The Revelation of Jesus Christ: Rev 1:7-8

Jeff "Miztah" Rogers By Jeff "Miztah" Rogers, 19th Nov 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

This idea of Jesus returning a second time was a well known concept in the first century Jewish mind.

Behold, He Cometh with CLOUDS

I hope you have had sufficient time to meditate and digest some of the glories of Christ already revealed to us in the first six verses of this book. We come now to a somewhat disputed and often controversial passage in verses 7-8. I hope that we can stick with the plan of allowing the text to speak for itself. In doing so I intend to present some material from Old Testament sources and I strongly encourage you to have your bible ready and look at the passages for yourself. I will do my best to post the text of any and all texts that I use, but this one needs to be followed very carefully so that we do not get distracted or derailed from what the text actually says.

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:7-8

This idea of Jesus returning a second time was a well known concept in the first century Jewish mind. In Daniel it was prophesied of exactly what John is alluding to in Rev 1:7.

"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. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." Daniel 7:13-14

When most people today think of the book of Revelation many thoughts come to mind: The mysterious apocalyptic language, the number of the beast, the new heaven and new earth, the harlot, the dragon, etc. But one theme that seems to stand out in most peoples mind is the idea that the book of Revelation is revealing Christ at his "Second Coming".

This is a valid and true impression that people get as they study this book for right here in the seventh verse of the first chapter we have John declaring that; "He IS coming with the clouds". This is rightly seen as His second coming. But here again we have the use of some interesting and potentially confusing language. "He is coming with the CLOUDS". This is a phrase that maybe we are not familiar with and perhaps the concept is a bit foreign to us in our modern culture. But was this the case in the first century? Was the idea of Christ coming in the "Clouds" a foreign confusing concept to them?

I do not think that it was at all foreign to them. And to illustrate why I believe this I hope to take you back to some Old Testament passages and explain the use of the term "Clouds" and the idea of God "Coming on the Clouds".

A while back I published an article called "Christ Coming On the Clouds". This article is linked below.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7831414/christ_coming_on_the_clouds.html?cat=34

I would encourage you to look over this article as you consider this passage as I will use some of the information from it, but so as to be brief I will not use all of the supporting documentation I could from the article. So for more supporting biblical texts, please read over this previous article.

I take the position that the emphasis of the use of the term "Cloud" has a history behind it. This history is to be found in the writings of the Old Testament prophets. And it is this "Cloud" idea that is being referred to here in Revelation and other New Testament passages that use the term in reference to Jesus return.
In the OT we have "Clouds" used over and over to describe God coming in judgment on nations and peoples. This is a common Hebrew literary device, it is called apocalyptic language. And when Jesus in the New Testament used this apocalyptic language in the New Testament, the audience of Jewish people that he was speaking to knew exactly what he meant. This is why the high priest tore his garment and accused Jesus of blasphemy when Jesus said that they would see him coming in the clouds. Jesus was making himself out to be God by use of the same apocalyptic language that was used in the Old Testament.

"And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death." Matthew 26:62-66

The high priest knew, as did any Jew in the first century that the proclamation that Jesus made about "Coming in the clouds of heaven", was a direct claim to deity. For only God was able to come in the clouds. This was part and parcel of their understanding of the Old Testament scripture.

Here are some other Old Testament uses.

"And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, CLOUDS, and thick darkness." Deuteronomy 4:11

"CLOUDS and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne." Psalm 97:2

"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." Jeremiah 4:13

"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." Daniel 7:13

"The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift CLOUD, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it." Isaiah 19:1

"A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of CLOUDS and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations." Joel 2:2

"That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of CLOUDS and thick darkness," Zephaniah 1:15

"And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a CLOUD, and the moon shall not give her light." Ezekiel 32:7

"And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a CLOUD to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes." Ezekiel 38:16

In the vast majority of the instances of the use of this word we see that God is coming in various Old Covenant judgments. He is not coming to take people with him in a "rapture: like ,escape event. He is not coming to end the world and you may note that his coming on the clouds was not a specifically visible to the human eye type of event. Did people see the result of his coming? Absolutely; the judgment that came with this apocalyptic cloud coming was historically and experientially evident to those in that day.
I know that later in this verse he says that every eye shall see him and we will look at this in greater detail in coming studies. For now let is sink in about the first century understanding of what it meant for one to come on the clouds. This is what the Jews of Johns day would have been thinking as they heard this type of language.

In Jewish literature Clouds were used to conceal God not reveal him. So coming in the clouds would be so that it would conceal the physical body, not reveal it. The following is a quote from the Jewish Encyclopedia web site. Please read more for yourself.

"Clouds are frequently pictured as hiding God from man and as intercepting man's petitions (Lam. iii. 44; Job xxii. 13, 14). In Job xxvi. 8 there is the strong figure of the cloud used to bind up and contain the waters. As direct manifestations of God, the clouds are His chariots (Ps. civ. 3; Isa. xix. 1). When God appeared over Mount Sinai it was in clouds and thunder and lightning. A cloud covered the mercy-seat (Lev. xvi. 2) in the Tabernacle, and later on it rested over the Temple (I Kings viii. 10, 11; II Chron. v. 13, 14). A pillar of cloud accompanied the Ark, showing the way by day through the wilderness (Ex. xiii., passim)."

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=547&letter=C&search=cloud#ixzz0gIIBpwiV

As we progress into the New Testament I must reiterate that the Jewish apocalyptic language was used extensively. Jesus used it and the disciples used it. While they were using this language identical to the Old Testament versions of apocalyptic language God never gives this first century audience or subsequent generations who must interpret this language a new understanding of how to interpret apocalyptic language. So, where it is used in the New Testament we should be willing and able to look at it in the same interpretive light of the Old Testament usage.

Here are some of the uses of the term "Cloud" in the New Testament.

"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the CLOUDS of heaven with power and great glory." Matthew 24:30

"Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the CLOUDS of heaven." Matthew 26:64

"And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the CLOUDS with great power and glory." Mark 13:26
"And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the CLOUDS of heaven." Mark 14:62

"And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a CLOUD with power and great glory." Luke 21:27
"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the CLOUDS, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:17

"Behold, he cometh with CLOUDS; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." Revelation 1:7

"And I looked, and behold a white CLOUD, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the CLOUD, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the CLOUD thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped." Revelation 14:14-16

I am not going to comment on each passage individually, but they each are rich and incredible in their own right. I would encourage you to do further study for yourself on this topic and let God continue to mold and shape your heart in a way that my limited time and space could never accomplish.

Many in our day insist that this cloud coming be a physical literal coming. But again, do we see this language used this way in the Old Testament? I would say no, it is not there at all. So why would we expect it to appear out of thin air in the New Testament. The same language interpreted the same way should lead us to the same understanding. This second coming of Christ was intended for the first century audience and was completed with Christ coming in judgment in 70 AD on the nation of Israel. There is so much more to come...please stand-by.

"Behold, he cometh with CLOUDS; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." Revelation 1:7





Tags

Apocalyptic, Clouds, Judgment, Rapture, Revelation, Second Coming

Meet the author

author avatar Jeff "Miztah" Rogers
Lived in many places in the U.S.. Served in the Air Force for 21 years. retired from active duty in 2002. Traveled extensively, lived 8 years in Europe. I write about the bible, faith, and new ideas

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Comments

author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
19th Nov 2011 (#)

Miztah: I read your pages thoroughly and absorb as much as I can. However, here is a very down-to-earth question and I have never really found the answer.'
If I die and do not have full knowledge and understanding of the teachings of Jesus, what would this mean? Much more importantly, I think about the babies and children, adults also, born in 3rd world countries who die in terrible poverty and never know about Christianity? Where are they mentioned in the Bible?

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author avatar Jack Vorster
20th Nov 2011 (#)

If you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour then their is nothing further you need to do except to learn from Him through the Word. You are not saved by works - only by what transpired on the Cross. Too much to lay out here, but children ("of such is the kingdom of heaven") within their individual ages of innocence (age of accountability) make it to heaven. God deals with those who die without Christ and your concern for them should only be to pray for those who are yet to hear the Gospel.

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author avatar Jeff "Miztah" Rogers
20th Nov 2011 (#)

Knowledge of Jesus is an amazing thing...a good thing. But faith is the ONLY thing. If we required knowledge to be made right with God he would not have sent us a saviour, he would have sent us seminary professors.

We are called by God, after we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ to study to know HIM...in this way through this God directed knowledge we are NOT made right with him...but we become transformed by the knowing of him better and better. The only thing that will make us right with God is to embrace his son Jesus by faith, and faith alone.

But that is a very good question. Thank you for asking.

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author avatar Denise O
25th Nov 2011 (#)

Well Said Jeff in your article and also in your message to Ivyevelyn. God does say we are to seek knowledge and as a christian who does follow the word of God, this is a must. Once you have excepted Jesus Christ as your savior, then there is no excuse to not carry on with your quest to be a better deciple to our Lord. Have a blessed day. Thank you for sharing.:)

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