Today, many people argue that the return of Christ is a word-picture for something else. For example, they say that it means the growth of the church.
John would not agree. He has used many word-pictures in his book, but by the return of Christ, he means an actual event. It will happen in public, in fact, everyone will see it
Jesusí return will be like the time when Jesus went up to heaven (Acts 1:9-11). John was a witness of that event. The mention of Ďcloudsí here reminds us of that event. It may also remind us of Paulís description of Christís return in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. There, Paul emphasises that one reason for Christís return is to rescue Godís people from this world.
Here, however, John emphasises another reason: Christ will return in order to change this world. His return will have a powerful effect on people. John refers to the people who Ďpiercedí Christ. That means that they cut through his body with a sharp object. It especially refers to the injuries that he suffered at his death.
John is using words from Zechariah 12:10. That verse is about the Jewish people (that is, the people from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). At Christís return, they will be deeply sad, and that will cause them to return to God. God will accept his Jewish people and he will forgive them (Zechariah 13:1). When the Jewish people return to God, people from every nation will turn to him (Romans 11:12). Christ will return to rule the whole world (Zechariah 14:9): people from every nation will serve him (Zechariah 14:16; Revelation 20:4-6).
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© 2016, Keith Simons.