“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.”
Until the ultimate expression of glory, God’s people will know great trials, but the promise made in verse 10 is that the Lord will keep those who have kept His commandments. Loyalty has a definite reward. Jesus will keep His own from “the hour of temptation.”
A proper understanding of this phrase must take into consideration the Jewish understanding of time.
The Jews divided time into two ages: “this age” and “the age to come.”
This Age and the Eternal Age to Come
The Jews spoke of movement towards The Age to Come. They believed that just prior to the Eternal Age there would come upon the entire world a final testing. This is referred to as the day of the Lord, the Day of Christ, the Last Day, and the hour of Trial (Temptation).
In Revelation 3:11 the saints are encouraged to hold on to what they have, so that no one take their crown.
“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man takes thy crown” (Rev. 3:11).
The issue is not that someone will steal their reward, but they are not worthy to wear it. The Christians could remember that:
Esau lost his crown to Jacob Genesis 25:34; 27:36
Rueben, unstable as water, lost his crown to Judah Genesis 49:4,8
Saul lost his crown to David 1 Samuel 16:1,13
Judas lost his crown to Matthias Acts 1:25,26
The Jews lost their crown to the Gentiles Romans 11:11
To all that overcome, the Lord makes several promises.
He will make them a pillar in the temple of God. A pillar is a great and honored support. On the pillar rests the weight of the building. Peter, James, and John are declared to be the pillars of the early Church. “And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision” (Gal. 2:9).
He shall go out no more. This translates into a promise of security, and a promise of rest.
The saint will have the name of God written upon their soul. The imagery may refer to several things.
In the cities of Asia Minor and Philadelphia, after he died, a priestly person of prominence would have a new pillar erected in the Temple in which he served. On the pillar would be inscribed his name as a last honor.
Slaves were branded to show to whom they belonged.
The reference may be to Numbers 6:22-27 where God told to Moses the blessing which Aaron and the priests were to pronounce over the people. “They shall put my name upon the people of Israel.” To have the name of God is to have it be known that one is the personal possession of deity.
In addition to having the name of God, the saint is also promised the name of the city of God.
According to Ezekiel, the name of the re-created city of God is, “THE LORD IS THERE” (Ezek. 48:35).
Finally, on the faithful Christian, Christ will write His own new name. What that new name is (Revelation 3:12), no man knows. Taking these promises together, the saints can be assured that
they belong to God,
they will dwell where God dwells and,
they have the mark which will be his badge to show, and to share, in the triumph of Christ.