IT'S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME
Part 3 (Things Which Must Shortly Come to Pass...in a Very, Very Little While)
By Ward Fenley

THINGS WHICH MUST SHORTLY COME TO PASS

(A Brief Space of Time)

The same interpretive principle must be implemented with the terms "shortly" and "quickly." The primary verses we are considering with the word translated "shortly" are found in Romans 16:20; Revelation 1:1; 22:6:

Romans 16:20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly (cf. Genesis 3:15). The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
Revelation 22:6-7 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
Strongís first definition for the Greek word used in these passages (tachos) is "a brief space of time." Notice the appropriateness of this definition as it is used in these other passages. Acts 22:18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
Acts 25:4 But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither.
It is very doubtful that Paul would have waited until September of 1994 before he left Jerusalem. With these verses using the exact same word, we can only conclude that the apostle John was initiating the Apocalypse with the urgent warning that Christ was returning in a brief space of time. The N.T. Scriptures support that Satan was about to be crushed (Romans 16:20) and Christ was returning shortly. Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Revelation 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Revelation 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Revelation 22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be (cf. Matthew 16:27,28).
Revelation 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
There are many views regarding those whom John was addressing when he identified the seven churches and their various problems. When I was a dispensationalist (or dispensensationalist), I was always told that the seven churches represented the different time periods throughout church history. Of course, the dispensationalist would always identify the twentieth-century church as Laodicea. Some even have the audacity to identify the beginning of the Plymouth Brethren movement as the church of Philadelphia. (I would caution those who speak well of themselves (Revelation 3:17 "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked")). I will confess that John Nelson Darbyís hyper-dispensational teaching is very popular today and is widely approved by many modern "churches." However, "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets." Luke 6:26.

As we examine the apostle Johnís addressees in Revelation 2 and 3, we see time statements of urgency that could only be referring to those living at that time. To the church of Ephesus he writes:

Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. To the church of Pergamos he writes: Revelation 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. To the church of Thyatira he mentions Jezebel, the false prophetess. He warns: Revelation 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (Does this not tell us about the timing of the great tribulation?) He also counsels Thyatira: Revelation 2:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. To the church of Sardis he writes: Revelation 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. To the church of Philadelphia he writes: Revelation 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. We see that at least five of the seven churches were admonished because of the urgency of Christís coming. The other two received admonishments that were clearly referring to a near judgment.

John used the word quickly, not only because he had direct revelation from God but also because he understood the Lord Jesus Christ and the Olivet discourse. John had seen the signs and, therefore, knew that his generation was the generation that would be alive at the Lordís coming. This brings us to an important phrase concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

YET A LITTLE WHILE

(A Very, Very Little While)

Jesus said in John 7:33 "Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me," and in John 13:33, "Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you." Christ obviously did not wait two thousand years to ascend to the Father to take the throne; nor was Jesus physically on the earth for two thousand years. John 12:35 reads "Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth." John 14:19 also says, "Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also." The Greek word mikron is used in these verses which clearly speak of "a small space of time or degree." Strongís Exhaustive Concordance. In Hebrews, a phrase is used that is employed nowhere else in the N.T., yet it contains the same word used in the above passages:

Hebrews 10:36-37 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. The Greek phrase "a little while" is eti gar micron oson oson; translation: "For yet a very,very little while." There is not a Greek scholar who can contend with this phrase. The promise remains certain: "He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." How many times have we heard people say, "If the Lord tarries we will do this or that?" The passage says He "will not tarry." Once again, "He that shall come will come." He did not fail. Not only did He come, but He came when He said He was going to come-"in a little while." We must also consider the audience addressed here. Verse 36 says, "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." Here we see the guarantee that they would receive the Promise, and that in a little while. Were they disappointed? Did Christ or the writer of Hebrews fool them? Did Christ lie? God Forbid! "For it is impossible for God to lie." Hebrews 6:18. God was holding true to the promise He gave on Mt. Olivet. He told His disciples that their generation would "not pass away until all things be fulfilled."

Ward Fenley


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