Jesus Is Coming
7"Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book."
[In our study last week we saw that the ascension of Christ was so that the Holy Spirit could be sent in his place, while Jesus continues his role as intercessor, and prepares a place for us. The passage in Acts 1 concludes with the apostles witnessing Jesus ascending then the two Angels appearing to give the promise of Christ' return.
10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."
Here in the last chapter of Revelation Jesus reminds us to be ready for his return. Now some people have read "Behold I am coming soon" and wondered why we have not yet seen the return of Jesus. The Greek word translated soon is "tachu" which can mean soon, but also means suddenly. So if you have trouble with "soon" taking 2,000 years you can either maintain the perspective that man waited 4,000 years for Jesus to come the first time, or just remember that when he does come it will be suddenly.
1 Thessalonians 5
1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
So this waiting for Jesus' return is not to be a time of idleness for his followers. For we know his return will be sudden, unexpected, and without warning. So we should live anticipating the day of his return.]
8I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. 9But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!"
[John had a pretty natural response to the supernatural appearance of God's messenger, he bowed down to worship. But the angel reminds him, not to worship the messenger, worship God.]
10Then he told me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. 11Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy."
[Here we see clearly that when the Lord returns he will find people the way they live. There is no time to get your life in order, at the last moment, before God sees you. He knows the way you live, right now. To those who were thinking they might have a little time to get ready, this prophecy serves as a warning. "the time is near" means that opportunity change is sooner rather than later.]
12"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
[Here again we see again that the return can be any time, and that when he returns the outcome is set. The reward or punishment is already determined. Jesus also identifies himself as the eternal-God, the I am, self existent creator of all that there is.
2 Corinthians 5
9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for[a] you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
These two passages are just a small sample, of the teaching regarding judgment and reward. Jesus and the apostles visited this subject often in their teaching. The idea for us is that what we do here on earth matters to God. Like an eternal job evaluation, your performance will be reviewed by the God who knows everything.]
14"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.
[Last week we looked at Revelation 7 and the redeemed of all nations seem in heaven. These are also identified by being clothed in white robes.
13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?"
14 And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Also notice here they have the right to the tree of life. Where have we seen the tree of life before? Back in the garden of Eden, in the midst of the garden, with the tree-of-the-knowledge-of-good-and-evil, also stood the tree-of-life.
22 Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"— 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.
So mankind who lost access to the tree-of-life before they chose to sin, regains that access when they die to sin, and live to Christ Jesus. This fulfills the promise of eternal life for those who trust in Jesus.]
15Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
[Here he identifies those outside the eternal city, who will not inherit eternal life. These are all lifestyle sins that consume people and keep them from God. Those who worship demonic spirits through witchcraft and occultism are outside. Those who worship sensual pleasure are outside. Violent killers are outside. Idol worshipers are outside. Habitual liars, those who live by falsehood and untruth are outside. He calls them dogs, not like your pets, but the wild dogs outside the city gates that consumed anything that died. God does not ignore a lifestyle of sin.]
16"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you[a] this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."
17The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
[The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, and calls men to repent. The Church is the witness to the world, inviting them to trust in Jesus. If the second coming makes anyone uneasy, here is the same invitation Jesus gave to the Samaritan woman at the well, you can receive the living water, from the risen Lord. Come to Jesus, who is coming again.]