Saturday, October 13, 2012
Behold, he cometh with the clouds, and every eye shall see him.
However the first thing one must understand about Revelation is that it is a book composed almost entirely of language that a first century Jew would have found immediately recognizable. This language was used before in such books as Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah.
When the phrase “every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him” is used, it should bring to mind as it did the Jews a previous reference found in the Old Testament. We should use the Old Testament first and foremost to see how the language was first used and then look in the New Testament literature to see how it is unfolding God's plan and purpose being the ultimate goal. Unfortunately a lot of people today are not as familiar with the Old Testament as the first century Jews to whom John was writing.
We also need to use the proper rules of interpretation so we stay focused and not read into scripture what we want. Such rules include context, scripture interpreting scripture, and syntax, word meanings, and grammar. Words are used as communication and expression tools to convey the thoughts of the author; and, in the case of the Bible, what God is saying to us. Thus, we need to know " when a term or sentence was first used in scripture” (its various meanings as applied to its context) and "audience" (how is it used in the culture and how its readers would understand it) to get the most out of it. This includes the form of the words, such as how it is put together in sentence structure and context.
Let’s examine the structure and context of Zechariah 12 to see what John conveyed to his Jewish audience in Revelation. In Zechariah 12:10-14 we read, And I will pour out on the house of David, and on the (inhabitants of Jerusalem), the Spirit of grace and prayers. And they (i.e., the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall look on Me whom they have pierced), and shall mourn for Him. As one mourns for an only son, and will be bitter over Him like the bitterness over the firstborn. In that day (i.e., when they look on Him whom they had pierced) the morning (in Jerusalem) will be great, like the mourning of Hadad-Rimmon in the valley of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, families by families alone; the family of the house of David alone, and their wives alone; the family of Nathan alone, and their wives alone; the family of the house of Levi alone, and their wives alone; the family of Shimei alone, and their wives alone; all the families who are left, family by family alone, and their wives alone. Zechariah 12:10-14 (emphasis added) John’s Jewish readers were very aware of the fact that John borrowed his concept of every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him,” from, other Jewish Book.
The Hebrew word for "family" is mishpachah and it means "family; by extension a tribe or people." So, in essence, Zechariah was saying that the "tribes of the land" would mourn for Him whom they had pierced. Who were those "tribes?" "The inhabitants of Jerusalem." This is undeniably an emphatic timely statement.
According to Zechariah, the "earth" is the land of Palestine, specifically, Jerusalem. Also, it is those tribes, i.e., the nation of Israel, who would "look on Me whom they had pierced." And because of that, "the mourning in Jerusalem" would be great.
With all of this information, we can see that the "tribes of the earth" in Revelation 1:7 are the nation of Israel. The "earth" is Palestine. The land that would mourn is Jerusalem. For John Zechariah 12:10-14 was applicable to Jesus' crucifixion; but it would receive final fulfillment when "all the tribes of the earth" would mourn when they looked at him whom they had pierced. To John this would be when Jesus returned in the clouds of glory.
God often used the term for a big group of people within Israel seeing a big event together in scripture. Another phrase that is similar in context to the inhabitants of Jerusalem is found in Isaiah 40:1-5. “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God. “ Speak (comfort to Jerusalem), and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the LORD’s hand Double for all her sins.” The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “ Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; (The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together); For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (emphasis added)
Do you see what Isaiah is saying? These verses are talking about John the Baptist and its states, (The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together) For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Do every single person who has ever lived see the glory of the LORD revealed together? I can safely say no one from our day was there to see the glory of the LORD revealed. And yet Isaiah said “all flesh shall see it together.”
If we assume words are always literal when they are not, we will make an erroneous conclusion that will lead us away from the correct precept. Then, if we teach it, we lead others astray from the correct teaching all because of our pride or ignorance of the Old Testament. We should use the Old Testament first and foremost to see how language is first used and then look in the New Testament literature to see how it is unfolding God's plan and purpose being the ultimate goal.