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What does “every eye will see him” mean?

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

(Surely this relates to a spiritual seeing rather than a physical seeing. Please, no one mention television)

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    I am happy to accept exactly what it says quite literally. It does not say "simultaneously" but presumably within a short time like a few hours(??).
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 23:01
  • So you are ignoring the ones who pierced him??
    – Steve
    Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 23:05
  • 1
    I would also accept "those that pierced Him" also. There is resurrection of the both the righteous and the wicked (John 5:24-28, etc).
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 23:54

3 Answers 3

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Tony cites two great verses for understanding this passage and he inspired me to expand on his answer and give him and the question a vote.

Zechariah 12:10 Then I will pour out on the house of David and on the people of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and prayer, and they will look on Me, the One they have pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

Isa 40:5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all humanity together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” BSB

John is describing one of the most climactic events in human history. Jesus’ second coming will be even more dramatic than his first. The seeing will be both physical and spiritual. It sounds like you are not interested in how the physical happens and the spiritual is more important anyway.

Zechariah refers to the Jews (the ones who pierced him) but John broadens the concept to refer to all the tribes and nations of the world. Just as generations of Jews have been held guilty for the acts of the original perpetrators, “His blood be upon us”, so all the world is guilty for how they have treated Jesus. When he returns in spectacular fashion and they see it with their eyes, their hearts will be smitten with the undeniable reality, that the one they rejected so cruelly is the one who has returned to save the world and restore it to order.

It will spark the greatest revival in the history of the world as people universally repent and acknowledge the King of kings as their Lord and Savior, and the millennial reign will begin. The mourning will turn into joy as David wrote in his Psalm of dedication.

Psalm 30:10 Hear me, O LORD, and have mercy; O LORD, be my helper.” 11You turned my mourning into dancing; You peeled off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 12that my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks forever. BSB

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  • A thoughtful and very useful answer.+1
    – Steve
    Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 22:41
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Acts 1:

11 “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.”

Rev 1:

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

The piercing refers to John 19:

34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

This was just one person. The plural in Rev 1:7 alludes to Zechariah 12:

10 Then I will pour out on the house of David and on the people of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and prayer, and they will look on Me, the One they have pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

Metaphorically, the people who pierced Jesus on the cross are all the sinners.

Further, the physical seeing part will fulfill Isaiah 40:

5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

OP: Surely this relates to a spiritual seeing rather than a physical seeing.

While working in Japan, my wife woke me up to watch the breaking news of the attack on the twin towers. The 2nd coming will be a bigger event than the first man stepping on the moon. I'd go with a physical seeing, not just a spiritual seeing.

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  • you also have omitted 'the ones who pierced him' - an important part of any answer.
    – Steve
    Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 21:26
  • Good point. I added. Thanks :)
    – user35953
    Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 13:33
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Hebrews 12:1 uses the word νέφος (a mass of clouds) to describe the saints in the spiritual realm. So, it is likely that the phrase in Revelation 1:7 “coming with the clouds” (νεφελῶν) is a variant reference to the cloud of witnesses (angels & saints) that are coming with the Lord to bring about a restoration of all things.

It is interesting how, in Daniel 7:13, the same word is used in the LXX. While νεφελῶν could also be a reference to the cloud which led the Israelites in the wilderness, the passage in Hebrews where νέφος is mentioned seems to be the most applicable for interpreting Revelation 1:7.

In a similar manner, theologically Acts 1:9-11 (i.e. νεφέλη) appears to be more than just meteorological nephology. Matthew 27:53 describes the first fruits of the resurrection taking place alongside Jesus' resurrection. Their ultimate ascending into heaven, as a cloud, appears to take place at the same time Jesus ascended - as Acts 1:9-11 appears to indicate.

The Lord will come with the first fruits of those redeemed, along with his followers from the furthest reaches of human civilization in space, to land on the earth. At the same time, or 1,000 years later in historic pre-millenial thinking, a fire like transformation will take place where a new earth & new heavens appear. The manifestation of Jesus coming, as a larger than life form, can account for every eye seeing him.

A good visual example of fictional mythology along these lines can be seen in the original Star Trek series. (Sorry it’s tv mythology!) It has an episode where a powerful being claiming to be the Greek god Apollo appears and demands that the crew of the Enterprise disembark onto his planet to worship him. At times he appears larger than life to impress the crew.

The difference with Jesus is that while unbelievers will confess his Lordship (e.g. every knee shall bow & tongue confess, Romans 14:11), with their hearts being hard, they will not be able to follow him further up and further into his glorious presence. When the Lord returns, all will look upon him as the one who was pierced for their sins. And all will mourn because he will come as judge. No when can enter into the judge's presence on the basis of their own good works. It is purely through what Jesus did on the cross that one can enter into glory. See Acts 17:31.

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  • Between the 'coming' and the fiery transformation is over 1000 years.
    – Steve
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 0:02
  • I’m taking the 1,000 years in Revelation as a symbolic number for the martyrs being raised in heaven (first fruits) during this present age. If I am wrong, it’s no big deal. Jesus can do what he wants - it will all pan (millennial) out in the end. 😊
    – Jess
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 0:28
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    (+1) This is a good quality answer - really interesting seeing you track νεφελῶν through other contemporary usages. And especially loving the irony of including a TV reference in your response to a question where the OP begged for nobody to mention television as their answer :) Would also like to hear the rationale for the (-1).
    – Steve can help
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 23:11

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