According to Revelation, when were the prophecies to take place?
B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, May 23, 2020
“Soon”, “quickly”, “the time is near”, or “time is at hand” per Revelation 1:1, 1:3, 2:16, 3:11, 22:6, and 22:10. But also consider other potential interpretive passages for being at hand, end of the ages, near, etc., in other portions of Scripture such as Matthew 26:18; John 2:13; Luke 21:20, 1 Corinthians 10:9-11, 1 Peter 4:7, and James 5:7-8.
New Testament Christians were being prepared for something that was soon to happen. It would seem outrageous that Christians receiving the New Testament letters, including Revelation, would read these “near time” indicators and assume this was thousands of years into the future.
In the Old Testament, when Daniel was confused about certain issues presented to him, the Lord said to seal up (i.e., shut up the prophecy) similar in reference to Job 41:15. The prophecy (e.g., Daniel 8:26, 12:4) pertained to the distance future. Unlike Daniel, the Lord informs John not to seal up (Revelation 22:10) the prophecy of the book of Revelation (though there was one instance where John was not to record something but instead seal that up). But this helps us realize the imminence in timing of the prophecies to a first century reader in the seven churches.
When the Lord Jesus spoke to Peter in John 21:18-22 prophesying about His coming, He made it clear that Peter would die before His coming. And the disciple that Jesus loved may remain. Peter knowing his end is in sight in 2 Peter 1:14-17, reiterated that coming of the Lord had not happened yet as he was still alive. This is why cleverly devised schemes saying the Lord had come were false (e.g., 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). This puts the date of the Lord’s coming after Peter’s death (A.D. 68, by Nero) but before the death of John.
This also reveals that in many instances a first century understanding of the “coming of the Lord” in the context of judgment is not in reference to an end of the world, last day event. They were under the impression that the Lord had come, and yet the world hadn’t ended. These are two unique events: the coming judgment on the Jews and the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.