Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 13:1-31 / Revelation 22:1-21 / Psalm 150: 1-6
The American Revolution changed the course of our nation. Many Revolutionary stories have been told yet none maybe as famous as Paul Revere’s ride as he warned the colonists, “The British are coming, and the British are coming.” Paul Revere was secretly watching the movements of the British soldiers and reporting them to the militia. Because of this, historians say that Paul Revere did warn colonists but he did not use that exact phrase but actually said, “The Regulars are coming out.”
As Revere made his initial warning, more than 40 riders took the message throughout the countryside. Eventually Revere made it to Lexington and Concord where the militia had gathered giving them the important news. This alarm system was so effective that they not only used riders but also bells, drums, trumpets and bonfires for rapid communication. There is greater news though…Jesus Is Coming!
Many assume the Book of Revelation is an unfolding of end time events yet it is primarily a “Revelation of Jesus Christ”. We see Christ unveiling and enacting the end times but the book begins with His revelation and ends with His coming! Christ’s coming is referred to seven times in Revelation but three of those times are here in chapter 22 as Jesus declares, “Behold, I am coming soon!” (vs.7,12,20)
The early church took Christ’s words to heart as they lived in expectancy of His imminent return. Jesus uses the word “soon” to describe the urgency and suddenness of His coming. Like a thief who comes suddenly, without announcement, Christ’s return will be sudden. John was also instructed to “not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near.” (vs.10)
The Greek word for time is not “chronos” but “karios” – an opportunity or a next event. The early church believed they were living in the last days whereas we believe we are getting closer to the last days. The early church understood Christ’s words and lived in the expectancy of the “next event”. Today, we are not rushing towards an end time event in the future but living in the unfolding of the end times!
We have a tendency to place the return of Jesus some distance from us or when the world shows signs of unraveling, our expectations are heightened and we feel His coming is closer than we realize. We get caught up in connecting the dots of the end times whereas the early church simply lived in expectancy of His soon return.
Peter answered the scoffers during his day when they questioned the validity of Christ’s return by writing, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9) The world may scoff at the message of Christ’s return but in reality, eternity is just one heartbeat away. We live with that reality but have a greater hope and expectancy… Come quickly Lord Jesus!