(An excerpt from our newly released Revelation, Volume 4)
“Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (Rev. 22:7).
“A new preacher had just begun his sermon. He was a little nervous, and about ten minutes into the talk his mind went blank. He remembered what they had taught him in seminary to do when a situation like this would arise: repeat your last point. Often this would help you remember what was coming next. So he thought he would give it a try.
“‘Behold, I come quickly,’ he said. Still his mind was blank. He thought he would try it again, ‘Behold, I come quickly.’ Still nothing. He tried it one more time with such force that he fell forward, knocking the pulpit to one side, tripping over a flowerpot, and falling into the lap of a little old lady in the front row. The young preacher apologized and tried to explain what happened.
“‘That’s alright, young man,’ said the little old lady. ‘It was my fault. I should have gotten out of the way. You told me three times that you were coming.’” [Bob Phillips and Jonny Hawkins, The Hilarious Book of Heavenly Humor (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2011), p. 172.]
In the final verses of the Apocalypse, three times the Lord says that He is coming to the nation Israel (vv. 7,12,20). Terminology meant for the Second Coming of Christ to Israel, such as “Behold, I come quickly” or “thief in the night” is often mistakenly used for the Rapture of the Church, the Body of Christ. This confuses many people regarding these two future comings of Christ. When Christ says, “Behold, I come quickly,” He is not speaking of coming before the Tribulation to catch the Church away to heaven. He is speaking of His coming to Israel at the end of the Tribulation at the Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 19:11-21).
All mentions of the coming of Christ outside the letters of the Apostle Paul refer either to the first or second coming of Christ to Israel. As a result of not rightly dividing the Word of truth, words, phrases, and verses are often misused and misapplied to the Rapture of the Church.
When a preacher or teacher uses the words, “Behold, I come quickly,” and without qualification applies it to the Rapture, that is error. When a preacher or teacher says that the Rapture and Second Coming are the same thing, that is unsound doctrine. When a preacher or teacher says that the Church, the Body of Christ, will go through any part of the coming Tribulation period, that is not the truth of the Word, rightly divided.
When the events of the Book of Revelation begin to unfold, the Lord’s words, “Behold, I come quickly,” will be a comfort and source of strength to believers during the Tribulation. By faith and knowledge of the Word, they will know that they have a deliverance coming. They will long for Him to come quickly, and these words of reassurance will help them overcome and endure to the end of the worst seven years ever.
As for the Body of Christ, we are taught to be “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Every day is a day that the Lord might come to catch us, His Church, away to heaven. We are taught to be “looking” for our Savior at all times. Knowing that we might stand before Him today or any day is to move the Church to “live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:12).
Is Christ coming quickly? Perhaps, and perhaps today! However, to use, “Behold, I come quickly,” for the hope of the Rapture is incorrect. That is confusing the two future comings of Christ and what that phrase really means to whom it was written. “Behold, I come quickly” is said by the Lord and was recorded by John for the saints who will be alive during the Tribulation. That is most definitely not us. We, the Body of Christ, will have been “delivered…from the wrath to come” (1 Thes. 1:10). Praise the Lord!
After Christ catches the Body of Christ up in the Rapture, the prophetic program will resume. God will pick up right where He left off in the timeline of prophecy. The next thing on that timeline is the 70th week of Daniel, the seven-year Tribulation period. It is at this point that all the events of the Book of Revelation will unfold exactly as they have been written. The people alive in that day will be able to use Revelation as a guidebook to help them navigate those horrendous days when God’s wrath is poured out on this world. The hope for believers in that day is what Christ has told them in this Book: “Behold, I come quickly!”
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.