KEY TEXT: Revelation 22:6-13 And he said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place." "And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book." I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God." And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy." "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
KEY THOT: Every generation of believers since the apostle John released his prophecy in the first century has heard the words of Jesus, "Behold, I am coming soon" (vv. 7, 12). Every generation of believers has hoped that Jesus would return in their generation. But unlike previous generations, this generation is unique in its expectation because many things are now in place to make the prophecies in the book of Revelation possible to come to fulfillment. Not the least of which is the formation of Israel and the international tension over Jerusalem. Russian President Putin warned the West last week that any attack on any of its allies (whether nuclear or conventional) will trigger a nuclear response from Russia. And Putin has boasted at the beginning of this month in his annual state-of-the-nation address that Russia has tested successfully three new strategic nuclear weapons - a nuclear-powered cruise missile, a hypersonic nuclear weapon in outer space that he claims can evade all US and NATO defensive missiles, making them irrelevant, and an underwater nuclear drone that can travel underwater undetected until it reaches its target.
Among Russia's allies are such nations as Syria, Iran, Turkey and even North Korea. And Syria, Iran and Turkey are arch-enemies of Israel. And just last week, Israel concluded a series of massive exercises with participation by US military personnel that mimicked all-out war on multiple fronts since its air-force has shot down an Iranian drone that has penetrated into Israeli airspace. Israel is expecting and preparing for an all-out war against her by these nations aided by an increasing aggressive Russia. With Putin's re-election yesterday as President of the Russian Federation, the stage is set for the most dangerous phase of the international conflicts over Jerusalem. Jesus' words in Revelation 22:12-13 now take on a new urgency and relevance: "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
Iran has already stationed its military personnel in Syria as witnessed by the drone encroachment into Israel's airspace. If Iran provokes Israel again with more dangerous incursions, Israel would retaliate and US may be drawn into the conflict, triggering a Russian nuclear response. Zechariah's prophecy about Jerusalem may happen sooner than we think:
- Zechariah 12:1-5 The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: "Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. On that day, declares the Lord, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, 'The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the Lord of hosts, their God.'
As in past 20 centuries since John's prophecy was released, we pray the prayer of the church again, "Even so, come Lord Jesus!"
Abba-Father, thank You for Your word of revelation to prepare Your people for what is coming soon. May Your church be ready as a Bride for the Bridegroom. Amen.