Rev, theme verse
"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" (Rev 1:7).
This verse is set apart from all other true prophetic portions
of the Apocalypse, and highlighted by the affirmative "Amen". In fact, it might
be said that the prophetic portion proper does not begin until Rev 6. So why is
Rev 1:7 where it is? Perhaps because this one verse is a theme verse, or key v,
for the whole of the Book. (Think of it as something of a subtitle.) If so, then
what can it tell us about the terms under which the Book may be
The first half of the verse quotes Dan 7:13:
"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,
coming with the clouds of heaven."
So Revelation is surely about the return of Christ from the
Father's throne back to the earth. No surprise there!
What about the second half of Rev 1:7? It quotes Zec
"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. On that day the weeping in
Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of
Megiddo. The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by
themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the
house of Nathan and their wives, the clan of the house of Levi and their wives,
the clan of Shimei and their wives, and all the rest of the clans and their
Are we being told, then, in this "theme verse" of the whole of
Rev, that the events foretold therein are designed by God to lead to the
repentance of Israel. Zec 13:1, which follows immediately after 12:14,
"On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants
of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and
So... going no further into the "murky depths" of the
Apocalypse, with all its symbolic and figurative language... what does a close
look at the "theme verse" alone suggest?
- The "arena" of the Apocalypse is the "land" of Zec 12: the land of promise,
the (greater) land of Israel. (Why "earth" in Rev 1:7 and not "land"? Perhaps
because the Greek "ge" best translates the Heb "eretz", a word of ambiguous
meaning, a word which -- very often in the OT -- means the "land" of Israel, and
not necessarily the whole globe.)
- The "main characters" of the Apocalypse
are those who inhabit this "land", and they are further defined in Zec
12:10-13:1 as the "house of David" and the "inhabitants of Jerusalem" (and its
- In this land of Israel, a great mourning will be followed by a
great cleansing for Israel... culminating in (or coinciding with) the return of
their Messiah whom they crucified (Zec 12:6,7), who will deliver them from their
conquering enemies (Zec 14). Then God's Kingdom will be established...
of course, the "theme verse" is also telling us that, whatever earlier
(preliminary?) fulfillments there might be to the Apocalypse, the Book is
preeminently about the Last Days... when...
The above is a small example of letting OT prophecies
(directly quoted in the Apocalypse) aid us in setting up signposts and
guidelines to understand what at first glance might seem an extraordinarily
- the people of Israel have come back to their land (only true in the last 50
- in ignorance of their true Messiah...
- to suffer great
threats/setbacks from their avowed enemies...
- the trials of which will lead
them to turn back to their God and His Son...
- which will lead them next to
the waters of cleansing...
- And so their Messiah will appear to
- and will vanquish their enemies...
- and will set up the Kingdom
Is it really that complex?