Every Eye Shall See Him

This verse has puzzled a lot of people.

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

On a globe, how can every eye see Him?

That would only work if everybody is in the same place at the time?!?

A possible explanation is that the verse above is talking about two different events:

  1. Second coming ("he cometh with clouds")
  2. Judgment of the dead ("every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him")

The phrase "they also which pierced him" most likely refers to the judgment of the dead, because at the time of the second coming "they also which pierced him" are still in the grave. (Although some believe in a special resurrection that would explain this)

When everyone stands before God, then "every eye shall see him".

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
- Revelation 20:12

Ellen White hints at this as well.

Christ will come in His own glory, in the glory of His Father, and the glory of the holy angels. Ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels, the beautiful and triumphant sons of God, possessing surpassing loveliness and glory, will escort Him on His way. Then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory, and before Him shall be gathered all nations. Then every eye shall see Him, and they also that pierced Him.
- Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 739

And again.

Then at the close of the one thousand years, Jesus, with the angels and all the saints, leaves the Holy City, and while He is descending to the earth with them, the wicked dead are raised, and then the very men that "pierced Him," being raised, will see Him afar off in all His glory, the angels and saints with Him, and will wail because of Him. They will see the prints of the nails in His hands and in His feet, and where they thrust the spear into His side. The prints of the nails and the spear will then be His glory.
- Ellen White, Early Writings, p.53

Matthew 24 speaks about the second coming as well.

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.
- Matthew 24:30

The phrase "they shall see" is a bit different from "every eye shall see him", e.g. "they shall see" can still refer to seeing things on a mobile phone (or on TV, etc), whereas "every eye shall see him" refers more to direct eye sight.

The phrase "they shall see" doesn't necessarily mean that all will see either. It could just as easily be a select number of people.

Here are some other explanations.

  • It's a figure of speech
  • Localized event, e.g. "they [in Jerusalem] shall see"
  • All people are gathered in one place

Whichever way it is, every eye shall see Him. Either during the second coming itself, or during the judgment of the dead.