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SHORTLY COME TO PASS
5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:)
There are certain verses of Scripture that cause confusion when it comes to understanding eschatology (the study of End Time and the prophesy thereof) and the sequence of events leading up to the end of the world. While many verses seem to point in one direction, such as an immediate fulfillment of prophesy, other verses lend themselves to an extended period of time with all events to be fulfilled in the future.
My point in this study is not to debate one point of view over another. That I will do at a later date. Such a study will require many long and tedious days, if not months to complete. In my opinion such a study rests far down the list of what I consider important. If all events are past, or if they are going on at this present time, or if they are to come means little to any of us except those who enjoy an argument, or who have a special affinity for such things. What is important in my mind. is that whatever view one takes, they make every effort to stand prepared to meet the Lord, their lamps full and at the ready, when He arrives for His bride.
In spite of the lack of consequence derived from eschatology, there are certain things that have been brought to my attention that cause me to think, and to wonder. One such thing is the use of the term: “these things must shortly come to pass.” If the endtimes events are to take place in the future, then John and Paul have a very strange concept of “Shortly,” since almost 2,000 years have passed since they made their statement.
The term “Shortly” has been used three times in the Old Testament and twelve times in the New Testament. Eight of those times different words were used to express an immediate event, the which could be interpreted in no other way but that of in the very near future.
The remaining four Scriptures are unlike those mentioned above, and they have more of an application to the endtimes.
The word used to express “shortly” is a compound of two words, and in this they differ from the other uses of the word where a single word was utilized.
These are the Greek words used in the four Scriptures in question:
G1722 en A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); “in”, at, (up-) on, by, etc.: - about, after, against, + almost, X altogether, among, X as, at, before, between, (here-) by (+ all means), for (. . . sake of), + give self wholly to, (here-) in (-to, -wardly), X mightily, (because) of, (up-) on, [open-] ly, X outwardly, one, X quickly, X shortly, [speedi-] ly, X that, X there (-in, -on), through (-out), (un-) to(-ward), under, when, where (-with), while, with (-in). Often used in compounds, with substantially the same import; rarely with verbs of motion, and then not to indicate direction, except (elliptically) by a separate (and different) prep.
G5034 tachos takh'-os From the same as G5036; a brief space (of time), that is, (with G1722 prefixed) in haste: - + quickly, + shortly, + speedily.
In the above definition we have a preposition that tends to reinforce that which is being expressed in the word we are interested in, which is the word “tachos.”
By all analysis of the use of the word “shortly,” it would indeed appear inescapable that what a writer using this word means is “in the very near future.”
Now that we have looked at the word out of its context, let us see how it looks as used in Scripture.
Acts 25: 4But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither.
I don’t think we have to deliberate as to whether Festus meant a few days, or if he was talking about a couple thousand years.
Now to the next Scripture:
Romans 16: 17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. 19For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. 20And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Now things begin to get a little sticky. Just what does Paul mean when he says Satan will be bruised under their feet shortly? Little inserted words or statements like this are why a study of simple things take on great complexity. To understand Paul’s statement, we must know what he meant by Satan being bruised.
The first time we see a reference of a head being bruised is in the Garden of Eden:
Genesis 3: 14And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Here we have a situation where there are two bruises spoken of. The second of the bruises is on the seed of man’s heel.
In most doctrines this is referring to Satan causing the crucifixion of Jesus, who is taken to be “The Seed” referenced here. This certainly would seem reasonable if it weren’t that the serpent is to crawl on its belly, and that it is a “beast of the field.” Of course the Bible uses a lot of similes and metaphors, so it is not impossible that this interpretation is correct. Whatever may be the case, I don’t care to deliberate the topic here.
The first bruising is that of the serpent’s head. Is this also a prophetic statement referring to the cross? Did Jesus bruise (defeat as is stated by some) Satan when He died on the cross? If this is so, then all is fulfilled and there is nothing to look forward to. As it applies to us of the 21 Century there is nothing we can do but look back at fulfilled history.
But! We run into a problem. Paul said: “20And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.”
These words were spoken long after Jesus died and ascended up to Heaven. And besides, Satan will not be under Jesus’ feet here, but the believer’s feet.
When was Satan bruised under the believer’s feet? If it is an event that took place in past history, I missed it. And if it is an event that is to take place in the future: that adds an entirely new perspective to the word “shortly,” does it not?
We have yet another reference to bruising that may apply to our study. Isaiah said:
Isaiah 53: 4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.. . . . .10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
I don’t think there is any question as to whom Isaiah is referring here. And I believe we will all agree that it is an event that has taken place in the past. Certainly the rewards spoken of here are future, but the bruising has seen its completion.
Having taken this little detour of several thousand years, adding yet more confusion to this study, we return to “Shortly.”
Paul has left us with a puzzle that as far as I can see has not been pieced together as yet. When has, or when will Satan be bruised by the believers?
Our next reference to Shortly is found in Revelation. I find it interesting that we have jumped from the beginning of the Church to what is considered by many to be the very end of the Church age in order to learn what “Shortly” means. And while we make this jump, we find we must leave the answer to what Paul was referencing far behind.
Revelation 1: 1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
This passage by John is probably one of, if not the most controversial verse in the Bible as far as the timing of eschatology is concerned. We have already seen that as far as Greek grammar is concerned, there is little doubt but that a short time is being spoken of by John. However, we also know (those of you who have been following my studies at all) that God the Father and Jesus hid much of the Truth of the Word in parables and double entendres (multiple meaning words and phrases). This has been done so the blind may remain blind, and those who seek God’s Truth through the Holy Spirit may do so. Because of this, what may appear a certainty as it is viewed, may well be a false avenue meant to be taken by the blind.
It is important that one have no preconceived notions when studying God’s Word. One concept held as a surety will become a stumbling block to further progress in one’s quest for Truth.
There is no doubt that “Shortly” means “shortly.” In other words, what John is going to tell us about is something in the near future.
But, just what is it that John is saying will happen shortly? Of course we assume that all of what John is going to tell us will happen very soon after he has seen the vision.
However, we know that everything can’t be meant by “shortly” because there are obviously some things John wrote about that couldn’t possibly have happened in the past. For instance: have we had hail stones the size of small automobiles yet? Has the ocean turned to wormwood, or the lakes to blood? Has the Babylonian church, whatever that might be, fallen yet? And although some believe the Millennium under the complete peaceful rule of Jesus has begun, I think it is safe to say that if this is the Millennium, then Jesus died in vain.
We can also be quite certain that Eternity under the New Heaven and the New Earth with God Himself being the light thereof, and the Tree of Life at our disposal has not occurred as yet.
Since we know some parts of John’s prophesy has not been fulfilled; and by this we know “shortly” does not refer to all of Revelation, then what does shortly refer to?
Let’s move on just a little farther, just to the next word, shall we?
“Come to pass” in the English language incorporates three words. And as we read these words, we gain the impression that something is finished. But is that necessarily so? Let’s take a look at the original Greek:
COME TO PASS: G1096 ginomai A prolonged and middle form of a primary verb; to cause to be (“gen” -erate), that is, (reflexively) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (literally, figuratively, intensively, etc.): - arise be assembled, be (come, -fall, -have self), be brought (to pass), (be) come (to pass), continue, be divided, be done, draw, be ended, fall, be finished, follow, be found, be fulfilled, + God forbid, grow, happen, have, be kept, be made, be married, be ordained to be, partake, pass, be performed, be published, require, seem, be showed, X soon as it was, sound, be taken, be turned, use, wax, will, would, be wrought.
I find it very interesting that controversial passages tend to be based on the slimmest of premises. This is especially so in this instance since I just recently finished a study on a subject of grand magnitude based on the very same concept. The study I am referring to is: Lucifer, the Making of a Doctrine.
In the forming of the doctrine of Satan having once been a beautiful angel fallen from Heaven long before Adam and Eve were ever created, a single tilt of a tittle is used to create a vast cosmos wherein the mutation of slime could evolve into the Son of God. The tactic used to perform this miracle of deception was to distort the verb “to be” from meaning “was” to mean “became.”
Here we have the very same word standing as an obstacle, but without the intent of fraud as in the Lucifer deception. Rather than an intentional twist of Scripture, a word with various possible meanings stands as a junction in the road that leads one toward several differing possibilities.
The King James translation of the Bible presents us with the attitude that what is expresses is behind us. That is, to say something has “come to pass” intimates that it has passed. However in reality the word used is a broad spectrum word that merely states that something “is” without giving a definite state of the occurrence. If you look closely at the definition you will see that the first expression of the word given is: to become (come into being).
If I was to tell you that something “came into being,” would you assume I meant it was no more, or that it had just begun and that there was still yet to follow?
As further evidence that the word “shortly” here means “shortly to begin,” we have yet another time the very same phrase is used, albeit translated slightly different:
Revelation 22:6 1And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
6And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7Behold, I come quickly:
SHORTLY BE DONE: (G1096 – Same as “shortly come to pass”)
Here again we have what appears to be an angel, or Jesus, or John (in my mind, although the words are not in red, it could be any of these speaking) saying that what is spoken will shortly be done. In this case, unlike at the beginning of Revelation, what has just been spoken of could not have been accomplished in 70 AD or at any other period of history.
What I have presented here, as I said in the beginning, is not intended to prove one point of view or another. As with all my studies, my intent is to provide anyone interested in learning the Truth more information than what they will find in the box of denominationalism. If, after digesting what I have presented here, and having researched for yourself the subject in effort to prove the fallacies of my thinking, you believe as you did in the beginning, all the better. At least you will better understand why you choose to believe as you do rather than merely absorbing what you have been told like an un-evolved sponge.
As with most all the studies I undertake, this one has opened a door to another subject I wish to pursue.
Paul spoke of Satan being put under the feet of the believers “shortly.” Although I have concluded my study on shortly, I am still in question as to the meaning of feet. As it seems to me Satan is to be under the feet of the Christ rather than those of the believers. Could Paul be wrong?
Cor 15: 23But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
Here it is, as I thought. It is Jesus who has everything under His feet. This being so, what was Paul talking about?
Eph 1:22 19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Now I find this interesting. Jesus is the Head of the Church, is He not? A head does not have feet. A body has feet. In 1Corinthians 12 we have this:
9And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
The Head needs the feet. And what is it feet do? Well, what does the ear do: it hears. What does the eye do: it sees. But what do the feet do? Don’t they stand? Stand on what? What was it that Paul said the believers would be standing on shortly?
Let’s look further:
Heb 2:8 5For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (See Psalm 8:6)
Jesus has fulfilled His part. The Head has overcome. What about the feet?
Rom 10:14 13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Isaiah 52:7: Nahum 1:15)
I don’t suppose Paul or the writer(s) he was quoting were talking about someone having beautiful feet. My suspicion is he was referring to the people who were the feet of the body who were spreading the Good News. (Beautiful: the Greek means “timely, of the right hour or season.”)
Feet stand. Feet walk and preach the Gospel. Feet Subdue. Feet are shod with the Gospel of the preparation of peace (Eph 6:15).
Feet are washed. Feet are cleansed in blood of the Lamb. (John chapter 13: Revelation 5:1
Psalm 47: 1O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
2For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.
3He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.
Under Us! Under our feet! I thought Jesus was going to have everything under His feet.
Am I missing something here? Is there something you see that I don’t?
Again, I am not trying to prove a point. This page is far too small to take on such an endeavor. I’m just pointing out some things someone might have missed. Food for thought, as they say.
There is one more little tidbit I would like to leave you with, kind of an appetizer you might say. It’s just a little something you might consider when reading any passage that has to do with time or eschatology.
2Peter 3: 3Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of
ought ye to be in all
holy conversation and godliness, 12Looking
for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the
heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt
with fervent heat? 13Nevertheless
we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth,
wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14Wherefore,
beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may
be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15And
the longsuffering of our Lord is
salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the
wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16As
also in all his
epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things
hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable
wrest, as they
also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17Ye
therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these
before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the
wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18But
grow in grace, and in
the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be
glory both now and for ever. Amen.
[note: This study is a reprint from “Thoughts page 32.]
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