Coming in the Clouds

by Matthew H. Allen
via The Jackson Drive Reporter, August 2, 2009.

"Behold, He is coming in 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" (Revelation 1:7). The term coming "with the clouds" or "in the clouds" is used throughout the Bible as a symbol of the judgment of God. For example:

  • It is used in Isaiah 19:1; Ezekiel 30:3; 32:7 as those writers describe God's judgment against Egypt.
  • It is used in Ezekiel 34:12 to describe God's judgment against Israel.
  • It is used in Matthew 24:24-30 and Mark 13:24-30 to describe God's judgment against Jerusalem. Jesus would ride in on a "cloud of judgment" against Jerusalem as they (the Jews) had long rejected Him. Mark Stauffer has written, "When Jerusalem fell, as prophesied by Jesus, the disciples saw in this desolation Jesus coming in the clouds, riding "upon a swift cloud" against Israel, as God had done in Egypt. The great power and glory of Jesus' heavenly rule from God's right hand with the rod of His strength and the rod of iron were seen ans understood by the disciples." (Commentary of Mark, pgs. 323,324).

Here in Revelation, John is saying Jesus would come in judgment against the Romans and ultimately He will come to judge all.

All judgment has been given to the Son (John 5:22). In one sense, the expression in Revelation 1:7 points to Jesus' coming against the enemies of the Christians in that time. Those who were persecuting Christians; subjecting them to prison, forture, and death would receive judgment from God. The message John received was intended to give Christians of his day hope! God would not allow the evil actions of their oppressors to go
unpunished. I believe this passage also points to His final coming and judgment as evidenced by the rest of the verse. Note:

Every eye shall see. There is a cross reference pointing to this phrase: Zechariah 12:10. John refers back to this passage here in Revelation 1 and also in John 19:37. Those who pierced Him would see Him come in judgment. (Some say this was fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem, which may be a possibility). In the final judgment, all who have rejected Christ, persecuted His church, and turned their backs on Him will see Him. Remember, every knee will bow (Philippians 2:9-11). Some will bow to Him for His glory; and the majority will bow before Him to their own damnattion. (Hailey, pg. 103).

This passage also presents a delemma for the premillennialists who insist of a "secret return" of Jesus. Nothing is indicated in this passage that His return will be secret! all we know ... which parallels II Thessalonians 4:16,17; Acts 1:9-11.

Who are the tribes? Could this be Jews, Greeks, and Romans who shared in His rejection and crucifixion? Could it not encompass all who have stood in oppostion to His cause?

There will be some who mourn His return! To "mourn" indicates the "beating of the head or breast in lamentation, suggesting a condition of utter hopelessness" (Hailey, pg. 103). Not everyone will be joyous when the Lord returns! John said: "Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming" (I John 2:28).

Are you prepared for His return? In Revelation 2:16; 3:11; 22:7,12,30, Jesus said, "I am coming quickly!" At a time ripe for judgment He will come to judge the forces of evil and to defend His own people. Where will you stand on that judgment day? Obey the gospel today!