My Thoughts. . .
“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, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 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.” (Revelation 1:1-3)
“And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, FOR THE TIME IS AT HAND.” (Revelation 22:10)
“And behold, I AM COMING QUICKLY, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” (Revelation 22:12)
“He who testifies to these things says, “SURELY I AM COMING QUICKLY.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20 NKJV).
John is writing these things in the first century. He is writing to first century congregations in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamas, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea (1:20; Chapters 2 & 3). These are congregations that Jesus is going to visit in a negative or positive way. However, they no longer exist for Jesus’ purpose and promise to be fulfilled. John is on the island of Patmos (1:9). This writing is given two different dates. The dating is critical to the understanding of this book.
Throughout the letter there is no specific reference to anyone outside John’s time frame. Some believe that the ending of verse 19 covers the next 20 centuries, “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.” (Revelation 1:19). That would be so IF not for the time limiting words used at the beginning and ending of the letter. It is interesting that each new generation believes that theirs is the time the book will be fulfilled and read “shortly” and “quickly” as happening in their time, not John’s. That means believers for twenty centuries have been disappointed and wrong! Most may not realize it, but wouldn’t that view make those believers’ guilty of adding to or subtracting from what the book actually means (Revelation 22:18-19)? That would also make my thoughts here in the same category if not true. This is one reason some refuse to go past chapter four in studying the book. They are afraid they may be guilty of doing what chapter twenty-two forbids. Yet, despite that refusal, all Bible students either have a true or false view of the outcome of John’s revelation. Someone has accurately summed this problem up with the coined phrase, “Your damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” The reader must make up his mind whether my point is well taken, or among those that needs to be discarded. A weighty decision regardless of the direction taken!
Since John was writing to seven first century congregations, which no longer exist, were Jesus’ warnings accepted as things that would happen in their day or 21 centuries later in ours?
EPHESUS: “Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I WILL COME to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (Revelation 2:5). Did Jesus come visibly as he promised?
SMYRNA: “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Did Jesus come and give them the crown of life?
PERGANUM: “Repent therefore! Otherwise, I WILL SOON COME to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (Revelation 2:16). Did Jesus “soon come” and fight for them?
THYATIRA: “Only hold on to what you have UNTIL I COME” (Revelation 2:25). Did he “come” as he promised? If not, are they still holding on?
SARDIS: “But if you do not wake up, I WILL COME like a thief, and you will not know at what time I WILL COME TO YOU” (Revelation 3:3). Did Jesus keep his promise and “come”?
PHILADELPHIA: “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I AM COMING SOON” (Revelation 3:10-11). Did Jesus keep his promise of a “soon” coming, or is the church in Philadelphia still waiting?
LAODICEA: “I WILL COME” (Revelation 3:20). Did he?
If I told you “I will come,” “I will give you,” or “I am coming soon,” would you say 1). He really means he isn’t coming NOW, but someone two thousand years from now will experience that “soon,” or 2) He failed to keep his promise?
When Jesus told John, “Surely I COME QUICKLY” and John replied, “Even so, COME Lord Jesus,” was John and Jesus actually using “QUICKLY” and “COME” to mean twenty centuries later and those expressions were never meant for John’s lifetime?
Some believe the letter was written prior to the destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Others believe it was written in 96 A.D. and will have its fulfillment in twenty or twenty-one centuries?
John is told to measure the Temple before the city of Jerusalem is trampled underfoot (Revelation 11:1-2). If written after 70 A.D. no Temple would exist to measure. Jesus prophecy in Matthew 24:1ff; Mark 13:1ff; and Luke 21:5ff is a major topic which John would have mentioned showing its fulfillment!
And those are my thoughts which will be published soon or quickly.