ABOUT TO BE, or IMPENDING, are many things which we think of as merely future. In revising the occurrences of the word melloo, which the Authorized Version renders be, be about, be almost, be, at point of, be ready, be to come, be yet, begin, intend, mean, mind, shall, should, should after, should afterwards, should hereafter, tarry, will, would, etc., the conviction increased that it always refers to something impending rather than simply future, what may occur immediately, rather than something which belongs to some dim far-off era or time. I therefore changed all passages with future (see concordance) to impending.
The glorious truth that all is known to God in advance, so that He is well aware of the future, and is able to reach His predetermined goal, like almost all of God's grandest unfoldings, has led to reasonings which reject another aspect of His revelation. How, we are asked, can any event be impending, when God planned it all long ago, and knew that it would not occur for thousands of years? Indeed, we all are influenced by this rationalism, and I confess freely that it probably played a subconscious part in my rendering of this word melloo, BE-ABOUT, by future. Of course this translation is hardly false, for that which is impending is future. Yet it fails to fully reproduce the thought of possible nearness, which distinguishes it from mere futurity.
In our reasonings, we sons of Adam are prone to forget the vast gulf between us and the Deity. For us nothing is impending which we know will never occur in our lifetime. If we knew the day of our death it would not hang over us ready to crash at any moment. God knows it, but that does not remove its immediate menace, especially when we are very ill or in dire danger. At such times reason retires and leaves us to the more natural feelings of our instincts. With God, little of the future is impending; all is known. With us much is impending, little is known. The uncertainty as to the immediate future is a vital element in God's testing and trial of His creatures, which reason should never attempt to remove. Even though the sword which is suspended over us does not descend at all, and we enter life at our Lord's presence without dying, nevertheless it has been impending at all times.
Let us, therefore, no longer reason from God's omniscience, as though we also possessed it. Nor let us imagine that God is a man, so that He may not leave us in suspense or with a sense of something impending which will not occur for thousands of years. I am thoroughly convinced that it is God's intention, in His wisdom, to keep before each one of us, and before all saints in this administration of His grace, the sense of the impending presence of Christ, for this is the most powerful incentive to a godly walk that could be given us. Moreover, in our experience, it will work out precisely, as if it were actually so, for the instant of our exit out of this life is followed by our entrance into His presence, even if we die before He comes. The interval between is a blank. For us, it is not God's indignation (Matt.3:7), or death, which is impending. In reality it is life (1 Tim.4:8). This is not merely a "future" life, but may be experienced by the reader of these lines before he comes to the end of this article, even though it may not actually occur for a thousand years.
Nothing that impends will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus!