When Aslan tells Lucy he’ll see her again soon, Lucy asks him to define what he means by soon. Aslan replies, “I call all times soon.”
John uses this word in the opening line of Revelation, saying that his prophecies, “must soon take place.” But it’s been a few centuries since he wrote that, so does he also call all times soon? I propose three answers to that question, all of which I think can be simultaneously correct.
- Many people today read Revelation thinking the entire book is still beyond us, but some of the things John prophesied did, in fact, happen soon. Not everything in Revelation is being said to the people of our time.
- You’ve heard people say that these are “the last days.” They’re not wrong. Indeed, no one has been wrong when they’ve said that for the last 2,000 years. All of the days between Jesus and the age to come are known as the last days. So on the grand spiritual timeline of things, soon is a proper word.
- The Bible shows that God is flexible about prophecy. Is he coming back? Yes. Will the things he’s declared happen when he does? Yes. But his return in Revelation is based around a free will variable: is there anyone on the earth that’s still willing to be saved? That being said, I personally have no problem believing that Jesus could have returned in a generation like he said he would, but perhaps his return has been stalled by the continual reception of the gospel.