What does Christ mean when He says, "Behold, I come quickly?" (Rev. 22:7, 12, 20). This question is especially urgent as we enter the beginning of another millennium and are reminded that it is nearly 2000 years since Christ made this promise.
The ungodly and scoffers see this long time as evidence that He will never come (II Pet. 3:3, 4). Nevertheless, believing Him to be the Son of God who cannot lie, we continue to watch and pray for His coming. Yet, lest we grow discouraged, it is good to examine what He meant when He spoke of His soon coming.
There is a sense, as we have seen, in which Christ comes quickly in that He is always coming, through judgments, through the preaching of the gospel, through the work and presence of the Holy Spirit, and through death. In all these different ways His reward is with Him and He gives every man according to His work (Rev. 20:12).
Nevertheless, as Revelation 22 makes so very clear, He is referring especially to His final coming when He speaks of coming quickly. In that respect, too, He keeps His promise to us to come quickly.
That promise of a quick coming means first of all that He will not tarry or linger one moment longer than necessary in order to bring His people to Himself. The very moment all is ready He will come in all the glory of His Father to make all things new.
This must be looked at, however, in the light of God's purpose. God has sovereignly foreordained all things, including the time of Christ's coming. In harmony with that, He has also foreordained it that all things should reach their appointed end at the very same moment.
At the same moment of history, God's purpose with His elect will be finished, and the last of them gathered in (II Pet. 3:9), but also His purpose with the ungodly and unbelieving. When the elect have all been saved then also the ungodly will have filled up the measure of their wickedness and will be ripe for God's judgment (Gen. 15:16; Ps. 75:8; Rev. 14:10, 15-20).
At that moment Christ will come. He will not come a moment sooner, for that would be too soon, but neither will He come a moment later. Even in this, we must remember, it is His meat and drink to do the will of His heavenly Father.
But He also comes quickly in this respect, that He comes at the end of history, and that history of the world is not long, especially in comparison to God's everlasting years. The ungodly speak of billions of years past and future, but we know that a few thousand years are all there are to the history of this world. Finally, He comes quickly in the sense that He comes too soon for the wicked to accomplish all their evil designs. Always throughout history their work has been interrupted and their purposes defeated by God's coming in judgment, and this will be true also at the end. May His coming never be too soon for us!
- Volume: 7
- Issue: 18
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
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