Saturday, May 21, 2011

Come, Lord Jesus!

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.

I find it interesting that I read this chapter today. As most people have heard, there is a guy in California named Harold Camping who has predicted the rapture today. It seems that he has been able to discern something in the Bible that leads him to calculate today as the day of Christ's return for His people. It seems ironic to me that he could have scoured the Bible so thoroughly and missed Matthew 24:36, but apparently he did.

This verse actually gives the Preterist some weight to his argument. After all, Jesus says ναί, ἔρχομαι ταχύ. The particle ναί gives a sense of emphasis to the affirmative. The word ἔρχομαι is in the middle voice, so it is difficult to pin down exactly. You can't necessarily put it in the future tense. I think that the word ταχύ is the really interesting one. I learned the gloss "quickly" for it. I checked the NIV, NASB, and the KJV on this. The KJV is the only one that translates it "quickly" rather than "soon." 

I'm not sure that is incredibly significant, but understanding it as "quickly" indicates more a sense of manner than time. For what it's worth, Beale agrees with the idea of "quickly" as well. If we take it as "soon" then we have a strange case where Jesus' version of "soon" does not look anything like what we would consider "soon." But if we take it as "quickly" we understand that when He comes it will be sudden and decisive. That seems to make a lot more sense.

We need to remember that when it comes to eschatology there is a sense of already and not yet. Here in the present age there are some things that Christ inaugurated at the cross. However, we wait for the final consummation upon His return. That's what this verse points us to.

My prayer is the same as John's. I want to see Christ come. I'd love for Harold Camping to be right for myself, but it grieves me to consider all those who do not know Christ. We need to balance this hope with 2 Peter 3:9. Let's remember this as we hope for His return, but also as we share the gospel with those who do not know Him.

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