Revelation- things which must shortly come to pass?


Rev 1-1 :
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to make known to his servants the things which must shortly come to pass: and signified, sending by his angel to his servant John”
Why it is said that the things revealed in the book of Revelation must shortly come to pass? Why nothing as mentioned did happen even after 2000 years?


Defend that claim.


When someone is looking at eternity even 10,000 years is “shortly”, remember St. John is talking about God’s time, God’s plan, not human time nor human plans. Furthermore, we may conclude that since no man knows when the day of judgement will be that St John had no idea when this would happen, rather that it would happen in God’s time, he is probably trying to emphasize the fact that we cannot put off our faith, our works, our conversion in hopes that we can get it done next week, or next month. We don’t know if we will die tomorrow much less if Jesus will come again within the next hour.


There are a variety of beliefs concerning the Book of Revelation. Some believe the whole book has already been fulfilled; some believe part of it has; while still others believe it is purely a futuristic book in which nothing has come to pass as of yet.

Without getting into specifics, many believe that a great portion of the Book foretold the fall of Jerusalem. If that is the case, then those portions would fit the ‘‘shortly’’ scenario, as that happened in 70 AD.

To say that the whole prophetic book lies in the future would be, IMHO, to ignore those portions which tell about the birth of Christ–that is, the Woman appearing who gave birth to a Child.


And, “shortly” can mean ten seconds from now.


Writers employ various genres to make their point.

Happens all the time in song lyrics. “I’m crazy for you” “I’ll die for you” etc.

Soon can be interpreted as an eventual truth, not simply as an indicator.


When dealing with the book of Revelations and eschatology, you have those who hold the Futurist view (Dispensationalist such as Tim Lahaye and his Left Behind Books). This means that everything in Revelation is referring to events that have yet to take place. Then you have the Preterist view, which refers to a partial fulfillment of certain events which occurred in the first century. At least that’s original understanding of the term, however Preterism has been hijacked by those who believe that everything in the bible has already been fulfilled and so the traditional understanding of Preterism has been somewhat redefined by those who think it was referring to a total and completed fulfillment. So now you have two opposing camps within Preterism; the Full Preterists and the Partial Preterists. With the Partial Preterists holding the more traditional view and Full Preterists holding the opposing view in that everything has already occurred and there is nothing left to be fulfilled. For example, the second coming of Christ has already occurred and in fact they don’t even use that term, because they believe that Christ’s “coming” occurred with the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in A.D. 70 and therefore there is no second coming.

To focus more on your specific question regarding Rev 1:1, I hold the Partial Preterist view, which at least in my opinion, seems to make the most sense. In referring to “what must soon take place”, these events, when read in context, especially with Mathew 24, are referring to the impending persecutions of the Jews and the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in AD 70.


Post no.7 above:
Rev1-1 regarding the things shortly must come to pass clearly refers to the whole things mentioned in the Revelation and not to some part.Therefore the view that some things mentined have actually occured etc.does not appear to be correct


IDK about that, eternity is not a really really long time, it is NO time at all, 3 seconds or 3 trillion years, it would be the same thing when no time exists…this is something none of us can comprehend imo.

I believe whenever time is referred to in scripture, it is mans version of time, it would make no sense to refer to a version of time no person could fathom or relate to, God is also fully aware of our version of time and how we measure it and keep track of it, so that likely plays a part too.


How does it “clearly” refer to the entire book? That’s ridiculous. The Book was first and foremost intended for the ears of first century Christians and from their standpoint “must shortly come to pass” is right around the Jewish wars of A.D. 70.

The only clear linear conclusions that can be drawn are that the last 4 or 5 chapter of the book have to do with the end of time. The rest is open to debate as to what it means. It could have double meanings, such that it could have fulfillment in both the first century and the end of time.

But the understanding for centuries has been that most of the book deals with events that took place in the early Church.


I don’t believe that it refers to the entire book. When read in its entirety once can clearly see that there was a sense of immediacy that was intended for the first century readers. When read in connection with the events spoken of in Matthew 24, you can make see that most of Revelation, especially the first half of the book, deals with events that the first century readers would be expecting to occur within their lifetime. The destruction of the Temple in AD 70 and the terrible persecutions which befell the Jews during the Jewish Roman war, are certainly indicative of what was spoken about in Revelation and Mathew 24.


It says “regarding the things that must shortly come to pass.” That doesn’t mean “only the things that must shortly come to pass.”

I could talk all day about stuff that is “regarding my visit to McDonald’s that is shortly to come to pass.” I could talk about the state of the beef and grain industries, the history and future of world cuisine, everything about the restaurant business, government and sales tax, parking lots, drive-thrus, the road to my local Mickey D’s, the attitude of the various workers and how it compares to the Gentiles of other burger chains… etc.

The Book of Revelation talks about the history of the world, God’s entire plan of salvation, the life and world to come, the local churches’ failings and troubles, and all sorts of stuff inbetween. All of that is relevant to things that were shortly coming to pass when Jerusalem fell. It’s still relevant to things that are shortly coming to pass for us. There has never been a time since it was written that it hasn’t had timely things to say. Usually the very same things, because the Church here on Earth is always having troubles and failings.

But eventually the world will end, and then we will see just how much the fall of Jerusalem foreshadowed the end of the world.


Ver. 1-3. The Apocalypse, or Revelation. I rather prefer the word Apocalypse, which the Latin interpreter did not think fit to change. — Of Jesus Christ…by his Angel, sent to his servant John. So that these things were immediately revealed to St. John by an Angel, who represented and spoke in the person of Christ.— Which must shortly come; and as it is again said, (ver. 3.) the time is at hand. This cannot be meant of all things in the Apocalypse, where mention is also made of the day of judgment, and of the glory of heaven at the end of the world. It can only mean, that some things were to happen shortly, i.e. what is said of the seven churches. (Chap. ii. and iii.) Or the persecutions foretold should begin shortly. Or else these expressions are only to signify, that all time is short, and that from the coming of the Messias, we are now in the last age, or the last hour. See 1 John ii. 18. (Witham) — St. John excites their attention by the most pressing motives, the approach of the events. Whatever explanation be given of this book, it is equally true in all, that the time is at hand, when it will begin to be accomplished. To find our consolation and happiness in this sacred book, according to the promise of the Holy Spirit, we must peruse it with faith and humility, receive the interpretation of the Church with submission and docility, and practise the truths contained with fidelity and promptitude. What is the life of man, since ages are but moments that escape us? Eternity is but a moment, but a moment that will never end.


Remember that the 1000 years in Revelation are a part of that “shortly.” This is a strong indication that the author is not talking about an earthly view of time. Also, the “shortly” passages are similar to other passages in the OT that talk about the “day of the LORD”:

“Multitudes, multitudes,
in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near
in the valley of decision.” Joel 3:14 (NRSV)

“6 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Once again,** in a little while**, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; 7 and I will shake all the nations, so that the treasure of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the Lord of hosts.” Hag. 2:6-7 (NRSV)


What good is a prophecy that it’s impossible to say if it has been fulfilled, will be fulfilled, what that fulfillment has/will entail, and the words that make up the prophecy are allowed to be so malleable to the whims of the reader that it’s impossible to ever say the prophecy can’t/hasn’t been fulfilled?


I wouldn’t say that for the book of Revelation at all, though I’m aware that’s some people’s view. It has definite prophecies which are not ambiguous at all. It’s not a matter of “interpretation”; it simply hasn’t happened yet.


But that’s just it. Two posters above mentioned how some see the events in Revelations (and assumedly the Olivet Discourse) have already been fulfilled. There is nothing that can be said to either prove or falsify any claims made on these prophecies in part because there is a great variance as to what the prophecies are saying to the point where they lost so much meaning.


Right, well I disagree with that interpretation. As you have said, either the prophecies have a definite fulfillment or they’re meaningless. I think that’s a very strong argument against that school of thought.

And I think we can certainly falsify the prophecies if they have not been definitely fulfilled. That’s why I reject a historicist position :slight_smile:


On going through the postings in response to my O.P,
I feel that we can safely ignore the
Revelation without causing any harm to our belief.There is nothing for us now to take note of any useful things mentioned there.


Are you saying that Revelation isn’t inspired? That it shouldn’t be a part of the canon?

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