The statement “every eye will see him” (Revelation 1:7), is it a literal statement? I always figured Christ’s return would be a big event that would shake the whole world. Of course he could come like lightning, he could come any way that he wants. He could take a day or it could be instantaneous. From Scripture it seems that there will be no doubt when His coming takes place. The statement “even they who pierced Him,” to what is it referring?
Do the armies of the world unite to fight Christ at his coming or do they just end up in Israel fighting each other? Is the Beast defeated militarily before Christ’s return?
1. “Every eye will see him” means that his coming will be visible to all peoples dwelling on the face of the earth. Compare Mark 13:26; 14:62; Matthew 24:27, 30; 26:64; Luke 21:26-27.
This could easily be accomplished by circling the earth several times as he descends.
And yes, he will come suddenly, and at a time unexpected by most. Jesus spoke of himself returning “suddenly” (Mark 13:36). The Greek word translated “suddenly” here is ἐξαίφνης (exaíphnēs). The same word is used in Acts 9:3 describing the sudden appearing of a light from heaven. Several Scriptures in Revelation refer to Jesus coming “quickly,” using the Greek word ταχύ (tachu), which could also mean suddenly.
Jesus compared his coming to that of a thief in the night. In other words, unexpected, and sudden (Matthew 24:42-44; Luke 12:39-40; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3; Revelation 16:15).
Jesus said his coming would be comparable to “lightning” (Matthew 24:27; Luke 17:24). Lightning comes suddenly, usually unexpectedly, and visibly over a wide area. Some understand these verses to signify the breaking of the dawn when the sun appears over the horizon and suddenly lights up the whole sky from east to west. That is possible, but more often (yet not always) the term ἀστραπή (astrapḗ) in the New Testament means lightning, or something comparable to lightning. Either way, the analogy is one of suddenness and wide visibility. Ezekiel saw a vision related to Christ’s second coming in which, “…the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory” (Ezekiel 43:2).
Scripture tells us, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). The second coming of Christ occurs at the sounding of the “trumpet” (cf. Revelation 11:15). At the very same time Christ returns at the sound of the seventh trumpet, the dead in Christ are resurrected. How long a period of time will it take for this to occur? “…in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).
There’s no indication Christ’s coming will take several days, or even a day. Nor will there be multiple “second comings” or “stages” of his second coming (see “How Many Comings?” and “Marriage Feast Parables”). The analogies used and other clear statements in the Bible ought to be sufficient to falsify such notions. Of course, the consequences of his coming will continue for the rest of eternity.
2. “They who pierced him,” refers to the Jews (Zechariah 12:10), as it was the leaders of the Jews who instigated under Satan’s influence Jesus’ crucifixion. It may also refer to Gentiles, as it was a Roman soldier who actually thrust the spear through Jesus’ side (John 19:34-37); he was condemned by a Roman official (Luke 23:23-24; John 19:16); and his garments were divided by Roman soldiers who beat him with a scourge and crucified him, nailing him to the cross (Matthew 20:19; John 19:1-2, 23-24; 20:25; cf. Psalm 22:12-18). Jesus was slain for the sins of the whole world (John 3:16-19; 1 John 2:2). The Scripture says, “all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him” (Revelation 1:7).
3. The armies will be gathered to Jerusalem and vicinity and Christ will intervene and destroy them. More details with Scriptures are in our article “How Many Comings?”
4. While the “beast” will have no doubt suffered major reverses militarily before the end, it will not be destroyed finally until Christ’s coming. The seven last plagues are aimed primarily at the beast power, and will culminate in its final destruction. See Revelation 16-19; along with our article “How Many Comings?” for more details and Scriptural references.
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Copyright 2014 by Rod Reynolds
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