Theme of Revelation

THEME (1:7). Four things are stated in verse 7:

1. Look, he is coming with the clouds
2. Every eye will see him, even those who pierced him
3. All the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him
4. So shall it be! Amen.

The first usage of “the clouds” is attached to God’s rainbow as the sign of the Noahic covenant:

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth” (Genesis 9:13-16).

The clouds symbolize God’s acts of judgment upon the earth. They denote the glory and terrors of Christ’s coming. All Jews expected that someday the Messiah would come as Yahweh’s judge.

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 peoples, nations and men 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.

Eighty-one times Jesus referred to Himself as “the Son of Man” in the Gospels. This title speaks of His eternal humanity. This vision of the future is the only place this title is used of a divine personage in the OT.

“Even those who pierced him” refers to the Jews. This idiom comes from the prophet Zechariah.

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit {Or the Spirit} of grace and supplication. They will look on {Or to} me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo (Zechariah 12:10-11).

“Mourn” might have a double application, pointing to consternation because Christ is coming to judge the world and pointing to contriteness as Christ is recognized as the Lamb of God coming to redeem the earth.

There will be a fourfold fulfillment of this vision:

1. The investiture of the Son of Man with the kingdom (Revelation 4-5)
2. The wrath of Psalm 2:5 described in Matthew 24:21-22
3. The return of the Son of Man in glory to deliver the smiting blow of Daniel 2:45; 7:9-11; Rev 19:11-12
4. The judgment of the Son of Man upon the nations and individuals and the setting up of His kingdom (Daniel 7:10, 26-27; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:1-6).

It is clear that Jesus regarded Daniel 7:13-14 as predictive of Himself and that the religious leaders of Israel understood His claim.

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, 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.” The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death (Mark 14:61-64; cf. 13:26; Matthew 24:30; 26:64).

When the Rapture takes place, no person will see the Lord Jesus; however, when Christ comes in the air, every eye shall see Him. He will stand on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). Christ ascended to heaven in a cloud and He will be seen coming to the earth with the clouds of heaven (Acts 1:9-11; Revelation 1:7).

“Coming with the clouds of heaven” may indicate two things: (1) Christ coming with the armies of heaven (Revelation 19:14) or (2) His deity as manifested in the Shekinah Glory (Exodus 13:21-22; 19:9, 16).

Certainly, the Son of Man will execute all judgment prescribed by the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9-10). Jesus confirmed Daniel’s vision when He said, “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). Above all else, the Apocalypse unveils the Lamb’s wrath.

Futurists hold the clouds describe the second coming of Christ to earth to judge, redeem, and reign based on the unfulfilled predictions of Daniel and Matthew 24.

Preterists hold that the clouds relate to Christ’s coming to execute judgment in the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), as He was to be particularly manifested to the Jews that pierced Him. However, the Lamb’s wrath cannot be detached from a spirit of grace and supplication that the LORD will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:10) and the earth (Matthew 24:30). The prophet Habakkuk’s prayer is an essential key to unlocking the events of Revelation:

LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy (Habakkuk 3:2).

Another essential key to unlocking the events of Revelation is the prophecy of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:4-11). This will be a time of travail (4-6), terror 7a), and triumph (7b). The times of the Gentiles will come to an end (8) and Christ’s kingdom will commence (9). At the end of this time, Israel will be restored to the land (10a) and will rest (10b) in salvation (11a). All nations will cease (11b) and the LORD will discipline Israel with justice, but the nation will not go entirely unpunished (11c). In wrath, the LORD will remember mercy!

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