Revelation 1:7

Sermon preached on March 20, 2011 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

Some of you may be aware that on March 11 the iPad 2 was introduced by Apple. On the Wednesday before Apple announced that you could order online beginning at 4 A.M. Eastern Time. Heather knows someone who set his alarm for four that morning and got up and ordered one. No, it wasn't anyone in our family. I already have an iPad so I wasn't interested in ordering an iPad 2, although the facts that it's thinner, lighter and faster do tempt me. Besides ordering online, you could also have gone to an Apple Retail store and other select locations to try to buy one. They became available for purchase at 5:00 P.M. Hazem Sayed was at the front of the 5th Avenue Apple Store line. The App Developer paid a college student who had been waiting since Wednesday $900 for the spot. There were huge lines and a lot of people in line didn't even get one because they sold out very quickly. I read an article online by a Mac tech writer, Ted Landau, about his experience waiting in line for an iPad 2. He said the 3 hour wait wasn't too bad because the other people in line were nice, and, since he already had the first generation iPad, and he passed the time by using it to play the game, 'Angry Birds'. He wrote,

"I did have to ignore the occasional passers-by who would shake their heads and say: 'You're waiting in line for a new iPad when you already have one? I don't get it.' These people were mistakenly assuming rational thought."

But one thing is clear—all of the people who lined up—the person who paid $900 the student for the first spot in line, all of the people who got up at 4 A.M.—they were all looking forward to the iPad 2. They couldn't wait to get their hands on one. They were ready in line, or at home with their credit cards, anticipating getting an iPad 2. But in the end, many went away without one, disappointed.

But in the grand scheme of things getting an iPad or not is pretty insignificant. On the same day that the iPad was released there was a great earthquake off the coast of northern Japan. That 8.9 earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear problems that followed made that very clear. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands were killed and injured. Homes, businesses and other infrastructure were just washed away. It's incredibly horrible. They thought the nuclear plants were ready for an earthquake and a tsunami. But they weren't. The devastation is almost unbelievable. Our hearts go out to the people of Japan.

But just as the tragedy in Japan shows the insignificance of the disappointment of not getting an iPad 2, the second coming of Jesus will make the tragedy in Japan seem insignificant. The tragedy in Japan was local, the second coming of Christ will bring tragedy to, not only worldwide to all who don't know Jesus who will be living at that time—but to all who have ever lived who do not know Jesus. Our text speaks of this. We read, (Revelation 1:7)

"Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth
will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen."

Verse 7 consists of two Old Testament citations. The first is Daniel 7:13. It reads,

"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me
was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.
He approached the Ancient of Days
and was led into his presence."

In the context there the Son of Man is enthroned over the nations. The second Old Testament reference is from Zechariah 12:10. It reads,

"And I will pour out on the house of David
and the inhabitants of Jerusalem
a spirit of grace and supplication.
They will look on me, the one they have pierced,
and they will mourn for him
as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him
as one grieves for a firstborn son."

This refers to the end time period when God will overcome the enemy nations around Israel and the Israelites will be redeemed after repenting of their sinful rejection of God and his messenger. (Beale, p. 196)

John takes these references and applies them to the Second Coming of Jesus. Some see this verse as the keynote of the book—outlining one of the central themes of Revelation. It teaches us many things.

The first great truth we see here is that

Jesus is surely coming again.

John is telling Christians to be expectant. He begins the verse with the word,


This is an interesting word. Some other translations render it 'Behold." It's actually a form of the Greek word, 'to see'. The word is a prompter of attention—it draws attention to what follows. It was worthy of note.

But here it even seems more than that, that John is commanding us to actually picture the coming of Jesus is our minds or to look at the sky and think about the time when the Lord will come. "Look, He's coming with the clouds…"

He's telling us to pay attention. That Jesus is surely coming again. This also reminds me of the incident in Acts 1:9–11 where we read that Jesus finished speaking to His disciples. We read,

"After he said this,
he was taken up before their very eyes,
and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up
into the sky as he was going,
when suddenly two men dressed
in white stood beside them.
'Men of Galilee', they said,
'why do you stand here looking into the sky?'
This same Jesus,
who has been taken from you into heaven,
will come back in the same way
you have seen him go into heaven."

John tells us that we must be looking for it. Jesus is surely going to come again.

John confirms this by the way that he ends the verse. He wrote,

"So shall it be! Amen."

Literally, John's words are, "Truly, Amen," or "Yes, Amen." The first word is functionally equivalent of "Amen". Amen is a Hebrew word that is used to strongly affirm what has been stated. The sense is 'it is firm, established, immovable; it shall surely be.' (Hoeksema, p. 27) Putting the two words of affirmation together emphasizes the surety of it taking place. The sense is, "Assuredly! Amen!". It will certainly be.

The second thing I want you to see about this Second Coming of Jesus is that

it will not take place in secret.

It will not be a secret coming. John wrote,

"and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth
will mourn because of him."

Jesus told us the same thing. In Matthew 24:26–28. He said,

"So if anyone tells you,
'There he is, out in the desert,'
do not go out; or,
'Here he is, in the inner rooms,'
do not believe it.
For as lightning that comes
from the east is visible even in the west,
so will be the coming of the Son of Man."

Then in verses 30 & 31 Jesus said,

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man
will appear in the sky,
and all the nations of the earth will mourn.
They will see the Son of Man coming
on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.
And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call,
and they will gather his elect from the four winds,
from one end of the heavens to the other."

The Second Coming of Jesus will not be a secret coming—everyone, even the soldiers who crucified Him, even Pilate, even the Jews who handed Jesus over to Pilate—all those who pierced Him, will see Him. All the peoples of the earth will see Him—every eye.

The third thing we see from our text is that

for many, Jesus' second coming will be a time of great mourning.

John wrote,

"Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him."

This reminds us of what Jesus said in Matthew 24:30

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man
will appear in the sky, and all
the nations of the earth will mourn.
They will see the Son of Man coming
on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory."

He is going to come with clouds. We saw from our Responsive Reading, (Psalm 97) that clouds are symbols of majesty and judgment. (see also Herman Hoeksema, Behold He Cometh, p. 28) In Psalm 97:2 we read,

"Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice
are the foundation of his throne."

It went on to talk about how fire goes before Him and consumes all His enemies.

So it is here. Jesus comes with clouds. All the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him. The word that is used for 'mourning' here denotes great grief. It also means 'to cut'. I don't know if that's where our expression of grief or sorrow, 'cut to the heart' comes from, but it gives you and idea of the great grief that the word expresses. For example, it's used in Luke 8:52 of the people who were 'wailing and mourning' because Jairus' 12 year old daughter had died. It's also used in Luke 23:27 of the women who followed Jesus as He was being led out to be crucified. We read,

"A large number of people followed him,
including women who mourned and wailed for him."

It denotes great mourning, a mourning of great sorrow and unbelievable horror.

This certainly introduces one of the great themes of Revelation (and other parts of the Bible)—that Christ's coming will bring fear and sorrow to those who do not know Jesus. We see this in Revelation 6:14–17. We read,

"The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up,
and every mountain and island
was removed from its place.
Then the kings of the earth,
the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty,
and every slave and every free man
hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.
They called to the mountains and the rocks,
'Fall on us and hide us from the face of him
who sits on the throne
and from the wrath of the Lamb!
For the great day of their wrath has come,
and who can stand?"

In chapters 8 through 11 we have a picture of the second coming that is portrayed in terms of the seven trumpets of the wrath of God. In chapter 16 it is portrayed in terms of the seven bowls of God's wrath. In chapters 18 & 19 it is portrayed in terms of the fall of Babylon the Great. In Revelation 19:11–16 we read of things that take place just before the great battle at the end of time. John writes,

"I saw heaven standing open
and there before me was a white horse,
whose rider is called Faithful and True.
With justice he judges and makes war.
His eyes are like blazing fire,
and on his head are many crowns.
He has a name written on him
that no one knows but he himself.
He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood,
and his name is the Word of God.
The armies of heaven were following him,
riding on white horses and dressed
in fine linen, white and clean.
Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword
with which to strike down the nations.
He will rule them with an iron scepter.
He treads the winepress of the fury
of the wrath of God Almighty.
On his robe and on his thigh
he has this name written:

Then we read about the enemies of God being thoroughly defeated. We read, (verses 19-21)

"Then I saw the beast and the kings
of the earth and their armies
gathered together to make war
against the rider on the horse and his army.
But the beast was captured,
and with him the false prophet
who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf.
With these signs he had deluded
those who had received the mark of the beast
and worshiped his image.
The two of them were thrown alive
into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
The rest of them were killed
with the sword that came out of the mouth
of the rider on the horse,
and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh."

Chapter 20 follows and tells how the devil will be bound and thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, when he and the beast and the false prophet will be tormented forever and ever. It then tells about the judgment of the people of the world and says, (Revelation 20:15)

"If anyone's name was not found
written in the book of life,
he was thrown into the lake of fire."

There will be mourning when Jesus comes. It will be followed by weeping and gnashing of teeth.

We see the same teaching in 2 Thessalonians 1:6–10. It says,

"God is just: He will pay back trouble
to those who trouble you
and give relief to you who are troubled,
and to us as well.
This will happen when the Lord Jesus
is revealed from heaven in blazing fire
with his powerful angels.
He will punish those who do not know God
and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
They will be punished
with everlasting destruction
and shut out from the presence
of the Lord and from the majesty of his power
on the day he comes to be glorified
in his holy people and to be marveled at
among all those who have believed."

When Jesus comes to judge there will be widespread and great mourning.

Now what does all this mean?

First of all, for everyone here, both Christians and non-Christians,

you need to make sure you're ready for the Lord's coming.

You'll remember what Jesus said in Matthew 25. He told the parable of the 10 virgins waiting for the bridegroom. Five were wise and had their lamps ready. Five were foolish and neglected to bring oil for their lamps. As they went to buy oil, the bridegroom came and they missed out on the wedding banquet. At the end of the parable Jesus said, (verse 13)

"Therefore keep watch,
because you do not know
the day or the hour."

We need to keep watch.

For those of you who are not Christians, this means that you need to embrace Jesus before it's too late.

Notice how it says that Jesus will be seen by

"those who pierced him;".

One of the reasons that is mentioned is to show that those who crucified Jesus will be held accountable. They pierced Him. They're going to mourn when He comes again.

But it's also true that you pierced Him. If you're not a Christian this means that you've rejected His rule, His authority. By rejecting of Him you're showing that you are on the side of those who crucified Him, and that indeed, in a figurative sense, you are crucifying Him. We read about this in Hebrews 6:6. The context there is about those who once professed Christ, but then turned their back on Him. The apostle wrote,

"to their loss they are crucifying
the Son of God all over again
and subjecting him to public disgrace."

In a figurative sense they crucified Jesus. The same is true of you. You didn't nail Him to the cross directly. But your love of sin and your rejection of His lordship shows that you are among those, 'who pierced Him'.

You do not want to face the wrath of God and the prospect of eternal hell. You don't want to be in the group that will say to the mountains and hills, "Fall on us and hide us from the wrath of the Lamb." Repent of your sins and turn to Jesus. He's your only hope.

For Christians, this means you are to be longing for Christ's coming.

Your life is to be lived in the expectation of the second coming. On the last day the heavens will disappear with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with fire. Peter writes, (2 Peter 3:11-12a)

"Since everything
will be destroyed in this way,
what kind of people ought you to be?
You ought to live holy
and godly lives as you look forward
to the day of God
and speed its coming."

Vern Poythress writes, (The Returning King, p. 74)

"As an integral aspect of our worship, we long for the second coming of Christ."

I've heard some people say that they live their lives as if every day will be their last. And that's a good philosophy to live by. But even better is to live every day under the expectation of the Second Coming. Live so that when He comes He will be pleased with you and your life. He's coming with the clouds. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 speaks of Christian workers and their obligation to build correctly on the foundation of Jesus Christ. But what Paul says there applies to every one of us. He wrote,

"If any man builds on this foundation
using gold, silver, costly stones,
wood, hay or straw,
his work will be shown for what it is,
because the Day will bring it to light.
It will be revealed with fire,
and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.
If what he has built survives,
he will receive his reward.
If it is burned up, he will suffer loss;
he himself will be saved,
but only as one escaping through the flames."

Are you prepared to meet your Lord? What's your life—gold, precious stones, or wood, hay or stubble?

Secondly, this shows us what the message of the church is to be. The message of the church is

repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.

I once had one of my cousins ask Marg,

"Does Larry preach fire and brimstone?"

I think she was hoping that I didn't. Many people today think that's old fashioned, that that's not what the people of our society want or need to hear today. Even though the message of John the Baptist was, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand", and 'the ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire' (Matthew 3:2,10); even though Jesus' message was, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand" and, He more than anyone else in the Bible, spoke about hell and its reality (e.g. Matthew 25:41); even though Peter's message on the Day of Pentecost was, "Repent…" (Acts 2:38, 3:19) and how God was going to make Christ's enemies His footstool; even though one of the characteristics of the preaching in the book of Acts is that it emphasized coming judgment (e.g. Acts 10:42, 17:30-31, 24:25)—some Christians today will tell you that you need to get rid of all that. They will tell you that you need to ask our society what they want a church to be like and then give them a church like that.

Rob Bell, one of the leaders of the emerging church movement, has just released his new book called, "Love Wins". In it he denies the biblical teaching of hell. I'm not sure of Rob Bell's motivation in doing so, so I won't comment on that. Yet I know that many who claim to be Christians will tell you that teaching that hell is a reality is offensive to our society and that we need to get rid of it. Albert Mohler says we must totally resist this. He writes, (Blog, Doing Away with Hell, Part 1, March 8, 2011)

"But the urgent question is this: Is evangelical theology about marketing God to our contemporary culture, or is it our task to stand in continuity with orthodox biblical conviction–whatever the cost?"

Mohler continues, (Blog, Doing Away with Hell, Part 2, March 10, 2011)

"In his study of "seeker sensitive" churches, researcher Kimon Howland Sargeant notes that 'today's cultural pluralism fosters an under-emphasis on the 'hard sell' of Hell while contributing to an overemphasis on the 'soft sell' of personal satisfaction through Jesus Christ.'"

Many today want to make the gospel more palatable to sinners. They tone down the New Testament emphasis on repentance. They tone down the New Testament emphasis on sin. They tell you not to preach against the flagrant and prevailing sins of today's society. They will tell you that we need to change our views on hell, to teach either annihilationism (where unbelievers existence is snuffed out) or universalism (where everyone is eventually saved) instead. They will tell you that that's the way for the church to grow.

But it's not. John's message was,

"Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth
will mourn because of him.
So shall it be! Amen."

You'd better be ready. Otherwise it's going to be a time of great mourning. Who is coming again? It's Jesus. When you go home read how He's described at the end of this chapter. He's the One who holds the keys of death and Hades. He's the One who has a sharp double-edged sword coming out of His mouth. He's such, that when John saw Him, he fell at His feet as dead. That's who you have to do with. You'd better be ready. He's the great judge of all the earth!