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Many Christians around the world think that when Jesus comes to the world a second time, the world will be judged and those who are saved will enter the kingdom of heaven. However, when we look at the following verse in the Bible, there seems to be some gap in logic.
Luke 18:8  …However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

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.

Coming with Fire

Isaiah 66:15-16  See, the Lord is coming with fireand 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.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-10  …and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

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.

Coming with the Clouds
Matthew 24:30-31  “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

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.

Luke 21:27-28  At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

“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.

Coming with the physical clouds?

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?

 

Cloud refers to flesh

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.

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 (a kingdom, in King James Version); 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.

 

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.

Jude 1:12 These people 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; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.
Proverbs 25:14 (NCV) People who brag about gifts they never give are like clouds and wind that give no rain.

 

Receive Jesus when He comes in the flesh before judgment

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.

John 10:16  I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.