Question: Can you give your thoughts on such scriptures as Revelation:1:3, Revelation:22:6,7, and verses 12 and 20? All of them state that the Lord's coming is very near. Yet, it's been nearly 2,000 years since those verses were first written by John under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy:3:16).
Response: Scripture must be understood in the entirety of its context (i.e., the entire Bible). We should not make a few verses our focus without seeking to "rightly divide" (2 Tm 2:15). To "rightly divide" means to handle correctly. Each Scripture has a place in the whole. Therefore, they are rightly divided and placed in their correct context.
When Satan tempted the Lord in the wilderness, he quoted Scripture daring him to jump from the pinnacle of the temple, "For it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone" (Mt 4:6). Satan was quoting out of context, ignoring the remainder of Scripture. Jesus rebuked him, saying, "It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" (Mt 4:7).
The Lord Jesus said in the last chapter of Revelation, "Behold, I come quickly..." (Rv 22:12). Although it may seem like a long time, Peter reminds us that from the Lord's perspective it is but a few days (2 Pt 3:8-12).
In verse 9, Peter reminds us, "The 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." Jesus also stated very plainly in Matthew:24:14, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Prior to ascending to heaven, the Lord gave what is called The Great Commission: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Mt 28:19, see also Mk 16:15, Lk 24:47, Jn:20:21, Acts:1:8). We conclude very properly then, that the proclamation of the gospel to all nations will take time.
Nevertheless, the coming of the Lord is consistently spoken of as "soon." A. W. Tozer once wrote an essay entitled "The Decline of Apocalyptic Expectation." He began with an overview of Christianity at the end of the nineteenth century. The various "advent" movements were strong and there was an increased sense of expectation that this would indeed be the last generation. This led to excesses, causing problems with some of those involved with these movements. As he looked at the good things that emerged from these movements, however, he concluded that the average Christian needs a strong sense of expectation as an incentive towards more holy living.