Previous: Revelation 2:14-15


Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. - Revelation 2:16

Jesus' then gave a stern warning to "Repent." We mentioned before that to five of these seven churches the Lord had some complaint. To each of these five churches He told them to repent. They needed to have this change of direction in their lives, brought about by a change of thinking about the issues. See the notes on this in chapter 2, verse 5. You might remember from that discussion that repentance involves confession, and confession is agreeing with God about what you have done (1 John 1:9).

A command from Jesus to repent seems very harsh. But, when you think about it, it is actually a privilege. Instead of punishing them directly for their mistakes, He was giving them an invitation to get back into a place of blessing. The privilege of repentance is:

An opportunity to make a change before it is too late.
An opportunity to clear one's conscience - to deal with guilt and fear.
An opportunity to begin again with renewed hope.

But what if an errant Christian will not repent? In that case, Jesus warns, "or else I will come to you quickly." It is really significant that these words are used as a threat, when they are also given as the longed-for climax of the entire book. Look at the last two verses of Revelation:

He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly."
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen - Revelation 22:20-21

If we know we are doing what is pleasing to Him, we will look forward to His return. But, like a child who has been disobedient, we may dread that day.

Christ's coming is a key concept in Revelation. It is usually mentioned by Jesus Himself, and occurs in different forms at least 25 times in the book. In fact, the return of Christ is a major theme in the Bible. Nearly every book in the New Testament mentions it. Paul called it "the blessed hope"!

Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, - Titus 2:13

Some authors in our generation claim that if people believe that Jesus is coming to reign on the earth during the Millennium it would actually causes an "abortion of hope." Their theory is that these people just focus on the world getting worse and worse, and all they want to do is to survive until He comes. Actually, there are some people who do have this outlook, but they don't get it from a balanced reading of the Bible! The Apostle Paul certainly did not see it that way. Read the whole chapter of Titus 2 to see how the return of Christ motivates us to live now with a purpose.

Currently there is a considerable debate about the Kingdom of God. Is Jesus king? What does it mean to pray, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"? (Matthew 6:10) Here is an excerpt from our free online book, 2012: The Year the World Didn't End to help us understand these vital issues.

Kingdom Work

During this trying time Jesus is incredibly active, using us to win converts to His Kingdom until He returns as King over all (Revelation 11:15-17; 19:11-16).

Jesus had told his Disciples that the kingdom was "at hand." (Matthew 4:17). He knew his offer to be King at His triumphal entry would be rejected. Nevertheless, He will come in the future (Luke 21:25-31; 22:18, 30). In Acts 1:6 they asked Him, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" He told them they couldn't know the time, but when the Holy Spirit would come, He would enable them to be witnesses to the whole earth.

Evidently the Kingdom would not yet be established at that time. He would not yet reign on earth, and the Disciples would not yet reign with Him, but they would spread the message of the Kingdom, even as He had been doing.

That is why Jesus taught us to pray "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as [it is] in heaven." (Matthew 6:10). We still pray that way because even though His Kingdom does already exist in Heaven, and He is our King already, it still has not yet been established here on earth.

Jesus told Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here" (John 18:36-37).

Born-again Christians are citizens of the Kingdom of God.

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, - Philippians 3:20

We are also citizens of our earthly nations.

17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?"
18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, "Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money."
So they brought Him a denarius.
20 And He said to them, "Whose image and inscription is this?"
21 They said to Him, "Caesar's."
And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." 22 When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way. - Matthew 22:17-22

While we are here we are ambassadors, representing Christ and His Kingdom.

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:20

During this time, we establish outposts of the Kingdom in our homes, churches, missions, and other Christian enterprises. We seek constantly to gain new members of the Kingdom by following His example of ministering to their needs and giving them the Gospel.

Many "New Evangelicals" in their emphasis on meeting the needs of the poor and needy have steered away from concern about prophecy. They correctly notice that some who are expecting the Lord's imminent return have such a pessimistic view that things will just get "worse and worse," that they neglect the other biblical instruction about environmental responsibility and humanitarian assistance.

However, the conflict between good works and prophecy is not an "either/or" question, but it requires a "both/and" solution. We should be aware that these are the end times, but because of that we should be occupied with Kingdom work now. He taught this directly in the parable about using what has been given to us while we are waiting for the Kingdom to be established. He said, "Do business [KJV- "occupy"] till I come." (Luke 19:13, Luke 19:8-26) As always, it requires the balanced approach that involves teaching the "whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). (2012: The Year the World Didn't End, pp. 75 ff. Free download of the entire hypertext book (pdf format) at

Returning now to this warning to those who would not repent, Jesus said, "and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth." See the notes on chapter 1, verse 16, and chapter 2, verse 12, where God's Word is shown to be a double-edged sword, and Jesus Christ, the Living Word, wields unlimited power when He speaks.

Next: Revelation 2:17


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