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Overview

How Soon Is Soon?

Jesus is coming soon! How many times have we heard that phrase? It seems like every generation believed that Jesus was coming “soon” during their own lifetime. Then, after that generation passes away, a new group of Christians rise up calling people to “repent” and to “be ready” because Jesus is coming soon.
 
It’s interesting to watch some of the greatest men and women of God make these declarations. Time and time again these “prophecies” never seem to come to pass and it has challenged me to study further.
 
If Jesus is coming soon, how soon was soon? Could all of these men and women of God be so off in what they were hearing from God? These are some mighty men and women of God we are talking about.
 
Is what we believe even true or did we mis interpret something somewhere along the way?
 
This has also had a major impact on Evangelical Christianity. Some popular teachers and preachers steer far away from this topic because it’s just way to controversial (and I honestly believe they don’t want to be wrong. It hurts the bottom line).
 
I also don’t believe many teachers and preachers have a good grasp on the End Times and the coming of the Lord as a whole.
 
After speaking with hundreds of Spiritual leaders from all over the world, I have come to find out that their conflict is what seems to be the the facts, isn’t necessarily aligned with what they currently believe. So we just ignore the topic.
 
 

cs lewis photo

“Say what you like,” we shall be told, “the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’ And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.”    

 
It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible. Yet how teasing, also, that within fourteen words of it should come the statement “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” The one exhibition of error and the one confession of ignorance grow side by side.
 
That they stood thus in the mouth of Jesus himself, and were not merely placed thus by the reporter, we surely need not doubt. Unless the reporter were perfectly honest he would never have recorded the confession of ignorance at all; he could have had no motive for doing so except a desire to tell the whole truth. And unless later copyists were equally honest they would never have preserved the (apparently) mistaken prediction about “this generation” after the passage of time had shown the (apparent) mistake.
 
C.S Lewis, “The World’s Last Night” (1960)
 
The conclusion that C.S Lewis had come too can be summarized like this. I know what I believe, but I also know what the Bible says. Jesus had made it perfectly clear that He was coming during their lifetimes.
 
I find that fascinating. Some may disagree with this assessment and that’s fine but it seems like every generation seems to miss the mark on the timing of the events in the Bible. 
 
Why is that?
 
I believe I know. Simply put, we have done a great disservice to the Bible and the Gospels of Jesus by trying to make the time statements mentioned in the Bible mean something that they don’t. Let’s break this town so you can see what I mean.

What Are Biblical Time Statements?

Biblical time statements are vital to how we interpret the Bible. The reason I say this is because if we can nail down the time frame of any event described in the Bible, it will help us interpret what it actually means.
 
I heard a great analogy while I was on a radio show a few weeks ago. If you’ve ever done a puzzle before, the first thing you should do is put together the outside of the puzzle. The reason for this is because every other piece must fit inside of the border that has been created.
 
When trying to understand anything described in the Bible, the time statements are the outside of the puzzle.
 
So back to this topic of Jesus coming soon. What time frame is an acceptable interpretation of the word “soon?” If we can figure this out, we have the outside of the puzzle done. It helps because we now know that any interpretation we have will fit inside of that time frame.
 
Now what may be “soon” for you is different than “soon” for me and certainly God’s definition of “soon” can certainly be different than ours but here’s the question we need to ask. Is there a definition of the word soon that can not be feasible for you, me, or God?
 
Webster’s dictionary defines the word soon as, “without an undue lapse of time, in a prompt manner, speedily, at once, immediately”
 
Knowing the formal definition I want to propose an example. Let’s say I gave you a call and said “I am going to stop by soon. Don’t leave without me”.
 
  • If I came by 20 minutes later, we both may agree that I really did stop by soon.
  • If I came by 4 hours later, you may believe that is not soon at all while being aggravated at me because we both know that 4 hours isn’t soon in this context.
  • If I came by 2 weeks later, I am pretty sure that everyone reading this right now would think that’s ridiculous. 2 weeks isn’t soon in this context and I should’ve said…”See you in a few weeks.”
  • If I never came at all, but my grandson (2 generations from me) then came to your grandson’s house and said, “You remember when my grandfather called yours and said he was coming soon. Well I am fulfilling that statement.” This would be one of the most ridiculous statements we could ever consider yet this is exactly what we are doing to the Biblical time statements.
 
Now that we have that understanding, let’s ask a few other questions.
 
Was the definition of the word soon the same as today? What did the Apostles expect? Did they miss the timing? If they missed the timing, then what else did they miss on? Was there imminency to the words of Jesus and his Apostles?
Is Jesus Coming Soon? Why the Biblical Time Statements Matter 1

What Are Biblical Time Statements?

Besides the word soon, the Bible uses a few other very common words that represent how long something will take. Specifically to the coming of the Lord and the end of the age, we are going to review each one of those words. Afterwards, I will paste a list of every single time statement in the Bible around the coming of the Lord. This will help us understand how soon, soon really is. 
1- At hand
The Bible uses this very popular Jewish term to describe events that are about to take place. In Ancient Israel, they used a lot of very descriptive words to describe things that are happening. Some of these language styles are Poetry, Prophecy, Apocalyptic (which is vital in understanding the book of Revelation) etc. The term “at hand” is describing an image of sticking out your hand and touching something. So if you are standing in front of the refrigerator close enough to touch the handle, the refrigerator is “at hand.” If you are standing in the living room, the refrigerator may be relatively close, but it certainly is not “at hand.”
 
Matthew 3:2- “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
 
At hand is from the Greek word “Eggizo“. Eggizo means “to bring near, to join one thing to another, to come near, to approach.” Eggizo comes from the root word Eggus which means, “near in place, position (as close as God is to His people), or time (imminent).”
 
This seems to be pretty close. How much closer can God get to something than his closeness to His people? I wouldn’t describe that as distant. And when you put this with Luke 17:20-21 where Jesus says the Kingdom is already in their midst. Jesus said it was at hand…and it literally was.
2- About To Come
Matthew 12:32- And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
 
The word to come is the Greek word Mello and it means, “to about to happen, on the point of happening, to intend, to have in mind). Interestingly enough, Biblestudytools.com says that this word is strengthened by the word melo (one l), which means “to care for.”
 
The kingdom was about to come for His people because of His love and care for them. How awesome is the God we serve.
3- Pass Away
Matthew 24:34- Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
 
The Greek word for “pass away” is parerchomai which means, “to go past a person, to pass over a time, a metaphor to die, to come near, to arrive.”
 
Look at what Jesus is telling his Apostles. The generation that Jesus was living in and speaking to, will NOT pass away until ALL of these things take place. What things? Everything He just listed in Matthew 24!
4- The Last Hour
This seems pretty final doesn’t it? You are the “last patient”, this is the “last cookie left.” The “Last” meaning final, and “Hour” which puts a definite time frame on it especially when talking directly to a specific group of people.
 
1 John 2:18- Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.
 
Last is the Greek word “Eschatos” which means “The last, the extreme last in time, in a place, in a series, or in sucession”
 
Hour is the Greek word “Hora” which means a certain definite time, a season fixed by natural law, the daytime (bound by the rising and setting of the sun), the 12th part of the day, a point in time, a moment.”
 
How can anyone look at these verses and possibly think that the people hearing these words would not expect to be around of these events? They were in the “Last” days.
5- Will Not Delay
Hebrews 10:27- FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.
 
This verse is not only extremely descriptive, it is directed to a Jewish audience who is being tortured and persecuted for the cause of Christ. God inspires Paul to write them a letter to encourage and empower them. He tells them in a “Very little while”, not just a little while…a VERY little while, He who is coming (Jesus) will come and will not delay.
 
The word little is the Greek word “Mikron” and means, “small, little (in size, stature, space, age (less then a birth), of time, short, brief, of quantity, of rank).
 
What God will NOT do is delay. The word delay is the Greek word “Chronizo” which means, “to linger, to delay or tarry.”
 
So imagine you are being persecuted for your faith and the Apostle Paul writes you a letter telling you to hang in there, don’t worry, Jesus is going to come in a very little while and won’t delay at all. He will save you.
 
Then…He never comes to you.
 
Why would Paul write them a letter (inspired by God) that has nothing to do with them? That makes no sense because God wouldn’t do that. The only two options we have is that God was wrong or our interpretation is wrong.
6- Quickly
Revelation 3:11- I am coming quickly; hold firmly to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
 
Quickly is the Aramaic word “Tachu” which means quickly, speedily (without delay). It comes from the root word “Tachus” which means quickly, fleet, speedy.
 
In a letter written to seven churches in Asia Minor, God uses John to pen these words. I am coming quickly, fleet, speedy.
 
Did He? If you want to read more on this, you can check out my article “Behold, I am coming Quickly.”

101 Scriptures That Show God's Coming Was Imminent

We just reviewed all of the main time statements of the Bible surrounding the coming of the Lord and the coming of the Kingdom. I believe it’s pretty clear that Jesus and the Apostles clearly expressed that these things would happen during the life of the generation that was currently alive during the first century. When Jesus and the Apostles said soon, they really meant it.
 
To show you even further, right from the Bible, I will list all of the scriptures (yes all 101 of them), around the timing of the coming.
  1. “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 3:2)
  2. “Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?” (Matt. 3:7)
  3. “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees.” (Matt. 3:10)
  4. “His winnowing fork is in His hand.” (Matt. 3:12)
  5. “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 4:17)
  6. “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 10:7)
  7.  “You shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes.” (Matt.  10:23)
  8. “….the age about to come.” (Matt. 12:32)
  9. “The Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds.” (Matt. 16:27)
  10. “There are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Matt. 16:28; cf. Mk. 9:1; Lk. 9:27)
  11. “’When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?’ ‘….He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.’ ‘….Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.’ ….When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.” (Matt. 21:40-41,43,45)
  12. “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (Matt. 24:34)
  13. “From now on, you [Caiaphas, the chief priests, the scribes, the elders, the whole Sanhedrin] shall be seeing the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matt. 26:64; Mk. 14:62; Lk. 22:69)
  14. “The kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mk. 1:15)
  15. “What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others. ….They [the chief priests, scribes and elders] understood that He spoke the parable against them.” (Mk. 12:9,12)
  16. “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (Mk. 13:30)
  17. “Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?” (Lk. 3:7)
  18. “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees. ” (Lk. 3:9)
  19. “His winnowing fork is in His hand….” (Lk. 3:17)
  20. “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (Lk. 10:9)
  21. “The kingdom of God has come near.” (Lk. 10:11)
  22. “What, therefore, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.” …The scribes and the chief priests …understood that He spoke this parable against them.” (Lk. 20:15-16,19)
  23. “These are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” (Lk. 21:22)
  24. “This generation will not pass away until all things take place.” (Lk. 21:32)
  25. “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’” (Lk. 23:28-30; Compare Rev. 6:14-17)
  26. “We were hoping that He was the One who is about to redeem Israel.” (Lk. 24:21)
  27. “I will come to you. …In that Day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.’ …’Lord, what then has happened that You are about to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?’” (Jn. 14:18,20,22)
  28. “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?” (Jn. 21:22)
  29. “This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be in the last days…’” (Acts 2:16-17)
  30. “He has fixed a day in which He is about to judge the world in righteousness…” (Acts 17:31)
  31. “There is about to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” (Acts 24:15)
  32. “As he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment about to come…” (Acts 24:25)
  33. “Not for [Abraham’s] sake only was it written, that [faith] was reckoned to him [as righteousness], but for our sake also, to whom it is about to be reckoned.” (Rom. 4:23-24)
  34. “If you are living according to the flesh, you are about to die.” (Rom. 8:13)
  35. “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18)
  36. “It is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand.” (Rom. 13:11-12)
  37. “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” (Rom. 16:20)
  38. “The time has been shortened.” (I Cor. 7:29)
  39. “The form of this world is passing away.” (I Cor. 7:31)
  40. “Now these things …were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (I Cor. 10:11)
  41. “We shall not all fall sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” (I Cor. 15:51-52)
  42. “Maranatha!” [The Lord comes!] (I Cor. 16:22)
  43. “…not only in this age, but also in the one about to come.” (Eph. 1:21)
  44. “The Lord is near.” (Phil. 4:5)
  45. “The gospel …was proclaimed in all creation under heaven.” (Col. 1:23; Compare Matt. 24:14; Rom. 10:18; 16:26; Col. 1:5-6; II Tim. 4:17; Rev. 14:6-7; cf. I Clement 5,7)
  46. “…things which are a shadow of what is about to come.” (Col. 2:16-17)
  47. “…we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord… …We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds… …You, brethren, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you like a thief.” (I Thess. 4:15,17; 5:4)
  48. “May your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Thess. 5:23)
  49. “It is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire.” (II Thess. 1:6-7)
  50. “Godliness …holds promise for the present life and that which is about to come.” (I Tim. 4:8)
  51. “I charge you …that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Tim. 6:14)
  52. “…storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for that which is about to come, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” (I Tim. 6:19)
  53. “In the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self… …Avoid these men. For of these are those who enter into households and captivate weak women… …These also oppose the truth… …But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all…” (II Tim. 3:1-2,5-6,8-9)
  54. “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is about to judge the living and the dead…” (II Tim. 4:1)
  55. “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.” (Heb. 1:1-2)
  56. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who are about to inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14)
  57. “He did not subject to angels the world about to come.” (Heb. 2:5)
  58. “…and have tasted …the powers of the age about to come.” (Heb. 6:5)
  59. “For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near a curse, and it’s end is for burning.” (Heb. 6:7-8)
  60. “When He said, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.” (Heb. 8:13)
  61. “The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way of the [heavenly] Holy Places has not yet been revealed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.” (Heb. 9:8-10; Compare Gal. 4:19; Eph. 2:21-22; 3:17; 4:13)
  62. “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things about to come…” (Heb. 9:11)
  63. “Now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin.” (Heb. 9:26)
  64. “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things about to come…” (Heb. 10:1)
  65. “…as you see the Day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:25)
  66. “…the fury of a fire which is about to consume the adversaries.” (Heb. 10:27)
  67. “For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay.” (Heb. 10:37)
  68. “For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the one that is about to come.” (Heb. 13:14)
  69. “Speak and so act, as those who are about to be judged by the law of liberty.” (Jms. 2:12)
  70. “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. …It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!” (Jms. 5:1,3)
  71. “Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.” (Jms. 5:7)
  72. “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (Jms. 5:8)
  73. “…salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (I Peter 1:6)
  74. “He …has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.” (I Peter 1:20)
  75. “They shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (I Peter 4:5)
  76. “The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.” (I Peter 4:7)
  77. “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God.” (I Peter 4:17)
  78. “…as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is about to be revealed.” (I Peter 5:1)
  79. “We have the prophetic word …which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the Day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (II Peter 1:19)
  80. “Their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (II Peter 2:3)
  81. “In the last days mockers will come. …For this they willingly are ignorant of…” (I Peter 3:3,5)
  82. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” (II Peter 3:10-12)
  83. “The darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.” (I Jn. 2:8)
  84. “The world is passing away, and its desires.” (I Jn. 2:17)
  85. “It is the last hour.” (I Jn. 2:18)
  86. “Even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.” (I Jn. 2:18; Compare Matt. 24:23-34)
  87. “This is that of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” (I Jn. 4:3; Compare II Thess. 2:7)
  88. “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation. …About these also Enoch …prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly…’” (Jude 1:4,14-15)
  89. “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, ‘In the last time there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.’ These are the ones who cause divisions…” (Jude 1:17-19)
  90. “…to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place.” (Rev. 1:1)
  91. “The time is near.” (Rev. 1:3)
  92. “Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.” (Rev. 2:25)
  93. “I also will keep you from the hour of testing which is about to come upon the whole world.” (Rev. 3:10)
  94. “I am coming quickly.” (Rev. 3:11)
  95. “And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is about to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” (Rev. 12:5)
  96. “And in her [the Great City Babylon] was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.” (Rev. 18:24; Compare Matt. 23:35-36; Lk. 11:50-51)
  97. “…to show to His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place.” (Rev. 22:6)
  98. “Behold, I am coming quickly. ” (Rev. 22:7)
  99. “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.” (Rev. 22:10; Compare Dan. 8:26)
  100. “Behold, I am coming quickly.” (Rev. 22:12)
  101. “Yes, I am coming quickly.” (Rev. 22:20)
Conclusion
I myself am “Sola Scriptura.” This means “by scripture alone.” Our beliefs and doctrines can not be based off of teachings that can’t be substantiated by the Scriptures. It seems to me that a lot of Christians run away from Science and history because they are scared of what they will find. They don’t want their faith challenged and don’t want to ever think that what they believe is wrong.
 
There isn’t a single person alive that has everything 100% correct. This is why we are on a Spiritual “journey”. It’s a walk with Jesus. The more you learn, the more you will grow and with that some things change. The only thing that doesn’t change…is Jesus.
 
My final question is this. Are we after truth? Or do we just want to be stuck in our Christian bubble and believe what we always knew. Will we have our beliefs come from the Bible, or will we stretch the Bible to fit around our beliefs? My challenge is one of growth, maturity, wisdom and understanding. 

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lead Pastor of Sound of Heaven Church
Johnny Ova

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