Grace and Peace
“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:7–8).
This is a good place to note that the book of Revelation is simply saturated with citations from the Old Testament. This short passage takes material from at least two places, and those places help throw light on what John is talking about here. “Coming on the clouds” is from Daniel 7:13, and looking on Him whom “they have pierced” is from Zechariah 12:10.
In Daniel, the coming on clouds is not the Second Coming, but is rather the coming of the glorified Son of Man into the throne room of the Ancient of Days. It is a reference to the Ascension, not the Parousia. John has just finished telling us that Jesus is the archon of the kings of the earth, which is what happened at the Ascension. When Jesus approached the Ancient of Days, He was given full and complete authority, dominion, and glory. He was given a kingdom such that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him—in short, everlasting dominion. The Ascension was His coronation as archon of the kings of the earth. The book of Revelation is a description of how He began that reign two thousand years ago, and how His reign would culminate at the end of all history in the appearance of the bride from Heaven.
In Zechariah, the prophet describes a day in which the people will see the one they pierced, and how they will mourn for Him. That day is described as a day in which the spirit of grace and supplication is “poured” upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This is a description of Pentecost—when the Spirit was literally poured out upon them—in that city, to that extent, and with that effect.
We are enabled to see the Lord’s approach to the Ancient of Days through the preaching of the gospel. This is what it means to declare the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We are enabled to see Him as pierced through the preaching of the gospel. This is what it means to portray Him as crucified. We are enabled to mourn for our sins through the preaching of the gospel. This is what it means when the one who was pierced pierces our hearts. As John says, even so, and amen.
We do not need to marvel at how such things can be accomplished through the folly of preaching because the heart of the message preached is a person. He is the first and last, the height and the depth, the alpha and omega, the one in whom we live and move and have our being. It is appropriate that He was given everything by the Ancient of Days because He Himself is the one who is, who was, and who is to come. Before Abraham was, I am, He said.