Rev 1:1 KJV The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

In the first sentence of the Revelation, John provided the timeline of the fulfilment of the vision ‘things which must shortly come to pass’. In other words, during his generation’s lifetime, not 2000 years later.

Consider the harmony of Scripture and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture:

Rev 1:7 KJV Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Mat 24:30 KJV And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

John and Matthew harmonise, both described the same event. Four sentences later, Matthew confirmed the timeline:

Mat 24:34 KJV Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

On Revelation 1:7 Adam Clarke commented: 

‘they also which pierced him’ ‘Behold, he cometh with clouds’ – This relates to his coming to execute judgment on the enemies of his religion; perhaps to his coming to destroy Jerusalem, as he was to be particularly manifested to them that pierced him, which must mean the incredulous and rebellious Jews. ‘And all kindreds of the earth’ – Πασαι αἱ φυλαι της γης· All the tribes of the land. By this the Jewish people are most evidently intended, and therefore the whole verse may be understood as predicting the destruction of the Jews; and is a presumptive proof that the Apocalypse was written before the final overthrow of the Jewish state.’

On Matthew 24:30 Adam Clarke wrote: 

‘Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man’ – The plain meaning of this is, that the destruction of Jerusalem will be such a remarkable instance of Divine vengeance, such a signal manifestation of Christ’s power and glory, that all the Jewish tribes shall mourn, and many will, in consequence of this manifestation of God, be led to acknowledge Christ and his religion. ‘By της γης, of the land’, in the text, is evidently meant here, as in several other places, the land of Judea and its tribes, either its then inhabitants, or the Jewish people wherever found.’

Dispensationalism insists that literally ‘every eye’ on earth will see Christ at His imminent future return. Some scholars suggest modern technology will make this possible! In my opinion, such embarrassing speculation could be avoided if the Revelation 1:1 first century timeline was acknowledged and audience relevance applied. 

This harmony of Scripture also confirms the Pre-AD 70 date of the Book of Revelation.

Rev 22:20-21 KJV He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen

The Revelation begins with ‘things which must shortly come to pass’ and ends ‘Surely I come quickly’. Yet, many who insist on a literal interpretation of the Scriptures, refuse to accept the simplicity of our Lord’s words.

Having read numerous highly respected commentators, I am astonished by their determination to impose a futurist presupposition on the Book of Revelation. (Adam Clarke being an exception).

However, I am painfully reminded that I too held that view for over 30 years!

Alexander Gibb

(Evangelical Preterism)