Revelation 3:10
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
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(10) Because thou hast kept (better, didst keep) the word of my patience.—The one who keeps God’s word is kept. Such is “the benigna talio of the kingdom of God,” as Archbishop Trench calls it. The promise does not mean the being kept away from, but the being kept out from the tribulation. The head should be kept above the waters; they should not be ashamed, because they had kept the word of patience. It is through patience, as well as comfort of the Scripture that we have the hope which maketh not ashamed. (Comp. Romans 15:5, and Revelation 3:3-5.)



Revelation 3:10.

There are only two of the seven churches which receive no censure or rebuke from Jesus Christ; and of these two - viz., the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia - the former receives but little praise though much sympathy. This church at Philadelphia stands alone in the abundance and unalloyed character of the eulogium which Christ passes upon it. He doles out His praise with a liberal hand, and nothing delights Him more than when He can commend even our imperfect work. He does not wait for our performances to reach the point of absolute sinlessness before He approves them. Do you think that a father or a mother, when its child was trying to please him or her, would be at all likely to say, ‘Your gift is worth very little. I could buy a far better one in a shop’? And do you think that Jesus Christ’s love and delight in the service of His children are less generous than ours? Surely not.

So here we are not to suppose that these good souls in Philadelphia lived angelic lives of unbroken holiness because Jesus Christ has nothing but praise for them. Rather we are to learn the great thought that, in all our poor, stained service, He recognizes the central motive and main drift, and, accepting these, is glad when He can commend. ‘Thou hast kept the word of My patience,’ and, with a beautiful reciprocity, ‘I will keep those that keep My word from’ and ‘in the hour of temptation.’

I. Now notice, in the first place, the thing kept.

That is a remarkable phrase ‘the word of My patience.’ A verse or two before, our Lord had said to the same church, evidently speaking about the same thing in them, ‘Thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word.’ This expression, ‘the word of My patience,’ seems to be best understood in the same general way as that other which precedes it, and upon which it is a commentary and an explanation. It refers, not to individual commandments to patience, but to the entire gospel message, the general whole of ‘the Word of Jesus Christ’ communicated therein to men. That is a profound and beautiful way of characterizing the sum of the revelation of God in Christ as ‘the word of His patience,’ and is one which yields ample reward to meditative thought.

The whole gospel, then, is so named, inasmuch as it all records the patience which Christ exercised.

What does the New Testament mean by ‘patience’? Not merely endurance, although, of course, that is included, but endurance of such a sort as will secure persistence in work, in spite of all the opposition and sufferings which may come in the way. The world’s patience simply means, ‘Pour on, I will endure.’ The New Testament patience has in it the idea of perseverance as well as of endurance, and means, not only that we bow to the pain or the sorrow, but that nothing in sorrow, nothing in trial, nothing in temptation, nothing in antagonism, has the smallest power to divert us from doing what we know to be right. The man who will reach his hand through the smoke of hell to lay hold of plain duty is the patient man of the New Testament. ‘Though there were as many devils in Worms as there are tiles on the housetops, I will go in.’ That speech of Luther’s, though uttered with a little too much energy, expressed the true idea of Christian patience. High above the stormy and somewhat rough determination of the servant towers, calm and gentle, and therefore stronger, the ‘patience’ of the Lord, and the whole story of His life on earth may well be regarded, from this point of view, as the record of His unfaltering and meek continuance in obedience to the Father’s will, in the face of opposition and suffering. His life, to use a secular word, was the most ‘heroic’ ever lived. Before Him was the thing to be done, and between Him and it were massed such battalions of antagonism and evil as never were mustered in opposition to any other saintly soul upon earth. And through all He went persistently, with ‘His face like a flint,’ of set purpose to do the work for which He came into the world.

But there was no fierce antagonism about Jesus Christ’s patience. His persistence, in spite of all obstacles and opposition, was the persistence of meekness, the heroism of gentleness. Patience in the lower sense of quiet endurance, as well as in the higher, of heroic scorn of all that opposition could do to hinder the realization of the Father’s will, is deeply stamped upon His life. We think of His gentleness, of His meekness, of His humility, of all the softer, and, as men insolently call them, the more feminine virtues in Christ’s character. But I do not know that we often enough think of what men, with equal insolence and shortsightedness, call the masculine virtues of which, too, He is the great Exemplar, that magnificent, unparalleled, and perfectly quiet and unostentatious invincibility of will and heroism of settled resolve with which He pressed towards the mark, though the mark was a cross.

This is the theme of the gospel story, and this Apocalypse of a gentle Christ, whose gentleness was the gentleness of inflexible strength, this story, or word ‘of My patience,’ is that which we are to lay upon our hearts. For that name is fitly applied to the gospel, inasmuch as it enjoins upon every one of us in our degree, and in regard of the far easier tasks and slighter antagonisms with which we have to do and \ which we have to meet, to make Christ’s persistence the model for our lives. So the whole morality of Christianity may almost be gathered up into this one expression, which sets forth at once the law and the supreme motive for fulfilling it. Unwelcome and hard tasks are made easy and delightsome when we hear Jesus say, ‘The record of My patience is thy pattern and thy power. Be like Me, and thou shalt be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.’

II. Notice, next, the keepers of this word.

The metaphor represents to us the action of one who, possessing some valuable thing, puts it into some safe place, takes great care of it, carries it very near to the heart, perhaps within the robe, and watches tenderly and jealously over it. So ‘thou hast kept the word of My patience.’

There are two ways by which Christians are to do that; the one is by inwardly cherishing the word and the other by outwardly obeying it. There should be both the inward counting it dear and precious, and treasuring it in mind and heart, as the Psalmist says,

‘Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I should not offend against Thee,’ and also the regulation of conduct which we more usually regard as keeping the commandment.

Let me say a word, and it shall only be a word, about each of these two things. I am afraid that the plain practical duty of reading their Bibles is getting to be a much neglected duty amongst professing Christian people. I do not know how you are to keep the words of Christ’s patience in your hearts and minds if you do not read them. I am afraid that most Christian congregations nowadays do their systematic and prayerful study of the New Testament by proxy, and expect their ministers to read the Bible for them and to tell them what is there. A mother will sometimes take a morsel of her child’s food into her mouth, and half masticate it first before she passes it to the little gums. I am afraid that newspapers, and circulating libraries, and magazines, and little religious books - very good in their way, but secondary and subordinate - have taken the place that our fathers used to have filled by honest reading of God’s Word. And that is one of the reasons, and I believe it is a very large part of the reason, why so many professing Christians do not come up to this standard; and instead of ‘running with patience the race that is set before them,’ walk in an extraordinarily leisurely fashion, by fits and starts, and sometimes with long intervals, in which they sit still on the road, and are not a mile farther at a year’s end than they were when it began. There never was, and there never will be, vigorous Christian life unless there be an honest and habitual study of God’s Word. There is no short-cut by which Christians can reach the end of the race. Foremost among the methods by which their eyes are enlightened and their hearts rejoiced are application to the eyes of their understanding of that eye-salve, and the hiding in their hearts of that sweet solace and fountain of gladness, the Word of Christ’s patience, the revelation of God’s will. The trees whose roots are laved and branches freshened by that river have leaves that never wither, and all their blossoms set.

But the word is kept by continual obedience in action as well as by inward treasuring. Obviously the inward must precede the outward. Unless we can say with the Psalmist, ‘Thy word have I hid in my heart,’ we shall not be able to say with him, ‘I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart.’ If the Word of the Lord is to sound like a rousing trumpet-blast from our lives, it must first be heard in secret by us, and its music linger in our listening hearts.

We need this brave persistence in daily life if we are not to fail wholly. Very instructive in this aspect are many of the Scripture allusions to ‘patience’ as essential to the various virtues and blessednesses of Christian life.

For example, In your patience ye shall win your souls.’ Only he who presses right on, in spite of all that externals can do to hinder him from realizing his conviction of duty, is the lord of his own spirit. All others are slaves to something or some one. By persistence in the paths of Christian service, no matter what around or within us may rise up to hinder us, and by such persistence only, do we become masters of ourselves. Many a man has to walk, as in the old days of ordeal by fire, over a road strewn with hot ploughshares, to get to the place where God will have him to be. And if he does not flinch, though he may reach the goal with scorched feet, he will reach it with a quiet heart, and possess himself, whatever he may lose.

Again, the Lord Himself says to us, ‘These are those which bring forth fruit with patience.’ There is no growth of Christian character, no flowering of Christian conduct, no setting of incipient virtues into the mature fruit of settled habit, without this persistent adherence in the face of all antagonism, to the dictates of conscience and the commandment of Christ. It is the condition of bringing forth fruit, some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundredfold.

Again the Scripture says, demanding this same persistence, gentle abstinence, and sanctified stiffneckedness, ‘Run with perseverance the race that is set before you.’ There is no progress in the Christian course, no accomplishing the stadia through which we have to pass, except there be this dogged keeping at what we know to be duty, in spite of all the reluctance of trembling limbs, and the cowardice of our poor hearts.

III. We have here Christ keeping the keepers of His word.

‘Because thou hast kept the word of My patience I will keep thee from,’ and in, ‘the hour of temptation.’ There is a beautiful reciprocity, as I said. Christ will do for us as we have done with His word. Christ still does in heaven what He did upon earth. In the great high priest’s prayer recorded by the evangelist who was also the amanuensis of these letters from heaven, Jesus said, ‘I kept them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me, and I guarded them, and not one of them perished.’ And now, speaking from heaven, He continues His earthly guardianship, and bids us trust that, just as when with His followers here, He sheltered them as a parent bird does its young, fluttering round them, bearing them up on its wings, and drew them within the sacred circle of His sweet, warm, strong, impregnable protection, so, if we keep the word of His patience, cherishing the story of His life in our hearts, and humbly seeking to mould our lives after its sweet and strong beauty, He will keep us in the midst of, and also from, the hour of temptation. The Christ in heaven is as near each trembling heart and feeble foot, to defend and to uphold, as was the Christ upon earth.

He does not promise to keep us at a distance from temptation, so as that we shall not have to face it, but from means, as any that can look at the original will see, that He will save us out of it, we having previously been in it, so as that ‘the hour of temptation’ shall not be the hour of falling. Yes! the man whose heart is filled with the story of Christ’s patience, and who is seeking to keep that word, will walk in the midst of the fire-damp of this mine that we live in, as with a safety lamp in his hand, and there will be no explosion. If we keep our hearts in the love of God, and in that great word of Christ’s patience, the gunpowder in our nature will be wetted, and when a spark falls upon it there will be no flash. Outward circumstances will not be emptied of their power to tempt, but our susceptibility will be deadened in proportion as we keep the word of the patience of the patient Christ. The lustre of earthly brightnesses will have no glory by reason of the glory that excelleth, and when set by the side of heavenly gifts will show black against their radiance, as would electric light between the eye and the sun.

It is great to wrestle with temptation and fling it, but it is greater to be so strong that it never grasps us.

It is great to be victor over passions and lusts, and to put our heel upon them and suppress them, but it is better to be so near the Master that they have crouched before Him, and ‘the lion eats straw like the ox.’

To such blessed state we attain if, and only if, we draw near to Him and in daily communion with Him secure that the secret of His patient continuance in well-doing is repeated in us. So we shall be lifted above temptation. That great word of His patience, and the spirit which goes with the word, will be for us like the cotton wool that chemists put into the flask which they wish to seal hermetically from the approach of microscopic germs of corruption. It will let all the air through, but it will keep all the infinitesimal animated points of poison out. It will filter the most polluted atmosphere, and bring it to our lungs clean and clear. ‘If thou keep the word of My patience I will keep thee from the hour of temptation.’

3:7-13 The same Lord Jesus has the key of government and authority in and over the church. He opens a door of opportunity to his churches; he opens a door of utterance to his ministers; he opens a door of entrance, opens the heart. He shuts the door of heaven against the foolish, who sleep away their day of grace; and against the workers of iniquity, how vain and confident soever they may be. The church in Philadelphia is commended; yet with a gentle reproof. Although Christ accepts a little strength, yet believers must not rest satisfied in a little, but strive to grow in grace, to be strong in faith, giving glory to God. Christ can discover this his favour to his people, so that their enemies shall be forced to acknowledge it. This, by the grace of Christ, will soften their enemies, and make them desire to be admitted into communion with his people. Christ promises preserving grace in the most trying times, as the reward of past faithfulness; To him that hath shall be given. Those who keep the gospel in a time of peace, shall be kept by Christ in an hour of temptation; and the same Divine grace that has made them fruitful in times of peace, will make them faithful in times of persecution. Christ promises a glorious reward to the victorious believer. He shall be a monumental pillar in the temple of God; a monument of the free and powerful grace of God; a monument that shall never be defaced or removed. On this pillar shall be written the new name of Christ; by this will appear, under whom the believer fought the good fight, and came off victorious.Because thou hast kept the word of my patience - My word commanding or enjoining patience; that is, thou hast manifested the patience which I require. They had shown this in the trials which they had experienced; he promises now, that in return he will keep them in the future trials that shall come upon the world. One of the highest rewards of patience in one trial is the grace that God gives us to bear another. The fact that we have been patient and submis sive may be regarded as proof that he will give us grace that we may be patient and submissive in the trials that are to come. God does not leave those who have shown that they will not leave him.

I also will keep thee - That is, I will so keep you that you shall not sink under the trials which will prove a severe temptation to many. This does not mean that they would be actually kept from calamity of all kinds, but that they would be kept from the temptation of apostasy in calamity. He would give them grace to bear up under trials with a Christian spirit, and in such a manner that their salvation should not be endangered.

From the hour of temptation - The season; the time; the period of temptation. You shall be no kept that what will prove to be a time of temptation to so many, shall not endanger your salvation. Though others fall, you shall not; though you may be afflicted with others, yet you shall have grace to sustain you.

Which shall come upon all the world - The phrase used here - "all the world" - may either denote the whole world; or the whole Roman empire; or a large district of country; or the land of Judaea. See the notes on Luke 2:1. Here, perhaps, all that is implied is, that the trial would be very extensive or general - so much so as to embrace the world, as the word was understood by those to whom the epistle was addressed. It need not be supposed that the whole world literally was included in it, or even all the Roman empire, but what was the world to them - the region which they would embrace in that term. If there were some far-spreading calamity in the country where they resided, it would probably be all that would be fairly embraced in the meaning of the word. It is not known to what trial the speaker refers. It may have been some form of persecution, or it may have been some calamity by disease, earthquake, or famine that was to occur. Tacitus (see Wetstein, in loco) mentions an earthquake that sank twelve cities in Asia Minor, in one night, by which, among others, Philadelphia was deeply affected; and 'it is possible that there may have been reference here to that overwhelming calamity. But nothing can be determined with certainty in regard to this.

To try them that dwell upon the earth - To test their character. It would rather seem from this that the affliction was some form of persecution as adapted to test the fidelity of those who were affected by it. The persecutions in the Roman empire would furnish abundant occasions for such a trial.

10. patience—"endurance." "The word of My endurance" is My Gospel word, which teaches patient endurance in expectation of my coming (Re 1:9). My endurance is the endurance which I require, and which I practice. Christ Himself now endures, patiently waiting until the usurper be cast out, and all "His enemies be made His footstool." So, too, His Church, for the joy before her of sharing His coming kingdom, endures patiently. Hence, in Re 3:11, follows, "Behold, I come quickly."

I also—The reward is in kind: "because thou didst keep," &c. "I also (on My side) will keep thee," &c.

from—Greek, "(so as to deliver thee) out of," not to exempt from temptation.

the hour of temptation—the appointed season of affliction and temptation (so in De 4:34 the plagues are called "the temptations of Egypt"), literally, "the temptation": the sore temptation which is coming on: the time of great tribulation before Christ's second coming.

to try them that dwell upon the earth—those who are of earth, earthy (Re 8:13). "Dwell" implies that their home is earth, not heaven. All mankind, except the elect (Re 13:8, 14). The temptation brings out the fidelity of those kept by Christ and hardens the unbelieving reprobates (Re 9:20, 21; 16:11, 21). The particular persecutions which befell Philadelphia shortly after, were the earnest of the great last tribulation before Christ's coming, to which the Church's attention in all ages is directed.

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience: the doctrine of the gospel is, unquestionably, the word here called the word of the Lord’s patience, because it was that word, that doctrine, which (as those times went) could not he adhered to and observed without much patience in those that adhered to it; both actively, waiting for the promises revealed in it, and passively, enduring all manner of trials and crosses. To keep this word, was to keep close not only to the matters of faith revealed in it, but to the duty imposed by it upon ministers and others in the preaching and propagating of the gospel, and all the duties of a holy life.

I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world; for this faithfulness God promises to keep the ministers of this church from those persecutions which raged elsewhere, and were further, in Trajan’s time, to come upon all Christians living under the Roman empire.

To try them that dwell upon the earth; to try those Christians that lived within that empire, how well they would adhere to Christ, and the profession of the gospel. This I take to be a more proper sense, than theirs who would interpret this hour of temptation of the day of judgment, which is never so called.

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience,.... The Gospel; so called because it gives an account of the patience of Christ, in the midst of all his outward meanness and humiliation; and because it is a means of implanting and increasing the grace of patience, which God is the efficient cause of, and Christ is the example of; that patience, which bears a resemblance to his, in enduring afflictions, reproaches, persecutions, desertions, and temptations, and in waiting for his kingdom and glory; and because both the preachers and professors of the word have need of patience, and should exercise it in like manner as Christ did. This word, the churches, in the Philadelphian state, will keep pure and incorrupt, and observe the ordinances of it according to the directions given in it; and will believe the promise of Christ's personal coming, and patiently wait for it: wherefore, Christ promises as follows,

I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth; this hour seems to refer not to any of the vials which will be poured out on the antichristian states, but to some affliction and distress which will befall the reformed churches, and will light upon the outward court worshippers among them It seems to be the last struggle of the beast of Rome, and to denote some violent and sharp persecution, such as what Daniel mentions, that never was before nor since; but it will be but short, but one hour, the twenty fourth part of a prophetical day or year, perhaps about a fortnight; yet it will be very extensive; it will reach all the world, the whole Roman empire, and all that dwell upon the earth, that are called by the name of Christians, and will try them, whether they are so or not; Christ will now have his fan in his hand, and purge his floor of all his formal professors and hypocrites; and it will be known who are his true churches, and pure members; and these he will keep close to himself, and preserve safe amidst all the distress and confusion the world will be in. This cannot refer to the bloody persecutions under the Roman emperors, for from those the church at Philadelphia was not preserved. We read (s) of twelve members of it that suffered with Polycarp,

(s) Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 4. c. 15.

Because thou hast {g} kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

(g) Because you have been patient and constant, as I would have my servants be.

Revelation 3:10. ὅτι ἐτήρησας

κἀγώ σε τηρήσω. The form of the antanaclasis[1453] corresponds with the inner relation between the performance of the church, and the reward on the Lord’s part; but even the performance of the church depends entirely upon the Lord’s grace, as the ΛΌΓΟς Τ. ὙΠΟΜ. itself, which the church has kept, is full of divine power, nourishes and supports the faith, fidelity, patience, and hope of the church, and thus qualifies the same for victory.

ΤῸΝ ΛΌΓΟΝ Τῆς ὙΠΟΜΟΝῆς ΜΟΥ. The gen. ὙΠΟΜΟΝῆς designates the ΛΌΓΟς according to its peculiar nature, as it depends upon its contents;[1454] the pronoun ΜΟΥ belongs not only to Τῆς ὙΠΟΜ.,[1455] but[1456] to the whole conception Τ. ΛΟΓ. Τ. ὙΠΟΜ.[1457] The form of statement in Revelation 1:9 is therefore, at all events, a different one.[1458] Consequently Τ. ΛΟΓ. Τ. ὙΠΟΜ. ΜΟΥ cannot be: “the word concerning Christ’s patience, concerning the sufferings of Christ patiently endured for us,” or “the word of constancy in Christ’s faith;”[1459] or “the word which makes its demands partly according to its contents and spirit,[1460] and partly by virtue of the duty of confession and steadfastness in following, as it belongs to me and mine;”[1461] also not: “my patience, i. e., the specifically Christian, expressly required by the Lord himself, and enjoined as a preservative against the judgments threatened against the world.”[1462] The vacillation and juncture of different ideas by all interpreters who wish to refer the μου only to τ. ὑπομ. reveals the unnaturalness of the combination. The λόγος τῆς ὑπομονῆς of the Lord dare not, however, be explained: “the word which among other commandments contains that of patience also,” an explanation which is incorrectly ascribed to Grot., who, as many others vacillating concerning the relation of the μου, says at one time: “My precept concerning patience,” and then, again, that the patience of Christ signifies “that which Christ has enjoined.” The whole word of God as a word of patience rather appears to be the view of the Revelation in general, and of our epistle in particular, because with respect to troubles unavoidable to believers it gives and demands steadfast, faithful, and hopeful patience, i.e., the virtue which alone can lead us from all troubles to glory.[1463] With respect to the already present and still future troubles, every thing to the believer turns upon the fact that he “overcomes.” This he can attain only through the ὑπομονή, to which the word of his Lord points him. Thus the writer of the Apoc. can from his point of vision regard the whole word of Christ as a λόγον τῆς ὑπομονῆς with the same right as, e.g., Paul, the preacher of righteousness, alone by faith in the Crucified, represents the whole gospel as the λόγος τοῦ σταυροῦ[1464]

In the words κἀγώ σε τηρήσω ἐκ τῆς ὥρας, κ.τ.λ., the church at Philadelphia is not promised that it shall be preserved from the hour of trial, i.e., that it shall not meet with sufferings full of trial,[1465] but in accordance with the presentation of the Apoc., that the troubles before the coming of the Lord will befall all believers, who of course are sealed,[1466] lest by the temptation in the troubles they may fall;[1467] and in accordance with the corresponding expression τηρ. ἐκ,[1468] in distinction from ΤΗΡ. ἈΠΌ,[1469] the church at Philadelphia, since it has already maintained victorious patience, is also to be delivered by his confirming grace from the universal distress impending before the coming of the Lord.[1470]

The ὭΡΑ ΤΟῦ ΠΕΙΡΑΣΜΟῦ, Κ.Τ.Λ., i.e., the precise period wherein the temptation is to occur,[1471] refers to no persecution whatever proceeding from the Roman emperors,—neither that of Nero,[1472] nor some one after Domitian,[1473] possibly under Trajan,[1474]—also not, as Primas and Beda[1475] arbitrarily agree, to sufferings occasioned by antichrist; but the idea, here not more minutely defined, is to be referred, according to the further development of the Apoc., to all the afflictions which, before the personal coming of the Lord,[1476] are to burst upon believers;[1477] the punishments impending by God’s wrath only over unbelievers before the appearing of the Lord are not meant.[1478]

The idea of the πειρασμός and πειράσαι[1479] has its justification because, on the one hand, to believers the danger of a fall into such suffering is present,[1480]—and hence there go with it the promise σὲ τηρήσω, the command κράτει, κ.τ.λ., Revelation 3:11, and the pledge to the victor, Revelation 3:12,—but, on the other hand, to unbelievers such suffering must actually be a temptation,[1481] and that, too, of such kind as that because of their impenitent unbelief they will ever fall by it the deeper, and their hostility to what is holy be always the more revealed by despair and blasphemy.[1482]

ἐπὶ τὴς οἰκουμένης ὅλης. The remark that hereby the Roman empire is designated[1483] is correct only so far as in John’s historical horizon the whole world appears comprehended in the Roman empire. Yet by this (erroneous) limitation, the prophetic truth remains untouched, that the hour of temptation is to come to the actual οἰκουμένη ὅλη, as certainly as the Lord himself is to appear as absolutely Judge of all.

πειράσαι τοὺς κατοικοῦντας ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. Those dwelling on the earth are, according to the constant mode of expression in the Apoc.,[1484] the mass of men, in contradistinction to believers redeemed from all nations and tongues.[1485] The πειράσαι refers to them in so far only as they are not kept (σὲ τηρήσω).

[1453] Beng., etc.

[1454] Cf. Winer, p. 222.

[1455] Calov., Ew., De Wette, Hengstenb., etc.

[1456] Cf. Revelation 13:3; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 1:3.

[1457] Winer, p. 222. Obscure: Grot., Vitr., Eichh., Heinr., Ebrard.

[1458] Against Hengstenb., etc.

[1459] Calov.

[1460] As the word of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18).

[1461] Vitr., who also paraphrases: “They preserved the word of the Lord’s patience; i.e., the word of the Lord, which is a word of patience, because no one can with constancy profess the doctrine of the gospel, unless, at the same time, he fortify himself to bear with patience the afflictions accompanying the profession of Christianity.” All Christians must bear the cross of Christ (Matthew 16:24), i.e., θλῖψις; but θλῖψις works ὑπομονήν (Romans 5:3), so that the λογ. τῆς ὑπομον. is nothing else than the λογ. τοῦ σταυροῦ (1 Corinthians 1:18).

[1462] Luke 21:19; Luke 8:15; Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:13. Hengstenb.

[1463] Cf. Revelation 1:9; Matthew 24:13.

[1464] Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:17 sqq., Revelation 2:1.

[1465] Whereby either the church at Philadelphia alone, as constituting a special exception (Beng., Eichh., Ebrard), or certain afflictions (chs. 6, 8), in whose presence all believers are to remain approved (Revelation 7:3 sqq.; De Wette; cf. Ewald, Züll.), are regarded.

[1466] The case is different in Revelation 9:3, where they who are sealed are not touched by a plague immediately coming from the abyss.

[1467] Cf. Revelation 7:3; Revelation 7:14; Matthew 24:22; Matthew 24:24.

[1468] John 17:15. Cf. Revelation 7:14 : ἐρχ. ἐκ τ. θλίψ.

[1469] Jam 1:27; Proverbs 7:5. Cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:3.

[1470] Cf. Vitr., Hengstenb., Ew. ii., Volkm.

[1471] Cf. Revelation 14:7; Revelation 14:15.

[1472] Grot.

[1473] N. de Lyra.

[1474] Alcas., Pareus, etc.

Revelation 3:10. The position of μου shows that it belongs not to τὸν λόγον τῆς ὑπομονῆς as a whole, but to ὑπομονῆς (2 Thessalonians 3:5). The precise sense therefore is not “my word about patience” (i.e., my counsel of patience as the supreme virtue of these latter days, so Weiss, Bousset, etc.), but “the word, or the preaching, of that patience which refers to me” (i.e., the patient endurance with which, amid present trials, Christ is to be served; so Alford, Spitta, Holtzm.). See Psalms 38 (39), 8: καὶ νῦν τίς ἡ ὑπομονή μου; οὐχὶ ὁ κύριος; The second reason for praising the Philadelphian Christians is their loyal patience under persecution, as well as the loyal confession of Christ (Revelation 3:8) which had possibly brought on that persecution. κἀγὼ κ.τ.λ. (“I in turn”; cf. similar connection in John 17:6-8), a reproduction of the saying preserved in Luke 21:36. The imminent period τοῦ πειρασμοῦ refers to the broken days which, in eschatological schemes, were to herald messiah’s return. Later on, this period is specifically defined as a time of seduction to imperial worship (cf. Revelation 13:14-17, Revelation 7:2, with Daniel 7:1, LXX). The Philadelphian Christians will not only triumph over the contempt and intrigues of their Jewish foes but also over the wider pagan trial (which is also a temptation), inasmuch as their devotion, already manifested in face of Jewish malice, will serve to carry them through the storm of Roman persecution. The reward of loyalty is in fact fresh power to be loyal on a higher level: “the wages of going on, and ever to be”. This seems better than to take the world-wide trial as the final attempt (Revelation 8:13, Revelation 11:10, etc.) to induce repentance in men or to punish them, from which the P. Christians (cf. Revelation 7:1-8, and Ps. Sol. 13:4–10, 15:6, 7) would be exempt; but it is impossible from the grammar and difficult from the sense, to decide whether τηρεῖν ἐκ means successful endurance (pregnant sense as in John 17:15) or absolute immunity (cf. 2 Peter 2:9), safe emergence from the trial or escape from it entirely (thanks to the timely advent of Christ, Revelation 3:11). Note the fine double sense of τηρεῖν: unsparing devotion is spared at least some forms of distress and disturbance. It is like Luther’s paradox that when a man learns to say with Christ, “The cross, the cross,” there is no cross. Rabbinic piety (Sanh. 98 b) expected exemption from the tribulation of the latter days only for those who were absorbed in good works and in sacred studies.

10. Because … I also] It would be possible, but hardly in accordance with the usage of this book, to connect this with what goes before, “that I have loved thee, because thou hast kept …, and I will keep thee from.…”

Revelation 3:10. [49] ΤΟῪς ΚΑΤΟΙΚΟῦΝΤΑς ἘΠῚ Τῆς Γῆς) Thus the Septuagint often render, when in the Hebrew ישבי הארץ is found: Isaiah 26:21, etc. But the word ΣΚΗΝΟῦΝ is used of the inhabitants of heaven, ch. Revelation 12:12.

[49] σὲ, thee) A most gracious exception in so great a temptation.—V. g.

Verse 10. - Because thou didst keep (see notes on Revelation 1:3 and Revelation 2:26) the word of my patience, I also will keep thee. This is the Divine lex talionis. "Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven; give, and it shall be given unto you" (Luke 6:37, 38); keep, and ye shall be kept. Compare "I know mine own, and mine own know me" (John 10:14). "The word of my patience" may mean either the gospel, which everywhere teaches patience, or those sayings of Christ in which he specially inculcates this duty (Luke 8:15; Luke 21:19; Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:13). In "I also will keep thee" the two pronouns are in emphatic contrast. From the hour of temptation. The phrase, τηρεῖν ἐκ, occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in John 17:15 (comp. James 1:27, where we have τηρεῖν ἀπό, and 2 Thessalonians 3:3, φυλάσσειν ἀπό). It is not certain that the common explanation, that ἀπό implies exemption from trial, while ἐκ implies preservation under trial, holds good. "Temptation" (πειρασμός) generally has no article in the New Testament (Matthew 6:13; Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38, etc.; comp. especially Luke 8:13). Here it has the article, as if "the temptation" were to be of no ordinary kind. The word does not occur elsewhere in St. John's writings. In order to bring substantive and verb into harmony, the Revised Version renders πειρασμός "trial," the word for "to try" being πειράσαι. "World" here is not the κόσμος, "the ordered universe" (Revelation 11:15; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8), but the οἰκυμένη, "the inhabited earth" (Revelation 12:9; Revelation 16:14). The phrase, "to dwell upon the earth," κατοικεῖν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, is peculiar to the Apocalypse (Revelation 6:10; Revelation 8:13; Revelation 11:10; Revelation 13:8, 14). "The hour of trial" seems to be that which Christ had foretold should precede his coming, especially the triumph of antichrist. Hence the declaration in the next verse. Revelation 3:10The word of my patience (τὸν λόγον τῆς ὑπομονῆς μου)

Not the words which Christ has spoken concerning patience, but the word of Christ which requires patience to keep it; the gospel which teaches the need o a patient waiting for Christ. On patience, see on 2 Peter 1:6; see on James 5:7.

From the hour (ἐκ)

The preposition implies, not a keeping from temptation, but a keeping in temptation, as the result of which they shall be delivered out of its power. Compare John 17:15.

Of temptation (τοῦ πειρασμοῦ)

Lit., "of the trial" See on Matthew 6:13; see on 1 Peter 1:7. Rev., trial.

World (οἰκουμένης)

See on Luke 2:1

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