Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
I will offer this entire post on just this verse. I will probably not do it for every single verse in this series, that will take forever, but stop a bit in places where it can give us some information on the misperception that many have and gives us a better understanding of the Revelation.
As mentioned in my previously post, we were told early in verse 1 that the vision appears to John through the vision, and here, in verse 7 we find the “language” imagery in the book.
Anyone who reads quickly throughout the Revelation will probably come up with that John has a little strange imagery, an imagery that can be difficult for us and our culture to understand. John was a pure Jew, and was familiar with the imagery used in Scripture, largely in line with Matthew and Jesus, who also spent a lot of Jewish imagery. Here in Revelation John pick up again the old Jewish imagery, taken from many ancient prophets, and these must be understood symbolically.
We can take an example from the Old Testament that use the same language that John uses in Revelation. 1:7. Both explain a judgment. In the prophecy of Isaiah. 19:1, where God threatened the ancient nation of Egypt with a judgment, a judgment that was completed when the Assyrian king Esarhaddon conquered Egypt in 671 BC. Note, however, the language of Isaiah uses:
The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. (Isa. 19:1).
I do not believe that someone will translate this to the Egyptians literally saw God the Almighty sitting on a cloud. I mentioned that Jesus uses such language and so does he when he among other things predicts a judgment of the high priest. (Remember, the high priest along with the temple representing Judaism).
“And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Mat. 26:62-64).
Can you see the similarity in verse 64 “From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.” with Revelation. 1:7, “Behold, he cometh with clouds and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced him, …”?
We see that “they” and “you” point to a specific group who receiving the warning presented, which will make the judgment about it and we see it happen. This is not about to miss understand, but rather understand that this refers to the judgment in 70 AD as Jesus prophesied of many other places too (Matthew 21:33-43, 45, 22:1-7, 24:1-34).
It is not the case that the Lord Jesus only prophesied this at the very end of his life, but He also taught an apocalyptic judgment and an apocalyptic destruction of the Temple through his parables too. In Mat. 21:33-45, we see such example, which gives us a picture of God’s blessing over Israel (21:33-34). But God’s dependent care of Israel are shown in the parable in the light of her (Israel’s) stubborn disobedience, which leads her to kill the prophets that God sent to her. We also see later that God sends His Son, just to let Israel kill him (21:37-40). Let’s go into the conversation and see what happen when Jesus asked the religious Israeli leaders, based on just this parable:
“When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?” (Mat. 21:40).
How do the Israeli leaders respond? Almost unaware of what they are answering:
“They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” (Mat. 21:41)
Jesus now responding, exactly, with their own words:
“Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Mat. 21:43-44).
It is now they understand what Jesus says:
“And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.” (Mat. 21:45).
Another parable speaks more literally:
“But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.” (Mat. 22:7).
This is exactly what happened in 70 AD when God’s power “draw” the Romans over the country (Israel) and destroyed those murderers, and then put the city (jerusalem) on fire.
The reason for the sentence is exactly what John is on the Rev. 1:7 where we read “Behold, he cometh with clouds and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Yes, amen.”
This is prophesied earlier in the Gospels and stands as a confirmation. As we know, the Romans was an instrument of Christ’s Crucifixion, but the Bible repeatedly expresses Israel’s covenantal responsibility for the whole terrible event.
“Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.” (Mat. 27:25).
“But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Cæsar.” (joh. 19:15).
“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:” (Apg. 2:23).
… and more: Acts. 3:13-15, 5:30, 7:52, 10:39 and 1.Tes. 2:14-16.
She (Israel) should actually known better (Luke 19:41-44), and in Revelation. 1:7 it is offered a judgment on “those who pierced Him”, which requires that the judgment had to fall in the first century while “those who pierced Him” was still alive. The time frame can we pick again from Revelation. 1:1, 3.
Revelation. 1:7 says even more, that “all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” The Greek word used and translated to “earth” is (gè) which can also be translated into country. It actually refers to “the land of Israel”, ie “The Promised land”. The New Testament speaks the word (gè) either on the promised land as a whole, or only part of it, such as: “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda …” (Matthew 2:6), “land of Israel” (Matthew 2:20, 21) “The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim” (Matthew 4:15) and “the land of the Jews” (Acts 10:39).
Land of Israel as a whole also contained the 12 tribes and then we filled up all the information that Revelation. 1:7 is … well almost everything. Revelation. 1:7 There are other parallels in the Bible as Mat. 24:30.
Many people have told that “… for the Lord is one day as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day,” to undermine Revelation. 1:1, 3, that it can actually go a couple of thousand years before the events in Revelation will happen. What Peter do is told speaks of God and give a statement concerning God, while John gives an instruction to living people in the churches, about their developing suffering. This is a big difference.
The second is “every eye shall see him” (Rev. 1:7). Here, many believe that the whole earth will see Him coming, and they hide behind it to tell that that TV cameras are in many places in Jerusalem that will broadcast, just Jesus’ second coming. But “every eye shall see him” simply means that this will be a public event that is not hidden in a corner.
You’re probably agree with me that for surely went not the “whole church” (children, elderly, weak, little girls and women) out to war. (Jos. 22:12), or that Israel sinned against God literally on “every high hill and under every green tree” (Jer. 2:20), or literally “all Judea” (including infants, aged and weak) went out to hear John the Baptist (Matt. 3:5).
When we look at the Greek words in this sentence, “Every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him”, it can also be understood as “every eye shall see him, it is they who pierced Him.” I know it can be a bit confusing about the translations when I bring up Greek words and how they could have been translated slightly differently, etc., but it is of great help. Just to be clear, I am no expert in Greek and will probably like many others get information, etc. from those who know more. Nevertheless, I believe that the translation we have today really should not create to much confusion. I believe it is what and/or which teachings we already have in our mind that is the worst enemy.
Finally, I want you to notice another thing. “Those who pierced Him” has been dead for over 1900 years. So to get this to fit into the mindset of “millennial” believers, we must bring out the procrustes bed, cutting, pulling and expanding (post 2) so that the timeframe for the prophecy can be inserted in our time. It would fit more to their mindset, unfortunately.