Revealing Revelation – I’m Sorry…Come Again?

16Mar11

It is with this post that we will now turn our attention to one of the most difficult concepts found within the pages of the new testament, and especially here in the book of Revelation. The term “coming” is a consistent theme in the New testament and finds some of it’s most common references in the Book of revelation. the problem is that the term is used in many different context and setting s and can mean a different type of coming based on the picture in view and the context of the usage. This is no different than the terms usage in the rest of the New Testament.

In fact, there are 12 different proclamations of Jesus’ coming in the book of Revelation and with those come nine different “types” or results from those comings.

COMING IN FELLOWSHIP

Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Though quite a popular “salvation” verse this verse actually talks about a type of personal fellowship Jesus can and will have with the Church. The context is that of the Church needing to find it’s source of hope and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ rather than the possessions of this world. And in any case this coming is obviously not the Second coming despite the use of the term come or coming.

COMING TO JUDGE OR CHASTISE THE CHURCH

Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

Here the Lord declares that a Church would be the recipient of His “coming” in judgment or chastisement. This is not a physical coming by any means and all commentators would agree, but again, the term “come” is used though it in no way relates to the Second Coming.

COMING TO DEFEND

Rev 2:16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.

Here Jesus even uses the common time indicator of “soon” to show that first century Church that His coming was soon. But here again this coming is not related to the Second coming despite the popular phraseology. And even here it involves a coming to “war” with the enemies of the Church, which will show itself again later in Revelation (Rev 19).

COMING IN JUDGMENT

Rev 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.

As we have seen over and over again, the concept of the coming of God in the clouds is one that denotes a coming in   judgment against those who will witness that coming. During our discussion of the Olivet Discourse we noted the countless times in the Old Testament where the Lord would judge and condemn a nation while coming or appearing in the clouds. This common language is best understood this way just as it is the Olivet Discourse, especially when considering the immediacy of the coming and who would see this coming.

COMING TO RECEIVE DOMINION

Rev 18:1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory.

Many commentators argue that this is a coming of Jesus in which He receives ultimate dominion over the earth. How this fits into the context of Revelation is a subject for a later post, but I note it here because few, if any, argue this is the Second Coming despite the similar and familiar language.

COMING TO BIND SATAN

Rev 20:1Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years

Here we have a coming that many, possibly most attribute to Jesus in the binding of Satan. The similarity to the binding of the Strongman in Matt 12 has been dealt with previously, but our purpose here is to show that, once again, the term coming is used in a sense that is not related to the Second Coming.

COMING IN RETRIBUTION

Rev 22:12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done

This is comparable to the coming in judgment previously, including the immediacy of the coming. But here the coming is for the purpose of retribution, recompense and repayment. This differs greatly from the either the “secret” coming of the Dispensationalist or even the Kingdom establishing coming of the Premillennialist. Either way, it appears this coming is unique and different from the rest of Scripture’s picture of the Second Coming.

So, what about the Second coming in the popular and literal sense. Is this something found in the book of Revelation?

Most definitely yes!

But that, of course, is for a different post.

Here the purpose is to show that one must always be a student and study the context of a passage to properly determine the kind of coming in question.

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