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Revelation 22:7

I am coming quickly
I am coming is ἔρχομαι [erchomai] , present tense: I am presently coming. The emphasis on the impending arrival of Jesus and the events described in John’s vision is intentional (Rev. Rev. 3:11+). John is told not to seal the words of the prophecy of this book, “for the time is at hand” (Rev. Rev. 22:10+). Jesus is coming quickly with each man’s reward (Rev. Rev. 22:12+). His coming is imminent: it is as if He is already underway. His impending arrival serves as a great motivator for godly living in the present. It also indicates there are no preconditions on His return for the church at the Rapture nor for His return as a thief upon an unsuspecting world in the Day of the Lord (1Th. 1Th. 5:2). See When Does the Day of the Lord Dawn? See Imminency. See commentary on Revelation 3:3, Revelation 3:11, and Revelation 16:15.

In our discussion of the Preterist Interpretation of the book of Revelation, we identified two main types of preterism: (1) partial or mild preterism, and (2) full, extreme, or consistent preterism. We noted the dangerous tendency of those who begin as partial preterists (which is orthodox) to eventually embrace full preterism (which is heterodox). This occurs because the position of partial preterism is inherently unstable. It requires one to hold to an inconsistent interpretation of passages, such as this, which teach the soon arrival of Jesus.

In order to remain orthodox, partial preterists cannot do away completely with the future, literal Second Coming of Jesus. Yet, they maintain that passages which teach that Jesus is coming “quickly” must have been fulfilled in the past (most often by the A.D. 70 “judgment coming” of Jesus in the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome). But this places them on the horns of an interpretive dilemma because “soon coming” passages which are equivalent must be interpreted differently or the Second Coming will be denied. For example, partial preterist Kenneth Gentry takes this passage in Revelation to describe the future Second Coming of Christ. But the passage is a summary of the entire book of Revelation—including other promises of Jesus’ soon coming. This creates an inconsistency:

This creates a contradiction within [moderate] preterism. Since Rev. Rev. 22:6+ is a statement referring to the whole book of Revelation, it would be impossible to take tachos as a reference to A.D. 70 . . . and at the same time hold that Rev. Rev. 20:7-9+ teaches the Second Coming. [Moderate preterists] must either adopt a view similar to futurism, or shift to the extreme preterist view that understands the entire book of Revelation as past history, thus eliminating any future Second Coming and resurrection.1

Thus, the only safe (orthodox) preterism is inconsistent in its assertion that passages which teach “soon” or “quickly” must be fulfilled within the lifetime of the original recipients of the book—the Seven Churches of Asia. As soon as they consistently take this stance, they deny the future, literal Second Coming of Christ and leave orthodoxy for heresy. As we discuss in our commentary on Revelation 1:3, the solution is found in understanding “soon” as an indication from God’s perspective that no more preconditions remain before Christ could return. Thus, it is an indication of eschatological Imminency which reflects God’s perspective of time (2Pe. 2Pe. 3:8).

Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.
He who keeps is ὁ τηρῶν [ho tērōn] , present participle: the one continually watching over and guarding.2 This is one of seven blessings given within the book of Revelation. This blessing is a restatement of an aspect of the first blessing: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (Rev. Rev. 1:3+). See commentary on Revelation 1:3.

The angel who speaks with John is among those presently keeping the words of this book (Rev. Rev. 22:9+). Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke Luke 11:28b). The angel tells us that the book of Revelation contains prophecy. It is not a devotional work setting forth the ultimate victory of good over evil or general spiritual principles. See Can’t God Prophesy? Neither is it to serve as a platform for out-of-balance sensationalism without application:

God does not command believers to read Revelation merely to satisfy their curiosity about the future. He did not inspire it to provide material for detailed chronological charts of end-time events. There is a seemingly endless stream of books on prophecy being churned out, with speculative prophetic schemes proliferating ad infinitum, ad nauseam. But it was not God’s purpose to give Christians a detailed analysis of the prophetic significance (if any) of contemporary cultural, political, military, and social events or trends. God inspired Revelation for one purpose: to reveal the glory of His Son and call believers to live godly, obedient lives in light of His soon return. The purpose of Revelation is not to provide entertainment, but to provide motivation for godly living.3

In order to keep the words of the prophecy of this book, believers must:
  1. Guard the text from tampering and corruption.4
  2. Guard the proper interpretation of the words. “Believers are called to guard or protect the book of Revelation. It must be defended against detractors who deny its relevance, against critics who deny its veracity and authority, as well as against confused interpreters who obscure its meaning.”5 See Systems of Interpretation.
  3. Apply the lessons of the book to their own lives (Luke Luke 6:46; John John 14:15; John 15:10).
  4. Promulgate the message of the book to the church and to those who have not heard.6

Those who call Jesus Lord should pay special attention to the attitude of the Master toward the written text:

In this final message, the Lord Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, pays great honor to the written Word of God. This fact we should mark very carefully, for we are living in a day when men are attempting to downgrade the written Word in favor of the living Word. Our Lord Jesus Christ in every phase of His ministry was careful to honor the written Word and to submit Himself to it. There can be no doubt of the fact that our Lord joined Himself with God the Father by magnifying the written Word. Thus the psalmist bears witness: “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for the lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name ” (Ps. Ps. 138:2). We also remember how the Lord Jesus made it abundantly clear that by His coming He did not intend to destroy, nor even loosen up, the Word of God, but to fulfill it in every jot and tittle [Mtt. Mat. 5:18].7

How often Christians today emphasize their devotion and zeal for the Lord, while holding a faulty view of the Scriptures. This is an age-old recipe for disaster, demonstrated by religious but unbelieving Israel at Jesus’ First Coming. Paul called it zeal without knowledge (Rom. Rom. 10:2). It seems that many believe God can be worshiped emotionally , but without truth (John John 4:23-24).8 This is dangerous and deceptive ground: believing themselves to be exhibiting great devotion and offering true worship, they are in reality worshiping a God of their own creation and holding His word in relatively low esteem. May we study the importance our Lord placed upon the Scriptures and their reliability and then make it our own!

Notes

1 Kenneth L. Gentry and Thomas Ice, The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1999), 112.

2 Frederick William Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 814.

3 John MacArthur, Revelation 12-22 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2000), Rev. 22:7.

4 Perhaps the most significant threat to the text in our day is to be found in the plethora of devotional paraphrases of the text which generally serve to obscure its true meaning. Instead of being nourished and having their minds renewed by the meat of God’s word, believers are turning to the pablum of these paraphrases which feed their emotion at the cost of true understanding.

5 MacArthur, Revelation 12-22 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Rev. 22:7.

6 “To fail to preach Revelation is not only foolish (cf. Rev. Rev. 1:3+), but sinful. Any Christian who fails to learn its truths is forfeiting blessing; any preacher who fails to proclaim its truths is sinfully unfaithful to his mandate. . . . More than just a failure to teach the whole counsel of God (Acts Acts 20:27), it is outright disobedience to the command not to seal up the words of the Apocalypse.”—Ibid., Rev. 22:10.

7 Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), 410.

8 Often, emotionalism is mistaken for worship in the Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. It is impossible to worship “in the Spirit” while remaining ignorant of God’s word.

Read Revelation 22:7