by Mike Ratliff
11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. Revelation 3:11 (NKJV)
3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:3-4 (NKJV)
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 “progressive” 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.
6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.
7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:6-7 (NKJV)
6 Καὶ εἶπέν μοι· οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι πιστοὶ καὶ ἀληθινοί, καὶ ὁ κύριος ὁ θεὸς τῶν πνευμάτων τῶν προφητῶν ἀπέστειλεν τὸν ἄγγελον αὐτοῦ δεῖξαι τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει. 7 καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔρχομαι ταχύ. μακάριος ὁ τηρῶν τοὺς λόγους τῆς προφητείας τοῦ βιβλίου τούτου. Revelation 22:6-7 (NA28)
6 And he said to me, these the words are trustful and true, and the Lord the God of the spirits of the prophets sent the his angel to show his slaves things which have to happen quickly. 7 And behold I am coming quickly. Blessed is the one keeping the words of the prophecy of this book. Revelation 22:6-7 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)
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.
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, Revelation 1:1 (NKJV)
1 Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἣν ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ ὁ θεὸς δεῖξαι τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει, καὶ ἐσήμανεν ἀποστείλας διὰ τοῦ ἀγγέλου αὐτοῦ τῷ δούλῳ αὐτοῦ Ἰωάννῃ, Revelation 1:1 (NA28)
The word translated in v1 as “shortly” is τάχει. 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 τάχει translated as “shortly” 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.
8 Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. 11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:8-11 (NKJV)
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, “ὁ ἀδικῶν ἀδικησάτω ἔτι καὶ ὁ ῥυπαρὸς ῥυπανθήτω ἔτι, καὶ ὁ δίκαιος δικαιοσύνην ποιησάτω ἔτι καὶ ὁ ἅγιος ἁγιασθήτω ἔτι.” The word translated as “evildoer” here is ἀδικῶν. 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 ἀδικησάτω, which is the actual doing of evil. These would also be the ῥυπαρὸς or “dirty.” These have not been cleansed by the washing of regeneration. These are the unconverted. They are to continue to ῥυπανθήτω 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.
12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:12-17 (NKJV)
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.
18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
I Am Coming Quickly
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Revelation 22:18-21 (NKJV)
18 Μαρτυρῶ ἐγὼ παντὶ τῷ ἀκούοντι τοὺς λόγους τῆς προφητείας τοῦ βιβλίου τούτου· ἐάν τις ἐπιθῇ ἐπʼ αὐτά, ἐπιθήσει ὁ θεὸς ἐπʼ αὐτὸν τὰς πληγὰς τὰς γεγραμμένας ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τούτῳ, 19 καὶ ἐάν τις ἀφέλῃ ἀπὸ τῶν λόγων τοῦ βιβλίου τῆς προφητείας ταύτης, ἀφελεῖ ὁ θεὸς τὸ μέρος αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς καὶ ἐκ τῆς πόλεως τῆς ἁγίας τῶν γεγραμμένων ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τούτῳ.
20 Λέγει ὁ μαρτυρῶν ταῦτα· ναί, ἔρχομαι ταχύ. Ἀμήν, ἔρχου κύριε Ἰησοῦ .
21 Ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ μετὰ πάντων .Revelation 22:18-21 (NA28)
I have added the Greek version of v20 to the end of this post. 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!
Λέγει ὁ μαρτυρῶν ταῦτα· ναί, ἔρχομαι ταχύ. Ἀμήν, ἔρχου κύριε Ἰησοῦ
Soli Deo Gloria!