Does “every eye will see him” in Revelation 1:7 mean all people on the whole earth will see it? Should Revelation 1:7 be better translated as “earth” or “land”…and why is this significant?
B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, June 10, 2020
When we look at other instances in the Bible similar statements do not necessarily mean the whole of the earth but closer to something like the whole assembly or representatives of the whole. For examples, please see: Joshua 22:12, 1 Kings 1:40, Matthew 3:5, and 2 Corinthians 3:2. It means it will be a public event, not a secret event but out in the open.
Keep in mind that there was a qualifier in the context that those who pierced him would also see – and they are no longer with us! Consider also: Luke 21:32, Matthew 24:34, Matthew 23:36, Mark 13:30, Luke 11:50-51 and Luke 17:23-37.
Regarding Revelation 1:7, many times this is translated as “earth”. But this may be misleading. The Greek word ge (ghay) here is often translated as land. And this may be significant to get the translation into English correct as land and earth would yield two different meanings in these instances.
The context reveals this is talking of the tribes and even those who pierced him, which is obviously discussing the tribes of Israel and the Jews who handed Christ over to the Romans and demanded His crucifixion.
Matthew 2:6, 2:20-21; 4:15; John 3:22, and Acts 10:39 for example translate ge as land due to the context. Matthew 10:15 and 11:24 discuss the land of Sodom which also used this word. Young’s literal translation actually states it as: “Lo, he doth come with the clouds, and see him shall every eye, even those who did pierce him, and wail because of him shall all the tribes of the land. Yes! Amen!”
So having “earth” gives the impression that the whole world would see this event. However if “land” is meant, this satisfies the context of being the immediate events of judgment for the tribes of Israel. This limits the destructive judgment to the tribes of the land (Israel/Judea) as opposed to the whole earth.
Re-read Revelation 1:1-9. (I’ll give you an easy one this time! 😊)