Word of the Month

“Behold, I am coming quickly!”

December 2006

The Revelation of John contains a multifaceted passage that refers very directly to the return of Christ: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22: 12).

It begins with the little word: “Behold!” This word appears quite frequently in the Holy Scripture. It is a call to pay special heed, to be especially watchful, and to pay particular attention to the things going on around us.

At the birth of Jesus Christ, the angels appeared to the shepherds and brought them the news: “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy… For there is born to you this day … a Saviour” (cf. Luke 2: 10-11). In reference to the Lord Jesus, John the Baptist once said: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (cf. John 1: 29). All these are especially striking, potent words which carry a great deal of power. The Lord Jesus said: “Behold, I have told you before” (Matthew 24: 25, KJV). Again we find the call to “behold!” The admonition behind this is that we should behold things from a divine perspective! Or how beautiful the promise that the Lord gave His Apostles: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28: 20, ESV)—again an instruction to take note of what the Lord is doing!

“Behold, I am coming quickly!”—Just look at the conditions around us! The Lord is coming! This is our firm belief. The circumstances are coming to a head. We are moving inexorably toward the day of the Lord!

Let us take a look at Christendom in general: it is receding more and more—and not only in terms of external indicators, such as the number of people who profess Christianity, but also in terms of the significance Christians assign their faith. Being a Christian plays less and less of a role in their daily lives. Today—at least in our part of the world—churches are increasingly seen as institutions, which people treat more or less with distrust. Just look at our present circumstances! I see them as a clear indication that things are intensifying and pressing more and more quickly toward the day of the Lord.

And how are things with us?

Just look at the fact that it is also becoming harder to keep our faith! We feel this in our lives, after all. It is no longer so easy to remain upon the path of faith. There are so many other influences. Today I find it much easier to understand the words of the Lord Jesus when He said: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18: 8). This question is certainly justified!

The Lord is coming! This is inevitable! But this is also our comfort and joy, because we wait for this day! Certainly there is no one who can say: “The Lord is coming in five days!” No one knows the date, and it is better that way. It is reserved for God alone to know how long it will still take. But: “Behold, I am coming quickly!” Let us recognise and take to heart the circumstances as they unfold!

(From a divine service by the Chief Apostle)