THE PHILADELPHIAN PROMISE
By STANFORD CHAMBERS
The Promise. "The hour of trial" was ahead, but the Philadelphian
Angel was to be kept from it. Not saved
through it, but kept from it. The three
Hebrew children were saved through the fiery furnace and came out of it; they
were not kept from it. Daniel and the
lions’ den, likewise; but this is better still.
The Condition. "Because thou didst keep the word of my patience." The entire word of Christ is the story of His patience and "longsuffering toward us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Moreover, "the word of" His "patience" had produced patience in these saints. They possessed that steadfastness in which they were keeping His word.
Keeping the word is more than holding it in the profession of
faith, more than holding it in the memory. Displaying the Bible on the centre table does
not meet the condition of the promise. The
word is to be proclaimed, but neither hearing only,
nor professing only, nor preaching only, nor, indeed, all these combined can
meet the requirement. When Jesus said, "If ye love
me, keep my commandments," the meaning of "keep" is clear. The keeping in this passage is the same.
"That Hour". 1. It is "the hour of trial", with emphasis on "the". 2. It is the hour of "trial", with emphasis on "trial", for it is "to try them that dwell upon the earth". 3. It is to be world-wide; "upon the whole world". 4. It is yet future; "to come upon the whole world". Trials there were in plenty, and temptations, too, but John is writing of "that hour which is to come upon the whole world". Nothing has since occurred in history filling out this picture. Some thought the World War was going to meet the requirement, but bad as it was it fell short. "That hour" is yet future. 5. The Philadelphian type of saints will escape. "I will also keep thee from the hour of trial." "Because thou didst keep the word." Those who keep His word are of the Philadelphian type of saints. The church that is true to His word is a church of the Philadelphian type, and can lay claim to this same promise. Praise God! this is a promise not to be relegated to the realm of ancient history, nor indeed to be regarded as impractical in these days, but to be cherished as among His most "precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of his divine nature." Indifference toward such a promise is disallowed, and where it exists it is to be repented of. Those who are disposed to keep His word are entitled to the stimulus and stay of such a promise. 6. The earth-dwellers shall in no wise escape. It is "to try them that dwell upon the earth". This will include many a church member, who has lost or never possessed the pilgrim character. Those who "keep the word of" His "patience" are not earth-dwellers, but sojourners. 7. The method of escape is found in such a passage as 1 Thess. 4: 16, 17. It is often called the rapture, and properly so, from the expression "caught up", which rapture means. To pray as Jesus admonished, "that ye may prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass" (Luke 21: 36) is to pray for a part in the rapture and so "to stand before the Son of man". And the rapture awaits nothing that is foretold. The rapture, as already seen in Rev. 3: 10 in connection with 1 Thess. 4: 17, is the method of escape from the tribulation.
- Word and Work.