Who’s Coming? Part #1– Revelation 1:7-17 10/18/20

Who’s Coming? Part #1– Revelation 1:7-17 10/18/20

The triune nature of our God is a mystery, and much of what He does also seems to be a mystery. The language used in the Revelation can certainly be confusing, especially if you think about what it says. In our passage today we find that the man, Jesus, is now revealed in glory and power to be the eternal Son of Go, and... He is coming again.

Our full text today is Revelation 1:7-17. Take a few moments to look the passage over. Jesus is shown to be coming, but the coming is described in an interesting way. The expression, “He is coming with the clouds,” speaks of Christ’s return.[1] That return is very different from His first coming; this time He’s revealed as the returning King.[2] He is described as the offspring of David in Revelation 22:16. That King was predicted back in Jeremiah 23:5. This is God telling the people that He will keep the promise that He made to David in 2 Samuel 7:16.

Consider “He is coming with clouds” in Revelation 1:7a. “He is coming” is translated by the single word, (ἔρχεται).[3] It means “to come.”[4] The idea is to come from one place to another.[5] The verb used, (ἔρχεται),[6] is in the indicative mood, the present tense, and either the middle or passive deponent voice.[7] You probably remember that the indicative mood is used to describe something that “is,” as opposed to what “might be.”[8] This is the mood, in Greek, used to convey factual information. The fact, the truth, is that Jesus is coming again.

The “voice” of the verb probably warrants some discussion. This is what’s called a deponent verb. It’s in the passive voice, but the strange thing about deponent verbs, whether middle or passive, is that the meaning is always active even though the inflected form is passive.[9] It’s just a detail I stumbled across. But what it tells us is that no one is doing this to Jesus, He is the one bringing it about.

Now, it’s the tense of the verb that we’re really interested in. This “coming” is in the present tense. The present tense usually describes something as being in process at the time of speaking.[10] However, depending on context, it can reference something taking place in the future but described in terms of the present. Alternatively, it may convey the idea that something is taking place repeatedly.[11]

Now, prophesy in Scripture almost always treats the event prophesied as imminent. So what we find is that He is coming, that’s clear. But the present tense would tell us that He is coming right now. That could be, in which case this blog is no longer needed. On the other hand, He could be in the process of “coming.” He is coming, but He has not yet arrived.

But… how is He coming? This coming will not be a secret coming. Could there be other “comings?” Yes. If you believe in a pre-tribulation or mid-tribulation rapture, that “coming” would happen prior to this coming in power and glory. We’ll address that at another time. For now, simply note that this coming will not be a secret coming, it will be very public as He comes to establish His Kingdom.[12]

Now, Revelation 1:7 combines two separate prophesies; the first words are from Daniel’s vision in Daniel 7:13 with reference to the clouds, and the second reference is found in Zechariah 12:10 with those who see Him mourning. In context, this addresses the period when God will defeat the enemies of His people, again in context, Israel.[13] But in Revelation 1:7 John amends the passage in Zechariah by adding the phrases (πᾶς ὀφθαλμός) “every eye” and (τῆς γῆς) “of the earth.”.[14] This serves to take a prophesy that was initially dealing with Israel and expanding it to include all the nations of the planet.[15]

Now, Jesus’ coming with the clouds points to the supernatural nature of Jesus’ return. I recently saw someone post on Facebook that Jesus will not arrive riding in Airforce One. That is correct, and it will happen in such a way that it will be known to everyone.[16]

But… even as we acknowledge this, there’s a bit of an interpretive challenge with this imagery. The expression, “coming in the clouds,” was commonly used in the Old Testament. In each case it was symbolic language used to convey God’s majesty, power, and glory.[17] No one actually saw God riding in the clouds[18] like on a chariot, or a skateboard, or a moped or something. But what this accomplishes in important.

By taking this language, and applying it to Jesus, every Jew would have immediately recognized this is revealing Him as God.[19] However, in none of the instances in the Old Testament where this expression “coming with the clouds” is used is God ever literally seen.[20] What’s so interesting about this is that Jesus takes this symbolic language and states that with His coming He will be, literally, seen. He will be seen by everyone.

Jesus will return, how we experience that return, either in terror or rejoicing, will hinge on where we put our trust. If you look at Jesus’ return through the lens of God’s love it becomes an event to be longed for. That this One, the One who can be called “the Almighty,” has chosen to love us, to forgive us, and to come to take us to be with Himself, is almost overwhelming if you think about it.

Where will you focus your attention when He comes?

[1] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume V, 1 Corinthians – Revelation, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 891. [2] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume V, 1 Corinthians – Revelation, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 891. [3]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Re 1:7. [4] James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995). [5] James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995). [6]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Re 1:7. [7] Timothy Friberg, Barbara Friberg, and Neva Miller, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI.: 2000), 173. [8] William Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, (ZondervanPublishingHouse, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1993), 121. [9] William Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, (ZondervanPublishingHouse, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1993), 148. [10] David Black, It’s Still Greek to Me: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to Intermediate Greek, (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI.: 2002), 107. [11] David Black, It’s Still Greek to Me: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to Intermediate Greek, (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI.: 2002), 107 [12] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume V, 1 Corinthians – Revelation, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 891. [13] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 196. [14] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 196–197. [15] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 196–197. [16] Alan Johnson, Revelation, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 12, Hebrews – Revelation, gen ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript eds., Richard Polcyn and Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1981), 422. [17] John Noē, Unraveling the End: A Balanced Scholarly Synthesis of Four Competing and Conflicting End Time Views, (East2West Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. 2014), 319. [18] John Noē, Unraveling the End: A Balanced Scholarly Synthesis of Four Competing and Conflicting End Time Views, (East2West Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. 2014), 318. [19] John Noē, Unraveling the End: A Balanced Scholarly Synthesis of Four Competing and Conflicting End Time Views, (East2West Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. 2014), 319. [20] John Noē, Unraveling the End: A Balanced Scholarly Synthesis of Four Competing and Conflicting End Time Views, (East2West Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. 2014), 318.

1 view

Recent Posts

See All