Question:Can you explain to me what this verse means? "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every
man according to what he has done" Revelation 22:12. I was asked how this would be quickly if the promise was made nearly 2,000 years ago.
The Greek word tachu is used for two different purposes depending on the context. It most often is used to state something is happening soon or immediately, but it can also be used to refer to something that happens suddenly or by surprise. "As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him" (John 11:29), is a clear example of the first meaning. "Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth" (Revelation 2:16) appears to be more on the order of the second meaning.
Since throughout the New Testament we are told that Jesus' return will be not be pre-announced, such as in "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matthew 24:44), it would be consistent with the Bible to read the three passages in Revelation 22 as referring to the sudden and unexpectedness of Christ's return since final judgment is the topic under discussion.
"Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book" (Revelation 22:7).
"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work" (Revelation 22:12).
"He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20).
I noted in researching this that while the double meaning is widely acknowledged by Greek scholars, when to use which meaning is often debated.