by Mike Ratliff
I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. (Revelation 3:11 ESV)
knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4 ESV)
It is one thing to say, “Come soon Lord Jesus!” and quite another thing to live as if you mean it. There are even some today who are of the emergent mindset that teach we should live this life with our focus on the here and now rather than eternity. Why? This is to create a better world or make this world a better place. However, I also tire of those who treat eschatology much like the world handles conspiracy theories always looking for the right combination of “signs” that our Lord’s return is imminent. I used to do that myself, but I do not do that very much anymore. Why? My focus is on living this life for the glory of God and that means I focus on my relationship between me and my Lord first and from that flows my relationships with everyone else. Yes, the sad shape of the visible Church grieves me and, to me, this is the most telling sign that our Lord’s return is imminent.
And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.” “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelation 22:6-7 ESV)
6και ειπεν μοι ουτοι οι λογοι πιστοι και αληθινοι και ο κυριος ο θεος των πνευματων των προφητων απεστειλεν τον αγγελον αυτου δειξαι τοις δουλοις αυτου α δει γενεσθαι εν ταχει 7και ιδου ερχομαι ταχυ μακαριος ο τηρων τους λογους της προφητειας του βιβλιου τουτου (Revelation 22:6-7 WHNU)
And he said to me, these the words trustful and true, and the Master the God of the spirits of the spokesmen delegated the messenger of him to show the slaves of him what it is necessary to become in quickness. And look I come quickly. Fortunate the one keeping the words of the speaking before of the small this. (Revelation 22:6-7 word for word from Koine Greek to English)
Our Lord and His messenger angels told us that He is returning to the world quickly. Or is it soon? Here is Revelation 1:1.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, (Revelation 1:1 ESV)
1αποκαλυψις ιησου χριστου ην εδωκεν αυτω ο θεος δειξαι τοις δουλοις αυτου α δει γενεσθαι εν ταχει και εσημανεν αποστειλας δια του αγγελου αυτου τω δουλω αυτου ιωαννη (Revelation 1:1 WHNU)
The word translated in v1 as “soon” is ταχει. This word’s best English synonym would probably be “quickness” or “quickly” or “shortly” or “soon.” The context should determine whether it refers to something happening soon relative to the time of the reader or quickly instead of slowly. Here is the note from The Reformation Study Bible for the word ταχει translated as “soon” in Revelation 1:1:
1:1 soon. See 22:6,7,10,12,20. Spiritual war takes place throughout the church age, and the seven churches will soon experience all dimensions of the conflict. Moreover, the “last days” spoken of by Old Testament prophecy have been inaugurated by Christ’s resurrection (Acts 2:16, 17). The time of waiting is over, and God is conducting the final phase of His victorious warfare against evil. By such reckoning, today is “the last hour” (1 John 2:18).
I agree with this. Instead of being concerned about being narrowly focused on the time of the very end of this age, we are to live in such a way that we will be found in obedience when our Lord does return.
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” (Revelation 22:8-11 ESV)
Let us focus on v11, “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” Here it is in Greek, “ο αδικων αδικησατω ετι και ο ρυπαρος ρυπανθητω ετι και ο δικαιος δικαιοσυνην ποιησατω ετι και ο αγιος αγιασθητω ετι.” The word translated as “evildoer” here is αδικων. This is “the one who is unjust or who does not do right.” This is referring to those whose sins are not covered by the blood of forgiveness. These are not Christians. All they do is αδικησατω, which is the actual doing of evil. These would also be the ρυπαρος or “dirty.” These have not been cleansed by the washing of regeneration. These are the unconverted. They are to continue to ρυπανθητω or “be dirty.” These are contrasted by those who are righteous (δικαιος) who do right (δικαιοσυνην) and the holy (αγιος) who are still holy (αγιασθητω). This speaks of the sovereignty of God but the difference between the two groups is that the first two are controlled by their unbelief while the last two are controlled by their faith. When the Lord comes, these things will be set for eternity. All who are righteous now will remain righteous from now until then and forever, but some of the evil and dirty will be converted by the grace of God in the Church age and once they are they remain forever, but those who are unconverted when our Lord returns will be so forever, which is illuminated for us in the following passage.
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (Revelation 22:12-17 ESV)
The call to “Come” is for the soon return of Christ so that those whom He has saved will be with Him forever. All truly in Christ want this. The longer I live the more I want it. The offer of the water of life is by God’s grace and is for those in Christ for spiritual refreshment. This enables us to persevere in this evil age.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. (Revelation 22:18-21 ESV)
18μαρτυρω εγω παντι τω ακουοντι τους λογους της προφητειας του βιβλιου τουτου εαν τις επιθη επ αυτα επιθησει ο θεος επ αυτον τας πληγας τας γεγραμμενας εν τω βιβλιω τουτω 19και εαν τις αφελη απο των λογων του βιβλιου της προφητειας ταυτης αφελει ο θεος το μερος αυτου απο του ξυλου της ζωης και εκ της πολεως της αγιας των γεγραμμενων εν τω βιβλιω τουτω 20λεγει ο μαρτυρων ταυτα ναι ερχομαι ταχυ αμην ερχου κυριε ιησου 21η χαρις του κυριου ιησου [χριστου] μετα των αγιων (Revelation 22:18-21 WHNU)
I have been adding the Greek version of v20 to the end of my last few posts. Here it is in English, “He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Our Lord says, “Surely I am coming soon.” The Church then responds, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” I wonder when I hear Christians not wanting our Lord to come back soon. I suppose that has a lot to do with the fact that they are not really being obedient right now, but are living for self. However, I have heard preachers say they would prefer that our Lord’s Return be far into the future. I just do not get it. I say, Come Soon Lord Jesus!
λεγει ο μαρτυρων ταυτα ναι ερχομαι ταχυ αμην ερχου κυριε ιησου
Soli Deo Gloria!