Monday, June 5, 2017

Revelation 1:7, An Expositional Commentary

 Behold
   I love that word. If Amen was the perfect word to end the last installment, behold is an awesome way to begin any piece.
Behold! Look! Check it out! Fix your attention here. It’s probably terrible, but I see a circus ringmaster whenever I hear this word.

Literally, He is coming - present tense. He is on His way now. It’s as though John is saying: If you look, you can see Him approaching. John probably could. John saw a lot of things in this book that I can’t see. That’s why he’s writing this book. If I could see it, I’d be writing the book.

When Jesus left, He went into a cloud (Acts 1:9 - And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.), and His disciples were told at the time that He would come back the same way: Acts 1:11 - ...Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
God and clouds go together a lot: Exodus 13:21 - And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.
Leviticus 16:2 - And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.
Isaiah 19:1 - ... Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.
Daniel 7:13 - I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
There are a lot more examples. After they consecrated the Tabernacle, and again after they consecrated the Temple, God would manifest Himself as a cloud and cover the Tabernacle/Temple in what Biblical scholars refer to as the Shechinah (or Shekinah) glory, meaning the abiding presence of God. Exodus 33:9 - And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.
Jesus Himself said He was coming in the clouds: Matthew 24:30 - And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Here, Jesus refers to the “clouds of Heaven”. That little phrase, combined with the descriptions of the Shekinah glory in the Old Testament, lead me to believe that these aren’t your ordinary cumulus type clouds. I don’t know what they are, but I’m sure it will be a spectacular sight.

Another thought to refer to whenever someone tries to convince you that Jesus has somehow sneaked back down to earth. For all the speculation that goes on all over the place, when Jesus returns - believe me, you’ll know it.
When Jesus comes, He will arrive in Israel. People wonder all the time: if He is in Israel, how will the “eyes” in Nebraska see Him? The simple answer usually given has to do with CNN and/or the internet. I disagree. There are actually people, believe it or not, who have other things to do besides surf the internet or sit in front of their TV. The return of Jesus Christ will be a supernatural event. I don’t see why we have to rely on natural devices to witness the supernatural.
When the Bible says every eye, I tend to take it very literally. I believe even those who are blind will see His return. Yet another reason not to take anybody else’s word for it. Jesus will NOT return quietly.

This is generally understood as “even those who pierced Him”. So who pierced Him? If you want to get downright technical about it, the Romans performed the actual crucifixion. Roman soldiers drove the nails through His hands and feet. One Roman soldier even stabbed Him with a spear. I looked through six translations - every one of them say the soldier pierced Him.
I bring this up because it gets brought up a lot by those wanting to make the Roman Catholic church the Antichrist. The Romans nailed Jesus to the cross. I’ll send a free ebook to anyone who can guess where the Roman Catholic church is headquartered. So, you don’t have to twist logic too far, at this point, to arrive at the opinion that the Roman Catholic church is responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
If you follow that logic when you get to this verse, then it basically says: “Even the Catholics will see Him.” If you’re a Catholic, you can be offended at the logic or take encouragement in this scripture. However you want to do it.
I believe this is referring to Jews. While the Romans did the actual deed, they did it at the urging of the the Jews, who even went so far as to lay claim to the responsibility in what always struck me as one of the most unfortunate scriptures in the Bible: Matthew 27:25 - Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
Anyone who thinks about it understands that the Jewish leaders, who were concerned about their political standing, worked hard to get all of the rest of the people - most of whom didn’t know Jesus from Adam (there’s a pun in there; I know there is) - worked up against Jesus. There’s a political rant that I would love to go into right here, but I shall resist.
But the best evidence I have, comes from Zechariah 12:10 - And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
I saved this one for last because it opens another can of worms. This establishes fairly definitively that “they which pierced Him” refers to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. But what about “ME”?
“they shall look upon “ME” whom they have pierced,”...? This is the word of the LORD. “LORD”, when it’s done like this, is the proper name for GOD. Technically, it’s unpronounceable, and Jews won’t even try, for fear of offending God. Here in the West, we have no problem offending God, so it’s usually translated as “Jehovah”.
But my point is, this is the LORD GOD of the Old Testament telling the Jews that it is Him that they have pierced. This would seemingly equate Jesus Christ with the LORD of the Old Testament. In the debate between the Trinitarians and the believers in the teaching of Arius (in case you haven’t been following along, Arius taught that Jesus is a created being - that He didn’t really exist before He was born in Bethlehem, and therefore he is not really God), we can score this one for the Trinitarians.

“kindreds “ would be more properly translated as “tribes”. Even the New King James says “tribes”, and in fact, Revelation is the only place in the Bible where the Greek word used here (phulē) is not translated as “tribe”.
This makes a difference because the Israeli nation is often referred to as the twelve tribes of Israel. (Joshua 3:12 - Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. Jesus even did it: Luke 22:30 - That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.) If you add to this the Greek  word “gē”, which is as easily translated “land” or even “country” as it is “earth”, it could easily say here “all the tribes of the land”. This would make the event a more local phenomenon. It doesn’t necessarily mean that, but usually, as we will see later, when the writer intended to mean
Worldwide, he would use a group of four. For instance, “every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” in Revelation 5:9.
I’ve heard very strong arguments against this interpretation, so don’t decide that is what you are going to believe just because I brought it up. But store it away. It is worthy of further research.

We can fit the second half of that Zechariah verse in here: and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
What is translated as “mourn” here (mispêd), is translated in Strong’s concordance as “wailing”, “mourning” or “lamentations”. The word “wail” (koptō), here in Revelation 1:7 is defined by Strong as “chop”, or to beat the breast in grief.  So we get it. They will be very unhappy. They’ll be mad because they will realize that their Messiah was STOLEN from them because they didn’t recognize Him when He was here. He was stolen by those who called themselves “Christians”; who slaughtered and persecuted Jews for hundreds of years in the name of Christ. I’m not surprised Jewish people aren’t willing to stand around and listen to preaching and testimonies about how Jesus loves them. To a Jew today, the name of Jesus represents something besides love.

But I’m suddenly wondering about the change in pronouns. Go back and read Zechariah 12:10 again. “They pierced Me” -but- “they will mourn Him.” Reading through various commentaries, I seem to be the only one that even noticed. It’s little things like this that drive me crazy.

A very emphatic “yes”. Not just yes, but… (you get the idea.)

Once again, the perfect word to end on.

Note: All the scriptures that I use, I cut and pasted from the Blue Letter Bible.

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