The book of Revelation spells out some details of the end time events that the Old Testament prophets proclaimed. What is interesting to me — in light of our current coronavirus crises —is the use of the phrase “shortly come to pass” used in it’s opening verse.
Revelation 1:1 gives this introduction, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.”
So why does the phrase “shortly come to pass” have my attention? Everyone knows that things in the Revelation are soon to happen. That is true.
However, the late prophecy scholar John Walvoored pointed out that the Greek phrase en tachei, means “‘quickly or suddenly coming to pass,’ indicating rapidity of execution after the beginning takes place. The idea is not that the event may occur soon, but that when it does, it will be sudden.”
This is an idea that was also expressed by Jesus in Matthew 24:22 when he stated “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”
Before we go and throw out our understanding that the return of Jesus is imminent, because it is, and replace that doctrine with just a quick succession understanding, a best interpretation would be to know that both are true.
Jesus is coming soon and the events surrounding that will happen quickly. In fact both Paul and Peter referred to the coming of the Lord as a “thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:7; 2 Peter 3:10).
It just so happened that a few days ago I was doing some study on the first few verses of Revelation, when later that day I heard a news report that grabbed my attention.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for the creation of a temporary form of global government to tackle the coronavirus pandemic as a unified voice and authority.
Normally, hearing from a world leader calling for a global government may not have held my attention for to long, but it hit me that there is a possibility that this crises could spiral rapidly into the establishment of the apparatus necessary to enforce the mark of the beast.
I’m not saying it will but the potential is there. I am certain evil men are taking notes and if they can not force this crises into their chance for global rule, they will likely replicate it again in the future.
Another news report I heard that same day spoke of the consideration of a plan that would mark individuals with a micro-chip as clear and free of the coronavirus so those healthy individuals could avoid shelter in place restrictions and resume their employment.
Bill Gates, of the Microsoft fame and current globalist proponent, refers to these micro-chips as “digital certificates.” He said, “Eventually, we will have some digital certificates to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine which has received it.”
Last week the New York Times published an op-ed piece titled “The Road to Coronavirus Hell Was Paved by Evangelicals” and just as its title states, it actually was blaming conservative Christians for the spread of the coronavirus.
House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) on a Democrat party leadership conference call asked his party to exploit the coronavirus crises, calling it “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
When I was a younger minister I frequently conducted Bible Prophecy seminars and to be honest, I relished in preaching on prophecy with sensational headlines that sounded like the events spoken of in the book of Revelation.
Today I share these things with a little more trepidation (and wisdom) than I did then. It all seems closer, real, and more likely than I really believed then.
Think Oreo Cookie
Shortly after this whole coronavirus shutdown thing began, Payton knocked on my door, it was late at night, I just finished some reading and about to sleep. She explained that her friends were all talking and wondering if this was the end of the world, was Jesus about to return, or what?
I’ll share with you what I shared with her and her friends…
In Luke 21 Jesus mentions various signs of the end to watch for to know that the end is near. He mentions people claiming to be the Messiah, nations at war, earthquakes, and he does mention pestilence which would include the coronavirus.
In Luke 21:9 Jesus says, “And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once” (ESV).
In Luke 21:12 Jesus says, “But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake” (ESV).
What does these statements mean? Think oreo cookie.
Jesus is saying that we will see the signs of the end and they should cause us to wake up and be attentive to His nearness, but when persecution of Christians begin to take place, when government begins to outlaw biblical Christianity, when we see church courts and state courts drag His followers to prison, then we can expect the deliverance of the Blessed Hope.
I said think oreo cookie because the outside crust represents the signs of the times get our attention, but the middle cream filling is what we want to watch for — it represents the finality of the end — and the crust on the other side represents more signs or end time events.
If you have ever eaten an oreo cookie, you know that your first taste is the outside crust and the real taste bud prize is the middle cream filling, and who even tastes or notices the crust on the other side of the middle cream filling?
Think of the crust on the other side of the middle cream filling as the tribulation after the rapture, or if you are an historicist in your eschatology, think of it as the “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you” (Psalm 91:7) because Revelation 16:2 does say that the plaques fall only on those who follow the beast not Christ.
So let’s think oreo cookie but let’s not forget these words from our Lord “Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28, ESV).