"HE COMETH WITH CLOUDS"
"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."--Revelation 1:7.
THIS Scripture is generally quoted as a proof that our Lord Jesus at His Second Coming will be visible to the whole human family; that they will all have great mourning when they see Him; that it will be a sad day for them--especially for the Jews. Our thought respecting the passage, in the light of other Scriptures, is different from this. In the first place, the Lord Himself said, "Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more, but ye shall see Me." Only the Lord's faithful followers were to see Him. The Apostle Paul explains that Jesus' followers will see Him because they are to be changed in the First Resurrection, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." The Scriptures clearly indicate that our Lord's present condition is the Heavenly, the spirit condition, not only as high a condition as before He came into the world, but still higher.
The Lord prayed to the Father that He would glorify Him with the glory that He had with Him before He came into the world--"before the world was." The Father assured Him that He had glorified Him and would glorify Him again. (John 17:5; 12:28. Vatican MS.) The Scriptures also assure us that our Lord in His glorified condition is far above angels, principalities and powers. (Philippians 2:9,10.) When He was a man, he was "a little lower than the angels." (Heb. 2:6-9.) The Scriptures declare that the Lord is now the express image of the Father's person (Heb. 1:3), and also declare of Him, "Whom no man hath seen nor can see."
Another Scripture tells us that the coming of Christ will be for the blessing of the world. The very object of His coming will be for the lifting up of the poor and fallen race. St. Peter tells us that there will be "times of refreshing," "Times of Restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of ALL His Holy Prophets since the world began."--Acts 3:19-21.
How shall we harmonize this last statement with that of our text, which says that He shall come with clouds; that every eye shall see Him; and that all mankind "shall wail because of Him"? The answer is that in harmony with other Scriptures the coming with clouds would signify the coming in a period of trouble--the word "clouds" being used to signify trouble--in the dark Day. He is coming in clouds, in that the time in which He will first manifest Himself to the world will be a very dark Day to the world--"a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation," and, we are told, never shall be again. (Matt. 24:21.) That will be a dark, cloudy Day.
In that Day, ultimately all eyes shall be opened; and all mankind shall see Him with the eyes of their understanding --see Him in the sense that we see Him now, and have knowledge of Him and of the Father. A blind man sees in the same sense. He says, "I see now"-- meaning that he sees with his intellectual sight. It is far better to see with the intellect than with the natural sight.
Darkness now covers the earth. "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of all those who believe not." (2 Corinthians 4:4.) There are a great many [R5269 : page 201] blinded minds at the present time. They do not know the object of Christ's coming. They do not have the Scriptural teaching as to why He comes. But their blinded eyes shall be opened. Every human being shall come to an understanding of the fact that the Lord's Kingdom is for the blessing of "all the families of the earth" according to God's Promise made to Abraham and all the Prophets after his day.
The Jews will come to recognize Him. The Apostle Paul says, "Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved" (Romans 11:25,26) from their blindness, from their ignorance, from their misunderstanding at His presentation of Himself at His First Advent. Another Scripture says that when they see Him, recognize the "sign of the Son of Man in the heavens, 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.) The Prophet says that those that "pierced Him" shall mourn for Him as a man mourns for his only son. (Zechariah 12:10.) Thus they will appreciate Christ, and their eyes will be the first eyes that will be opened. But at that same time, when their eyes begin to see out of obscurity, there will not be anything that they can see with the natural sight.
There is first of all to be a parousia, or presence, of Christ, which will be known only to His Church, His Bride class. The culmination of His work in the parousia will be the gathering of the Church to Himself in the First Resurrection. The Scriptures go on to say that He shall be revealed in flaming fire, taking vengeance.
The "clouds of heaven" well represent the confusion in general. The world for a time will be in ignorance of His presence. But gradually they will come to know that they are in the time of trouble, the Day of wrath, in which this Age is to close. Then they will mourn. The whole world will be in mourning. If the world has mourned in the past, much more shall we expect it to do so when the trouble will be general. In the midst of that trouble, they will gradually learn of the grace of God. Human selfishness, they will find, has been so overruled as to lead up to the glorious Kingdom of Messiah, through which are to come all the blessings which God has promised.