The Season is Here!

The last book of the New Testament begins with the phrase, “Revelation of Jesus Christ.” It is a message for his “servants,” namely, the “Seven Churches of Asia,” and it concerns “what things must come to pass soon,” information that is vital since the “season is at hand.” Because of its importance, the Book pronounces the one who “reads it, and they who heed the words of the prophecy” – “blessed” – (Revelation 1:1-3).

The Book of Revelation is not intended to veil information, but to unveil it. And its contents concern events that are about to occur from the perspective of the “Churches of Asia.”

Approaching Storm - Photo by Dmitry Ant on Unsplash
[Photo by Dmitry Ant on Unsplash]

The Book makes prolific use of the Old Testament, especially passages from the
Book of Daniel. But it does so with verbal allusions, never by citing a verse directly. Instead, it folds phrases from key Old Testament texts into his narrative, often modifying specific words to make theological points. When it does so, Revelation uses the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible.

AT HAND


The opening paragraph of the Book provides two examples from Daniel, and both are employed more than once in Revelation:

  • (Daniel 2:28 [Septuagint]) - “There is a God in heaven that reveals mysteries, and he has made known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in later days.”
  • (Daniel 12:4 [Septuagint]) - “Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end.”

Its visions concern “what things must come to pass SOON.” In the Greek text, the phrase reads ha dei genesthai en takei, and the clause en tachei denotes “with speed, quickly, soon.”

The source of the clause is the second chapter of Daniel (Septuagint) where the relevant passage reads, “There is a God in heaven that reveals mysteries (apokaluptōn),… what things must come to pass in THE latter days (ha dei genesthai ep’ eschatōn tōn hémerōn).”

Noteworthy is how Revelation CHANGES the original term “latter days” to “SOON.” Thus, from the perspective of the Book and its original audience, what was expected previously in a remote future was NOW AT HAND.

The passage also declares that the “SEASON IS NEAR.” And here, the Greek term rendered “near” is engus, meaning “near, at hand, imminent, at the door.” It stresses proximity and imminence. The source of the phrase is Daniel 12:4 - “Shut up the words and seal the book until the season of the end.”

SEAL NOT THE BOOK


Thus, Daniel was commanded to “seal” the scroll until the “season of the end.” In contrast, John was informed that the “season is at hand,” imminent, if not already underway.

This understanding becomes clearer in the closing passage of Revelation.  Unlike Daniel, John is told NOT to “seal up the words of the prophecy of the book” because the “season is at hand.” Moreover, this last passage repeats the phrase found in the opening paragraph of the Book of Revelation - (Revelation 1:3, 22:10).

John was NOT breaking new theological ground. The early church believed the “Last Days” were inaugurated by the death and resurrection of Jesus, along with his reign on the Davidic or messianic Throne. And this CHANGE IN ERAS was evidenced by the resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all true followers of Jesus - (Acts 2:16-21, Ephesians 1:10, Hebrews 1:1-3).

The events portrayed in Revelation were set in motion in the first century. What previously was expected in a remote future had commenced. Even in that early period, the warnings and promises of the Book were, and remain, applicable to the church of Jesus Christ through the period from his resurrection and exaltation until his return at the end of the present age.

This does not mean that all the visions of Revelation were fulfilled completely by the end of the first century, but it does signify that whatever events are portrayed in the Book began approximately two thousand years ago.

The visions received by John concern far more than the final few years of History prior to the “arrival” or parousia of Jesus. The “Last Days,” the “season of the end,” began in earnest with his death and resurrection, and the season of fulfillment has been underway ever since.


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