The vast majority of those who claim to be Christian are awaiting some future coming/return of Jesus.


Some of the numerous New Testament scriptures that are often cited: Matthew 16:28, 24:27, 30, 37, 39, Mark 13:26, 14:62, Luke 21:27, Acts 1:9-11, 1st Corinthians 15:23, 1st Thessalonians 2:19, 3:13, 4:15, 5:23, 2nd Thessalonians 2:1, 8, 9, James 5:7, 8, 2nd Peter 3:4, 12, 1st John 2:28,  Revelation 10:1, 11:12, 14:14, 15, 16


I believe the greatest cause for misunderstanding this "2nd coming" and/or "return", is a lack of understanding this "cloud coming" imagery from the Old Testament.


Christ said he was coming "in the glory of the Father" in Matthew 16:27


"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works"


This glory of the Lord appeared on numerous occasions throughout the Old Testament time period.


Exodus 16:7, 10, 24:16, 17, 40:34, 35, Leviticus 9:6, 23, Numbers 14:10, 21, 16:19, 42, 20:6, 1st Kings 8:11, 2nd Chronicles 7:1, 2, 3, Psalms 104:31, 138:5, Isaiah 35:2, 40:5, 58:8, 60:1, Ezekiel 1:28, 3: 23, 10:4, 18, 11:23, 43:4, 5, 44:4

Christ's "coming" was to be "in the glory of the Father/Lord" and as this "glory of the Lord" appeared on so many occasions; and in consideration of Christ's own proclamation that "no man has seen God at any time", one deduces none of these "appearances" are about people seeing a physically visible God.


Yet we have numerous Old Testament scriptures that likewise speak of the presence/coming of God..........on, above and in clouds..........

 

Deuteronomy 4:10-12 Specially the day that you stood before the LORD your God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children. And you came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. And the LORD spoke unto you out of the midst of the fire: you heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only you heard a voice.


God was present, yet the Israelites saw no similitude of his physical or visible presence.


Exodus 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:


Exodus 19:9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.


Exodus 34:5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 

Job 22:14 Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he sees not; and he walks in the circuit of heaven.


Psalms 18:11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.


Psalms 97:2 Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.


Psalms 104:3 Who lays the beams of his chambers in the waters: who makes the clouds his chariot: who walks upon the wings of the wind


Jeremiah 4:13 Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.


Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.


Nahum 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.


Zephaniah 1:14-15  The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasten greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of waste and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,


Numbers 10:34 and the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp.


Numbers 11:25 And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spoke unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.


Numbers 12:5 And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. 


Deuteronomy 1:33 Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to show you by what way you should go, and in a cloud by day.


2nd Samuel 22:10-12 He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind. And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.


With so much evidence pointing to the presence of God, without anything pointing to his physical person/body; and with Christ stating "no man has seen God at any time" (John 1:18) and as Christ was coming in the glory of the Lord, why are people looking for a physical and/or visible appearing of Jesus?


Because they've been taught this.


An oft-used argument is presented from Acts 1:9-11


And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, you men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.

So goes the argument - "Look, it says he's coming back the same as when he left"


Yet this is not what the Angels said.


It specifically notes his "coming" would be "in LIKE manner"
LIKE is SIMILAR, NOT identical.


Also, nothing in this section denotes the physical and/or visible characteristics of his earthly body................

Again, it says in like MANNER

NOT

In like BODY 

NOT

In like FORM

NOT

In like SHAPE

NOT

In like IMAGE

The phrase "in like manner" refers to the manner/method/way/mode...........how did he leave? A cloud received him out of their sight.

Revelation says his coming would be with clouds, on a Horse, with a Sword coming out of his mouth, and has a Tattoo on his thigh.......................

Is that the EXACT same manner/method/way/mode in which he "left"?

A final point of consideration:

Jesus was "sentenced" to death, on a charge of blasphemy, made by the Sanhedrin.

Matthew 26:59-64

Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, and said, this fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. And the high priest arose, and said unto him, do you answer nothing? What is it which these witness against you? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said unto him, it is as you have said: nevertheless I say unto you, hereafter shall you see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.


Note the 2nd question asked by (Caiaphas) the High Priest "I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God"; and what was Christ's response?


"It is as you have said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall you see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven"


Notice the first 6 words "it is as you have said"


Jesus admitted to being the promised Messiah; and as the Messiah, what did he tell that Sanhedrin that they would see?


Hereafter shall you see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.


The Sanhedrin in Jerusalem was known as the Great Sanhedrin, in contrast to the many Lesser Sanhedrin councils in other cities of/in Israel.


As the Sanhedrin ruled only over religious matters, these men were (arguably) among those most familiar with Old Testament scriptures and its many historical persons and events.


Some of those events undoubtedly involved the numerous Prophets that were sent to Israel/Judah, with warnings of impending judgment coming from God; and as such, many were imprisoned, beaten and killed, for daring to bring such messages of doom and destruction, in the name of God.


In addition to the blasphemy of claiming to be the Messiah, Christ also noted they would see him "seated at the right hand of God"; and while this requires another word/phrase study in addition to this writing, I'll summarize it by pointing out that this "right hand" refers to a place/position of power, on the king's court.


Jesus was claiming to have the power/authority of God.


We lastly see him say they would see him "coming in the clouds of heaven"

Again, this Great Sanhedrin was familiar with the many "cloud comings" of God throughout the Old Testament.


They knew that with these collective statements, Christ was claiming that he had the authority and power of God, and was about to bring the judgment of God, against greater Israel. This was simply unacceptable to this self-righteous Sanhedrin, so what was the reaction of the High Priest (Caiaphas) upon hearing such bold worlds from Jesus?

Matthew 26:65-66

Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He has spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now you have heard his blasphemy. What think you? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.

Again; as with so many of those Old Testament Prophets, Jesus himself was imprisoned, beaten, and killed.


But as he told the Sanhedrin that they would witness this impending coming in judgment (as he had previously also told them in the Temple in Matthew 21:23 through Matthew 23:39, which he further expounded on to Peter, James, John and Andrew, in a private meeting in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 and 25, Mark 13 and Luke 21) and as every member of that Sanhedrin is now dead, their seeing his sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven, is a past event.


Christ plainly stated on numerous occasions that his coming/return would be within the lifetime of those living in the 1st century; and every New Testament writer: wrote, taught and believed, his coming/return would be within their own lifetime, age and generation.

© 2018 Jerry Wm Bowers Jr.

 

 

 

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