Revelation 22:7,20 says that God will come in judgment quickly. It has been almost 2000 years. How is that quickly?
Shalom, Revelation 22:7 King James Version (KJV) 7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. Revelation 22:20 King James Version (KJV) 20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. QUICKLY= GREEK TACHU = SWIFT-QUICK. Matthew 28:7 King James Version (KJV) 7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. QUICKLY= GREEK TACHU = SWIFT-QUICK. 2000 years later doesn’t seem like QUICKLY?
I think your point is that what would happen quickly (Revelation 22:7,20) would not take two thousand years. I believe you have a point. In fact, you could have added Revelation 1:1 where we are told that the things described in the apocalypse “must soon take place.” A simple reading of Revelation 1:1 informs us that the events in heaven described in the book were to happen on a fairly short time scale–perhaps in the next couple of generations. It is my belief that the events described in Revelation, other than the final scene in Revelation 20:11 to the end of the book did in fact happen during the time of the Roman persecution of the church. Most of Revelation is an apocalyptic description of the persecution of the early church and the spiritual battle which went on behind the scenes during these persecutions. Revelation Ch 17 describes a beast which sits on seven hills. Any student of ancient history knows this is a description of Rome. The Beast is Rome. It attacks the saints in Revelation, but ultimately the saints and the lamb overcome by the word of their testimony. The premillennial interpretations of Revelation, generally, are not warranted. I will be teaching a class on Revelation in the Fall, so stay tuned to my web site for that. Also, I recommend Jim McGuiggan’s book on Revelation (you can find a used copy by googling his name), as well as Gordon Ferguson’s book Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory (www.ipibooks.com).
However, what I have already said may not apply to the verse you mention, which is Revelation 22:7,20. This seems rather obviously to be a description of the final end, when Satan is judged, all rise to face judgment, the wicked are thrown into hell and those who are righteous begin to reign with God in the new heaven and new earth. Surely this is about a time which is still in the future. Why, then, would God say that this will happen soon? The fact is that the early church expected the second coming of Jesus to be fairly soon–within just a few generations. Revelation 22:7,20 would be one reason for their expectation. So, you ask, what is up with that? Should we begin to think that Revelation 22:7 is a false prophecy? I will leave the conclusion up to you, but I believe it is not a false prophecy. A possible reading of Revelation 22:7 is “behold, I come suddenly.” This would be in agreement with Matthew chapter 24-25 in which Jesus tells his disciples to be ready at any time, because we do not know the day or the hour. Jesus will come suddenly, when we least expect it. In any case, the point of Revelation 22:7 and Matthew 24-25, as well as 2 Peter 3:1-13 is that we should be ready. From the early church writings, we can tell that the church took the possibility that Jesus could come back at any time seriously. Like Peter says, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promises, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9). I believe that the Peter passage is key to understanding Revelation 22:7,20. Jesus will return, and God’s judgment will ensue at a time we least expect it. It will not be slow from God’s reckoning, but it might be slow by human reckoning (2 Peter 3:9), but in any case, it will be at the most opportune time from God’s perspective. Peter seems to be warning us that it may not seem quickly to us, but to God it will be like a matter of mere days.
I get the sense that you might be Jewish. The message of Yom Teruah–the Day of the Trumpet is similar to the Message of Matthew 24-25 and the book of Revelation. Rabbis have traditionally used the festival as a call to be ready for judgment. God will come back, we need to repent and be ready for that day. That is the meaning of the Jewish festival and of the Christian expectation of the second coming of Jesus.
I hope this helps. Hopefully all of us are getting ready for judgment–whether it comes suddenly while we are still alive, or whether it comes after we die.