ĎI am coming soon.í We have thought sometimes that Christ speaks those words as a bridegroom. He is going away, but he promises his bride to return for their marriage. Then they will remain together always.
In Revelation 22:12, however, the word-picture is clearly different. Here, the language is of rewards and wages; these are the words that a master would speak to his servants. That, too, is a familiar word-picture for readers of the Bible. Christ often used such words when he spoke about his return.
For example, in Mark 13:32-37, Christ spoke about a man who was going away. The man gave duties to each of his servants, and he told the guard at his door to watch carefully. None of them knew when the master would return. So they all had to carry out their duties constantly; they could not neglect any task. They had to watch for his return. In the same way, Christians must watch for Christís return. They must not neglect the work that he has given them to do.
In Matthew 24:45-51, Christ spoke about the rewards for his servants, both good and bad. He said that there would be a great honour for the loyal servant. However, a servant who neglected his duties could expect no reward.
Christ even spoke about a servant who refused to believe in his mastersí soon return. That servant began to act in an evil manner and to use his masterís possessions for his own evil purposes. When the master returned, he would be very angry. He would punish that servant in the manner that he deserved. The meaning of that lesson is that Christians must never behave like that. They should expect Christís return and they must be ready for it (Matthew 24:48-51; see also 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11).
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© 2016, Keith Simons.