Q27 : Revelation 1:7 - Past or Future?

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Q27 : Revelation 1:7 - Past or Future?

I am very gratetul to you for your commentary on Revelationa on the Spirit and Truth site. It has proved an extremely valuable resource for me of late. In fact I've printed almost the whole thing off!

My question relates to Revelation 1:7 and the use of phylai ("tribes" Preterists say nowhere in the NT is phylai used for Gentiles; where (earth) is used in Mt 24:29-30 it is limited by:

  1. phylai and hence relates to Jewish tribes
  2. Zech 12:10 which has a Judean or Jerusalem context. They say in the Septuagint phylai is used for tribes but this proves nothing for this merely glosses over distinctions that are in the Hebrew OT. In the NT ethnos is used for the Gentiles and phylai for Jews.

In your commentary on Revelation 1:7b you point out that phylai "in many places specifically denotes the Jewish tribes" but then add "Elsewhere, especially when appearing in the phrase all the tribes, it has a more global meaning (e.g., Mat. 24:30 ; Rev. 1:7) over against the twelve [Jewish] tribes (Mat. 19:28; Luke 22:30; Acts 26:7 ; Jas. 1:1; Rev. 21:12 . Phylai is differentiated from nation [ethnos] ), people [laos] , and tongue (glossa) in Rev. 7:9."

Here is my problem: Aren't we just assuming that Mt 24:30 and Rev 1:7 have a more global meaning here? What evidence do we have that it has a more global meaning when everywhere else in the NT phylai relates to the Jews? And since Rev 1:7 and Mt 24:30 are so closely tied to Zech 12:10 which have a Jewish context how can we maintain that phylai in Rev 1:7 relates to Gentiles?

You go on to say that there is a close connection between Rev 1:7 and Zechariah 12. You fault preterists for making both passages limit the scope to Israel and Jerusalem on the grounds that Zechariah describes a time "when all nations of the earth are gathered against [Jerusalem]" (Zec. 12:3). I agree that Zechariah shows the destruction of 70AD is not in mind but I can't see that Rev 1:7 must therefore include Gentiles. Zech 12:10 refers specifically to Jews.

A27 : by Tony Garland

I'm thankful that the Revelation Commentarya is proving helpful in your studies.

The points you raise go somewhat beyond the basic commentary on Revelation 1:7b. Since these issues are important and there are bound to be others with similar questions, I wrote an article to set forth in more detail why I believe Revelation 1:7 is both future in fulfillment and global in context. See Revelation 1:7 - Past or Future?c where I discuss this matter in greater depth.

I hope to add some of these points to an upcoming revision to my commentary.

Incidentally, you may be interested to know that a print format version of the commentary is available in Adobe PDF formatd. It is rather large (approximately 1500 pages), but you may find it produces a superior printed result.

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