I had the privilege of preaching on Revelation 3:8-10 this past Sunday AM. In this passage of Scripture Jesus presents 3 Encouraging Promises to the faithful congregation at Philadelphia and to faithful churches like this one.
Most Bible scholars believe that verse 10 looks forward to the tribulation period. The debate really comes down to interpreting tereo ek correctly. Revelation 3:10 ‘Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth.’
One of the most helpful resources that I came across was a counterpoint book; The Rapture: Pre,-Mid,-Post- Tribulational by Gleason Archer Jr, Paul Feinberg, and Douglas Moo. I think all expository preachers should carefully consider the quote below.
“The time of the Rapture is neither the most important nor the most unimportant point of Christian theology. For some the Rapture question is a bellwether; its surrender marks the first step on the proverbial slippery slope that leads one to the rocks of liberalism. But such is neither logically nor actually the case. When one considers the whole spectrum of Christian theology, eschatology is only a small part of it. Moreover, the Rapture question constitutes only a small segment of eschatology. The contributors of this volume are in substantial agreement on matters of individual, or personal, eschatology and are all convinced of the same view with respect to the larger issues of premillennialism.
There are those who find the questions of the Rapture insignificant and uninteresting; they pride themselves in being above the battle. But this is wrong. Theologically, no aspect of revealed truth is unimportant. The Rapture touches the extremely important issues of biblical interpretation, the relationship between the church and Israel, and the course of human history. Practically, the time of the Rapture is significant because we aspire to know the whole counsel of God. Furthermore, this matter touches the important issue of the nature of the Christian’s hope and expectation. Am I to expect Christ’s return at any moment? Or, is my hope the protection in and deliverance by God from a time of worldwide tribulation? Thus, the task before us is an important one.”
One of the minor things that I have seen come out of the “New Calvinism” movement that concerns me is a general disregard for biblical eschatology (prophesy). Panmillennialism is now en vogue- It will all pan out because God is sovereign… or “We’re above those battles”- Eschatology is too confusing and divisive to really teach on, etc, etc.
Now I realize some Christians are on the other end of the spectrum (prophesy pundits). They eat, drink, and breath this subject but sadly miss the overall purposes of prophesy and eschatology. Both extremes should be rejected.
I am a big supporter of movements like Together for the Gospel. I just believe that reformed expository preachers need to be consistent. They rightfully “cry foul” when preachers jump over Ephesians 1 and Romans 9-10 but then allow certain preachers to jump over Revelation 6-22 and Matthew 24-45. Whatever happened to preaching the full counsel of God?
The way Archer, Feinberg, and Moo graciously interact with each other as brothers in Christ and as faithful bible scholars without compromising their biblical convictions is worth careful study and imitation.