Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen. (Rev 1:7)
This bold and certain declaration of His coming is the climax of the introduction to the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:1-7), an introduction that focuses on Jesus Christ; for He is the one who reveals to us things to come, and He is the one who is the focus of the future and gives meaning to the future.
So after John’s introduction to Jesus Christ in verses 5 and 6, in which He tells us that He is the faithful witness, the first of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth, and that He loves us so much that He released us from our sins by His blood, and that He made us into a kingdom, and that He made us priest to His God and Father, and that He will be glorious forever and will rule everything in the universe forever…After saying all of that about Jesus, John, in capital letters (according to the NASV), says,
BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.
Now let me say, first of all, that this reference to His coming, with every eye seeing Him and mourning, could only refer to the second phase of His coming; for when He comes to rapture the church, only the church will see Him.
Here are three things that we may observe from this statement of His coming:
- The bold statement of His coming suggests that His coming is definite. This Jesus who loves us and who rules over all, is without a doubt coming. He is coming to judge the world and to bring His kingdom to the world. And He will involve us in His kingdom, for He has already made us into a kingdom of priests to His God and Father (v. 6); and we will rule with Him (Dan. 7:14).
- His coming is with the clouds. Since this passage (vv. 6-7) seems to parallel Daniel 7:13-14, I think we can say that “clouds” here does not refer to earthly clouds but to “clouds of heaven “ (Dan. 7:13). John MacArthur suggests that it is a reference to the Shekinah or glory cloud of the Old Testament.
- Every eye will see Him and mourn over Him. In Matthew 24:30 it says,
And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
Yes, He will appear in the sky with great glory, and all will see Him, even those who pierced Him. Some may think that those who pierced Him refers to the Roman soldiers; however, scripture is clear that this reference is to Israel, the Jews. They will look on Him and will mourn over Him and weep bitterly over Him, realizing that they were responsible for His death. In Zechariah 12:10 we read,
And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.
Therefore, it appears from this text that because God will pour out on them the Spirit of grace and of supplication, their deep mourning for the Lord is the result of a genuine repentance; and so all Israel at that time will be saved.
As for the rest of those on the earth, there may be a few non-Jews who will mourn in genuine repentance; but most will mourn in fear and regret over a wasted life. They will mourn when they see Him because they will know that He will judge them (Rev. 6:16; 9:21).