Revelation 1:1 - 20
NKJV - 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. 2 Who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.
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I think that this subject is of ongoing interest (especially today) because of the condition of the world progressively seeming more and more to conform to the signs that Jesus spoke of as marking the time of His return (Matthew 24:3-31). Also, for Christians, I think that there is an element of wanting to see God's rule established, in order to do away with the sinfulness, injustice, oppression, war, and other negative conditions currently prevailing in the world. However, Christians should also be mindful of passages such as 2 Peter 3:9, which indicates that any delay that Jesus might have in returning is actually a sign of God's patience, and of His desire that no one be lost. When Christ returns, there will be no further opportunity for repentance and conversion. (As the English Christian commentator C. S. Lewis put it, "When the author walks onto the stage, the play is over.") Christians should therefore be using the time until Christ's return to bring as many people to Him as possible. In addition, although Jesus gave signs of His coming again, He also specifically said that only God the Father knows the day and hour when that will occur (Matthew 24:36).
The last recorded message of Christ in the Bible is the conclusive answer to all the questions regarding the "time" of His Return. "Surely I am coming quickly" (Rev 22:20). The word "surely" is to encourage us, and the word "quickly" must challenge us. The Lord frequently used the word "quickly" in His messages to the Churches (Rev 2:5,16; 3:11; 22:7,12). This was literally believed by the Christians of the first century. That was one reason why they had been greeting one another with the word "Maranatha," an Aramaic term meaning, "O Lord, come!" (1 Cor 16:22). If the first century Christians had lived with the every-moment-expectation of the return of Christ, how much anxious our expectation today should be! However, the Bible consistently discourages us from any date-setting. In His parting words Christ told His disciples, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority" (Acts 1:7). He had earlier told them repeatedly, "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming" (Mt 24:42; 25:13). But man is always curious to know what he need not know! When Christ says that He Himself does not know when He would return, why should we be curious about it? (Mk 13:32). One thing we can be sure of. That is, we in this generation are much nearer to the Second Coming of Christ than the earlier generations. As Revivalist Leonard Ravenhill (1907-1994) used to say, "We are not living in the last days but in the last minutes!" Most of what was predicted to happen before the Return of Christ has been fulfilled. One of the most important signs namely worldwide evangelisation is in its final phase, and the work goes on much faster than anytime in Church history (Mt 24:14). Sin is rampant and the "cup of iniquity" is overflowing (Mt 24:12). The Judge is standing "at the door!" (Js 5:9). Instead of date-setting, let's set goals for the total evangelisation of the whole world! (Acts 1:7,8). Don't go after signs, visions and voices which claim to give new revelations about the second advent of Christ (Mt 24:23-26). Be satisfied with the vivid Biblical revelations and don't explore mysteries of which the Bible is silent (Dt 29:29).
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