He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him.
And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. I am
the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord, who is and
who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and
patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word
of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 1:7–10).
the introduction to the Revelation we caught just a glimpse of the Person of
Christ. As we press further into this first chapter of Revelation, we now see a
more detailed description of Christ. John first speaks of Him as the coming
Christ, and that is exactly who He has been to His church since the time of His
ascension into heaven as recorded in the first chapter of the Book of Acts.
is not much about the appearance of Christ that is remarkable after His
resurrection. There were times when people could not recognize Him. There were
times when He mysteriously appeared and disappeared. There was at least one time
when the nail prints in His hands were visible. But, for the most part, He
looked like Jesus.
the first chapter of the Book of Acts, we learn that Jesus visited with many of
His disciples during a period of forty days after His resurrection. There is
nothing about His appearance at this time that seems unusual. In fact, we get a
sense that the disciples were quite comfortable around the resurrected Christ,
even if they could not understand everything about Him in His new condition. In
fact, we find them asking Him questions just as they always had done. The
strangest thing they encountered was the moment He was taken up into a cloud.
Nothing is said about His appearance at that moment, so we can safely assume
that He still looked like Jesus. One of the disciples standing there as Jesus
ascended to heaven was none other than the Apostle John, the writer of the Book
the opening of this Book he encounters Jesus and he finds that the appearance of
Jesus is much different from the Jesus he saw going up into heaven. He now sees
the Jesus that has been sitting at the right hand of the Father. He sees Jesus
glorified. It will take us more than one lecture to explore this glorified
Appearance Of Jesus Has Changed
the ascension, two angels told the disciples, “This same Jesus, who was taken
up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into
heaven.” The Book of Acts says that He was received into a cloud; so,
according to what the angels said, any time Jesus returns He will come in a
cloud. Verse 7 of our text affirms what the angels said about Jesus at the
Ascension. The angel that communicated the Revelation to John says of Jesus
“Behold, He is coming with clouds.”
may assume, then, that when John encountered Jesus here on the Isle of Patmos,
He saw Jesus, a vision of Jesus, coming in a cloud. This was the same Jesus John
saw ascending into heaven, but here His looks are quite different and awesome.
As we said in the previous lecture, the clouds signify Christ in His deity. John
and the disciples first saw Jesus as the Son of Man; in the Revelation He is
seen as the Son of God first, and as the Son of Man second. From what follows,
we get the sense that this appearance of Jesus is a foreshadowing of judgment to
come at His Second Advent. It is this glorified Christ that will be our Judge at
the final judgment.
Eye Will See Him
eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth
will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
is reminiscent of what Jesus taught about His return in John 5:28–29
not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves
will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the
resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of
Christ returns in His Second Advent, every eye, including all who are in the
graves, will see Him and hear His voice. The Apostle Paul gives us a preview of
that day in 1 Corinthians 15:51–52
I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in
moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will
sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
dead, those in the grave, both good and evil, will be raised—brought back to
life. Those that are living will be changed and caught up with the dead in the
general resurrection. All humanity from Adam and Eve down to the last person to
be born on earth will see Christ when He returns in His glory.
notice that even those who pierced Him will see Him. Who pierced Jesus? John
19:34 gives us but one example, “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with
a spear, and immediately blood and water came out”. One might conjecture,
“Surely this one soldier is the one that will see Jesus and be singled out for
special punishment.” Not so. All humanity, from Adam and Eve to the last
person to be born on earth, are guilty of that crime.
was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the
chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. . . .
For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My
people He was stricken. . . . He was numbered with the transgressors, and He
bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:5,
speaks prophetically of salvation made possible by the sacrifice of Christ in
I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit
of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes,
they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as
one grieves for a firstborn.
is the sins of all humanity that pierced the side of Christ on the cross—we
all are guilty. He “was delivered up because of our offenses”, (Romans
then tells us that at the coming of Christ “all tribes of the earth will mourn
because of Him”. Here it is said that “all tribes of the earth will mourn
because of Him”. Zechariah saw this mourning in his prophecy. Verse 11 “In
that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem” and verse 12 “all the
land shall mourn, every family by itself” (or tribe as the context shows).
it is true that every eye will see Him and it is true that all of us are guilty
of piercing Him, it is only the unregenerate, those that have not accepted
God’s gift of salvation through the suffering and blood of Christ, that will
mourn. For them, they will realize too late that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior
of the world and that they could have been saved from sin if they would have
chosen to accept Him. Their rejection of Christ condemns them to the
resurrection of condemnation.
Hears The Voice Of Christ
John begins to encounter the glorified Christ, the very first thing that happens
is that he hears the Lord speaking. In verse 8 he hears Jesus say, “I am the
Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord, who is and who
was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Lord declares His name to be the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.
God revealed the essence of this name to Moses in Exodus 3:14, “I AM WHO I
AM”, or “I AM THAT I AM” (KJV). These are the words that express the
self-existence of God. In verse 15 God says “this is My name for ever”.
know that Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek
alphabet—they indicate not only the beginning and the end, but all letters
in-between, the entire alphabet, which is the sense of Himself that Jesus
conveys to us: the entirety of the nature of God. There can be nothing without
and outside of God.
New Testament clearly acknowledges the eternally self-existent person of Christ:
by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth,
visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities,
or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all
things, and by him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16–17).
we must always remember “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead
bodily”. He is the Almighty, “he is before all things, and by him all things
consist”. (Colossians 2:9).
going further in the Revelation, John introduces himself to his readers. His
name is John and he tells us that he is on the Isle of Patmos. Although he was
an Apostle of Christ, he introduces himself humbly as “your brother”,
showing us the equality among the church, the family of God, regardless of our
gifts and places of responsibility in the church.
tells us he is their companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom, and patience
of Jesus Christ. In his later years, John lived in Ephesus. He was well-known in
that congregation and among the churches in the southwestern area of Asia Minor.
His gospel had been circulated among the congregations, not only in that area,
but probably everywhere there was a Christian church at the time.
church was experiencing persecution from the Roman government under the reign of
Emperor Domitian. In consequence of this persecution, the Apostle John had been
arrested and banished to the Isle of Patmos. This was largely a penal colony at
this time. Prisoners exiled to this island were put to work in its mines. John,
being so aged, was not put to work in the mines but probably put in solitary
confinement somewhere on the island.
says he is the churches’ companion in the kingdom. Notice he did not say he
was their companion in the church. This is significant. While certain churches
are named in the Revelation, the Revelation is not so much about the church as
it is about the kingdom, a much broader phase of God’s plan for mankind. It is
not that the church and the kingdom are radically different. It is the place of
the church to do the work of the kingdom. The church and the kingdom do not
exist independently of each other.
often refer to the church-historic method of interpreting the Book of
Revelation, but it would perhaps give us a better context if we would develop a
kingdom-history methodology. Philip Mauro makes this observation:
is deeply to be regretted that the company of the people of God in the world has
come to be spoken of almost invariably as “the church of God”. We read and
hear of the history of the church, the trials of the church, the conflicts of
the church, the triumphs of the church, etc., etc. But the Scripture does not so
speak. That which has a continued existence on earth throughout this
dispensation, is not “the church of God”, but “the Kingdom of God” and
the misapplication of the name church for kingdom is not only a great mistake,
but a great misfortune; for the truth has suffered much in consequence. . . .
What does exist on earth in this era is, collectively, the kingdom of God (into
which every saved person is immediately translated, Colossians 1:12) and locally
the numerous churches of God (note the plural).
in no way undermines or negates the biblical name church of God, as it is so
often used in the NT when referring to a congregation, a group of congregations,
or to the church at large. Mauro’s point does eliminate ecclesiastic
exclusivism based on the name.
is a real sense in which the kingdom and the church contain all the
redeemed—the kingdom in reality and the visible church in theory. We sing the
reach our hands in fellowship to every blood-washed one,
love entwines around each heart in which God’s will is done.
we sing requires that we acknowledge and accept all that are redeemed through
the blood of Christ whether or not they attend a congregation that goes by the
name Church of God. In some circles, it is genuinely felt that the redeemed are
limited only to congregations that use that name and are connected in a certain
fellowship of such congregations.
was in the Spirit on the Lords’ Day. Verse 10 actually begins the first of the
visions of the Revelation. John was in the Spirit; he was under the influence of
the Holy Spirit in the same manner as were the Old Testament prophets when they
received their prophecies. In like manner, Peter was in the same state when he
received the vision of the great sheet let down from heaven. (See Acts
10:10–15). Paul had a similar experience when he was caught up to the third
heaven and heard inexpressible words. (See 2 Corinthians 12:1–4).
was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, the day of the week on which the
Christian Church worshipped God and observed the resurrection of Christ: Sunday,
the first day of the week. He heard a loud voice, as of a trumpet—we will
discuss the voice in our next lecture. The voice identifies the speaker as
Christ and instructs John to write what he sees in a book and send the book to
the seven churches in Asia. The words “what you see” encompass the entire
contents of the Book of Revelation.
seven churches are named and it is seen that they are certain congregations in
southwestern Asia Minor. We know that there were more churches in Asia Minor and
many churches in other parts of the world by the time of the writing of the Book
of Revelation. It is an interesting fact that these churches lie in the area
where the Apostle Paul spent most of his ministry, and because of this there is
a sense in which these churches represent the very center from which the
teachings of Christ spread to every part of the world.