Many folks have used Revelation 1:7 to say that Jesus’ Second Coming has not yet occurred. After all, if every eye would see the Lord, coming on a lily white, cumulus cloud when he returns, and, given the fact that no one has reported seeing such a news worthy event up to this present day, then surely we must still look for Jesus’ Second Coming in the future. Personally, I think it is high time we stop shooting from the hip with the word of God and take the time to investigate what the text really says. Do you really believe you are able to interpret Jesus’ coming by understanding Biblical language in a 21st century context? We need to consider the fact that the whole Bible, that is, the first and second covenants, were written by Jews and for Jews, using a Jewish manner of speaking. In other words, we need to acquaint ourselves with the Jewish culture of the day, and take advantage of the Greek lexicons and other scholarly writings about the Bible available to us today.
First of all, we need to realize that where we place the date of the writing of the Apocalypse in the first century has an intense eschatological consequence, as far as our ability to understand the truth contained in this book is concerned. For example, if we have the wrong date of the writing, how could we know who Babylon or the Harlot are? Who is the Beast and the False Prophet, if we place the date of the writing of the Apocalypse **after** their judgment? A false dating of this book dooms the Bible student to accept a false interpretation of the things he reads in this marvelous prophecy.
As I mentioned above, John tells us that Jesus is coming and “every eye will see him” (Revelation 1:7). Context is very, very important at this point. Is John speaking of every eye in a global sense, or is he speaking of every eye in a local sense? Well, verse-7 tells us that “those who pierced Him; (would see him) and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him” (NASB). In other words, the Jews of the first century AD are the **they** who would see him! Obviously, this has to do with the judgment of those who were responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion. The Apocalypse is all about the judgment of those responsible for Jesus’ death and that of his disciples and Apostles, and their “eyes would see Him; and all the tribes of the earth (meaning the land of the Jews or Israel) will mourn over Him” (because he is the coming Judge). Obviously, the parenthesis are mine in that excerpt.
Notice what we are told in one of the Gospel narratives:
When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.” And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:24-25 NASB)
“All the people” in the text refers to the Jewish authorities, but do you see what they are saying? They are admitting to the blood guilt of Jesus. These are those whose eyes would see Him (Revelation 1:7). There’s really no room for debate here. Three times Pilate tried to release Jesus, but he was prevented by the Jewish authorities and a threat of a riot by close to a million or more Jews, if we can believe Josephus’ account of how many Jews were celebrating the Passover in 66 AD, and how much difference would there be thirty some years earlier?
Finally and concerning “every eye shall see Him,” Jesus claimed in Matthew 16:27-28 that he would come to vindicate the deaths of his disciples and their reward would be with him. This is not only speaking of the judgment, but also the resurrection of the saints, because one cannot separate those events from the coming of the Lord. Moreover, Jesus said all this would occur in the expected lifetimes of his disciples (Matthew 16:28; 23:34-36; compare Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62). Did they see him (Revelation 1:7), certainly not physically, but they saw his judgment coming in the war with Rome cir. 66-70 AD, just as Pharaoh, hundreds of years earlier, saw his judgment coming from the Lord in the person of the Assyrian king (Isaiah 19:1).