The Word of Christ’s Patience

12 May

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According to Revelation 3:10, Jesus claimed the church at Philadelphia had kept the word of his patience (G5281). Patience is what is required of believers who have done the will of God, as they ‘wait’ for their reward (Hebrews 10:36). In fact, the fruit of the labor of a good and honest heart is brought forth with patience (Luke 8:15). This is simply how this is done. The seed or the word of God is planted, and it gives birth to the plant or the ‘life’ produced by the seed (word of God), and that ‘life’ produces fruit or good works after the sower waits patiently for that inner ‘life’ to do its work. In other words, the church preached the Gospel and waited with patience (G5281) for the fruit to be produced.

The church at Philadelphia could not have had patience in the word of Christ, without being persecuted for keeping his word (cf. Acts 14:21-22; Romans 5:3-4), so although nothing is said in the letter about persecution, we can know the church was persecuted or afflicted in some manner, because it kept the word of Christ’s patience (Revelation 3:10). So, as they were persecuted, they endured all for the sake of the Gospel, knowing that in the end they would be vindicated (Revelation 13:7, 10). They kept the word of Christ’s patience, thus, permitting patience to have her perfect work (James 1:3-4).

Therefore, because the church had kept the word of his patience, Jesus promised to keep them from the “hour of temptation” that would come upon the whole world, i.e. the world of that generation (Revelation 3:10). In speaking of the hour of temptation, Jesus referred to the Great Tribulation, which would be like no other time in history (Matthew 24:21). The hour would come upon the whole world,[1] but the temptation (G3986) would be upon the Jews of the synagogue of the adversary (Revelation 3:9). Jesus’ words in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:21) are drawn from Daniel 12:1:

Daniel 12:1  And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (emphasis mine)

Daniel spoke of the time since Israel was a nation. In other words, there was never a time like this one in Israel’s history, and Jesus spoke of the same theme, because he was sent into the world as the Servant of the Jews for the sake of the truth, so that all things that were promised to the fathers could be fulfilled (Romans 15:8).

Notice the agreement of Jesus’ “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21) with Daniel’s “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time.” There is little doubt that Jesus and Daniel spoke of the same event. However, notice what Daniel said later about this very time, when the angel asked how long before these things would be fulfilled (Daniel 12:6):

Daniel 12:7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and swore by him that lives forever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. (emphasis mine)[2]

Daniel concluded that, when the power of the holy people would be completely destroyed, everything will be over. The power of the Jews had always been founded in the fact that they had been set apart by God to be his nation. It is this power that had to be destroyed before an end of judgment could come. Therefore, it was when the Old Covenant had come to an end, i.e. when the age of the Law was ended. That age came to an end in 70 AD with the conquering of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple (cf. Matthew 26:64).


[1] Both hour (G5610) and world (G3625) are feminine and agree, but temptation (G3986) is masculine and agrees with them (G3588) “that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10). Satan or “the adversary” of Revelation 3:9 is also masculine, as are “which say they are Jews” in verse-9, and these agree. So, the hour comes upon the whole world, but the temptation (viz. the Great Tribulation) comes upon the Jews.

[2] The NASB has this: “and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.” The RV has it: “and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” See also ERV, ESV, GW, ISV, JPS, LEB, TLV, WEB, etc. for a clearer translation.

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Posted by on May 12, 2019 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation


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