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Every Eye will See

In the first chapter of Revelation it states:

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

Revelation 1:7

We are going to take a closer look at parts of this verse in a moment, but first let’s set the stage by looking at Jesus’ Ascension, as depicted in Acts 1:

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:9-11

Jesus apparently went straight up into the clouds and out of sight from the apostles when he ascended into Heaven. So then, we can expect His return to be from Heaven, out of the clouds and down to earth.

Many people say that the advent of satellite television will enable ‘every eye to see’ Jesus when He returns with His Second Coming. Remember, He is due to return to Israel, so in a technical sense, it will not be realistically physically possible for every eye to see His return. Based on the verses in Acts, we can assume He won’t circle the globe before descending to terra firma Israel. Those of us on the opposite side of the planet will be blocked from seeing this event. So the theory is that technology in the form of satellites and widespread media coverage will enable everyone to see this event.

But in thinking about this in a practical sense, not everyone is going to have access to TV coverage, Internet connectivity or other forms of media, for this or any other event. And, it’s safe to say that not everyone with these forms of communication will be tuned in at the predestined time. It’s just short-sighted to use this as a validation for the ability of every person to see this monumental event.

Is there a better answer? I believe there is. The way to properly understand Revelation 1:7 is to examine the key words in the verse: “eye” and “see.”

The word eye in the original language can be a metaphor for eyes of the mind, as in the faculty of knowing. A good example of this is Luke 19:42, where Jesus said the things that give peace are hidden from their eyes. Another example is in Romans 11:8, where Paul quotes the Old Testament in saying that God has given them a spirit of stupor, with eyes that do not see. In both of these examples, the word eye means understanding of the mind, and not a physical eyeball, and both come from the same word in the original as the word eye in Revelation 1:7.

The word see in the original language can have the meaning of appearance.  Hebrews 9:28 says that He will appear a second time. This word can also reference an inward impression or spiritual experience, as in John 3:36, where Jesus says that unbelievers will not see life. (Think of it like this… you don’t understand something, then when someone tells you something that enables you to gain understanding, the light bulb turns on above your head, and you say, ah, now I see.)  Again, these words, appear and see come from the same word in the original language as see in Revelation 1:7… with obvious meaning other than to physically see something.

When combining the deeper meaning of the words eye and see from Revelation 1:7, the phrase every eye will see Him could just as well be translated everyone will know His appearance.

One thing that we can know for sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that everyone on Earth will know when Jesus comes again. That is without question. Even so, come Lord Jesus!