For everyone living today, one of the most important teachings in the Bible is that Jesus is to return a second time to the earth. In order to meet Him when He comes, we must know how to recognize Him. Will He appear supernaturally in a glorious body? Or will He be born in the flesh as a man just as He was 2000 years ago? The Biblical answer is that Jesus comes in a cloud (Lk 21:27-28). Many people take this literally and look up to the sky in earnest expectation of Jesus’ descent. Is this really what the Bible means though? There are 10 different genera (categories) of clouds, and yet they all have one thing in common: none of them contain the Second Coming Christ. Through a closer investigation of the scripture let’s find out what the Bible really means when it says that Jesus comes in a cloud.
Jesus Came In A Cloud 2000 Years Ago
In order to understand prophecies given in the New Testament times, we should first see how the prophecies of the Old Testament were accomplished by God. In particular, we can find an Old Testament prophecy in the book of Daniel about someone who was to come on the clouds.
Dan. 7:13-14 (NIV) “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power [a kingdom, KJV]; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
Jesus is the only one in the Bible to have an everlasting dominion while also appearing in human form (“like a son of man”), so this is a prophecy about Him. In particular, this is a prophecy about Jesus coming in the clouds. Then does this prophecy refer to Jesus at His first coming, or His second coming? Although the passage is relatively short, it gives a very clear description of a timeline of events. First the son of man (Jesus) comes on the clouds, and then He is given three things:
- A Kingdom (Sovereign Power)
Given the ridicule and torture which Jesus underwent during His life 2000 years ago, it may seem like this must be a prophecy about His second coming. However, according to the words of Jesus Himself, He actually received authority, glory, and a kingdom all at His first coming.
Mt. 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
At His first coming Jesus said that He had already received all authority in heaven and on earth.
Since He already received all authority, there isn’t any more authority left for Him to receive later at His second coming. From a physical point of view this may seem surprising. During His life on earth only a handful of people followed Him faithfully. He didn’t levy taxes nor give laws to the emperor. In spite of this, from a spiritual perspective His authority was so great that He could even forgive people of their sins.
Lk. 5:20-24 When Jesus saw their faith, he said,“Friend, your sins are forgiven.” The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
During His three years of gospel ministry Jesus travelled from town to town preaching to people who despised Him, without any beauty in His appearance (Isa 53:2) nor royal attire to cover Him. In spite of such humble circumstances, Jesus said shortly before His death that He had already received glory.
Jn. 17:10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.
Once again, insisting on a physical perspective would leave us at odds with the words of Jesus Himself.
3. A Kingdom
2000 years ago Jesus didn’t even have a house to call His own (Mt 8:20). From a physical point of view no one would have said that He had a kingdom. And yet Jesus Himself testified differently.
Lk. 22:29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me,
Not only had Jesus already received a kingdom at His first coming, he was already passing it along to His disciples. This kingdom wasn’t visible to the naked eye, and yet it was much more important than any kingdom found on this earth.
Jn. 18:36-37 (NKJV) Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Those who hear Jesus’ voice will acknowledge that, contrary to outward appearances, He received authority, glory, and a kingdom at His first coming. In conjunction with the prophecy of Daniel 7:13-14, this means that Jesus came in a cloud 2000 years ago.
Why Say That Jesus Came In A Cloud?
The Bible clearly prophesied that Jesus came in a cloud 2000 years ago, and yet Jesus didn’t float down to the earth enveloped by water droplets. Rather He was born as a baby through Mary. If the plan wasn’t for Him to come in a literal cloud, then why did the Bible describe His coming in this way? The reason simple: the Bible describes people in the flesh as clouds.
Jude 1:12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.
Pr. 25:14 Like clouds and wind without rain is one who boasts of gifts never given.
Just as clouds cover the sun so that people can safely look at it without going blind, Christ came to this earth covering God’s glory in the flesh so that all humankind could see Him and hear His message of salvation.
Why Must Jesus Come In A Cloud Again?
Jesus came in the flesh 2000 years ago in order to bring salvation to the world. Rather than an enjoyable life, He faced constant scorn and rejection, culminating in a brutal execution. Why then would Jesus return a second time in the flesh? Unfortunately the faith and teachings which Jesus brought at His first coming were abandoned during the Dark Ages as the church began to favor human wisdom and pagan traditions over God’s commands. This failure was so complete that Jesus foretold that by the time He came again there would be no faith at all left in the world.
Lk. 18:8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
If no faith remained in the world when Jesus came back to judge it, no one could be saved. If Jesus appeared in a majestic spiritual form, riding on the physical clouds and dazzling the world, there would be no room left for faith (Ro 8:24). In order to restore true faith on earth, Christ declared plainly that He would come a second time and once again teach and shepherd His people.
Jn. 10:16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
What Must We Do To Be Saved?
The prophecy in Daniel 7 said that the Messiah would come in clouds with power and glory. When He finally came 2000 years ago, the Jews rejected Him insisting on their own physical interpretation of God’s word (Jn 6:41-42). They believed that since Jesus was born as a man, He could not possibly have come down from Heaven. They may have had some excuse for their mistake, since something like this had never happened before. We, on the other hand, must know better. Through the lessons of the past we can already see what the Bible means when it says that Jesus comes in a cloud. Jesus will come again in the flesh to gather His flock, and all of His people must come to recognize Him when He does.
Many Christians today have failed to learn the lessons of the past. They stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Jews of 2000 years ago, staring into the sky waiting for their Messiah to descend gloriously upon them. In the meantime He has already come to the earth in the flesh, exactly as He promised. If you want to learn the faith and teachings which the Second Coming Christ Ahnsahnghong returned to the earth to give, come join us for a Bible study today.