A Handful of Mud: Brainstorming the Apocalypse (III)

February 21, 2010

When we ended the last post, we had concluded that the most apparent reason why John quotes Daniel 7:13 and Zechariah 12:10 together in Revelation 1:7 is because Jesus uses them together in the Olivet Discourse, specifically Matthew 24:30-31.  So, it makes good sense that John is assuming that their usage in Matthew 24 provides at least some significant clues as to what their meaning is in relation to the Book of Revelation, given that their up-front positioning certainly implies that could be called “theme verses” for the entire final book of the biblical canon.  Thus, before getting back to Revelation 1, we do well to poke around some in Matthew 24, as well as Daniel 7 and Zechariah 12, looking for pieces of this puzzle which we can put together.

Let’s start with Daniel 7.  There, we are somewhat surprised to find that when the “One like a son of man” is “coming with the clouds of heaven” (7:13), He is not coming to earth.  Instead, he is moving into the presence of “the Ancient of Days” (God the Father) in the heavenly throne room (v. 13).  This realization immediately makes me think of the sequence of Rev. 4 and 5, where “the One seated on the throne” (God the Father) in ch.  4 is joined by the Lion/Lamb in ch. 5.

The other bit of information that is most immediately helpful to our study is that the Son of Man figure is given authority that “those of every people, nation, and language should serve Him” (Dan. 7:14, HCSB).  This wording makes me think of two passages in Revelation: 5:10 and 7:9.  In 5:10, we are told that Jesus “redeemed people for God… from every tribe and language and people and nation” (HCSB).  In 7:9, though, it seems even more direct because it is before the throne in heaven and the Lamb (Jesus, the Son of Man) that we see “a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language.”  In addition, that same group is said to “serve” the Lord night and day (7:15).

When we go to Zechariah 12:10, there is not as much data to work with, but what is there is important.  The previous prophecies in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53, as well as John’s citation of Zechariah 12:10 in John 19:37, related to Jesus’ side being pierced during the crucifixion, make it clear that the “One whom they pierced,” whom they “will look at” and for whom they “will mourn” is the Messiah, Jesus.  What is there in the immediately preceding context and which is often overlooked, though, is the fact that what is taking place is of a spiritually positive nature.  The first part of verse 10 says: “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem…” (HCSB).  While it is not obvious what this refers to in the Apocalypse (though Rev. 7:1-8 and 11:13 are my best guesses, given that they both seem to be talking about a large number of Jews—and in the case of 11:13, in the city of Jerusalem itself—being saved), it certainly sounds like true repentance and probably saving faith.  So, there would seem to be a very good chance that this is related Romans 11:25-26, which speaks of “all Israel” (whatever that means) being saved after the fullness of the Gentiles have come in.

In the next post, I’ll seek to take what we have learned from Daniel 7 and Zechariah 12 and plug it into the flow of Matthew 24.  Is it possible that a clarified understanding of the Olivet Discourse will in fact open new avenues of insight for the Apocalypse?

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