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In the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3, Jesus often warns the churches to repent lest he come and judge them.

For example, in Revelation 2:5, Jesus tells John to write to the angel of Ephesus:

Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Or in the letter to Pergamum in 2:16:

Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

There are similar phrases in the other letters also - in 2:25, 3:3, 3:9, and possibly 3:20.

Should these all be understood as a single "coming" event at which they will be judged accordingly, or as individual threats of Jesus' coming?

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The coming of Jesus is referenced many times in the book of Revelation, eg, Rev 1:4, 7, 8, 2:5, 16, 25, 3:3, 11, 4:8, 16:15, 22:7, 12, 20. This coming of the Lord Jesus is described in several ways:

  • "quickly" Rev 2:16, 3:11, 16, 22:7, 12, 20
  • Unexpectedly (or like a thief) Rev 3:3, 16:15 (see also Matt 24:42, 43, 1 Thess 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10)
  • Still future as judged by the tense of the verb Rev 3:3, etc.
  • All people will see Jesus' coming Rev 1:7
  • Jesus comes in the clouds Rev 1:7, 14:14, 15 (see also Matt 24:30, 31)
  • Jesus coming is associated with judgement of those who destroy the earth Rev 11:18

In other passages such as Rev 2:5, 25, 3:3, 3:20 the timing is not defined. However, the fact that for any of us, we are only a heartbeat away from death reminds us to be ready at all times.

The New Testament writers looked forward to a future day when Jesus would come, Matt 16:27, 24:30, 31, 38, 39, 42, 26:64, Mark 8:38, 13:26, 27, Luke 21:25-28, John 14:3, Acts 1:11, 1 Cor 1:7, 4:5, 11:26, Phil 3:4, 20, 1 Thess 1:9, 10, 3:13, 4:16, 17, 5:23, 2 Thess 2:1, 2, 8, Titus 2:12-14, 2 Tim 4:8, Heb 9:28, 10:25, 37, James 5:7-9, 1 Peter 2;12, 2 Peter 3:8-10, 1 John 2:28, 3:2, 3, Rev 1:7, 3:11, 22:12, 13, 20, 21, etc.

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    So to be clear, are you saying that all of the references to Christ's coming refer to a single day? – Ruminator May 8 '19 at 0:30
  • I don't see how this answers the question regarding a) a single event which relates to each church or b) separate events for each individual church. – Nigel J May 8 '19 at 2:18
  • I think it is a single event unless we wish to force each "coming" to be independent from all the others in the Bible. We need to take them together to get a full picture. – user25930 May 8 '19 at 3:41

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