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In an Instant

By June 8, 2011August 30th, 2022Lost in Translation

I was having a conversation this morning with a client of mine and we were discussing how quickly things in life can change. This particular acquaintance is focusing on growing his business and improving his profitability. Everything else takes second place. We were talking about insurance, and processes, and redundancies and ways to make sure that you do everything you can to protect yourself from unforeseen circumstances. After all, that’s good business, right?

And while we were in our meeting, he received a phone call from a sub contractor on a job site. A man had just fallen 2-1/2 stories off a roof to the ground below. Talk about a life changing event! He was taken to the hospital where his condition was being assessed. Reports were sketchy, but the situation was serious. Conflicting reports had him losing feeling in his arms and legs, while other reports had diagnosed internal bleeding. Whatever the situation, you are bound to get hurt when you fall more than 25′. As of tonight, I still do not know the man’s condition.

Of course, our conversation changed immediately. We started to once again discuss how quickly things can change. And I hope that it goes without saying that I shot up a prayer for the man and his family; and we tried to find out the details of the incident. But I don’t know that I have ever had an illustration quite as extreme as this.

Who among us has not had a medical diagnosis, or a change in job status, or some other life changing event that happens in the blink of an eye? When we talk about grief counseling, we speak of a defining moment – a precipitating event; that point in time when you realize that things have changed forever and that life will never be the same. I am sure this man’s family had one of those moments today. And I am just as sure that everyone reading this post has had a similar event sometime in their lives.

And I am just as sure that you would be disappointed if this incident did not remind me of a Bible story. Well, you’re right – it does! This story has to do with the next coming of Christ. For we are told, in Rev. 22:20, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” This is the last verse in the Bible. Perhaps you figured out that this verse is from the King James translation, and if you read yesterday’s post, you may recall that due to its linguistic nuances and very accurate translation from the Greek, it is the most accurate translation of the Bible we have in the English language.

Admittedly, the KJV can be difficult, but the reason I mention this is that I am also listing the same verse from the NIV translation; and the difference is noteworthy, “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” See the difference? While the NIV says the Lord is coming soon, the KJV says He will come quickly? What’s the difference? Who cares? Does it really make any difference?

Of course, the answer is that there is a big difference. When studying the original Greek, it becomes evident that the endtime events will come quickly – not necessarily soon. And when the Scripture says “quickly”, it means that once the events start, they will occur in very short order or, some scholars believe, in an instant. The NIV seems to take some liberty with the translation. But so does the NASB and, for that matter, many other translations as well. So, it is important that we understand the difference. We may be waiting for something to happen soon, and then be disappointed when it does not happen when we think it should, but the Scripture tells us that only God knows the time.

When the Rapture, and other end time events occur, they will happen quickly when they finally occur; just like the fall off the roof today – it happened quickly, in an instant. So my encouragement tonight is to live each day for the Lord as if the next coming is right around the corner – it might be! And my prayer is that you will put your faith in God to control those uncontrollable events in your life. After all, He already has it all figured out…


  • John Schorle says:

    After reading your entry and taking some time to think about it, I began wondering if it isn’t just a matter of translation, but also a matter of perspective. To God, quickly may be a very very long time to us. Maybe rapture has already started and from the perspective of God several thousand years or however long the process may take isn’t all that long. There doesn’t seem to be a reference to how much time “quickly” or “soon” is, so does it really matter which term is used?

  • John-

    Thanks for posting a comment. Personally, I believe that the difference between quickly and soon is rather significant and is worth noting. For example, in our everyday lives, one might say, “I am leaving for my office soon”, but it may take them hours to get there. However, if the same person says, “I will arrive at my office quickly”, the sense is that once you start the journey, it will be only a brief time before your arrive at the destination; regardless of how long it is before you start the journey.

    So it is with the Scripture. There are multiple passages that tell us that Rapture will occur quickly. It is an event; not a series of events that occur over a period of time. Therefore, it would not be drawn out – but would happen as an identifiable point in time – in other words, quickly. But nobody knows the exact time except the Father, and so we don’t know if it will soon or not.

    Also, John, as far as the perspective is concerned, the Bible was written for men and women – not God (He doesn’t need it). As such, it is written as a model of behavior for us to follow and is written so that we can identify with Jesus. So, I would have to say that the Bible is God’s account of His desire for us to become more like His Son. For whatever it is worth, that is my take on it. Thanks for asking, and I hope you will continue to write!

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