Jason E. Fort
(Illustration by Caleb Rivera, in The Hunters Book 3: Open Season)
Coming soon - there are two of my favorite words, even to this day. When I was growing up, few pairs of words gave me more excitement than the anticipation of these words as they introduced the previews for the next blockbuster movies. 'Coming soon' is so often tied to our visual senses, from revelations to prophets, telling us what is coming, to advertisements for restaurants opening up soon or - of course, authors' novels when they are about to be released.
I wanted to write about this topic today out of inspiration from the conclusion of our church's teaching during the advent season. I thought I would use some imagery from my most recent novel, to relate to the ideas covered in my church's service message today. I want to help people see those two big words that we all know too well, 'coming soon,' the same way I do, as it relates to the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. As we covered scripture that spoke about the end times today, I was reminded of the scene from my protagonist's dream in the novel Open Season. I think it can shed light on this idea of 'Coming Soon,' as Jesus Himself told us he would come again. Take a look at Robert Brady's dream; in particular, pay attention to how he visualizes time as a colorful line, as if he is given the perspective from God's eye.
While he fell unconscious due to being drained of some of his blood, plus all the major activity he’d been part of leading up to the transfusion – Brady was taken on a visual journey in his mind. He could only assume the view with which he saw everything was controlled by something divine; it was similar in sensation to his Near Death Experience he had over a year ago, when his new friend Naseem had shot him in the head in their first confrontation on a bridge in South Carolina.
Now he stood on the same ethereal cobblestone bridge. But in a flash, his mind’s eye whisked out to a distant perspective, staring down at a strange colorful thin line. Then he was brought down into the line itself. He caught a mental picture of Terry standing up from the hospital bed, reaching out to embrace him. Just as quickly, his point of view changed again, and zoomed out and back in, focused on a new segment of the line; an instant in time where the very demon he’d fought, Astaroth, stood shouting out commands from a nearby mountaintop.
His vision shifted again; zoom out, zoom in, and there before him was an aerial view of a bright light, spreading out in all directions around Mount Weather. His attention was taken out and back again; this time, he saw a large freighter, sailing on the ocean. His mind’s picture moved as if he turned his head, and Zhana gazed back at him and smiled. They appeared to be sitting in some kind of cargo hold in the ship – but then his vision zoomed out like a fast motion camera view of a map program on a computer.
Robert then found himself staring down at the Great Wall of China as his vision zoomed back in, only to see himself standing in a large facility, with a strange glowing field of energy that filled a strange shaped portal… a portal that seemed to be shaped for a large person to walk through. Robert’s vision zoomed out faster than ever, one last time. Then it zoomed back in on what he assumed by now to be a timeline, and he stood looking up at a mighty wall, filled with large, ancient stones. He felt a strange presence to his left, staring up at the wall with him, but when he started to turn and see who it was, his mind brought him all the way back to his present reality.
Now don't get me wrong; there's a lot to unpack there. But don't worry; my normal readers can be the ones to try to figure out all the allusions and references to things to come, as the novels will keep coming. But - my point in all of this is the perspective God might have of time. God is all-powerful, and God is as omni-present as He wishes to be, at any given time, in any given place - and time. If not, He wouldn't be all-powerful, now would He? You see, Isaiah wrote about the coming Messiah, the first advent, 700 years or so before that first 'Christmas.'
The New Testament ends in Revelation with these words in Chapter 22: 20-21:
"20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen."
But that was around 2000 years ago. Yet we are still waiting for the Second Coming; that second advent.
So what does God mean, 'coming soon?'
Well, I think I tried to envision just this concept in my novel. In Robert Brady's dream, the perspective God gives him in a vision or dream, is the view from OUTSIDE OF TIME. If God is, was, and always will be...He is not stuck in this timeline like we are. Or should I call it, timeline segment? After all, God's Word starts out "In the Beginning..."; if God is outside of that, the word 'soon' for Him, is pretty much any spot on the timeline ahead of where we are.
We haven't missed it. Prognosticators and televangelists and false prophets and doomsday soothsayers have tried to predict the exact time of the Second Coming, and they've been wrong time and time again. All we can know for sure, is it is ahead of the instant I typed these words. It is past the point of when I hit PUBLISH on this blog post. So what can we do with this information? What does Jesus tell us to do?
The gist of the service message was that God wants us to do more than sit and wait; we are to 'Always be ready.' But what do we do to prepare? That is not all that complicated. We keep preparing, keep hoping, keep praying, and follow God's commandments. His greatest commandments are to love one another, and go and make disciples of all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But we can't become slackers. We can't become complacent. We can't FORGET. We keep working, we keep toiling, we keep suffering in His name, we keep persevering, we keep striving, we keep loving.
And while we are busy, but still hoping, still serving, and still preparing... we keep looking up. The Scriptures are pretty clear; COMING SOON to His World that He created, Jesus will open up a bright Way into this world, and He will return in power for ALL TO SEE. And then, whether we are to be with Him in Heaven, or thrown into the Lake of Fire - ALL will behold a spectacle that will blow the doors off any special effects of any of the blockbusters I anticipated as a kid.
God bless the Believers on that day, for that is the Day of the Lord that was prophesied, where God will enter this timeline exactly where He planned to all along. Whether that is right after I hit PUBLISH, or 2000 years from now, Jesus is still...