The Way It Happened

Revelation 22:12, Behold, I Come Suddenly?

Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

//I just finished reading another book which tried to pull Revelation out of its first-century setting by suggesting an odd translation of the promise in today’s verse. The phrase “Behold, I come quickly” appears word-for-word three times in Revelation, and there are a number of other places where Jesus affirms his coming without delay. Unless we greatly misinterpret the words (particularly the Greek word tachy), there is simply no way that Jesus was saying it would be 2,000 years before he came.

Still, some readers, noting that the return of Christ didn’t happen the way they expected, suggest an alternative reading. They suggest that the word “quickly” should be replaced by “suddenly,” meaning unexpected and instantaneous. But this simply isn’t the way the word is used anywhere else in the Bible. Ignoring, for now, all of Revelation’s promises of immediacy and concentrating on just the Greek word tachy, let’s note all the other verses where the Bible’s writers used this word:

Agree with thine adversary quickly [tachy], whiles thou art in the way with him; –Matthew 5:25

And go quickly [tachy], and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; –Matthew 28:7

And they departed quickly [tachy] from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; –Matthew 28:8

There is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly [tachy] speak evil of me. –Mark 9:39

And they went out quickly [tachy], and fled from the sepulchre; –Mark 16:8

As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly [tachy], and came unto him. –John 11:29

Did you have any luck replacing the word “quickly” (tachy) with “about 2,000 years later?”

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