Clouds and Fire: Jesus’ Second Coming vs The Judgment Day

August 20, 2019

Many Christians around the world think that when Jesus comes to the world a second time in the clouds, the world will be judged and those who are saved will enter the kingdom of heaven. However, the Bible says that there is nobody with faith when Jesus comes again.

Luke 18:8 …However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Jesus asked this question to emphasise that there will be no one with faith when He comes a second time (For more information, please refer to article Weeds and Wheat). If Jesus comes to judge a faithless world, there will be no one that could receive salvation.

Thus, it is clear that the purpose of Jesus’ second coming recorded in Luke 18 is not to bring judgment. Jesus must first restore true faith before carrying out judgment. The Bible prophesies about the Judgment day with clear descriptions.

Coming with Fire

Isaiah 66:15-16 See, the Lord is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire and with his sword the Lord will execute judgment on all people, and many will be those slain by the Lord.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 …and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

In both the Old and New Testaments, it is prophesied that God will come with fire and punish those who do not know God and obey the gospel.

Conversely, let us look at the records of His coming to restore faith before the judgment.

Coming on the Clouds

Matthew 24:30-31 Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

This prophecy spoken by Jesus about His second coming is of stark contrast from that of His Judgment. His appearance and purpose at His second coming is distinctly different from that of the Judgment day. At His second coming, Jesus appears on the clouds of heaven, with the purpose of gathering his elect for their salvation.

In another prophecy about the second coming of Christ, there is a time gap between Jesus’ second coming and the Judgment day.

Luke 21:27-28 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

“Son of Man coming in a cloud” refers to Jesus’ second coming. “Your redemption” refers to the Judgment day when God’s people are redeemed from earth and enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus prophesied that when He comes a second time, the day of judgment is still drawing near, which means that it takes place only in the near future, with a time gap in between the two events.

Coming with the physical clouds?

Many Christians think that the cloud Jesus comes with refer to physical clouds. If they were wrong in understanding the time of Jesus’ coming, could their interpretation of the cloud be wrong as well? What does the clouds in the verse stand for?

Clouds refer to human beings

In order to understand the clouds, we can refer to the prophecy about Jesus’ first coming. The Bible also prophesied that Jesus would come in a cloud when He came the first time.

Daniel 7:13-14 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, in King James Version); 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.

In the book of Daniel written approximately 600 years before Jesus came, the Bible prophesied that there would be a “son of man” who would come to this earth with the clouds of heaven. The phrase “Son of man” is an expression for a human being (Daniel 8:17). This prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus during His first coming.

In fulfillment of the prophecy, Jesus came with authority, glory and a kingdom, as seen in the New Testament verses. However, Jesus did not arrive on a physical cloud. Instead, He fulfilled this prophecy by being born as a human.

Regarding His second coming, Jesus explained that He would come on the clouds again. At His first coming, “coming in the clouds” was fulfilled by His coming as a man. To show that He comes in the same way as that of His first coming, Jesus said He would come with the clouds at His second coming.

In the Bible, some words have multiple meanings. Besides representing the actual clouds in the sky, the Bible also compares people to clouds. This is seen in both the New and the Old Testament.

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.

Proverbs 25:14 (NCV) People who brag about gifts they never give are like clouds and wind that give no rain.

Receive Jesus when He comes again before the Judgment day

Jesus prophesied that he will come a second time as a man to restore faith before the judgment to save us. Thus, It is crucial that we can recognize and receive Him when He comes again. Please come to the World Mission Society Church of God to study the prophecies about Jesus who has come a second time!

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