A Promise To Those Who Have Waited In Patience
"I John, both your brother and companion
in the tribulation and kingdom
and patience of Jesus Christ,
was on the island that is called Patmos
for the Word of God
and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."
The apostle John, "the disciple whom Jesus loved," had been exiled to the island of Patmos and there he received the vision and the words of the Book of Revelation.
It should be noted here that in spite of being one whom Jesus particularly loved, yet he was not spared the tribulations of this lifetime. He didn't try to "claim" his freedom, or speak words that would move God to free him. John the beloved accepted his fate not knowing that the vision and revelation he would receive there on Patmos would go down in history as one of the greatest passages in the entire Bible. God doesn't let us know in advance the "why's and wherefores" of the circumstances we find ourselves in as we walk through this life. John made it very clear in this passage that even the most dear and most faithful followers of Jesus Christ would experience suffering and injustice and were expected to abide in "the patience of Jesus Christ." Later in chapter 3, the Lord states specifically that those who abide in him while in trouble are promised to be kept from the time of the seven-year Tribulation period as outlined in the following chapters of that book.
In the first chapters of the Book of Revelation, the message is exclusively to the churches. The first three chapters are all about the church and only about the church.Then... The fourth chapter begins with a door being opened in heaven and John was told to "come up here" (Revelation 4:1). After that the scenes that take place reveal the terrible judgments of the wrath of God being poured out upon the earth and - and this is important - the church is no longer seen on earth in the Book of Revelation until the end. Many believe that the door being opened and the words "come up here" show the Rapture of the church, especially because although the first three chapters were all about the church, the church disappears at the point when the words "come up here" are spoken.
Of the seven churches addressed, only two do not receive criticism from the Lord, the church at Smyrna, and the church at Philadelphia. The church at Philadelphia is noted for its patience in the hardships of this life, and because of its perseverance in patience, God promises that they will be not be on the earth during the Tribulation, that they will be kept OUT OF that time.
"Because you have kept the word of my patience,
I also will keep you OUT OF the hour of trial
which shall come upon all the world,
to try them who dwell upon the earth."
There are several other passages in the Scriptures pointing the believer's attention to the Rapture. It's even found in the Old Testament, long before the apostle Paul brought the understanding of it to the church:
"Come my people, enter your chambers,
and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment,
until the indignation is past.
For behold, the Lord comes out of his place
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity..."
When the Lord comes out of heaven to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, we will not be in that number. We will have entered into our place in heaven, having shut the door behind us as the Lord pours the judgments upon the inhabitants of the earth. The Tribulation is the wrath of God being poured out upon the unbelieving. Jesus said that this seven-year period will be the most terrible that the earth has ever experienced or ever will afterwards. His church, his bride, will not be here to receive his wrath.
"For God hath not appointed US to wrath,
but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ..."
1 Thessalonians 5:9
Friends, let us not be among the churches who received only criticism from the Lord. We can choose to dwell in the Philadelphian group with the promise to be taken out before the wrath of God falls upon the earth. But we are warned that it will take patience because we are not spared the trials of life as we live in a world presently dominated by the Satanic hosts.
We will receive the "fiery darts" of the enemy of our souls, but we will NOT be here to receive the wrath of GOD when it is poured out without mercy during the last seven years of this age - IF we have stayed in patient endurance until that day comes. All the signs are here currently pointing to the nearness of that day.
Jesus told us to ESCAPE this time:
"Watch therefore, and PRAY always
that you may be counted worthy TO ESCAPE
all these things that will come to pass,
and to stand before the Son of Man.”