In this rhetoric question spoken by Jesus 2,000 years ago, it emphasized the fact that this world would be in a state where there is no faith when Jesus comes a second time (For more information, please refer to article Weeds and Wheat). If Jesus comes to judge a faithless world, who would be saved?
It is clear, therefore, that the purpose of Jesus’ second coming spoken of in Luke is not for the purpose of judgment. Then what is it? It is to first restore faith. According to the Bible, Jesus comes a second time to a faithless world to restore faith, then, He will judge the world afterwards so that there will be those with faith who could be saved.
Let us first take a look at the prophecies about Jesus’ coming on the Judgment day.
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.
In both the Old and New Testaments, we can see how Jesus appears on the judgment day. It is with fire. What is the purpose of His coming? It is to execute judgment: those who do not know God will be punished while those who believe will be saved.
Now, let us take a look at the records of His coming to restore faith before the judgment.
We can see that this prophecy spoken by Jesus about His second coming is totally different from the judgment day. That is because His appearance and purpose of His second coming totally differs from that of the judgment. 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, it further shows that it is definitely not the same as the judgment as it tells of a time gap between Jesus’ second coming and the judgment day.
“Son of Man coming in a cloud” refers to Jesus’ second coming while “your redemption” refers to the judgment day when God’s people enter the kingdom of heaven. In the book of Luke, it prophesies that when Jesus comes a second time, the day of judgment is drawing near, which means that it takes place only in the future, with a time gap in between the two events.
Many Christians also think that the cloud that Jesus comes on refers to real physical cloud. However, if they got the time of Jesus’ second coming wrong, could their interpretation of the cloud be wrong as well? If cloud does not refer to the real clouds of the sky, then what does it stand for?
In order to understand what cloud represents in the Bible, 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.
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 fulfilment 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 in fulfilment of the prophecy that the son of man comes with the clouds of heaven. Instead, He fulfilled this prophecy by being born in the flesh.
Regarding His second coming, Jesus used the exact same prophecy by saying that He would come on the cloud again. At His first coming, “coming in the clouds” was fulfilled by His coming in the flesh. At His second coming, will this same prophecy be fulfilled by His coming on the actual clouds of the sky instead? To show that He comes in the same way as that of His first coming, that is, in the flesh, Jesus used the exact same prophecy regarding His second coming.
In the Bible, some words have multiple meanings. Besides representing the actual clouds in the sky, the Bible sometimes compares people to clouds. This is seen in both the New and the Old Testament.
In short, Jesus comes a second time in the flesh to restore faith before the judgment to save us. It is therefore crucial that we recognize and receive Him when He comes. As according to His own words, He will come, personally, to gather His people.