1:7-9 THE GREAT CONTROVERSY
β€Behold He is coming with clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they also who pierced Him. And all tribes of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amenβ€ (Revelation 1:7). Verse 7 alludes to what will turn out to be one of the major themes of Revelation. Even though Jesus loves everyone and wants all to become β€kings and priests to His God,β€ not everyone accepts His love. There are those β€who pierced Himβ€.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> There are β€the tribes of the earthβ€ who β€shall wail because of Him.β€ Revelation 6:15 portrays those who cry out to the mountains and the rocks to fall on them and hide them from the face of Jesus when He comes. Chapters 16 and 19 show the "Nations" and "Kings of the World" arrayed against Him in the Battle of Armageddon. As incredible as it may seem when we consider His infinite goodness, Jesus has enemies.
There are two sides in a great controversy which has been raging since β€war broke out in heavenβ€ (Revelation 12:7) with the rebellion of Lucifer (see chapter 12). This war is being waged here on planet earth. John himself was caught up in this great controversy, both a victim and a victor: β€I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christβ€ (Revelation 1:9). John was exiled to Patmos<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> (and, according to tradition, he survived being boiled in oil) because he was on God's side of the great controversy.
The resolution of this controversy between God and Satan and the total eradication of sin and evil is the theme of the Book of Revelation. This theme is not just of academic interest; the Book of Revelation presents the world as being divided into two great camps. There are those whose names will be found in the Book of Life and those whose names will not (Revelation 20:15). There are those who are with the Lamb and those who are with the Beast (Revelation 14:4,11).
The choice of allegiance is infinitely more important than the choice of what political party to belong to or what sports team to support; and it is a personal choice. No one is a follower of Christ just because they were born into a Christian family or in a Christian society, and no one becomes a Christian just because their parents chose to have them baptized as an infant.
There is no choice that is more important. It is a matter of eternal destiny, with those on the Lambβ€™s side destined for eternal life and those on the beastβ€™s side destined for eternal destruction. The Book of Revelation (as well as the rest of the scriptures) does not present a great unaligned majority who havenβ€™t made up their minds—everyone has been infected by sin and is by default on the wrong side of the controversy. But the fearsome scenes as well as the awesome promises presented in Revelation are both a solemn warning and an encouraging reminder that everyone has the privilege of choosing to transfer his allegiance to Godβ€™s side. We can all be a part of the "new heaven and new earth" (Revelation 21:1).
Continue to next section: 1:10 THE LORD’S DAY
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> 1 Thessalonians 4:18 makes it clear that the righteous will arise and see Christ coming. Revelation 20:5 makes it clear that β€the rest of the deadβ€ will not be resurrected until the 1000 years (the millenium) are finished, in other words, the unsaved will not see Christ coming with the clouds. However, this verse shows that there will be exceptions. β€Those who pierced Him,β€ those who had a special part in His death (which could also include those who β€pierced Himβ€ by persecuting His children) will have a special resurrection. This is what Jesus meant when He said to Pilate, β€hereafter you (Pilate) will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heavenβ€ (Matthew 26:64).
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> Patmos is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea just off the coast of Turkey and about 60 miles southwest of Ephesus where John lived (according to tradition) before and after his exile.