The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass (ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει). (Rev. 1:1 KJV)
The definite time (2540 καιρός kairos) in which the Day of the Lord occurs is always spatially “near” (Rev. 1:3; 22:6), about to burst through the door into our matrix upon God’s command. Therefore, not knowing the day or hour of its coming (Mt. 24:36), we should repent now before its unleashed upon us.
But John was not told all events in his book “must shortly come to pass”, Judgment Day and the descent of New Jerusalem don’t happen until after a thousand years of Christ’s millennial kingdom (Rev. 20:2-7, 11-15; 21:1-2).
The literal translation of the phrase is preferable, ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει “which (things) necessarily have occurred rapidly”: The seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls all must occur “quickly” to fit in the end time 7 year “week”. (Moses and Elijah preach for 42 months until the Beast slays them. The Beast rules for another 42 months. That totals seven years. Rev. 11:3, 7; 13:5).
That these events occur quickly is confirmed by Christ who likened His sudden and quick coming to it:
6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done (ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει). 7 Behold, I come quickly (5035 ταχύ tachu): blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. (Rev. 22:6-7 KJV)
Christ’s coming is similarly rapid, bursting into our matrix “speedily” without warning. Therefore “keep on watch”, “blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book”.
Two of history’s greatest Greek scholars (Bengel, Alford) agree “quickness” is the operative sense, not “nearness”:
ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει is not “which must soon begin to come to pass,” but, in the well-known sense of the aorist, “which, in their entirety, must soon come to pass:” γενέσθαι being in fact, a past tense, “must have come to pass,” “be fulfilled:” so Bengel most truly, “Totus liber tanquam unum verbum uno momento pronunciatione debet accipi” [“The whole book as one word in one moment of operation should be accepted”]. So that we are driven to the very same sense of ἐν τάχει as that in Luke 18 above, viz. to God’s speedy time.”-Alford, H. (1976). Alford’s Greek Testament: an exegetical and critical commentary (Vol. 4, p. 545). Grand Rapids, MI: Guardian Press.
Our Lord reveals the rapidity of end time events once they begin, lest we be caught unprepared.
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