Revelation 1:7: The Second Coming

Updated: May 5, 2019

Verse 7:[1] (Dan. 7:13; Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Acts 1:11) Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and (Zech. 12:10; John 19:37) they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

[Behold, He cometh (this is, He shall come [Piscator]: that is, It is clear, and evident by definite signs, that He is going to come [Cocceius]) with clouds] That is, sitting upon clouds, as upon a throne. See Matthew 24:30 and 25:31 (Piscator). Clouds are the throne and chariot of God in Sacred Scripture, as in Psalm 104:3 and Isaiah 19:1. And the Son of God sits upon His Father’s throne (Cluverus). He speaks concerning the final coming of Christ unto judgment (Ribera, similarly Cluverus, Pareus, Cotterius, Mede’s Works 4 “Epistle 32”). He now begins the prophecy, of which this is the preface, and that the best and most suitable, so that he, being about to speak many things concerning persecutions of the faithful, might terrify the impious, and might excite the righteous unto piety by the hope of reward (Ribera): and so that he might meet the objection of worldly men; that is to say, Is this the Prince of Kings, who was killed and buried? He answers, But He will come quickly and reveal Himself, etc. (Durham). John, being about to set forth his visions, in which are accomplished the series and order of matters to be conducted even unto the glorious second coming of Christ, set down to the forepart of his history a hypotyposis[2] of that advent, as the goal of the Apocalyptic race-course (Mede’s Works 3:545). I do not doubt that in all the passages of the Gospels and of the Apocalypse the advent of the Son of Man is the same as that which is treated in Daniel 7, and in those passages there considered (Mede’s Works 4 “Epistle 10” 915), and that therefore in them Christ is called the Son of Man, etc. (Mede’s Works 4 “Epistle 32”). Others: Exceptionally indeed and κατὰ κυριολεξίαν, in accordance with figurative expression, in the final advent Christ will appear in the clouds: but also every other retribution that God exacts from His enemies is thus described figuratively, as in Psalm 104:3; Isaiah 19:1; Ezekiel 1:4; Daniel 7:13; namely, inasmuch as thunder, lightning, and hail are from the clouds. Now, what things are attributed to God in the Old Testament, the same things are wont to be attributed to Christ in the New Testament, and in the Prophecies concerning the New, as in Joel 3:13 and Revelation 14:15. [The sense:] He will appear with a great tempest against the unbelieving Jews and Romans (Grotius). Christ will come to exact vengeance from His Jewish enemies, and to acquit His own. The addition of clouds is no obstacle to this opinion, for clouds are an indication of the Divine presence and protection, as in Isaiah 4:5, even in the desert, etc. (Hammond).

Behold, He cometh with clouds, etc.: St. John being to speak of the various afflictions of the church of God, which should immediately begin, and hold on during the whole time that Rome should continue heathen, and one thousand two hundred and sixty years after, during the whole reign of the beasts, prepareth Christians for it, by calling them by the eye of faith to see (though at a great distance) Christ coming to judgment, whom he speaks of as already coming, according to the usual style of prophets, who use to speak of those things that shall shortly be done, or certainly, as if they were already done. He describes the manner of Christ’s coming to judgment, and saith, he cometh with clouds, that is, in a glorious manner; in the clouds with power and great glory, Matthew 24:30; in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, Matthew 25:31; with ten thousand of his saints, Jude 14; with a shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God, 1 Thessalonians 4:16; here, with clouds, bright and glorious clouds, not obscuring him, but making his appearance more glorious and terrible.

[And every eye shall see Him] That is, of men. It is a synecdoche of genus (Piscator): that is, all men, or the eyes of all men (Beza), in a human and visible form (Estius). Out of Isaiah 40:5, that is, all shall feel His power. The Hebrews express all the senses by the name of vision, as in Exodus 20:18; Jeremiah 2:31; and elsewhere (Grotius).

And every eye shall see him; he shall come visibly, for, Acts 1:11, he shall so come, as he was seen going up to heaven: see Isaiah 40:5.

[And (or, also [Beza, Piscator]: Καὶ[3] here does not function as a copula, but it corresponds to גַּם/also [Beza]) who pricked Him, αὐτὸν ἐξεκέντησαν] Who pierced (or, punctured through [Vatablus]) Him, either, 1. bodily (Durham), on the cross (Pareus, thus Menochius), the soldiers and enemies (Pareus): or, 2. spiritually, from a comparison with Revelation 11:8 (Durham); that is to say, Those that vexed Him and His Church in every way. See Acts 9:5: see on Zechariah 12:10, whence these words were taken. Such sayings are used in a variety of ways, because they were proverbial before the Prophets quoted them, or they were made proverbial because of the writings of the Prophets (Grotius). Consult John 19:37 (Piscator).

And they also which pierced him; they also which pierced him shall look on him, Zechariah 12:10; yea, not those only which pierced him with their spears, but every sinner who hath pierced him with his sins, Hebrews 6:6. From whence we may observe, that the resurrection will be general; and those in the Great Mogul’s country are like to awake out of their sleep in the grave,[4] as well as others.

[And, etc., καὶ κόψονται ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν, etc.] And shall lament (with the lamentation, either, 1. of repentance, as it is proven out of a comparison with Zechariah 12:10, so that this speech here is concerning the advent of Christ for the conversion of the Jews [Brightman]; or, 2. of desperation [Cluverus], and of horror [Pareus, similarly Durham], in the day of judgment [Durham], on account of the appearance of the Judge and His condemnatory sentence [Pareus]: For only concerning that day Christ is said to be coming with clouds; neither before that day are they, either all eyes, or His crucifiers, going to be seeing Christ, Matthew 23:39; 26:64 [Cluverus]; and such was that lamentation in Megiddo:[5] neither does Zechariah treat of another sort of lamentation, as the circumstances of the passage teach [concerning which see Cluverus]) upon Him (or, before Him [Beza]; or, on account of Him [Arabic]; concerning Him [Castalio]; because of Him [Beza, Piscator, Ethiopic, Grotius], that is, because they had persecuted Him with hostility [Piscator, similarly Beza]; because of injuries done to Him and to His Church: The Hebrews would say עָלָיו, upon/concerning Him: Thus ἐπὶ τί, on account of which, in Aristophanes[6] [Grotius]) all tribes (that is, races or nations [Vatablus, Drusius], kingdoms [Durham]; the greatest part of the peoples [Cotterius], the impious of all peoples [Piscator], Jews at home and abroad; then also the Roman people, and Roman Provinces: And this was taken from the same passage of Zechariah, but with that liberty that I mentioned: The word φυλαὶ/tribes[7] is often used of peoples, as in Genesis 28:14;[8] Psalm 72:17, where it is גּוֹיִם/nations in Hebrew[9] [Grotius]) of the earth (Montanus, etc.). Not of the land of Canaan, but of the whole earth (Beza).

And all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him; all the nations of the earth, (Greek, the tribes of the earth,) shall wail, not with a mourning of repentance, the time for that will be past, but with a wailing of despair and horror.

[Even so, ναί, ἀμήν] Even so (or, /verily [Valla]), Amen (Beza, Piscator, Cotterius, etc.). Note the advance: in verse 6, only Amen (Cotterius). Ναί and ἀμήν are the same thing, like ἀββᾶ/Abba and πατήρ/ father;[10] but he was pleased to make use of both words, for these things touch both the Jews and the Gentiles: see Revelation 22:20[11] and 2 Corinthians 1:20[12] (Grotius). This he wished to be understood by men of all tongues, for all were going to come to the judgment; that is to say, All nations will see that this is true. The ναὶ here is not of one Wishing, but of one Affirming; that is to say, So it is, indeed, surely. And the doubling here augments the affirmation, after the custom of the Hebrews, as in Zephaniah 1:5-7. A thing very profitable and difficult to believe he wished earnestly to confirm (Ribera). The sense: Thus it shall certainly be (Menochius, Tirinus). Others: The ἀμὴν/amen is not only of one asserting, but also of one supplicating that a thing might come to pass, as it is evident from Jeremiah 28:6. He expresses in this place, therefore, the ardent desire of the pious, who are longing for the coming of Christ, for this will be the prayer of all nations (Brightman). John confirms the future judgments of God (Grotius). The sense is, either, Would that it would be so; or, What I said is most certain (Piscator).

Even so, Amen: these words are either a prophetical assertion, confirming the truth of what he had said, or a pious prayer or desire, or rather both together.

[1] Greek: ἰδού, ἔρχεται μετὰ τῶν νεφελῶν, καὶ ὄψεται αὐτὸν πᾶς ὀφθαλμός, καὶ οἵτινες αὐτὸν ἐξεκέντησαν· καὶ κόψονται ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ τῆς γῆς. ναί, ἀμήν.

[2] An hypotyposis is an animated description.

[3] Revelation 1:7b: “…and every eye shall see him, also (καὶ) they which pierced him…”

[4] The Mogul (Mughal) Empire was an Islamic imperial power on the Indian subcontinent; it began in 1526 and lasted until the mid-nineteenth century. By the late seventeenth century, it controlled almost the entire Indian subcontinent.

[5] Zechariah 12:11.

[6] Aristophanes (c. 448-c. 385 BC) was a Greek writer of comedies.

[7] Revelation 1:7b: “…and all kindreds (φυλαὶ) of the earth shall wail because of him.”

[8] Genesis 28:14b: “…and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families (מִשְׁפְּחֹת; φυλαὶ, in the Septuagint) of the earth be blessed.”

[9] Psalm 72:17b: “…and they (πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ τῆς γῆς, all the tribes of the earth, in the Septuagint) shall be blessed in him: all nations (כָּל־גּוֹיִם; πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, in the Septuagint) shall call him blessed.”

[10] See Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6

[11] Revelation 22:20: “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely (Ναί) I come quickly. Amen (ἀμήν). Even so (Ναί), come, Lord Jesus.”

[12] 2 Corinthians 1:20: “For all the promises of God in him are yea (τὸ ναί), and in him Amen (τὸ ἀμήν), unto the glory of God by us.”

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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