Joy And Terror When Jesus Comes Again
This little verse is simple in language but packed with immensely powerful cosmic drama. As with all of Revelation, the focus is on the supreme glory and authority of our Lord Jesus Christ. The book reveals many other characters but the spotlight is always on Jesus. This verse is, in many ways, a summary of Revelation: Jesus will come back to finish what He has started.
'Coming in the clouds' is not a new idea to Bible readers. Daniel 7:1-14 sets the scene, showing the sequence of Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman empires all surpassed by 'one like a Son of man'. Their earthly barbarity in conquest would be replaced by the awesome rule of a far greater but more gracious ruler (God the Son). He will then present His kingdom to 'the Ancient of Days' (God the Father). That passage is summarised in 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; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."
Jesus endorsed that prophecy to His disciples in Matthew 24:30-31, and at His trial before the High Priest who asked Him, :"Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.' 'You have said so,' Jesus replied. 'But I say to all of you: from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'" (Matthew 26:63-64). His second coming will be the final pivot point of history. Everybody will see Jesus when He comes back. His glorious arrival will wake the dead. Even soldiers, who nailed Him to the cross and pierced His side, although long dead by then, will know that He is the Son of God (Matthew 27:54). And all who have ruled Him out of their lives will be grief-stricken and mourn as they finally realise that they have rebelled against the King of the universe.
Nothing can stop this plan, designed before time began (1 Corinthians 2:7). "It will be" said Jesus (Revelation 1:1). It is echoed by God's people: "Amen", which simply means 'we agree, let it be'. There is nothing more certain: Jesus will return as King and Judge and the Rewarder of all who are waiting for Him. So, Titus 2:11-14 gives us our challenge for today, and every day until then: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."
© Dr Paul Adams