HES COMING IN THE CLOUDS
By Dan Luehrs
"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 KJV).
Natural clouds play an important part of our daily lives, yet when we see them we probably don’t give them much thought. After all, what we really care about is if it’s sunny or cloudy each day! Yet clouds are very important to us; they give character and beauty to the blue sky above. Here in Florida the summer clouds can be breathtaking, are huge and puffy, reaching up to the sky like the Himalayan Mountains of Asia. Where would we be without the clouds giving us rain to water the earth, bringing forth beautiful vegetation to filling our lakes and waterways with drinking water? Yes, natural clouds are very important to us, but even more so are the spiritual clouds of heaven! As the Lord began to open this message to me about the clouds, I was amazed to see all the verses in the Bible about God and the clouds of heaven and how Jesus is coming back in them.
"And Jesus said, "I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN" (Mark 14:62 NASB).
This is a very well known verse on the clouds of heaven. However, many people only look at this with their natural understanding, never rising high enough to see with the eyes of their spirit on what God is really saying here. Let's look at what these spiritual "clouds" are in the New Testament. Then we will look at what the singular “cloud” of the Lord is in the Old Testament.
What are the clouds? Or should I say who are the clouds? According to three different New Testament writers, people are the clouds spoken of here. This is the evidence of two or three witnesses. I believe that those in heaven are considered to be clouds because they are above in the spirit realm. They are covering the earth just like the natural clouds and are bringing their bounty of blessing with them to earth. And so it will be when they come again with their Lord to the earth; not as the false witnesses (clouds) that bring no rain or life through their life and ministry. "These men are those who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted" (Jude 1:12 NASB). Some Christians are like these clouds without water, as they have no life in themselves to give away to others. "These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever" (2 Peter 2:17 KJV). We must be very careful in how we interpret scripture. Otherwise we too could mislead people with false church tradition and doctrine. We then become clouds without water, having no eternal seed of God's word planted within our own heart to help others.
The scriptures do not say that Jesus is coming "on" or "out" of the clouds, but "with" and "in" the clouds (people) of heaven. Much of the church teaches that Jesus is going to blow His trumpet one day and peak out of the clouds to say, “Here I am” and then call us all away to another planet called heaven. But I don’t see this happening because Jesus is coming in the clouds, which is you and I, if we are so blessed to be a part of His triumphant return! I have written down several verses to give you understanding in this matter.
"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 KJV).
BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen" (Revelation 1:7 NASB).
"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints" (Jude 1:14 NASB).
"So that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints" (1 Thessalonians 3:13 NASB).
"Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17 NASB).
The verse above is very well known in all the rapture teaching churches as being the pinnacle verse for the church to be caught away in the clouds. But according to the testimony of all the verses above, they definitely state that “people” are the clouds that we are to be “caught up” in! And not in some water vapor to ride off to heaven in, but we are to ever be one with the Lord and all His people in “one spirit.” For that is what a spirit is like (a cloud or vapor). "And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud (the Holy Spirit) received Him out of their sight (Acts 1:9 NASB). -- "And while he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him" (Luke 9:34-35 NASB).
Please hear me, clouds do not speak! But the Spirit of God in the cloud does! And this is what Jesus is coming back in, a spiritual cloud! The scriptures do not say that Jesus is coming back in the clouds of the earth, but the clouds of heaven! This is because the clouds of heaven are a people in the Holy Spirit, not an earthly cloud that is appearing in the natural sky. "And they also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11 NASB). The angels told the disciples not to be looking to the sky above because He is coming back in a spiritual cloud as He left. This cloud is the bride prepared for Him in all her glory that has become one cloud or spirit with Him! In other words the angels are saying, “Don’t be looking to the natural sky above you to be translated by, but be ready to go into the spiritual cloud of heaven.” Revelation 11:12 tells us that the two witnesses will go to heaven in a cloud. "And they heard a loud voice from heaven (or from the spirit realm) saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies beheld them." The Bible also tells us that these men were dead and that flesh and blood does not inherit the kingdom of God (which is a spiritual kingdom). So Jesus and these two witnesses must have been caught up to a spiritual cloud as we will be also!
"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 13:21 KJV).
"And it came about as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud" (Exodus 16:10 NASB).
This was God’s first appearance in a cloud and it will certainly not be His last! This is how He chose to reveal Himself to the people of Israel in the beginning, and in the end He will reveal Himself through His people that are a great cloud of witnesses. "And the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I shall come to you in a thick cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe in you forever." Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD" (Exodus 19:9 NASB). God wants people to hear Him speak to them through the cloud so that they might believe forever. But notice what God wants them to believe in. God says the manifestation of His cloud or presence is so that the people might believe in God’s servant Moses! "And it came about, whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent" (Exodus 33:9-10 NASB). Oh that God would manifest Himself again in such a visible cloud in our services so that the people would believe. The Bible tells us that when Jesus manifests Himself in the cloud of His people all the earth will mourn. So we know that the people of the earth will see something in them, but what? It will be the glory of God in His people as He was with Moses!
The cloud of the Lord is massive! When one cloud mass meets up with another they become one large mass of clouds, covering the earth as far as the eye can see. The Bible tells us that God is a spirit or in other words what we would call an invisible ghost and a Holy one at that! Now think of God as a large massive cloud that covers the earth in which we live in. "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28 KJV). The Bible also says that we are made of spirit because God breathed His Spirit into us in the beginning. Now when we die our spirit goes back to God from where we came; thus we become one spirit or cloud with God again as we were in the beginning. This is why there is now such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us at all times in the spirit realm. They have become one with God wherever He is and they see everything that God sees. "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1 NASB). I know that you have probably been taught that heaven is a planet somewhere in the universe and that when we die we will fly off to be there with all the saints. But that just isn’t true. After death we become one spirit in Him, which is a massive spirit that covers everything. God is now hidden from most people’s eyes, but one day He will pull off the blinders that satan has placed over their eyes. Then all will see His glory and power and mourn for not living their lives for Him. The knowledge of the glory of God will cover the earth as the water covers the sea. And everyone will know the Lord, from the least to the greatest, because His cloud of witnesses will rain down the truth of God’s word upon the earth. All nations will be taught the ways of the Lord rather than the lies of satan and the world system. "The clouds pour down their moisture (teaching) and abundant showers fall on mankind" (Job 36:28 NIV). God’s cloud of heaven will rain truth down upon all of mankind to bring forth-everlasting peace within the hearts of all men. "If clouds are full of water, they pour rain upon the earth..." (Ecclesiastes 11:3 NIV). The earth and all its inhabitants will then be at peace because the Prince of peace will rule in the hearts of all men and the kingdom of God will have been established in the earth through the ministry of the sons of God. "For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds" (Psalms 108:4 KJV).
"And then shall they see the Son of man coming “in” a cloud with power and great glory" (Luke 21:27 KJV).
"Ascribe ye strength unto God: His excellency is over Israel, and His strength is “in” the clouds" (Psalms 68:34 KJV).
The Lord will come in the clouds will be with great power and glory for all the earth to witness His delivering power from sin and death. Literally heaven will come down to earth; the clouds of heaven will have come down to restore all things back to God in its pristine order that the Father had created it to be in and even better! All the power and authority of Jesus will have been shared with His body of sons to deliver mankind from their sinful and destructive ways. The great Harvester of the ages is coming in the cloud of His redeemed ones to reap the harvest of souls that have grown into His likeness and character. A farmer does not reap something that has not come into full maturity, for it would be a waste of his time and money! The seed that has been planted in the hearts of His people is the seed (word) of Jesus Christ. When that seed has grown to its full maturity it will have become like Jesus Himself. Then it will be harvested. "The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come” (Mark 4:28-29 NASB). Many in the church system teach that when someone comes to the Lord they are harvested. But this is not the truth because the seed must first be planted into the heart of a person by faith. Then it grows over time into the likeness of Jesus so that it might be harvested. These are two different events, planting and then harvesting! The Bible tells us of such a time in the book of Revelation when He who is in the cloud will reap a great harvest from the earth, which was first planted in the hearts of people through the preaching of the true gospel.
"I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on (in) the cloud was one "like a son of man" with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on (in) the cloud, "Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe. So he who was seated on (in) the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested" (Revelation 14:14-16 NIV).
The command and authority came to Jesus from heaven to harvest the earth because it was time to reap! Jesus had on His head the crown of authority to do the work of the kingdom that was given to Him by the Father because He overcame all that the Father had allowed in His life-time to test and try Him. In His hand was a sharp sickle to reap the harvest, which I believe is the same group of people that do the planting and the harvesting. I believe these planters and reapers to be the sons of God or the 144,000 that were made into His likeness and character on Mount Zion. "And I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name (character) and the name of His Father written on their foreheads… " (Revelation 14:1-2 NASB).
These verses speak clearly of a time when one who is like the son of man will reap the harvest of the earth that was planted before the harvest time. John also uses this same terminology "like a son of man" in Revelation 1:13 to mean “Jesus” which came to give him The Revelation of Jesus Christ. But this same Jesus is seen in a cloud gathering in the ripe harvest of the earth. Again the word “on” the cloud should be translated “in” the cloud. Even as an automobile is a vehicle to transport people and merchandise inside, so is the cloud that Jesus is riding “in” to reap the harvest of the earth that is in His likeness. But before this great harvest could come in, the messengers of God had to sow the seed of the Lord into the hearts of the people on earth. "Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim (to plant) to those who live on the earth--to every nation, tribe, language and people" (Revelation 14:6 NIV). These same people that received the seed of God’s word and matured were then to receive the kingdom of God in the great harvest of the Lord. But Jesus said this gospel must first be preached in all the world, then the end would come. (See Matthew 24:14). As of yet the true gospel has not been preached with the power and authority of the kingdom. But soon His sons will arise and become the “ministers of flames of fire” that will demonstrate the power of God throughout the earth. And then the entire world will hear the true gospel!
Yes, my friends you are called of God to prepare for this high calling so that you can be one of these clouds to bless the world with the redemptive truth of God’s word and power!