Poole on Revelation 3:10: The Word of Christ's Patience

Verse 10:[1] Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, (2 Pet. 2:9) I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon (Luke 2:1) all the world, to try them that dwell (Is. 24:17) upon the earth.


[Because, etc., ὅτι ἐτήρησας τὸν λόγον τῆς ὑπομονῆς μου] Since thou hast kept (or, observed, in many adversities: τηρεῖν λόγον, to keep the word, is to observe the precept, a common expression in the Gospel of John:[2] Twofold [in this place is] the Genitive, one of the efficient Cause, the other of Material: This precept is in Luke 21:19 and elsewhere [Grotius]) the word (that is, the precept [Tirinus, Grotius]) of my patience (Montanus); that is, Which I commanded (Menochius, similarly Pareus, Ribera out of Bede, etc., Hammond, Grotius, Lapide, Beza, Piscator, Tirinus), and taught by my example (Menochius, thus Ribera, Pareus). Thus also in 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (Grotius). Either, my word of endurance: μου, of me, is governed by λόγον/ word, not by ὑπομονῆς/patience (Piscator). Or rather, the word of my patience, that thou hast evidently endured and awaited me, and, believing that I am true and going to render unto thee a reward, thou hast born all things (Ribera). Thus He calls the doctrine of Gospel, as Paul calls it the word of the cross[3] (Pareus); for it teaches that adversities are to be endured (Castalio, similarly Durham, Zegers, Beza, Piscator, Pareus), and it conveys His cross to professors (Durham). The sense: All these things will happen to thee, for thou didst that which I commanded concerning the preserving and keeping of patience in all circumstances (Menochius).


Because thou hast kept the word of my patience: the doctrine of the gospel is, unquestionably, the word here called the word of the Lord’s patience, because it was that word, that doctrine, which (as those times went) could not he adhered to and observed without much patience in those that adhered to it; both actively, waiting for the promises revealed in it, and passively, enduring all manner of trials and crosses. To keep this word, was to keep close not only to the matters of faith revealed in it, but to the duty imposed by it upon ministers and others in the preaching and propagating of the gospel, and all the duties of a holy life.



[And, etc., κἀγώ σε—πειράσαι, etc.] In the place of εἰς τὸ πειράσαι, in order to try (Grotius). [Thus they translate:] I also will keep thee (that is, I will render thee safe and immune [Beza, Tirinus]: An Antanaclasis, in which the same word is repeated, but with a different signification [Piscator]) from the hour (or, from the time [Beza, Drusius, Piscator]: ὥρα/hour can be any time, even quite long, John 5:25 and 1 John 2:18[4] [Grotius]: Others: Hour denotes that it is a brief time [Pareus, Durham, Ribera], and definite [Durham], as in John 5:35;[5] Philemon 15[6] [Ribera]) of temptation (or, of examination [Beza], that is, in which men are searched by God [Drusius]; or, of most cruel persecution [Tirinus, similarly Piscator, Menochius, Durham, Pareus]: that is to say, I will snatch thee away [Beza, thus Durham] from that, at least from the great and most grievous part of that [Durham], or, that thou succumb not to that [Menochius, thus certain interpreters in Durham]: But that is promised to all the pious, but here something peculiar appears to be denoted [Durham]: [The sense:] I will preserve thee, untouched by that cruelty, so that thou mightest be of use to me, since I found thee suitable: There is a metonymy in the language πειρασμοῦ, of trial, for every grievous persecution carries temptation: There is a similar expression in 2 Peter 2:9: [Now] temptation, which is treated here and in verse 12, is persecution, [either, 1.] under Nero [Grotius]; [or, 2.] under Domitian [certain interpreters in Ribera]: This does not satisfy, for this had already raged for a long time [Ribera], and was soon going to come to an end [Gomar]: [Or, 3.] under Trajan [Ribera, Lapide, Menochius, Tirinus, Gomar], which persecution was intense and universal [Menochius], during which innumerable thousands of men daily were killed, as Eusebius relates in his Ecclesiastical History 3:32 out of Pliny; see also Tertullian’s Apology 2; Nicephorus’ Ecclesiastical History 3:16, 17 [Ribera]: or, 4. under Antichrist [certain interpreters in Ribera]: or, 5. on the day of judgment [Ambrose in Ribera, thus Cotterius]; for, 1. no other temptation will test the entire race of men; 2. the promises of the Epistles terminate on the last day [Cotterius]) which is about to come upon the entire world (that is, upon Christians dwelling in all places of the earth [Ribera, similary Durham]: for the world of infidels is not the object of these tempatations [Durham]: Οἰκουμένη/world and γῆ/earth here signify the lands of the Roman Empire, as in Luke 2:1[7] [Grotius]) to tempt (that is, whether they will remain constant in the faith of Christ [Piscator]) the inhabitants of the earth (Piscator, etc.), that is, the saints living on the earth, so that He might separate the Church militant from the Church triumphant (Durham). Inhabitants of the earth He does not take here for the evil part, as Scripture is often wont to do, but for Christians dispersed, whom Trajan commanded to be sought out and killed (Ribera).


I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world; for this faithfulness God promises to keep the ministers of this church from those persecutions which raged elsewhere, and were further, in Trajan’s time, to come upon all Christians living under the Roman empire. To try them that dwell upon the earth; to try those Christians that lived within that empire, how well they would adhere to Christ, and the profession of the gospel. This I take to be a more proper sense, than theirs who would interpret this hour of temptation of the day of judgment, which is never so called.

[1] Greek: ὅτι ἐτήρησας τὸν λόγον τῆς ὑπομονῆς μου, κἀγώ σε τηρήσω ἐκ τῆς ὥρας τοῦ πειρασμοῦ, τῆς μελλούσης ἔρχεσθαι ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκουμένης ὅλης, πειράσαι τοὺς κατοικοῦντας ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. [2] For example, John 17:6. [3] 1 Corinthians 1:18: “For the preaching of the cross (ὁ λόγος—ὁ τοῦ σταυροῦ, the word of the cross) is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.[4] 1 John 2:18: “Little children, it is the last time (ὥρα/hour): and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time (ὥρα/hour).[5] John 5:35: “He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season (ὥραν/hour) to rejoice in his light.[6] Philemon 15: “For perhaps he therefore departed for a season (ὥραν/hour), that thou shouldest receive him for ever…[7] Luke 2:1: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world (πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην) should be taxed.”

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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