“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. “
Here we have the positive purpose of the book of Revelation, and incidentally, of all of Holy Writ. He testifies, witnesses, of these things to draw from the church of the living God, from you and from me, this response: “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
Is this our response? Do we pray this, also as far as another calendar year is concerned: 1979? Do we long for His coming? Is it our desire that He come quickly? Throughout this chapter we read of this coming, repeatedly and emphatically—see verses 6, 7, 10, 12, 20. And the Church responds: “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Again, is this our response?
Here we have the response of the Church to Him Who testifies these things. To what does the Church here respond?
Who testifies these things? Obviously, He Who testifies these things is He Who is coming quickly. So, our Lord Jesus Christ is meant. But, in verse 13 we also read of Him that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. And we also know that God is the Alpha and the Omega. So, that our Lord Jesus Christ is also called the Alpha and the Omega means that our Lord Jesus Christ is God—God, therefore, as the God of our salvation, God as revealed in. our Lord Jesus Christ. It is as such that He is coming; for Him we look, our divine Saviour. And that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, means that He is not only the beginning of all things, their Creator, but also the end, and that’ all things must lead to that end, are adapted to that end, as the final revelation of the living God, and as the God of our salvation in Jesus Christ, our Lord. He is coming. And to this coming the church responds as we read it in this word of God.
I am coming. We do not read that He will come. Of course He will come. That awesome moment will arrive when the Lord Jesus Christ shall appear upon the clouds of heaven, when the last trumpet shall sound, and all shall see Him.
In this text, however, He is coming. This is the characteristic of the New Dispensation. The Old Dispensation was the dispensation of the types and shadows. It was the dispensation of the typical Christ, Christ as revealed in types and symbols and shadows, inasmuch as Christ Himself had not yet come. It was also the dispensation of the typical antichrist, as, for example, of the monstrously wicked Antiochus Epiphanes. The New Dispensation, however, is the dispensation of the Christ. Now Christ has come, born in Bethlehem, suffered, died, is risen again, and glorified. The shadows and types of the old day have been replaced by their Reality. And, even as the New Dispensation is the dispensation of the Christ, so it is also the age of the antichrist, even as John says: now there are many antichrists. So; He is coming throughout the ages. His final coming cannot occur until all things have been accomplished as determined by the sovereign will of our God. And He is coming throughout this last hour because He is realizing all these things and causing them to happen.
Two things characterize this coming. First, it is sure. We read: “Surely, I come (am coming) quickly.” Indeed, this coming of the Lord is not the product of fanciful imagination; it is the revelation of the living God. The wise of this world may say that we are demented, mad; the powerful of this world may say that we are dreaming; the rich of this world may claim that we are pessimists. Fact is, however, our Lord Jesus Christ is coming surely.
Secondly, the Saviour is coming quickly. But, how can this be? It is said that the Church of God in the days of its New Testament infancy believed that Jesus would return in their day. However, it is hardly conceivable that the apostles themselves entertained this error. But it really makes no difference what their personal opinion may have been. Fact is, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself is speaking here, and He declares that He is coming quickly. He surely knew that He would not return in the days of the apostles. What, then, does it mean that He is coming quickly? We may use the late Rev. H. Hoeksema’s illustration in his book: Behold He Cometh. When the Germans were pressing the Allies, had run through Belgium and into France, the United States entered this war in the year of 1917. Longingly the Allies looked for the coming of the Americans, and the Americans assured them: we are coming, and we are coming quickly. However, before America could actually enter the conflict, much had to be done. Gigantic preparations had to be made. That the Americans were coming quickly surely meant that they were preparing themselves with the greatest possible haste, coming as quickly as possible, although to the Allies it may have seemed that their coming was very slow and being delayed. How true this is in this text! Think of what must be done before the last trumpet sounds. Of this we read in this book of Revelation. Think of the four horsemen of Rev. 6. Think of all the signs of Christ’s coming: the gathering of all the elect, wars and rumors of wars, pestilences and earthquakes and famines, the great apostasy, and the final appearance of Antichrist. Indeed, Jesus never stands in any other relation to the world but in that of judgment, never in an attitude of grace. To be sure, our Lord is coming quickly. He is in a hurry, a tremendous hurry. He prays what we read in John 17:24. He has no time to lose. All these things must happen, and they must happen quickly. This King of kings and Lord of lords has His heart set upon the renewal of all things. He is not losing any time, is not delaying, but He is rushing things, and that all the more as the end nears. Indeed, “I am coming quickly.”
The words of this text: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus,” are the response of the Church of God. This is hardly true of the church today. Carnality and materialism are rampant today. We live in a day and age of the lust of the eyes and of the flesh and of the greatness of life. Love for pleasure and amusement and a seeking of the things below are the order of the day. There is money for pleasure, conveniences and luxuries, but the cause of God’s covenant, in the church and in the school, often goes a-begging. But, this is not all. Today the truth of our text is also actually denied by what calls itself Church. One actually had the boldness to say that to say Christ is coming soon is the worst thing that can be told the Church of God! Today the Church, instead of preaching the gospel of this text, is actually preaching a social gospel, concerning itself with fighting poverty, racism, racial discrimination, wars and rumors of war, juvenile delinquency. Of course, we must deal with these things. But today this is being done without the cross of Calvary, and as the realization of the kingdom of God and of Christ in the earthly sense of the word. Today the Church is not busying itself, cares not to busy itself with the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the clouds of heaven, refuses to see in all these ills and catastrophes the signs of His coming.
And what can we say about ourselves? Are our hearts and minds filled with His coming, His coming soon? We live in ominously serious times; the signs of His coming are being fulfilled before our very eyes. Do we live consciously in the anticipation of that coming? Do we consider what we, especially our young people and children, may be compelled to experience? Are we pilgrims and strangers here below, or have we settled rather permanently in this evil and carnal world?
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Literally we read: “Amen, come, Lord Jesus.” Amen, even so, truly, come, Lord Jesus. Amen. Thus it truly is. There is no doubt about it. Come, Lord Jesus. Here we have the Church’s expression of its sincere longing and desire for the coming of the Lord. Indeed, the Church does not pray, long for the signs as such, such as wars, earthquakes, pestilences, etc. Nevertheless, we pray: Come, Lord Jesus. O, negatively, this certainly implies that we will have no part of any social gospel so common and prevalent today. We will not advocate any earthly cure apart from the cross and blood of Christ. We will not join the world in its efforts to establish a utopia here below, but we will raise a warning and condemning finger against all such endeavors. Positively, we will long for the coming of the Lord. We do not desire, crave these signs as such. But, when they come we will rejoice. We know that a world without war would be far more terrible than a world at war; we know it would be terrible if these signs were not to come. And when they come in the light of Holy Writ, we will experience a thrill, a throbbing of the heart and soul, because they are the rumblings of Him Who is coming quickly.
This also determines our calling. As individuals, in all our walk of life, as parents and children, as adults in all our contacts in the midst of the world, we will, of course, do what our hands find to do, but we will long for that coming, speak of it, do nothing to interfere with our expectation of it. However, this calling also concerns us as churches. This longing must characterize all our preaching and teaching. It must characterize all our work as officebearers, also in the year that lies before us. Always we must be watching upon the walls of Sion, constantly alerting the people of God to this coming of the Lord, and warning against all modern day efforts to deny this blessed coming in the humanitarian sense of the word. Indeed, how serious, tremendously serious is this implied admonition in this word of God!
Finally, what motivates this response of the Church? Indeed, the Church of God prays this. That the church today engages in a social gospel, prays not for the coming of Jesus Christ, is surely because it is carnal. And our failure to do so is surely rooted in the same reason. This longing here is expressed by the Church, the bride of verse 17, by them who thirst and long for the salvation of God in Christ Jesus.
What is this motivation? We read: Amen, come, Lord Jesus. This Coming One is our Lord Jesus. As Jesus He is our Saviour. That He is our Lord means that we belong to Him, are His property, body and soul, now and forever. He is coming quickly, our Saviour Lord. And if we know our sin and guilt, and the hopelessness of it, and the enmity of a world that lies in darkness, and that in this earthly house of our tabernacle, this body of sin, we shall never be fully delivered, and that we long for that deliverance, this prayer, motivated by that desire, will be very real, very intense. Then, as the bride of our Lord Jesus Christ, we, too, shall say, in unison with the Church of all ages: Amen, come, Lord Jesus.
Behold, I am coming quickly.
Amen, come, Lord Jesus.