Jesus Is Coming Soon... 2000 Years Later?
July 27, 2020 • Jamey Escamilla
Why does the Bible say that Jesus was coming soon if he would not come back for 2000 years?
The Bible is full of scriptures in the New Testament that say that the coming of Jesus would “soon” come:
Revelation 1:1 - The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.
Revelation 3:11 - I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes your crown.
We can see that the writers of the New Testament expected Jesus to come back very “soon”.
When I hear the phrase “soon”, I automatically interpret these words to mean that in a short time period, they expected Jesus to come back.
It’s just natural instinct to see these words this way.
If I told you that I would be at your house “soon”, you’d expect me to be there in a short period of time.
So let’s assume for a minute that this is what the disciples meant… that Jesus was coming in a short period of time in their day.
This is exactly what I believe. I believe that Jesus did come in their day, shortly after these scriptures were written.
This is why they described his coming as “soon”.
And that’s why it doesn’t make sense to me that this coming is still in our future some time, thousands of years after these scriptures were written.
Side note: I know that probably leaves you with a lot of questions, especially if you believe that all of these scriptures are talking about a time when Jesus will come back in our future during the Great Tribulation and after the Rapture.
So feel free to look around more on this site. There’s a bunch of articles and resources that can help you understand why I’ve come to this conclusion.
Now, even though, in our natural minds, we interpret these scriptures to mean that Jesus would come back in a short time period, there are still many who believe that he hasn’t yet.
So how do they explain these scriptures?
One way is like this:
“The idea is not that the event may occur soon, but when it does, it will be sudden.”
If you had to stop, re-read that, and process it, don’t feel bad.
So in other words, when the above scriptures say “soon”, to some, it doesn’t literally mean “soon”. It means “suddenly”.
So Revelation 3:11 would actually mean this:
“I am coming suddenly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes your crown.”
It could be explained like this:
“We don’t know when he’ll come, but when he does, it will be suddenly and swift.”
This is a really interesting way to look at these scriptures. But is there logic to it?
After all, saying, “I am coming soon” is indeed actually different from saying, “I am coming suddenly.”
So why do some people come to this conclusion?
Because of the Greek word for this translated English word “soon”.
So what is the original Greek word for this word “soon”, as in Revelation 1:1?
“… what must soon take place.”
Let’s take a quick look at this Greek word.
This word is also mentioned in other places throughout the Bible in slightly different ways, such as tachion and tachys.
As you can see, it’s used in the Bible to mean “quickness” or “speed”, and its definition is “a brief space of time”.
Many times in the Bible, this word is coupled with another Greek word, en, which means “in”.
So it’s literally translated as, “in quickness”.
…en tachos --> in quickness
An easier way to say “in quickness” would be “quickly”, right?
Wouldn’t it be weird if your buddy said, “I’ll be over there in quickness!” :)
This is why many Bible translations just say “quickly”. Just know that this is the simplest definition. Keep that in your back pocket for a minute.
Now, let me ask you this:
Would it still mean the same thing if we use the word “suddenly” in Revelation 1:1 in place of “soon”?
Here’s the scripture using both “soon” and “suddenly”. You tell me if it carries the same meaning in our everyday English language:
Revelation 1:1 - The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.
Revelation 1:1 - The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave him to show his servants what must suddenly take place.
Hmmmm. To me, it just doesn’t carry the same meaning.
“Soon” means “in a short time”.
“Suddenly” means “quickly and unexpectedly”.
You see, most Bible translations I’ve found use the word “soon”, because they see this scripture, and others that talk about the quickly approaching Day of the Lord, as saying that the Lord was going to show up in a short period of time.
That’s kind of significant, so I’ll say it again.
Most Bible translations I’ve found use the word “soon” in Revelation 1:1.
No Bible translations that I could find use the word “suddenly” in Revelation 1:1.
However, people who say that the coming of the Lord and the end of all things is in our future still don’t think that “soon” is an accurate way to translate these scriptures.
… because “soon” would mean that the Day of the Lord already happened.
… but “suddenly” could mean that it might not happen for a long time, but when it does, it will be sudden – quick and without expectancy.
Doesn’t it seem at this point that we’re turning a molehill into a mountain?
Anyways, here’s a visual way to see this word tachos, and how we’re using it.
And here’s an example of how people see Revelation 1:1 as meaning “suddenly”:
Notice how the person who wrote this goes from “soon”, to “quickly”, to “suddenly”. He goes from what you see in the scripture, to what it actually means in Greek, to what he thinks it should mean.
He tells you that it refers to how Jesus will come back, as opposed to when he will come back.
From what I’ve seen, it’s kind of typical for people to say that the word means “suddenly”, but then offer little to no explanation of why, and then move away from the topic rather quickly.
The above writer gives us a scripture, Matthew 24:36, but doesn’t quote it or explain it. But here it is:
Matthew 24:36 - But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Without getting into too much detail about Matthew 24, I believe that this “day” of the coming of the Lord is what Revelation is talking about – the coming that would “soon” take place.
Yes, the coming of the Lord did happen suddenly – quickly and without expectancy. Like a thief in the night, it overtook the Jews with the destruction of their city.
But I also believe that it was “soon” to happen in the day of the disciples. It already happened.
So, you can’t use the sudden aspect of the Lord’s coming to cancel out the soon aspect of it.
These words don’t mean the same thing.
On that note, here’s the true Greek word for “suddenly”:
It means just that – unexpectedly.
Just like in Acts 9 when Paul was knocked off of his horse:
Acts 9:3 - And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven.
So my question is, why didn’t John just use this Greek word somehow to explain the “sudden manner” of the Lord’s coming, if that was his intention?
Why not just plainly say, “It’ll come like a thief in the night. Nobody knows. But when it does, it will happen suddenly.”
So, let’s summarize real quick.
Futurists say that the Greek word tachos in Revelation 1:1 is actually referring to the manner in which Jesus will come, as opposed to when he’ll come, in order to explain why “soon” is used when talking about the coming of the Lord.
They do this by acknowledging that the actual Greek word is “quickly”, and then asking the question, “How is his coming “quickly”? Does this mean the time before he comes, or the manner in which he’ll come?”
Of course, they believe it’s talking about the “manner” in which he’ll come.
To which I ask, “Why?”
And this is about the moment that I file this interpretation away in my “unfounded” drawer.
Because the proof that I’ve found from leading scholars that teach this view is not really proof at all.
They begin by simply saying that the word just means “quickly” and not “soon”. This is true.
But then they go further and say simply that “quickly” refers to the “manner” in which he’ll come.
“He’s going to come quickly, meaning whenever he does, it’ll be swift and sudden.”
Some of these scholars actually quote sources that show that the word means “without delay, quickly, and at once”, but then strangely just say, “Because of this, it’s talking about the manner in which he’ll come, not how long it’ll be before he comes.”
But how? Why?
I just don’t see how they came to that conclusion and make that connection just because the word means “without delay”.
Of course it means “quickly” and “without delay”. I agree with that. There’s no argument about that.
The question is how do these scholars simply say that it’s NOT talking about the time that will happen before he comes, but only talking about HOW he will come?
Showing that the word means “quickly”, and then showing quotes from other people who also believe that this is just talking about “the manner” in which he’ll come is not proof.
I think it’s impossible to prove that any scripture with tachos is only referring to the “manner” of the action and not the timing by using just the plain text of the Bible.
All we know is that “quickly” is used to describe his “coming”.
“Well hold on there, Jamey. The context of the scripture will tell us what “quickly” means.”
You see, if you were to tell me that “soon” here in Revelation 1:1 refers to the “manner” in which they’ll happen and not how soon it’ll be until it actually happens, I would then ask you:
“What about other scriptures where the same Greek word is used, like 1 Timothy 3:14, where Paul tells Timothy:
“I hope to come to you soon...”
Are we going to say that Paul is NOT saying that he hopes to see him within a short time?
Are we going to say that what Paul is really saying is that he hopes to “suddenly” come to Timothy in a “sudden, unexpected” manner, as if to show up unannounced?
Of course not.
So why does “soon” here in 1 Timothy refer to the timing, but all of a sudden, over here in Revelation, it refers to the manner in which he’ll come?
This is how a futurist would explain it:
They believe that the word tachos and its family are used both ways in the Bible.
Sometimes, it’s referring to the “manner”, and sometimes it’s referring to the “timing”.
The context of the scripture determines what it’s referring to.
So here in 1 Timothy, it’s plainly talking about the timing, they say.
But not in Revelation.
It's not always talking about time, they say.
For example, look at Acts 22:18:
‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me’.
With this scripture, one futurist scholar believes it has nothing to do with the “timing” of when Paul should get out, but the thought is the “manner” in how he should get out, he says.
How should he get out? Quickly.
Confusing, I know.
It doesn’t make sense to me, because if Jesus told Paul to leave Jerusalem quickly, but only meant that he should do it in a quick manner, and time doesn’t matter…
… well, you see the point. Paul would be perfectly justified in sitting around Jerusalem for many more years, as long as when he finally decided to leave, he got up quickly, walked quickly, and suddenly busted out of Jerusalem as if his Red Bull finally kicked in.
I mean, c’mon. It just seems that we’re twisting scriptures to fit our beliefs.
But this is how some people will explain the meaning of “soon” in Revelation.
In my opinion, this is a very confusing, unnatural way to use this word. It’s wrong.
I think that the word “quickly” usually combines the two thoughts – you will come in a quick manner, and you will come in a short time.
But why do people fight so hard to get the thought of timing out of Revelation 1:1?
Because of their preconceived belief about the context of these scriptures.
The main reason why people believe this “sudden manner” interpretation is because they already believe that Revelation is talking about something that has not happened yet, and is in our future.
They first believe that the coming hasn’t happened and is therefore in our future, so these “soon” scriptures MUST have some other meaning than their literal, normal one.
They’re then faced with the challenge to explain them, and they do so by saying it’s not referring to the “time”, but the “manner”.
Here’s a taste of what they say:
Do you see the logic?
Because there hasn’t been no Abomination of Desolation…
… because there’s been no Antichrist…
… because there’s been no Second Coming…
… these “soon” scriptures don’t mean “soon”.
But how do you know these things haven’t come already?
Of course, if these things haven’t come, then “soon” would have to mean something else.
But that’s the whole thing.
We can’t just say that they haven’t happened yet because we haven’t seen what WE think they are happen in history yet, without looking at other points of view.
Because there is good evidence that the coming of the Lord in these “end time” scriptures HAS come and gone.
Overall, this is a strange, confusing argument that people try to use to explain away words like “soon” in the Bible.
We only interpret "soon" like this if it goes against what we already believe.
There simply is no reason to interpret these scriptures this way, and the evidence we use to do it is weak and just down right silly.
I think it’s important for everyone to just keep things simple and be open to other points of view of the end times.
There’s no need for complicated explanations. Maybe God is a lot simpler than we think!
Maybe when he said that he was coming "soon", he just meant "soon".
• The Greek word for “soon” is tachos, which just means “quickly”
• Some people try to translate it as “suddenly”, but this is not a definition of the word
• People try to use “suddenly” because it makes it sound as if the Lord’s coming could still be a long way off, but when it does come, it will happen “suddenly”
• No Bible translations use the word “suddenly” for Revelation 1:1
• Some people believe that the context of Revelation is talking about things that will happen in the future (rapture, Great Tribulation, Antichrist, Second Coming)
• Because they see this as the context, they believe that the word “soon” in Revelation 1:1 must mean something else – the “manner” in which he’ll come
• The Lord’s coming was described as coming “quickly” because it did come “soon” after Revelation was written in AD 70