Clouds and the Flesh
In the Old Testament, there were many prophecies concerning the coming of Christ. Two thousand years ago, however, it was very difficult for the religious leaders to accept Jesus as Christ because He was to come in secret.
That is why the Apostle John wrote as follows: “Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist” (1 Jn 4:2-3). This shows that at that time it was difficult to believe that Christ came in the flesh.
Therefore, one of the most important ideas which the saints of the early Church had was that Christ came in the flesh. Let’s study how the Bible explains about the matter of coming with the clouds, which was prophesied by Daniel, and how the saints of the early Church accepted it.
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 [kingdom, KJV]; all peoples, nations and men 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. Da 7:13-14
The prophet Daniel, who existed around 600 years before Jesus was born, prophesied that Christ would come with the clouds, but Jesus did not come with the actual clouds which float in the air but was born on the earth in the flesh.
Then, does it mean that the one whom Daniel prophesied about is not Jesus? No, it doesn’t. The Christ whom Daniel prophesied about is precisely Jesus.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go …” Mt 28:18-20
“And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me …” Lk 22:29
Jesus is the one who came with the clouds and was given authority and kingdom. And He came in the flesh. Then why did Daniel see a vision where He comes with the clouds?
To understand this, let’s find the characteristics of the Bible.
Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.” Mt 13:34-35
It is written that God uses parables when He utters secrets hidden since the creation of the world. It is a great secret that God came to the earth in the flesh by hiding His identity. If He comes, showing His splendorous light and being guided by a multitude of the heavenly host with thunder and the sound of the trumpet, who will not dare to submit to Him? However, if He comes as a man who is the most powerless and the weakest, how many people will accept Him as God? Only those people who love God with all their heart and those who are born of God will believe Him as the Savior.
Jesus was God of glory before He put on the flesh. However, when He came to this earth, He concealed His glory. Yet, in Him were hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, so we cannot help but say that He was the mystery of God.
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ … Col 2:2
Because Christ is the biggest mystery among the mysteries of God, He spoke in parables about His coming, so that not everybody can recognize Him, but only those who love God with all their heart.
Clouds are water
Among the parables in the Bible, there is not a single parable that contradicts the law of nature. The parable about the clouds, too, is given according to the law of nature created by God.
When water evaporates from the ground, condenses in the air and floats by the wind, we call it clouds. Clouds are a mass of water vapor (H₂O). And when clouds float close to the ground, they are called “mist.” The Bible likens the people with flesh to waters.
“… I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters … The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.” Rev 17:1-15
Clouds are basically water. And many waters refer to peoples and multitudes that have the flesh. Then, isn’t it a natural accomplishment of the prophecy that Jesus was born as a child in the flesh according to the prophecy that He would come with the clouds?
What is the role of clouds in nature? There can be many roles if we explain it scientifically, but we can think of two primary roles: One is to hide the light, and the other is to bring rain.
A role of clouds―hiding the light
God is the Creator who created the heavens and the earth and everything in them. God is the light that is tens of thousands times brighter than the sun. God has dignity and glory which we, sinners, dare not look at.
In ancient times, when the Israelites received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, God came down and the whole mountain trembled violently. Everyone trembled with fear when they saw darkness, gloom and storm and heard the sound of thunder and a loud trumpet blast. Although God was invisible to them, they pleaded with Moses that God should not talk to them directly.
About God’s divinity, the Apostle Paul said that He is the One “who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see” (1 Ti 6:16). And the Apostle John testified that God is light (1 Jn 1:5).
Then if God appears, as the way He is, to humans living in the sinful flesh, who will be alive? Who would dare to go near and see Him? God has come to the earth, hiding the brilliant light of His glory in the flesh to save humans who are clothed with the flesh. As a cloud hides the sunlight, the flesh that Jesus wore played the role of the cloud by hiding the light of glory of God.
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” Mt 1:23
If God does not hide His light, how can He be with us? The fact that God put on the flesh, which only deserve souls who committed sins in heaven, shows how much God loves us.
About 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah prophesied that God Jehovah would come to this earth and that there would be a prophet who would prepare the way for Jehovah.
A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD ; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.” … lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him … Isa 40:3-10
When this prophecy was fulfilled, God Jehovah did not appear splendidly or loudly as most people imagined. And the one calling and preparing the way for Jehovah did not come as a person who would be held in high esteem by the people of the world.
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah … “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry.” Mt 3:1-11
The one who called and whom Isaiah prophesied about was John the Baptist. And God Jehovah, who was to come, was Jesus who came in the flesh. When we compare the prophecy of Isaiah and the actual fulfillment of the prophecy, there is a great difference from the physical perspective.
When God came to the earth to save His loving people, the religious leaders in those days and leading people of society did not recognize Him. They despised and persecuted Him because the light of glory of God was hidden from them.
In the days of Jesus, there were many people, but not many of them recognized Jesus as God. However, people like the Apostle John, who realized the grace of God, did not hesitate to call Jesus God.
In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John (John the Baptist). He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him … Jn 1:4-14
When God who is light came to the earth, He hid the light of glory with the flesh. So the creatures of this world could not acknowledge Him and made a mistake to stand against God the Creator. However, the souls who loved God accepted Him, seeing the light of the gospel that came out softly from God though He came, hiding His light.
A role of clouds―making rain
Everything in the universe was made by the will of God. All living things made by the will of God on the earth were created to continue their lives by taking water. What if clouds do not make rain? The clouds would not fulfill their true role as a cloud, and by that all living things would lose their life.
Just as clouds have the role of making rain, the reason Jesus came, putting on the clouds [flesh], was to give the water of life to the dying souls due to thirst and make them live.
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” Jn 7:37-38
Jesus who is Christ came with the clouds [flesh] and gave us rain [the Holy Spirit], but false prophets and false Christs cannot provide the water of life to people. That is why they are called clouds without rain.
These men 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 … Jude 1:12
Jesus is God
The prophet Daniel saw a vision of God coming to the earth with the clouds, which refers to the scene where God comes in the flesh, hiding the light of His glory, and gives the water of life to humankind. The saints of the early Church, who accepted Jesus as Christ, realized that Jesus is in very nature God and worshiped Him even though He came in the weak human flesh.
… the Word was God … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Jn 1:1-14
Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Ro 9:5
The saints of the early Church believed that Jesus is God Himself. People, who did not realize Jesus, perceived Him as a Nazarene or a carpenter, but people who realized Him saw God’s divinity hidden in His flesh.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form … Col 2:9
The belief and the truth, which the saints of the early Church had, have a very significant meaning to us who are living in the last days. In this age too, the Spirit and the Bride, who are the Christs, have come with the clouds, hiding the light of Their glory and are giving the rain of life. The people who accept the Christ who comes with the clouds will follow the Spirit and the Bride, wherever They lead them, and give glory and praise to Them all the time.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. Rev 22:17