Prophecy and Proclamation Part 1 of 2 Revelation Series
by John Lowe
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Commentary on the Book of Revelation
By: Tom Lowe Date: 3-27-2015
Topic # I. Introductory Material (1:1-3:22)
Subtopic A: Introduction (1:1-1:20)
Lesson: I.A.3: Prophecy and Proclamation (Revelation 1:7-8)
Revelation 1:7-8 (NIV)
7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
In this passage John sets down the motto and the text of his whole book, his confidence in the triumphant return of Christ, which would rescue Christians in distress from the cruelty of their enemies.
7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen.
Jesus will indeed have “glory and power for ever and ever” (1:6 NIV)—the Book of Revelation describes that day when He will return to earth. The message of Revelation is summarized by the statement: “He (Jesus) is coming with the clouds” of heaven (not ordinary clouds but clouds of glory), which is amplified in Revelation 19:111. When Jesus ascended into heaven, “He was taken up into the sky . . . And he disappeared into a cloud” (Acts 1:9 NLT) (see also Luke 24:50-51). An angel had told the astonished disciples, “Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. And someday, just as you saw him go, He will return” (Acts 1:11 NLT). The imagery of coming in the clouds is probably a military picture, alluding to the clouds of dust kicked up by the war chariots, the ultimate war machines in ancient times. When Christ is pictured this way, He is coming as the ultimate Victor and conquering King (see also Daniel 7:132). To Christians, the return of Christ is a promise on which to feed the soul.
We are currently living in the Church Age, and as the end of the Church Age draws near, Jews and Gentiles will become wicked as never before on the face of the earth (Isaiah 60:23). The nations will be gathered in open rebellion against the Lamb of God (Revelations 19:19) and they will fight against Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2). Therefore, the earth must be cleared of evil and ungodly men before the Lord Jesus comes back to reign in Glory, with His church.
It is essential to distinguish the two parts of His Second Coming. There is definitely a period of time between the Rapture (the time when Jesus comes for His saints) and the Revelation (when he comes with his saints). The Rapture is mentioned in John 14:3; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-184; and 1 Corinthians 15:23. All these scriptures refer to the next great event for Christians—the Rapture of the Church—the time when Jesus comes for His saints, and every living, born again, blood-washed child of God will be caught up to meet Him; the bodies of all the saints who have died will be raised incorruptible, and we will all be caught up together to meet the Lord in the clouds in the air. The Rapture will mark the beginning of what we call the Great Tribulation, a time of extreme wickedness, violence, and eventually anarchy; but, Revelation 3:10-115 indicates that the church will not go through the Tribulation and this is further supported by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9-10. Daniel reveals that this period of worldwide trouble will last seven years (Daniel 9:25-27). Throughout the Book of Revelation, you will find measurements of time that coincide with this seven-year time span (Revelation 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5).
But there is another group of Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments which distinctly teach another coming, and this verse is one that refers to this time when Jesus will come with His saints. Readers are exhorted to “look for His coming.” He will be with the clouds (Acts 19:11) when he comes with his saints (In connection with this read Jude 14; Zechariah 14:5; Colossians 3:4; Revelation 19:11-14). All the Scriptures refer to the Revelation—the time when Jesus will come in the air and “every eye6 shall see Him.” When the Rapture takes place, no person will see the Lord Jesus. He will not come to the earth; He will descend in the air, the trumpet will sound, and the voice of the archangel will call the saints up to meet Jesus in the air. He will not stand on the earth when He comes in the Rapture, but He will stand on the earth when the He comes in the second phase of His return.
Jesus’ Second Coming will be visible and victorious. Everyone will see Him arrive (Mark 13:267), and they will know it is Jesus. When Christ returns there can be no doubt about the outcome, for He will conquer evil and will judge all people according to their deeds (Revelation 20:11-15).
Jesus second coming will be visible. John says, “Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him.” The statement “every eye will see Him” is to be taken literally. Every eye will NOT see Him at the same identical split second—but every eye will see Jesus. “Those who pierced him” could refer to the Roman soldiers who pierced Jesus’ side as He hung on the cross, but it probably refers to the Jews who were responsible for His death (see Acts 2:22-23; 3:14-15). The Jews screamed allowed for His death. They invited His blood to be not only upon them, but upon their children; and their children have inherited that guilt for generations. They will see Him “whom they pierced” (Zechariah 12:10). The people referred to as “those who pierced Him” are the people whom we know today as Jews. Though the executioners and rejecters 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” (Zacharias 12:10). This godly remnant will represent the nation of Israel.
John saw Jesus’ death with his own eyes, and he never forgot the horror of it (see John 19:34-35). Zechariah had written, “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on all the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for Him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for Him as for a firstborn son who has died” (Zechariah 12:10; NLT). In Zechariah the 12 tribes mourned because of their sin. Here, however, all people across the ages who have rejected Christ have themselves “pierced” Him through their indifference to His sacrifice on their behalf. Their mourning is not that which accompanies genuine repentance (9:21). It is the result of guilt for sin and fear of punishment (6:16; Genesis 3:8-10).
“The clouds” are the clothing of His Glory. When God summoned Israel out of Egypt, He marched before them all through the desert, wrapped in a cloak of cloud. When Israel pitched the tabernacle in the wilderness, God enthroned Himself, draped with a cloud, upon the mercy seat. When our Lord stepped from Olivet’s brow to climb the sky to glory, He flung around His rising form a glorious robe of cloud. And when He comes back to do battle with the beast and to claim this robbed and ruined vineyard as His own, He will once again be draped with clouds. “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14). It is from this passage in Daniel that there emerges the recurring picture of the Son of Man coming on the clouds (Mark 13:26; 14:62; Matthew 24:30; 26:64). It is the hope and strength and comfort of Christians for whom life was difficult and for whom faith meant death.