did not cave to temptations and pressures around them. This condition makes the promise of this verse valid. They were people of brave perseverance, the ability to remain faithful to the Word under oppressive pressure. That perseverance came from the Word. These people clung faithfully to the Word that deals with Christ (1 Co 1:23). They never denied His name.
I also will keep you from the hour of trial
The “hour of trial” is the trial of tribulation (chapters 6-19). There is one word in Greek for the English words “keep” and “from.” It is a compound word composed of both terms: keep and out of. The word “from” (literally, out of) indicates that this church will not even enter the tribulation period. This is a guarding from rather than a guarding through. Those in the tribulation will clearly go through this time of trouble (Re 7:4). By inference, God must have been raptured the church before the hour of trial. The point of the tribulation is to get the attention of Israel that Jesus is the Messiah.
God not only keeps this church from trial but from a worldwide “hour of trial.” Not only does not deliver us from trial, but He delivers us from a specific time of trial. We call this the Tribulation period. This is a time of unprecedented worldwide trial in the world (Da 12:1; Je 30:7; Mt 24:21; 1 Th 1:9,10; 5:9,10). Jesus promises to save the church from this time of trouble.
which shall come upon the whole world
The words “shall come” signify both intention and necessity and, therefore, the certainty of what will occur. This is a word of purpose, certainty, compulsion, or necessity. The Greek word gives the idea of occurring at a point of time in the future that is subsequent to another event and closely related to it. We can translate the word “to be about to, to be inevitable, with respect to future developments – “must be, has to be.” God is speaking of something inevitable in the future. God is about to do something. God is forming a design for the world.
Note that the words “whole world” indicate the scope of this tribulation. It is a worldwide tribulation.
to test those who dwell on the earth
There is a coming time of war, inflation, famine, and plague. Jesus will express His righteous indignation. Fortunately, the rapture of the institutional church will precede these events.
Christians will not go through the tribulation.
Suppose a football coach tells the quarterback that he will take him from the game; that is different from telling him that he will keep him from the game. Keeping us from the tribulation is the idea in our passage. The church will never enter the tribulation. We will be held from this period of unprecedented apostasy and the greatest period of horror the world has ever known.
The presence of the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth during the tribulation (2 Th 2:1-12). He is the one restraining the world from being worse than it is. Once the Father removes Him, then all evil will break loose. Ecumenical religion will come to the fore. The world will destroy itself through religion in seven years. Religion tends to destroy human freedoms. Religion is the root of evil in the world today as well.