7 Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. 8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
Announcements Bring Hope
by Dwayne Simmons, Ph.D.
In these two passages from Revelation 1:7-8, we have the Apostle John making two great announcements. The first is that our Lord Jesus is coming and the second is that our Lord God is everlasting. Both of these announcements bring hope. Before I explain this hope, let me first reflect a bit on these passages.
The first great announcement is very similar to the one pronounced by Jesus himself in Matthew 24:30 where he states that "all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the great clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
Both the passage in John and the one in Matthew mention things that stand out to me. The first is that Jesus is coming on a cloud. I immediately think of the Old Testament passage of the Israelites in the wilderness being led by cloud during the day (Exodus 13). I also cannot help but to think of the vision of Daniel (7:13) where "there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven." Clouds in Scripture can be a symbol of God's presence and protection.
The next is the phrase "every eye will see." Vision requires the brain actually processing the information from the eye. Everyone will see Jesus for who he really is, and we will all see Christ as God's anointed!
Third is the phrase "will mourn." Some will mourn because Jesus was pierced, that is, suffered and was slaughtered like a sacrificial lamb. They mourn because Jesus had to die for our transgressions. They see Jesus in all human suffering. Others will mourn because they have mistreated others and failed to show love to their neighbor. These mourn because they now face judgment.
The second great announcement is similar to Daniel's vision (Daniel 7:14). "His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away and his kingdom is one that will never by destroyed." John refers to the Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. John announces that God is the beginning and the end. I am struck by the intentional ambiguity. Is it the Lord God as in the Old Testament scriptures or is it our Lord Jesus Christ to which he refers? I believe it is both, and they are one and the same!
Now about the hope I find in these amazing passages. There are two kinds of hope. One kind of hope is a desire for something to be true. I call it you "hope for" something. It is more like a wish. This hope is not the kind of hope I find here. Instead, these passages lead me to a deeper "hope in" something such as Jesus as my Savior and Lord. This kind of hope is more of a trust and confidence that these things will come to be.
Can you imagine, Jesus coming on the clouds? I can because of my hope. Not only can I imagine it, I am confident that it will happen. Jesus has promised us that he will be with us always and that we will be with him. He prayed that we will be in him and he in us. We know that God keeps his promises. Our struggle is that God does not necessarily operate on our timeline or at our command. But throughout human history and story after story in scripture, we see evidence of God's protection and presence.
Personally, I see it in his amazing creation! I am confident not only will our Lord Jesus come to us, but we all will be able to see God's anointed one with our own eyes. We will see Jesus as both light and love. We will see Jesus, and we will mourn for all of those who refused to acknowledge Jesus as Lord. It will not be a time of gloating, but sorrow. However, it will also be time of rejoicing, for we not only will see Jesus, we will know that our Lord has conquered the evil of this present age. This passage in John gives me hope that this world is not all there is. Our God is sovereign and in control and is coming!
This kind of confident hope is critical for our world today. It empowers us to live confidently, knowing that there is something so much better coming. It does not mean that we ignore all of the wrongs, injustices and suffering around us. Instead, I am empowered to spread God's love, to live for God, and persevere in whatever trials come my way. It also means that I am constantly convicted to try to be more, to help others more, and show the love of Christ more, wherever I find myself. I can state passionately and confidently: to God be the glory, for ever and ever, Amen!
Learn More About Our Guest Writer
Dwayne Simmons, Ph.D.
Dwayne Simmons, Ph.D., is the Cornelia Marschall Smith Endowed Professor, Chair of the Department of Biology and professor of Psychology and Neuroscience in the College of Arts & Sciences. As a Fulbright Scholar, he conducted research on the role of calcium buffering in auditory function and deafness. He is also recipient of a Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Before coming to Baylor, he was a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology at UCLA and director of several NIH-funded undergraduate research programs, whose goals are to increase the number of students from diverse backgrounds who enter biomedical research careers. Dr. Simmons' research focuses on cellular and molecular mechanisms associated with hearing loss in the brain and inner ear. Learn more about his research here.