1This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things which must happen soon, which he sent and made known by his angel to his servant, John, 2who testified to God’s word and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, about everything that he saw.

3Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it, for the time is near.

4John, to the seven assemblies that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from God, who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before his throne; 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood— 6and he made us to be a Kingdom, priests to his God and Father—to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen.

8“I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

9I John, your brother and partner with you in the oppression, Kingdom, and perseverance in Christ Jesus, was on the isle that is called Patmos because of God’s Word and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a trumpet 11saying, “What you see, write in a book and send to the seven assemblies: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

12I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. Having turned, I saw seven golden lamp stands. 13And among the lamp stands was one like a son of man, clothed with a robe reaching down to his feet, and with a golden sash around his chest. 14His head and his hair were white as white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15His feet were like burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace. His voice was like the voice of many waters. 16He had seven stars in his right hand. Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest. 17When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man.

He laid his right hand on me, saying, “Don’t be afraid. I am the first and the last, 18and the Living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forever and ever. Amen. I have the keys of Death and of Hades.

19Write therefore the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will happen hereafter. 20The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lamp stands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven assemblies. The seven lamp stands are seven assemblies.

What Does the Revelation Teach about the "Soon" Coming of Jesus?

Topical study | Rev 1:2 | Hershel Wayne House

The Theology of the Book of Revelation

Eschatology

Revelation is, at heart, a book about the end times. Although some see it as recounting the distant past (from our vantage point), the best interpretation of it is that it describes events surrounding the end of time. Revelation tells the end of the story – that God ultimately triumphs. Even as many times in the Old Testament, including the first prophecy of the Deliverer in Genesis 3:15, and the time of Abraham (Gen 12), in which events far into the future are predicted (2 Pet 3:1b-14),[1] so the Revelation of John speaks of events, though not likely known to John, that would transpire many centuries after the prophecies; yet they are beneficial for the current people of God (2 Pet 3:11-13).[2] 

One must remember in approaching the Revelation of John, that it is patterned after another apocalyptic-prophetic book that included a combination of historical narrative, predictions, angelic activity, and many symbols. Though this is so, a number of future events become clear in the book, such as the rise and demise of future kingdoms,[3] and even the presentation of the divine Son of Man, and the kingdom that would be established by Him.[4]

Distinction between Persecution and Tribulation

It is important to separate the persecutions suffered by Christians under the Anti-Christ and the Tribulation period where God is pouring out his wrath on those who reject Him in the book of Revelation. One is an evil, sinful act perpetrated by men on innocent saints. The other is God’s just punishment of those sinners.

Jesus the Messiah

In Revelation Jesus is shown as the Glorified Son of Man (1:12-16), the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (19:16) who rules the earth (20:4-6). Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension are also recounted (1:5; 12:5) and given as the means by which sinners are offered redemption and eternal life (22:14, 17).

The “Soon” Coming of Jesus

One of the problems that one encounters in the Revelation is the reference to Jesus coming “soon.” If this is so, why did He not come during the period of the first century, or a few years thereafter? The problem is a misunderstanding of the word soon. Let us look at some examples in the Revelation first.

1)  The events “must shortly(ταχός) take place.”  (1:1)

2)  “For the time is near.” (ἐγγύς) (1:3)

3)  “I am coming to you quickly (ταχύς).”  (2:16)

4)  “I am coming quickly (ταχύς).”  (3:11)

5)  “The third woe is coming quickly (ταχύς).”  (11:14)

6)  “The things which must shortly(ταχός) take place.”  (22:6)

7)  “Behold, I am coming quickly (ταχύς).”  (22:7)

8)  “For the time is near.” (ἐγγύς) (22:10)

9)  “Behold, I am coming quickly (ταχός).”  (22:12)   

10)  “Yes, I am coming (ταχύς) (22:20)

The word ταχύς is defined in BDAG as “speed, quickness.” The issue is whether the adverb is one of “time” or “manner”—“when” or “how.”

The Septuagint (LXX) uses ταχύς in texts that conservatively could not have occurred for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

For example, 

Isaiah 13:22: “. . . her (Israel) fateful time also will soon come. . . .” This was written circa 700 B.C., foretelling of the destruction of Babylon in 539 B.C.

Isaiah 5:26 speaks of the manner, not the time frame, by which the Assyrian invasion of Israel “will come with speed swiftly.”

Isaiah 51:5 says, “My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, and My arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands will wait for Me, and for My arm they will wait expectantly.” This passage probably will be fulfilled in the millennium, but no interpreter would place it sooner than Christ's first coming, at least 700 years after it was given.

Isaiah 58:8 speaks of Israel’s recovery as “speedily spring(ing) forth.”  If it is a “timing passage,” then the earliest it could have happened is 700 years later, but most likely it has yet to occur.  Many other citations in the Septuagint from the táchos family can be noted in support of the futurist interpretation of the usage in Revelation.

[1] 3:1 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

[The Day of the Lord]

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 

[2] 3:11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

[3] Dan 2:28 “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.”

[4] Dan 7:13 “I was watching in the night visions,

And behold, One like the Son of Man,

Coming with the clouds of heaven!

He came to the Ancient of Days,

And they brought Him near before Him.

14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,

That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion,

Which shall not pass away,

And His kingdom the one

Which shall not be destroyed.

[5]Walter Bauer, Frederick William Danker, W. F. Arndt, and F. W. Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, Third Edition, revised by Frederick William Danker (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000).