We saw in a previous post on what Christ’s coming on the clouds mean. It can be either symbolic or literal but always represents the presence and the glory of God. In this post, we will explore how the sight of Christ’s second coming or the glory of His Father will look like.
|Glory of the Father||Clouds of Heaven|
For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
|Mark 8:38 |
For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His [own] glory, and [in His] Father’s, and of the holy angels.
Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
We can also see from the above verses within the same gospel book where coming on the clouds is used synonymously to the glory of the Father.
Sight of God’s glory is like a consuming fire
Now the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. The sight of the glory of the LORD [was] like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.Exod 24:16-18
When Moses went to the top of the mountain, we read how the glory of the LORD looked like. It was like a consuming fire covered by the cloud.
No one can see the face of God’s glory and live
And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” … But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the LORD said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.Exod 33:18,20-23
When Moses requested God to show His glory the response from God suggests that seeing His glory is same as seeing Himself and no one can see His face and live. Hence, God made arrangements for Moses to see His back.
The glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud
Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.Exod 16:10
The glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud to Israel is how Christ will appear in the cloud.
And Korah gathered all the congregation against them at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation. And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.”Num 16:19-21
Whenever God wants to speak to the children of Israel, He appeared in His glory in the cloud.
Glory of the LORD is consuming fire
|1Kgs 8:10-11||2Chr 7:3|
|And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy [place,] that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.||When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the LORD, [saying:] “For [He is] good, For His mercy [endures] forever.”|
Keep in mind that chronicles were written much later. The important point is to show what the scribes considered as the glory of God, that is fire from heaven.
Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw [it,] they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”Exod 20:18-19
The glory of the LORD is not just fire but accompanied with thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking.
Likeness of the glory of the LORD
And above the firmament over their heads [was] the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne [was] a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so [was] the appearance of the brightness all around it. This [was] the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. So when I saw [it,] I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.Ezek 1:26-28
When Ezekiel saw the likeness of the glory of God, His appearance was of fire with brightness.
When Jesus Christ comes in the cloud, it will be like a fearful sight the children of Israel saw during Exodus.
… His countenance [was] like the sun shining in its strength.Rev 1:16
He will be like the sun in its full brightness, as a consuming fire covered with clouds.
The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see [it] together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”Isa 40:3-5
Christ is the glory of the LORD in the flesh which was revealed to us and will come again in flesh to judge us all. When He comes again, it will be similar to how the ancient Israelites viewed at the glory of the LORD covered in cloud.