Brief Notes

“The Word of
My Endurance” (1)

22 July 2023

We all pass through trials,
but if we are faithful to
the Lord, eventually
we will face a trial
for His sake

Recently I was looking at the word “endurance” in the New Testament and noticed something I had missed before. That is, in His letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3, the Lord appreciates three different churches for their endurance.

To the first church, Ephesus, signifying the church at the time Revelation was written, He says:

I know your works and your labor and your endurance,…And you have endurance and have persevered for the sake of My name and have not grown weary.
— Revelation 2:2-3

And even to Thyatira, which signifies the corrupted, pagan Roman church, He says:

I know your works and love and faith and service and your endurance, and that your last works are more than the first.
— Revelation 2:19

So, the Lord appreciates the endurance of these churches; even in the most degraded situations, it seems, the Lord finds a remnant of His people.

(As I mentioned in my previous Note, if you are not familiar with these letters to the seven churches, I would encourage you to read Watchman Nee’s study of this topic, which is entitled The Orthodoxy of the Church.)

However, the final occurrence of this word in the letters to the seven churches is in the letter to Philadelphia. Here the Lord not only appreciates their endurance; He promises them a great reward because of it:

Because you have kept the word of My endurance, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which is about to come upon all the earth, to test those who dwell upon the earth.
— Revelation 3:10

So, because this church had been faithful, the Lord says He will keep it from “the hour of trial…to come upon all the earth,” that is, the Great Tribulation. In other words, because of their endurance, the saints there will receive the reward of the pre-tribulation rapture. (In this regard, note that the Lord says here that He will keep them, not merely from the trial, but from “the hour of trial.”)

Why? What was it about the endurance of Philadelphia that qualified it for such a reward, when the endurance of the other churches did not? It was because the saints there had not only endured in a general way; they had kept the word of the Lord’s endurance.

No doubt, just because we are human, we all have trials in one way or another that we must endure as we follow the Lord. But with Philadelphia, it was more than that. The Lord had given the church there a particular commitment, through His word, and it had been faithful to keep that commitment unto the Lord, even to the point of enduring whatever suffering or opposition resulted from it. In so doing it had stood for the Lord Himself, and that is why the Lord gave that church the promise of His reward.

In the next Note in this series we will consider how this applies to us today.

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— 22 July 2023 —