Monday, October 25, 2010

Maranatha!

Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!


20 Λέγει ὁ μαρτυρῶν ταῦτα· ναί, ἔρχομαι ταχύ. Ἀμήν, ἔρχου κύριε Ἰησοῦ.

Here we are at the end of the Greek New Testament.  This is one of the great promises of Scripture.  Jesus is coming back.  But it is also a little confusing to me.  He says that He ἔρχομαι ταχύ.  The word ταχύ means "quick" or "swift."  This is why it gets the translation of "coming soon."  The idea is that there will be a short period of time before Jesus comes.

The problem is that Jesus has not come back.  He had already come and gone by the time this was written.  It's possible that this was written from a past perspective regarding his first coming, but that seems unlikely.  John affirms it with Ἀμήν, ἔρχου κύριε Ἰησοῦ.  He is saying that he really looks forward to seeing the Lord very soon.

It is also possible to see ταχύ as describing the manner in which Jesus will come.  We know that it won't be a gradual thing, but that He will just be here.  The anticipation that John shows really makes me lean toward the classic translation, but it is also possible that he is just excited about the second coming in general and does not necessarily expect it to be very soon.

One way to reconcile this would be to see it in more of a spiritual than a physical sense.  That is also possible, but it is hard to reconcile that with the Olivet Discourse.  I'm just not quite sure what to do with this.  I'm not satisfied with the idea of "soon" meaning 2000 years.  That just doesn't make sense.

What do you do with this?

2 comments:

Patricia. said...

i'm no theologian; just a 19-year-old Christ follower but here are some of my thoughts :)
this reminds me of the Creation account...you know, whether to take the 7 days literally or not. i guess when it comes to things like this, we just need to be reminded that God's Word is perfect but our understanding of it isn't infallible. i do believe we're in the last days and i think we should be more concerned about always being in the move to save more souls so that once He comes, He won't catch us slacking off :D

Jason said...

Patricia,

Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I agree that this is one of those passages where we play the Deuteronomy 29:29 card.

The circles I run in make a huge deal out of the book of Revelation because of the way that their theological framework is constructed. Personally, I don't see myself preaching out of this book a whole lot. There are a few things we can be very sure about when we read this book, but a lot of it is guessing about the symbolism. I think that guessing makes for dangerous preaching.

Thank you again for commenting. I'm really glad that you stopped by. I hope that this blog blesses you, particularly as I start back over in Matthew 1 tomorrow.