Q. In Revelation 3:10 Jesus promises the Philadelphia church that He will keep them from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. I use this as one of my pre-trib rapture evidences of the church being spared from the judging wrath of God. However since it is not the last church to be addressed, how does Laodicea fit in? Is Laodicea the apostate church? Yet it reads like they can be saved also, so how can they come after the church that is spared? Or are the two church types overlapping at the same time?
A. Taken in the order of their appearance, the seven letters of Rev. 2-3 symbolize Church history. Ephesus represents the Apostolic 1st Century church and Smyrna stands for the Church persecuted by the Romans in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries. Pergamus was wed to the Roman state religion in the 4th Century and gave birth to 4 children, all of whom are present on Earth today. Thyatira, the eldest, represents the Catholic Church. Sardis comes next and is the Church of the Protestant Reformation, the main line denominations. Philadelphia is the evangelical Church born in the 2nd Great Awakening of the 19th Century, and Laodicea is the modern day apostate Church that will be left behind to face the End Times judgments. You can read the story of my visit to the Seven Churches by going here.