The introduction of the book of Revelation concludes with a proposition that is also the first prophetic oracle of the book. It is in the form of an announcement, which at the same time provides the content of the book of Revelation in a nutshell. Interestingly, John is the speaker in verse 7, and God is the speaker in verse 8. John declares: “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen” (1:7). There are four elements in the pronouncement:
· An attention getter: “Behold” (1:7a). The Greek word idou, meaning to pay attention, and is used 26 times in Revelation and emphasizes the importance of what follows. It highlights the critical prophetic oracles in Revelation.
· The declaration: “He is coming with the clouds” (1:7b). This is a declaration of the Second Coming of Christ. He is “the coming one”—Christ’s name in Old Testament prophecy (cf. Matt 11:3, Dan. 7:13). This verse combines Daniel 7:13 and Zechariah 12:10. It has been estimated that Second Coming is referred to once in every twenty-five verses in the New Testament. The phrase takes us back to the ascension of Christ where He went up in the clouds (cf. Acts 1:11). This is the counterpart; He is coming back in or with the clouds. At his first coming, he came to the world in a womb; this Second Coming will be with the clouds. Utley tells us there are three ways clouds are used in the Old Testament in relation to God. (1) To show His presence in the Shekinah cloud of glory (Ex. 13:21, 16:10). (2) To cover His Holiness to the view of humans (Ex. 33:20; Isa. 6:5). (3) To transport God (Isa. 19:1 cf. Dan. 7:12). The phrase “with the clouds” indicates He is coming down from above. The heavenly origin of His return is reinforced in 19:11, 14. It also brings out the imagery of His coming as a Warrior-King (cf. Psa. 18:9-15; 104:1-5). It also speaks of power, glory and majesty.
· The visibility of His Coming: “and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him” (1:7c). His second coming will not be hidden or symbolic; it will be an open public event, universal and global in scope. Generations have wondered how this could be. Now in the age of technology it is no mystery. We live in a day that we see actual events happen in another part of the world as they take place. The event is broadcast live all over the world. This can be done at a moments notice. Every eye is a figure of speech for every person, everyone (cf. Matt. 24:30). This presents a problem for those who holed to a 70 AD fulfillment of this event. They play mind games with the meaning of this text. Chilton states: “As He had promised, Christ would come against the present generation “in the clouds,” in wrathful judgment against apostate Israel (Matt. 23-25). And every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him (the Gentiles, John 19:34, 37): The crucifiers would see Him coming in judgment – that is, they would experience and understand that His Coming would mean wrath on the Land.” This does not hold water because: (1) “See” is a reference to visibility, not some abstract “understanding” by a few in Israel, let along the Romans. (2) If Israel did understand, would they not understand that this judgment requires repentance and acceptance of their Messiah? (3) It separates the Old Testament reference from its context. They defend this separation as a reinterpretation by John, but there is no evidence of this in the text. It is Chilton who does the reinterpretation to fit the 70 AD context. There is no question John is making special reference to Israel in this event. Beyond question the phrases refer to Zechariah 12:10-14. The context is the future repentance and restoration of the people of Israel, which happens at the Second Coming. To use Chilton’s terms, this Old Testament reference would say that at the time of this “understanding” (seeing) would lead them to repentance and restoration from God. Nothing resembling this happen in 70 AD. In point of fact, Israel ceased to be a nation in 70 AD until 1948, and is still blind to their Messiah.
The phrase “even those who pierced Him” (1:7c) is interesting. First, it is a subgroup within every eye, the nations. While Scripture points to both Jew and Gentiles responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion (Acts 4:27-28), yet this passage speaks to the Jews responsibility (Acts 3:12-15) and because Jesus was their Messiah (Rom. 9:4-5). His second coming is a revelation to Israel of their rejected Messiah whom they pierced; it is not the rapture of the Church, the Body of Christ (recorded in 1 Thess. 4). Zachariah 12:10 identifies this subgroup as the nation—“I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem….” It is not a subgroup within Israel, but this subgroup is within of the global community—all nations. However, the subgroup within the nations is the nation: Israel. Notice the word pierced—it is only used by John in the New Testament (here and John 19:37) in reference to crucifixion. Zechariah 12:10 tells us it is God who was pierced. Thus by referring to this Old Testament verse, John is not only reinforcing His coming, but His deity. The rejected one of Israel is returning.
“And all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him” (1:7c). There is a debate on how this phrase should be taken. Does it refer to the nation of Israel (Bullinger), or to all the tribes of the earth, i.e. nations (Garland)? There are two main reasons to see this as the nation of Israel. First, the text literally says “tribes of the land.” Second, it matches the meaning and context of Zechariah 12:10-14, where Israel will mourn the coming of the Lord. It describes the wailing and places it “in that day” (Zech. 12:11)—the Day of the Lord.
- Affirmation—“So it is to be, Amen.” (1:7d). It is not a simple affirmation, but a double affirmation, combining Greek and Hebrew. Nai (yes) is the usual Greek word of affirmation, and amen the Hebrew. It is a figure known as synonymia, which is the use of synonymous words “in order to strengthen the certainty of this prophecy.” (cf. 22:20). The coming of Christ is an absolute certainty, there is no doubt about it, it will happen as prophesied.
Verification—“ ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty’ ” (1:8). This is a statement of verification from God as to the certainty of this prophecy. The question is debated if it is God the Father or God the Son who is speaking. It is not a question with an easy answer. Those on the side of God the Father tie it to the Old Testament name for God, I AM (Exodus 3;14). Plus, the Almighty is used of God the Father, especial in Revelation (1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3, 16:7, 14; 19:6, 15; 21-22). However, those on the other side points the I AM formula of John in His Gospel, where Christ is presented as the Great I AM (cf. John 6:35, 48; 8:12, 58; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25). Both the Father and Christ use these titles in Revelation: Kistemaker shows the parallels:
God: I am the Alpha and the Omega (1:8)
Christ: I am the First and the Last (1:17)
God: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End (21:6)
Christ: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (22:13).
Walvoord is probably correct that the switch from the Son to the Father is too abrupt in this context. However, no matter how one views it the person of the Godhead is referred to here, it is absolutely clear that the verse is a validation by God. Remember, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 1:30).
 Osborne, REVELATION, 69
 Garland, REVELATION, 1:176.
 Bob Utley, REVELATION, 23.
 Osborne, 70; Thomas, REVELATION, 1:77.
 Bullinger, REVELATION, 146.
 David Chilton, THE DAYS OF VENGEANCE, 66.
 IBID, 66.
 Bullinger, 147.
 Kistemaker, REVELATION, 87.
 Walvoord ,REVELATION, 40.