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Why did Christ say He was coming in the clouds?

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10/07/2010

The question here refers to Christ's second coming but not particularly to His return to earth. His second coming will actually be an appearing which will be experienced only by the saved(redeemed). When the trumpet referred to sounds Christ will appear in the heavens, in the clouds as the bible gives us, as Christ went away, he ascended up until the clouds received HIM out of sight, so will His return be at his revealing. This will occur too fast for the world to know what happened, in the moment and the twinkling of an eye and the only indication it happened at all is the untold millions of people that will be missing.

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Yes that is the common answer.... but i want to bring your attention to a prophecy about Jesus' (first) coming. In Daniel 7:13-14 (NIV) it says 13 "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. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men 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." The son of man is a common reference to Jesus, but many say this is about his second coming. However this person was given authority, glory, and sovereign power. Was Jesus not given these? Matthew 28:18-20 ""All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."" John 17:10 "".....And glory has come to me through them."" Luke 22:29-30 ""29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."" Jesus fulfilled these three requirements in his first coming, to say he didn't would contradict the bible and all Christ's teachings. And if you refer to Daniel, the son of man received the power, glory and authority at the same time of coming in the clouds. So, Jesus came in the clouds when he appeared, and how did he show himself? In the flesh. Coming with the "clouds of heaven" must represent flesh in God's eyes. So if second Christ will come in the clouds (and he will; he said so himself) then he will appear in the flesh! ----------------Sorry i posted this on the discussions------

Answer:

In the Old Testament, Daniel prophesied that the Messiah would descend with the clouds of heaven. When Jesus came to the world, He did not descend with the clouds. He came physically through an ordinary woman, Mary. However, as soon as Jesus was baptized, heaven opened and the Spirit of God descended on him. The prophecy was fulfilled by the descend of the Holy Spirit from heaven and not His physical body descending from heaven.

When Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, the Apostles were told "This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven. Jesus has returned very shortly after, i.e. during Pentecost. He came back in the form of Holy Spirit descending from heaven, not physically descending from heaven.

If Jesus has returned, why did the Apostles still talk about His coming in their Epistles as well as in the Revelations? The coming of the Lord, the coming of Christ and similar expressions refer primarily to the judgment of God on all man. This judgment happens in the life time of all man. James wrote in his Epistle that the Lord's coming is near, the Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:8-9) If this is referring to a physical coming at the end of the world, it could not be described as near, and certainly not at the door. It is at the door of every man because it will happen in their life time.

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The prophecy in Daniel is almost identical to the one Christ gives in Matthew. This prophecy in Daniel was one of the things held up by the Jewish scholars to prove that Jesus was not the promised Messiah. If taken physically, the prophecy does not seem to pertain to Jesus, but taken as a metaphor for a spiritual reality, it applies perfectly.

If we can assume that the language of prophecy is not arbitrary and that the words have meaning, then the image of obscuring clouds is important to understanding this prophecy. Consider the function of clouds -- they obscure whatever is behind or within them. What obscured Christ's reality from most of the people who saw Him? The very fact of His lowly birth, His appearance as a man among men, the fact that He did not fulfill the prophecy literally by descending in clouds (which, in fact, rise up from the earth and do not descend from heaven), the fact that His kingdom was not an earthly one and that the things He taught seemed so strange to the people He walked among, the fact that He claimed authority to change the Law.

So, in looking at the prophecy in Matthew, we may wish to apply the same standards. Jesus did not fulfill the prophecy literally the first time, but rather spiritually. His dominion and power and glory were of a spiritual kind, not earthly glory such as kings possess. Therefore it would likely be fulfilled in the same way at His next advent. Not a literal descent in physical clouds, but an appearance in human form clouded by the very same expectations that kept Him from being recognized by the masses the first time.

Another angle that must be considered is the way that "coming in the clouds " is interpreted. It is very common for 21st century readers to interpret "coming in the clouds" as a a glorious second coming of Christ at the end of time. However , to the 1st century Jewish audience that heard the words of Jesus and read the book of Daniel, "coming in clouds" had a different and specific meaning. This phrase to the 1st century audience was the threatening coming of judgment. God's judgment and Christs exaltation. When Caiaphas questioned Jesus and asked him if he was the Son of God, Jesus answered and said...."you will see me sitting at the right hand of God. coming in clouds." To Caiaphas this was a threat that the man before him was going to judge and destroy all Jerusalem. Caiaphas even commented that , Jesus was saying he was indeed God and worthy of death. More than once "coming in clouds appears" in the old testament and it is always a metaphor for judgment by God.

Since these words were presented to a Jewish culture steeped in the old testament and its rich meanings we should probably take heed what the Jews were thinking on hearing this, rather than applying our shallow understanding to an already established and direct meaning.