Lord, Come Quickly

Clouds

After receiving the revelation contained in the book of Revelation, John gave a final statement from Jesus: “I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22:20). John then expressed his desire for Jesus to do this: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). He wanted Jesus to come quickly.

Why would John desire Jesus to come quickly? When we think about the return of Christ in which He will judge the world and reward the faithful, why should we desire Jesus to come quickly? Furthermore, what does it say about us if this is not our desire? We will explore these questions in this article.

What Will Happen When the Lord Comes

The dead will be raised – “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29). When Jesus said that “all who are in the tombs” would “come forth,” He meant everyone without exception. Death is not permanent. Various passages describe death as sleep (John 11:11-14; Matthew 9:18, 23-25). Since death is not permanent, we need to prepare for what comes after death – judgment: “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Everyone will see the Lord – “They also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven’” (Acts 1:11). After Jesus ascended to heaven, the angels informed His apostles that He would “come in just the same way as [they had] watched Him go into heaven.” When He returns, it will not be secret. Paul said that the Lord “will descend from heaven with a shout…and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). This final return will not be limited to a small geographical area, such as Jerusalem; instead, we will “all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Everyone will bow down before Him – “For this reason, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). When Christ returns, even those who did not believe Him will bow before Him and confess Him. However, at that point, it will be too late to change our fate. Therefore, we need to recognize that “now is ‘the day of salvation’” (2 Corinthians 6:2) in which we can prepare for His return.

All will be judged – “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). As we have already seen, all of the dead will come forth either “to a resurrection of life” or “to a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29). The righteous will go to their reward in heaven (1 Peter 1:4). The unrighteous will go to their punishment in hell (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10, 15).

Why We Should Desire Him to Come Quickly

There are several reasons given in the Scriptures that show why Christians should look forward to the Lord’s return.

It will be far better to be with Christ – “But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better” (Philippians 1:22-23). When Paul expressed his desire to depart from this life, he did not do so because he was severely depressed or suicidal. He indicated that he also had a desire to remain for the sake of these brethren. But he knew that the reward that came after this life was far better than anything we could hope for in this life. He told the Corinthians, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). No matter what our lives are like here, our eternal inheritance is far better.

He is our life – “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). Paul said that Christ is our life because He is the source of eternal life (cf. John 1:4; 11:25; 14:6). More than this, our identity as Christians is in Him. Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). We need to be able to make that same statement. This means we must live in such a way that we are what He is.

Our citizenship is in heaven – “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). The fact that “our citizenship is in heaven” means that heaven is the place where we belong. We are merely “aliens and strangers” here on the earth (1 Peter 2:11). We need to always remember that this world is not our home.

The sufferings of this life will end – “And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). This world is full of trouble. Job said, “Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil” (Job 14:1). Yet we are waiting for a home that will be free from all of the troubles that plague us in this life. With the right perspective, we can see the hardships of this life as Paul did – “momentary” and “light” (2 Corinthians 4:17) – regardless of how difficult they may be in the present.

Why Might We Hope He Does Not Come Quickly

Not everyone is eagerly “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12). If we do not hope for the Lord to come quickly, there may be different reasons for that.

We have sin of which we have not repented – “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26-27). For those who continue in sin, the coming of Christ ought to be a cause of fear, not of joy. If this is the case for us, we need to repent of the sins that remain in our lives. John wrote, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6-7). In order to make sure we are walking in light and not in darkness, we need to “examine” ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5) and see if we are what the Lord wants us to be. John wrote, “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:28-29). Practicing righteousness allows us to confidently look forward to Christ’s return. Remaining in sin causes us to be fearful of His coming. Therefore, if there is sin in our lives, we need to repent.

We do not want to give up the things of this life – “And He told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, “What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry’”’” (Luke 12:16-19). The man in Jesus’ parable wanted to focus on the things of this life and not concern himself with spiritual matters. Of course, we always need to remember that everything we enjoy in this life is from God (James 1:17; 1 Timothy 6:17). However, we must never value the things of this life over our souls or heaven itself. Jesus said we must “store up…treasures in heaven” because these are certain, whereas the “treasures on earth” are not (Matthew 6:19-21). We must “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33) because in the end it will be of no “profit” to us if we gain the world and lose our souls (Matthew 16:26).

We have not accomplished our goals in this life – “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:13-14). There is nothing wrong with setting goals or planning for the future. However, as James pointed out, we must do so with the recognition that our lives on earth are short and uncertain. Because of this, we cannot allow the “worries and riches and pleasures of this life” choke out the word and leave us unfruitful in the Lord’s service (Luke 8:14). Our primary goal must be to reach heaven (Philippians 3:14; Colossians 3:1-2). If we accomplish every goal we set in this life but miss the goal of heaven, our lives will be a total failure.

We have loved ones who are not saved – “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment’” (Luke 16:27-28). When Jesus talked about the rich man and Lazarus, He described the rich man’s concern for his brothers – he did not want them to suffer the punishment that he was having to endure. This concern for loved ones is natural. We want those who are close to us to be saved. God wants them to be saved as well (2 Peter 3:9), but He has still set a deadline for them to repent: “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” (2 Peter 3:10). Knowing that the day of the Lord could come at any time, if we have loved ones who are not saved, we need to use the opportunities we have now to try to reach them. Jesus said, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). As we apply that statement to us, we need to remember to take advantage of the opportunities before us as long as we are able to do so.

Maybe we have not yet been saved – “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Paul explained to the brethren in Thessalonica that those who die outside of Christ – not “in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:14) – have no hope. If we are in this state, why would we delay in fixing that condition? When Ananias came to Paul, he said, “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name” (Acts 22:16). As Paul wrote, “Now is ‘the day of salvation’” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Now is the time to make preparations. Let us not think that we are guaranteed more time later to become who the Lord wants us to be (cf. Luke 12:19-20).

Conclusion

John’s desire was for the Lord to come quickly (Revelation 22:20). When the Lord returns in the end, the faithful will be rewarded. Therefore, if we do not have the same attitude that John had, that should be a signal to us that we need to make a change in our lives. Let us be sure we are ready to meet the Lord when He comes again, whenever that day may be.


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