The King returns to his kingdom after a long journey. His castle stands tall. The banners flap above the fortress. The soldiers still wear his colors and speak his language. All is as it was, externally.
He first notices something amiss as he walks among the people. They still consult his precious book he left them — but not with one eye anxious for his return. The people keep many of his wise precepts, it is true, yet he himself is little sought after, little missed. He overhears prayer in his name, yet few gaze over the walls, pleading at the heavens for him to come again.
How many have made his return their lifelong psalm?
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning. (Psalm 130:5–6)
We have his laws, his book, his name, his people, his songs, his ordinances — but not him as he intended it to be. Have we really noticed? Have his good gifts become enough for us? Are you and I really waiting for him to return?
Behold, He Comes
The final picture of the church recorded in Scripture shows her in a posture of yearning. Her best hopes and expectations find summary in one word: Come!
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” (Revelation 22:17)
Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)
When the deep enchantments of worldliness wears off, we better hear this groaning of the Spirit within, crying out for Jesus to return to us. This alone is the consummation of heaven for God’s people:
Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (Revelation 21:3)
Immanuel, God with us, is not just his Christmas name. This must be his everlasting name, lest our heaven live elsewhere.
“The church’s best hopes and expectations find summary in one word: ‘Come!’”
A tearless eternity? Pointless, if the King of glory is not there to wipe sorrows away. Reigning on the throne of the cosmos? Child’s play, if we reign not with him. The death of death, the abolition of sin, perfection of life with angels and endless comforts? A cage and a prison, if Christ be not with us. The insistence at the bottom of every born-again heart, the one desire it will not be refused: Come, Lord Jesus!
It is not enough for our faith to know simply that Jesus is coming back. Eventually works drowsiness and mischief in our hearts. Unintentionally, we banish him to the ever-Tomorrow, the distant Never. We no longer expect him anytime soon, so we drop anchor and make do without him. “Your kingdom come,” we begin to pray from memory, but not from the heart.
Thus, in the final chapter of Scripture, Jesus tells us more.
Behold, I am coming soon. (Revelation 22:7)
Behold, I am coming soon. (Revelation 22:12)
Surely I am coming soon. (Revelation 22:20)
He exclaims that he is not just coming, but coming quickly. This little adverb moves his return from inevitable to imminent, from someday to any day.
Jesus would have us waiting, expectant, peeking again and again at the clouds with childlike anticipation. Quickly sends us to live atop the watchtower, squints for his appearance upon the horizon. Jesus would not have his people take naps at the news of his return.
Stay awake — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning — lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake. (Mark 13:35–37)
He wants us talking about his return, hoping in his return, praying for his return. He expects us to trim our lamps, prepare the house, and ready the Master’s favorite meal. He is coming back, soon.
How do we appropriate this revelation two thousand years later? Quickly, the scoffer thinks. Two thousand years stretches the word beyond credibility. How can we truly believe such a promise?
What is this but the insect speaking back to the mountains about time? The God spanning everlasting to everlasting — not the gnat of a few seconds — says quickly. The forest of Lebanon — not the housefly — bellows, “I come soon.” We sprout in the morning and die in the afternoon; his roots go deep. The Ancient of Days is his name.
The humble psalmist teaches Israel to sing to her Maker, “A thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4). The apostle tells us not to overlook this fact, “that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). Generations of men have come and passed; his moon has only seen two nights. He “is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness” (2 Peter 3:9).
And he waits purposefully. He waits for the last sheep to come into the fold, and then he shall return. Yet his return will be swift and when most do not expect. As with the final days of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the last morning before the Flood, when he comes, all wedding planning, football games, and vacations will be rendered obsolete.
Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 22:12–13)
Men will reap what they have sown. Repent and believe.
For Love and War
Christian, your Lord comes quickly. Does this not speak of your Savior’s love?
As the Bride cries, “Come! Come! Come!” he does not respond, “Fear not; I will come back when I get around to it.” He doesn’t say he’ll add it to his list. He assures, “Behold, I will come with haste, with intention, in earnest.” Quickly lays this promise upon our hearts: “I will not tarry a moment beyond what is best.”
Once the last recipient of my crimson blood is washed, once the final sheep makes it into the fold, I will be there and bring you where I am. In a moment shorter than a lightning flash, I will be there. I will not walk. I will not delay.
“In a moment, the trumpet shall blast, the wall between this world and the next shall fall, and the Lord will be before us.”
Will he find us looking over the walls for his coming?
This world is not our home. We are not yet in our element. We open the window and send our dove to and fro about this earth, finding that it returns to us having found no solid homeland. But in a moment, the trumpet shall blast, the wall between this world and the next shall fall, and he will be before us, with us. The Lord of lords and King of kings, dazzling as the sun in all its strength. This present world will pass as a dream. We will look and shout and point,
Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him,
that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. (Isaiah 25:9)
- Believe that the God who saved you hears your cries (Micah 7:7). ...
- Watch with expectancy, but be prepared for unexpected answers (Psalm 5:3). ...
- Put your hope in his Word (Psalm 130:5-6). ...
- Trust in the Lord, not in your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).
In the most prevalent interpretation, 'this generation' is understood as Jesus' contemporaries, implying that Jesus anticipated that his contemporaries would experience 'all these things' [πάνταταῦτα] to happen in their own lifetime.Where in the Bible does it say surely I come quickly? ›
Third, in Revelation 22:20, the Lord simply states: “Surely I come quickly.” He doesn't say I might come or if things work out I'll come, but surely I come quickly. To see him in all his glory will be the greatest blessing of all. Just to see him and those nail prints in his hands and feet will be wonderful.When God makes you wait? ›
God knows what we need, and if he wants us to wait, it's always for our good. Our calling is simply faithfulness. And if we trust in him, we know that he will direct our steps and point us to our next destination. He will say, “Go,” when we need to go—but not before then.What does God want us to do while we wait? ›
While waiting, God expects us to seek him, cry out to him, and put our trust in him. The Psalms are examples of David waiting on the Lord in anguish and pain. The type of waiting depicted here is not pretty or easy but allows God to intervene on our behalf.What 3 things does the Lord require of you? ›
Micah 6:8, the "Micah Mandate," gives a balanced answer to today's spiritual and political questions. "What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."What is the meaning of Luke 21 33? ›
Luke 21:33 (ESV) – Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “Nothing lasts forever.” This statement gets repeated in many contexts. It is said after a best friend leaves your company. It is said after high-school or college friends part ways to start new chapters in life.What is the meaning of Luke 13 30? ›
In Luke 13:30 Jesus said, “SOME (referring to Gentiles) are last who will be first, and SOME (referring to Jews) are first who will be last.” Jesus did not say, “ALL Gentiles will be first” or “ALL Jews will be last.” In other words, not all Jews are lost, and not all Gentiles are saved.What does Mark 13 verse 30 mean? ›
In v. 30, Jesus simply indicates that the people of the present evil age will remain until his second coming, and in v.What does the Bible say about God answering speedily? ›
Answer me speedily, O LORD; My spirit fails! Do not hide Your face from me, Lest I be like those who go down into the pit. Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You.
Proverbs 13:11 Easy come, easy go, but steady diligence pays off.Where does God tell us to fast? ›
One of the most telling passages in which fasting is mentioned is Matthew 6:16, where Jesus is teaching His disciples basic principles of godly living. When speaking on fasting, He begins with, “When you fast,” not “If you fast.” Jesus' words imply that fasting will be a regular practice in His followers' lives.Why God is making you wait for so long? ›
Another reason God may be making you wait is because He wants you to focus on Him and not the promise. He doesn't want you to put your faith and trust in the promise, but rather in Him. He wants you to rely on Him and to recognize that He is the source of all your blessings.Why is God giving me a hard time? ›
Walking daily with God does not guarantee a pain-free life and to not fail. Walking with God, and keeping His word ensure salvation and a place in His Kingdom which is the greatest reward of all. God allows struggle and difficult times because we are sinners and we all come short of the glory of God.Why is Jesus making me wait? ›
God wants to prepare you for what he promised before he allows you to step into it. He's not going to take you into a new season until he knows you're ready. He's a good Father who doesn't set his children up for failure. He wants to give us good things but not until we're ready.What to do when God has you waiting? ›
- Pray. Praying is important. ...
- Read Truth. All of us have certain things we read which give us courage when things are difficult. ...
- Sing. Sometimes we're not in a place where we can easily process things. ...
- Make a List of What God Has Done in Your Life. ...
- Go for a Walk. ...
- Meditate on God's Promises. ...
- Study God's Names. ...
- Call a Friend.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.How do I stop being impatient with God? ›
- We wait in prayer. There is a battle that takes place when we pray. ...
- We wait without preconceived notions. Too often, we think we know what God should do in a given situation. ...
- We wait in faith. ...
- We wait with confident patience.
Accept God's Timing
Although frustrating, not knowing the exact timing is often what keeps us in the program. There are times when we might give up if we knew how long it was going to take, but when we accept God's timing, we can learn to live in hope and enjoy our lives while God is working on our problems.