Jesus asked this question two thousand years ago to emphasise that there is 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 is no one to receive salvation.
Thus, it is clear that the purpose of Jesus’ second coming recorded in Luke 18 is not for judgment. Jesus must first restore true faith before carrying out judgement. The Bible clearly prophesies about Judgment.
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 God carries out judgment. It is with fire that those who do not know God will be punished and those who believe and obey the gospel will be saved.
Conversely, let us look at the records of His coming to restore faith before the judgment.
This prophecy spoken by Jesus about His second coming is of stark contrast from that of 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.
“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. In the book of Luke, it prophesies that when Jesus comes a second time, the day of judgment is only still drawing near, which means that it takes place only in the near future, with a time gap in between the two events.
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?
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.
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.
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!