Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:7 – 8, NIV 1984)
My Musings – Following the salutation, a few pertinent facts concerning Christ’s return are announced.
Coming With the Clouds – The literal fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.”(Daniel 7:13, NIV 1984). This is repeated by Jesus in His discourse on the Mount of Olives. “Then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30, NIV 1984), and again to the High Priest, before the Sanhedrin at His trial, “The high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'” (Mark 14:61-62, NIV 1984). Finally, they are also spoken of by the angels at the ascension. “He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'” (Acts 1:9–11, NIV 1984).
While this will be fulfilled literally, the symbolism should not be overlooked. For example, God was manifest in the clouds at Sinai, in the cloudy pillar the guided the Hebrew Exodus out of Egypt, and in the Shekinah glory at the transfiguration of Jesus.
Every Eye Will See Him – Christ’s second coming (the Parousia) will somehow be visible to the entire world including unbelievers. This is in contrast with His first coming (His obscure birth in Bethlehem) and His return in the air to catch away (the rapture) His people, when He will come “as a thief.”
Though the literal executioners of Christ are now dead and will not be resurrected until after the millennium, the Godly remnant of Israel “will look on [Him], the One they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10, NIV 1984). However, this expression refers not only to the Jews, but to all who reject the Son of Man, for “He was pierced for our transgressions.” In truth we all crucified Him and are just as guilty as if we have driven the nails ourselves. The mourning is often understood as the response of those for whom it is too late to be saved. But “all the peoples,” which includes even the Godly (while longing for the His glorious appearing), will feel penitential sorrow (“mourn“) for their sins that caused Him to be pierced.
Alpha and Omega – Genesis (the Alpha of the Old Testament) and Revelation (the Omega of the New Testament) serve as bookends to the Scriptures. The last book presents man reconciled to God and readmitted to paradise, as the first book presented man losing his innocence, separated from God and expelled from paradise.
My Advice – No need to stand around “looking into the sky.” If we are still alive, there is no chance we will miss His return. No one will. But not everyone “will be caught up together with [the dead in Christ] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so…be with the Lord forever.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17–18, NIV 1984). If you are not encouraged by these words, there is still time.
Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moore, E., Craven, E. R., & Woods, J. H. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Revelation (p. 93). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 2, p. 418, 419). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 929). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
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Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 1888). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
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