Coming in the Clouds of Heaven
Long ago a prophet spoke these words concerning God: "His way is in the whirlwind and the storm " (Nah.1).
For thousands of years men have gazed at the sky and have been fascinated by its clouds and been in awe at the changes of the weather. Though often people have looked forward to and prayed for rain, they have feared the storms, wind, and whirlwinds (tornados). Anyone who has witnessed a tornado or been through a hurricane experiences a realization of the incredible forces of nature. These unpredictable, tremendous releases of energy and clashes of air masses summon our attention . For some it's a moment of terror and helplessness. For others (including this writer,) it's a realization of the Creator's power that goes deep into their soul .
The ancient writer Job spoke of how God commanded the winds and the lightning from his storehouse and that it accomplished his purposes (Job). This spiritual realm has often been imagined to be like the wind and physical heavens. This is used as a metaphor or a type for God's reality. Indeed the words for wind and spirit are interchangeable in many biblical passages.
The psalmist wrote, "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork" (Psm.). God (whose dwelling place is in the heavens), was spoken of as "riding on the clouds ... , and on the wings of the wind" (Psm.104:68). This was his divine chariot .
When God revealed himself to the Israelites he said, "I am coming to you in a thick cloud ..."; he came with hail, fire, and lightning (Ex.19.); "the Lord descended in a cloud and proclaimed his name ..." (Ex. 34).
When God delivered his people at the Red Sea it was described in this way: "The crash of thy thunder was in the whirlwind, thy lightning has lighted up the world" (Psm 78). The psalmist again declared, "Our God comes ... round about him a mighty tempest"(Psm.50). He also wrote, "Bow the heavens, Oh Lord, and come down ... flash forth the lightning and rout them" (Psm.144).
Zechariah said, "The Lord will appear over them and his arrow will go forth like lightning; The Lord will sound the trumpet ... and march forth in the whirlwind" (Zec.9).
The Old testament prophets saw these and other storms as revelations and manifestations of his glory. They also saw it as expressions of his anger and judgment. (This is not to infer that everyone today who has suffered some weather related injury is under God's judgment.) The former were demonstrations of his power. They foreshadowed his coming; a time of triumph over his foes and vindication for his beloved people (Ex-9; Isa.17,30; Ez 13; Am.1; Hab.3; Jol.2).
When Christ was born God revealed himself in a greater revelation . This revelation wasn't simply one coming from the natural world, but of the Son himself, as a person . He demonstrated his divinity in many ways including that he could command wind and sea to obey his voice. He showed himself to be the one from whom all creation was made. On the Mount of Olives Jesus spoke of his return: "As the lightning shines as far as the east is from the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man." He spoke of himself as, "coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory" (Mt 24).
After Jesus completed his work he made the way of salvation through the cross and then was taken up in the heavens. The angels said that his return would be in the same way . The kingdom of heaven is coming to this earth. This is the return foreshadowed for millennia in God's message to his people, and by the witness of his creation.
"Maranatha." Come Lord Jesus.