Season is at Hand

Spring fields - Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash
According to the first verse of Revelation, the book is the “revelation of Jesus Christ” for his “servants,” who are identified as the “seven churches of Asia.” Its contents concern “what things must come to pass soon.” The unveiling of this information is vital because the “season is at hand”; therefore, “blessed is he who reads, and they who heed the words of the prophecy.” The season of the end has commenced - [
Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash].

The book of Revelation is not intended to veil information, but instead, to unveil it – To reveal, NOT to conceal. It concerns events about to occur, not ones off in some far-flung future. They are imminent from the perspective of the original recipients of the book (“soon”), the seven churches located in the province of Asia in the first century:
  • (Revelation 1:1-3) – “Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to point out unto his servants WHAT THINGS MUST COME TO PASS SOON, and he showed them by signs, sending through his angel to his servant John, who bear witness as to the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, whatsoever things he saw. Blessed is he that reads, and they who hear, the words of the prophecy, and keep the things therein written; FOR THE SEASON IS NEAR.”
The book makes prolific use of passages from the Old Testament, especially from the book of Daniel. But it does so in verbal allusions. It never quotes a verse directly. Instead, John folds phrases from key texts into his narrative, often modifying specific words to make a theological point. When he does so, consistently, he uses the Greek Septuagint version. The opening paragraph provides two examples from the book of Daniel, both of which are employed more than once:
  • (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.”
  • (Revelation 1:1-3) - “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what things must shortly come to pass…Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of the prophecy and keep the things that are written therein, for the season is at hand.”
  • (Revelation 22:10) - “And he saith unto me, Seal not the words of the prophecy of this book; for the season is at hand.”
The “revelation” (apokalupsis) given to John concerned “what things must come to pass soon.” In the Greek text, the latter phrase reads, ha dei genesthai en takei. The clause en tachei denotes “with speed, quickly, soon” - (Luke 18:8, Acts 12:7, 22:18, 25:4, Romans 16:20, 1 Timothy 3:14).

The source of the clause is Daniel (Septuagint), which 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),” only, the book of  Revelation modifies the original “latter days” to “soon.” What was expected previously in a remote future was now at hand for the “servants of God.”

John was informed also that the “time is at hand.” “Time” translates the Greek noun kairos or “season.” “At hand” represents the Greek term engus, meaning “near, at hand, imminent, at the door.” It stresses proximity and imminence. The source for this phrase is from the twelfth chapter of Daniel:
  • (Daniel 12:4) - “Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the season of the end.”
In the Septuagint, the term “season” or kairos is used in this passage, the same Greek word used in Revelation - (“The season is at hand”). Daniel was commanded to “seal” the book until the “season of the end.” In contrast, John was informed that the “season is at hand” – Imminent, if not already in process.

This understanding becomes clear in the closing passage of Revelation.  Unlike Daniel, John was told NOT to “seal up the words of the prophecy of the book,” for the “season is at hand.” This last passage repeats the one employed in the opening paragraph of the book - (Revelation 22:10).
From the perspective of John, the promised “season” had arrived in Jesus, the long-awaited season of fulfillment had dawned in him.
Theologically, John was not breaking new ground. The early church taught that the predicted period known as the “last days” began with the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, along with his reign from the messianic throne:
  • (Revelation 1:5) – “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.”
Above all, this radical change in era was evidenced by the resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all believers - (Acts 2:16-21, Ephesians 1:10, Hebrews 1:1-3).

The events portrayed in the visions of Revelation were set in motion in the first century. What once was expected in a remote future had commenced. Already, the warnings and promises of the book were applicable to John and the “seven churches of Asia.” This does not mean its visions were fulfilled completely by the end of the first century, but it does mean that whatever future events are portrayed began in John’s day.

The vision that John received on the isle of Patmos concerned far more than the final few years of history prior to the return of Jesus Christ. The “last days,” the "season of the end" started with the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, and the season of fulfillment has been underway ever since.


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