There are so many prophecies, dreams and visions surrounding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ with the specific image of Jesus coming in the clouds. Many Christians have often thought that they were the generation that would be alive during this epic Biblical event. We’ve had people try and predict dates and name places with all of them to have fallen short.
Numbers 9:17 states, “Whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent, afterward the sons of Israel would set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the sons of Israel would camp.”
Now let’s read Exodus 13:21-22 which states, “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”
Zephaniah 1:15- Near is the great day of the LORD, Near and coming very quickly; Listen, the day of the LORD! … That day will be a day of wrath– a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness...
Joel 2:1-4- Blow a trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, For the day of the LORD is coming; Surely it is near, A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness. …. There has never been anything like it, Nor will there be again after it To the years of many generations.
“Stories in the Hebrew Bible say that the Philistines clashed with the ancient Israelites many times. One of the battles supposedly took place between a Philistine force led by the giant man named Goliath and an Israelite force that included a man named David who would go on to become king of Israel. In the story David kills Goliath with a slingshot and the Israelites go on to rout the Philistine force. Whether David or Goliath ever existed — or if a series of wars between the Philistines and Israelites occurred — are matters debated by scholars. The Philistines pop up again in Assyrian texts dating to the 8th century and 7thcenturies B.C. when the Assyrian Empire ruled much of the Middle East.One text records a treaty between the Assyrian ruler Esarhaddon (ca. 681 – 669 B.C.) and the ruler of a city named Tyre. In the treaty, Esarhaddon’s control “of the land of Philistines” is acknowledged and the ruler of Tyre agrees that the cargo of any ships wrecked off this area belong to Esarhaddon. The Assyrian texts don’t specify exactly what the “land of the of the Philistines” encompassed during the 7th century B.C.; however, an earlier text, dating to the reign of Tiglath Pileser III (reign 745–727 B.C.) says that the Assyrian king had trouble finding a reliable vassal ruler who could control Ashkelon (a place which the Hebrew Bible says was a Philistine city).One text, written in the name of Tiglath Pileser III, says that a “King of Ashkelon” named Sidqia “did not bow to my yoke” and as a consequence, Sidqia and his family were deported to Assyria. The Philistines disappear from written history during the 6th century B.C. when the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II (reign ca. 605 BC – c. 562 BC) conquered the region and destroyed several cities, including Ashkelon.”
Exodus 30:3,18– For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near– a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations….Dark will be the day at Tahpanhes when I break the yoke of Egypt; there her proud strength will come to an end. She will be covered with clouds, and her villages will go into captivity.
Exodus 34:12– As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
“The people of the Church in Jerusalem were commanded by an oracle given by revelation before the war to those in the city who were worthy of it to depart and dwell in one of the cities of Perea which they called Pella. To it those who believed on Christ traveled from Jerusalem, so that when holy men had altogether deserted the royal capital of the Jews and the whole land of Judaea…”— Eusebius, Church History 3, 5, 3
Eusebius relates the events of the first century as fulfillment of scripture. Makes you wonder what he believed when hearing the scriptures about Jesus coming in the clouds.
Isaiah 19:1-2- See, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt;the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, one against the other,neighbor against neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom;
“I will set Egyptians against Egyptians: Isaiah prophesies a coming civil war in Egypt, which was indirectly the hand of God’s judgment against them. Not many years after this time it was divided into twelve several kingdoms, between whom there were many and cruel wars, as is related by the historians of those times.” (Poole)”
Psalm 18:9-10: He also bowed the heavens down low, and came downWith thick darkness under His feet.10 He rode on a cherub and flew;And He sped on the wings of the wind.
Is “Jesus coming in the clouds” literal? Then how do we compare to previous statements in ancient Hebrew culture? Is “Jesus coming on the clouds” figurative? What should we expect when we hear this in God’s Word?
“I kept looking in the night visions,And behold, with the clouds of heavenOne like a son of man was coming,And He came up to the Ancient of DaysAnd was presented before Him.14 And to Him was given dominion,Honor, and a kingdom,So that all the peoples, nations, and populations of all languagesMight serve Him.His dominion is an everlasting dominionWhich will not pass away;And His kingdom is oneWhich will not be destroyed.”
Revelation 1:7 says that “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.”
Mark 13:24-30- 24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven.28 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: as soon as its branch has become tender and sprouts its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
The last verse I want to tackle in this teaching is 1 Thessalonians. The infamous scripture used to teach about Jesus coming in the clouds. Reading this in our 21st century mindset, it can be very easy to mis interpret this because we are defining these words with our current and modern definitions.
When contextually looking at this verse, you can easily see who Paul was talking to as he was instructing a particular group of people.
Let’s read 1 Thessalonians 4:10-18“for indeed you practice it toward all the brothers and sisters who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to excel even more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we instructed you, 12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as indeed the rest of mankind do, who have no hope.14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead, so also God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore, comfort one another with these words.
Now if we need any more proof that Paul is writing to a specific group of people that were going to partake in this event he is describing, let’s go to verse 15. In the middle of the verse Paul’s statement, “we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord.” Well, what is this saying? We who are alive? Who is “we”?
If Paul is writing the letter to the Thessalonians, “we” includes Paul and the Thessalonians. They will be alive (obviously) and REMAIN until the coming of the Lord (judgement). Does that mean Jesus coming in the clouds, as well?
Josephus (A.D. 75) – Jewish Historian“Besides these [signs], a few days after that feast, on the one- and-twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, “Let us remove hence” (Jewish Wars, VI-V-3).
“A supernatural apparition was seen, too amazing to be believed. What I am now to relate would, I imagine, be dismissed as imaginary, had this not been vouched for by eyewitnesses, then followed by subsequent disasters that deserved to be thus signalized. For before sunset chariots were seen in the air over the whole country, and armed battalions speeding through the clouds and encircling the cities.” (rendered in Chilton)
Tacitus (A.D. 115) – Roman historian“13. Prodigies had occurred, but their expiation by the offering of victims or solemn vows is held to be unlawful by a nation which is the slave of superstition and the enemy of true beliefs. In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armour. A sudden lightning flash from the clouds lit up the Temple. The doors of the holy place abruptly opened, a superhuman voice was heard to declare that the gods were leaving it, and in the same instant came the rushing tumult of their departure. Few people placed a sinister interpretation upon this. The majority were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judaea would go forth men destined to rule the world.” (Histories, Book 5, v. 13).
I present these things to you with the sole purpose to think. I love the Lord Jesus Christ with all of my heart. I love His word and I love the truth. I believe that Reformation is needed in the body of Christ and this is just the tip of the ice berg. I believe that we need to get back to the foundations of scripture and let the Word of God guide us in all of our doctrine.
I am sharing a different view than you may have been taught on Jesus coming in the clouds to challenge you to think outside the box and honestly evaluate your current beliefs. If you can get it…and this clicks…it will change your life and set you on fire for the Lord. God will be manifesting around you 24 hours per day and we can see the Church return to being the Church.