The second “time word” in the book of revelation that we will study is the Greek word “tachy”, translated as both “quickly” and “soon” in the NASB translation.
Definition: Tachy (5035), used 13 times in the New Testament
Interpreted as: “Quickly, soon, suddenly, without delay, shortly” (Strong’s)
“Quickly, speedily, without delay” (Thayer’s)
Just like the Greek word “tachos” which we looked at in part 1 and 2 of this study, the word “tachy” carries the idea of speed of action (fast) as well as nearness in time (soon). And as we shall see, “tachy” never refers to the speed of action apart from the nearness in time of that action. In other words, when “tachy” is used in the New Testament, if something is going to happen “quickly” (fast), then it must also happen “soon” in time. We will also demonstrate that whenever “soon in time” (tachy) is used in the bible, it always and consistently refers to a one generation period of time. (In other words, soon/quickly (tachy) means “this generation”.
It will become evident that the only reason a person would remain inconsistent in their interpretation of these words (interpreting them differently in eschatological texts compared to non-eschatological texts), is to maintain a “futurist paradigm”. The futurist must at times (when convenient doctrinally) interpret “near” to mean “far” and “at hand” to mean “thousands of years away”, in order to maintain their traditional paradigm, especially in the book of Revelation. The truth is, it’s impossible to be biblically consistent with the “time statements” in the bible and maintain a futurist paradigm. Fulfilled/covenant eschatology is the result of being consistent and honest with the time statements in scripture.
This study will demonstrate beyond doubt that the fulfillment of the prophecy of the book of Revelation was truly “near”, and “soon” to take place in the first century; that is, “shortly” after the time of its writing. And, that to place its fulfillment future to us (2018) is to be biblically inconsistent, and to overlook, misinterpret, and even reject the clear and emphatic language of “time” found in the book of Revelation and the rest of the New Testament. May the Lord give us all the courage and the humility to follow the truth, wherever consistency may lead. Let’s begin.
“Tachy” in Non-Eschatological Texts
Therefore, if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.
Was Jesus teaching that upon remembering you have an unresolved issue with a brother, you should just shrug it off for several months, and maybe even years. But, when you do decide to “make friends” again, you should do so “quickly” (tachy). This is obviously not what Jesus had in mind. Notice the context. The offering is left “before the alter”, reconciliation is made, then the offering is presented at the altar. “Tachy” in this text clearly means both soon in time “quickly” and speed of action.
Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.
This text in Mathew 28 almost needs no commentary. Who would deny that “tachy” in this context carries the meaning of both speed (fast) and nearness in time (immediately). The fact that the two women left the tomb upon hearing the command to “go quickly and tell his disciples”, indicates that they understood “tachy” to mean immediately – soon in time.
But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me.
In Mark 9, “tachy” is translated as “soon”. Should we understand Jesus’ words to meant that no one who had just performed a miracle in His name had the ability speak fast, if they intended to speak evil of him? That interpretation is literally laughable. Jesus explains what he meant in the next verse, “For he who is not against us is for us” (v.40). In other words, anyone who genuinely advances the Kingdom of God cannot soon (shortly afterwards) hinder it.
But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.
And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to him.
Obviously, the two texts above do not convey the idea of speed (quickly) apart from the idea of “without delay of time” (quickly). The context of Luke 15 demands that “quickly” (tachy) means both fast and immediately, as the best robe, the ring, and the sandals were commanded to be brought to the resurrected (he was dead, now alive) son so that he may eat and celebrate (v.23). The very next verse says, “and they began to celebrate” (v.24). The celebration took place soon (quickly) after the son had returned, and so did the bringing of the best robe. And once again, the context of John 11 defines the meaning of “quickly” (tachy). Martha told her sister Mary that the Teacher (Jesus) was there, and was calling for her (v.28). We are told that Mary “got up quickly” (tachy) and went to him. Verse 31 says that when the Jews who were consoling Mary in the house saw that Mary got up “quickly” (tacheos – from tachy) and went out, that they followed her. “Tachy” in this text clearly means both fast (as in speed) and without delay (concerning time).
“Tachy” in Eschatological Texts
The second woe is passed; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.
Now, Revelation 11:14 is a prime example of the utter inconsistencies of the futurist paradigms, specifically the dispensational camp. Here is what I mean. Our premillennial brothers tell us that the 3 “woes” belong to a future tribulation period (the great tribulation) which extends from Revelation 4:1 to 18:24 (depending on who you ask). And according to the premillennialists, this great tribulation period only lasts 7 years. In other words, all 3 “woes” in Revelation must take place within a 7-year window. Therefore, the dispensationalist is forced to interpret “quickly” (tachy) in Revelation 11:14 as meaning a short period of time, specifically less than 7 years.
However, in the very same book they interpret “quickly” (tachy) when referring to the second coming of the Lord to mean thousands of years, since in their view, the coming of the Lord has not occurred. Notice the two texts below:
Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.
I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
So, in Revelation 11:14 the dispensationalist is forced to interpret “tachy” (quickly) as a 7 year period or less, but in Revelation 2 and 3, they are forced to interpret “tachy” (quickly) as nearly 2000 years and counting. Talk about inconsistency!! Since they insist that the second coming of Jesus has not yet occurred, they arbitrarily change the meaning of “time words” such as “tachy” to fit that belief – a belief which clearly contradicts many clear statements of the bible concerning the time of the coming of the Lord. Daniel 12:7, Mathew 16:27-28, 24:30-34, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-8, Revelation 1:7 etc.) To the honest student, the reason for their inconsistency is obvious – they must maintain their “futurist paradigm” (that the biblical “end” is yet future) at all costs. For them, a fulfilled hope is to have no hope. That is a terrible misunderstanding of the “hope of the gospel”.
Now, concerning the interpretation of “tachy” in Revelation 11:14, consider the following. Daniel was told that the “third woe” was coming quickly. Scripture identifies the third woe as the final trumpet, that is, the seventh trumpet that was “about to sound” (Revelation 8:13). In Revelation 14:18 we are told that the 7th trumpet (the third woe) would sound when the Lord’s “bond-servants the prophets” were rewarded. Jesus said that the rewarding of “every man” (which includes the bond-servants the prophets) would take place in the lifetime of his first century disciples (Mathew 16:27-28). Therefore, the third woe was fulfilled quickly, in the lifetime of the first century disciples. This powerful evidence that “tachy” in Revelation 11:14 means both speedily (fast) and soon (near in time), and was limited to the first century.
The last text where the Greek word “tachy” is found, is in the last chapter of the bible. By interpreting “tachy” in this text, we will by implication interpret “tachy” in both Revelation 2:16 and 3:11 from above.
And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book…. Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done…. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Undeniably, this coming of the Lord to “render to every man according to what he has done” refers to the final (second) coming of the Lord, and encompasses all the “coming of the Lord texts” in the book of Revelation (and the entire bible) beginning with Revelation 1:7, “Behold, he is coming with the clouds…”. However, in verse 12 Jesus is simply reiterating the “promise of his coming” which he made to his disciples more than 3 decades before. Notice the parallels….
For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.
Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.
The following chart illustrates the parallels (Click on this link to see the chart in PDF)
|MATHEW 16:27-28||REVELATION 22:12|
|The coming of the Son of Man||The coming of Jesus (22:16)|
|To repay every man||To repay every man|
|According to his deeds (judgment of works)||According to what he has done (judgment of works)|
|In the lifetime of his first century disciples||I am coming quickly (tachy)|
Undeniably, both texts refer to the same final (second) coming of the Lord. This being true, consider the following:
Revelation 22:12 = Mathew 16:27-28
But, Mathew 16:27-28 was fulfilled in the lifetime of Jesus’ first century disciples.
Therefore, the coming of the Lord in Revelation 22:12 was fulfilled in the lifetime of Jesus’ first century disciples.
This means that “tachy” (quickly) in Revelation 22:12 does in fact mean “soon” as in “nearness of time”, and that Jesus was correct to tell John “Behold, I am coming quickly”.
In summary, we have demonstrated by context and thematic parallels that in each place “tachy” is used in the New Testament (in both eschatological and non-eschatological texts) it always and primarily refers to “soon or near in time”, and that the nearness of time is always limited to the first century generation. In other words, “tachy” (soon/quickly) mean “this generation”. There is no biblical reason to interpret “tachy” anywhere in scripture, especially in the book of Revelation, to mean “rapidity of action” at the exclusion of “nearness of time”.
The truth is, it’s impossible to be biblically consistent with the “time statements” in the bible and maintain a futurist paradigm. Fulfilled eschatology is the result of being honest and consistent with the multitudinous “time statements” of scripture. May the Lord give us all the courage and the humility to follow the truth, wherever consistency may lead.