Clouds are complex. The range of impact on our lives goes from supplying some shade from the noon day sun, and the ever desired gentle rain, to wreaking havoc by delivering hurricane type destruction.
I think it is so also in the Scriptures. Why is this a topic today?
During services one morning, we sang the following song, and it got me to thinking.
The song goes like this…
These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the word of the Lord, yeah
And these are the days of Your servant Moses
Righteousness being restored
These are the days of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still we are the voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!
Say, behold He comes, riding on the clouds…..
My question is … when Jesus says He is “coming on the clouds”, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Coming on the Clouds
What is the context in the New Testament to this phrase “coming on the clouds”?
Is there some Old Testament background that might give us some understanding?
A passage that comes to mind when associating clouds with God is Isaiah 19:1
An oracle concerning Egypt.
Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud
and comes to Egypt;
and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence,
and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.
An additional passage that associates clouds with judgement on Israel.
How the Lord in his anger
has set the daughter of Zion under a cloud!
He has cast down from heaven to earth
the splendor of Israel;
he has not remembered his footstool
in the day of his anger.
A number of times in the minor prophets, clouds are associated with judgement on Israel.
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains
a great and powerful people;
their like has never been before,
nor will be again after them
through the years of all generations.
The LORD is slow to anger and great in power,
and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty.
His way is in whirlwind and storm,
and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
A day of wrath is that day,
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
The reason I am writing is due to this seeming conflict.
When Jesus said He would be “coming with the clouds” should we rejoice or shudder.
What was Jesus referring to when He made that statement. Many believers think He was referring to Daniel 7:13.
But golly gee willikers, this could not be describing His glorious return to earth as many in the modern church think. The verse speaks of the Son of Man coming TO the Ancient of Days!
“I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
Of course His return is a Day that a true believer waits on, but is it ever described as Him “coming on the clouds”?
If Daniel 7:13 is describing the ascension, Jesus use of it clearly signaled to the Jewish leadership His claim to Messiahship, and the ability to come in judgement upon sinful nations. The phrase “coming in the clouds” is found fours times in the New Testament, as seen below.
Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
All of these verses have the context of judgement.
Paul refers to clouds once in his epistles and is referring to being joined with the dead in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.
It’s funny – I hadn’t noticed this before, but this verse doesn’t link the Lord with the clouds necessarily. The clouds are the place for the “living” saints to join the “dead” saints, and then meeting the Lord in the air (not the clouds?)
1 Thessalonians 4:17
Then we who are alive, who are left, 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.
I wonder – Does the prophet Amos have something to say to us?
Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD!
Why would you have the day of the LORD?
It is darkness, and not light,
Let us always remember who the Lord is. Let us not presume upon the kindness and mercy of God, and forget the utter awesomeness of the triune God in His return for His people.
I do hope you will supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.
If you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post. I look forward to hearing from you.