Cloud Gazing, by Ray Hawkins
If my memory serves me right, the first mention of clouds in the Gospels is on a mountain, according to Matthew 17:1-5. This followed your words about the cross in the region of Caesarea Philippi. Rather appropriate as I think about it; first the cross, then the glory. Was the mountain in the same area? Anyway, the gospel says, ‘…a voice from the cloud said, “this is my beloved Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him.”’
Did Peter, James and John’s minds recall their nation’s history when you spoke to Israel out of the cloud on their journey at Mount Sinai? Now, on this mount, the Father stresses an important fact. After all which is recorded in the Old Testament for our blessing and protection God has one final word. Hebrews 1:1, 3. Tells us that Jesus Christ is God’s last Word to a lost and wayward Humanity.
Later the disciples were in for a shock as you outlined future events affecting Israel and the Gentile nations. (Matthew 24). By the time you got to mention clouds I reckon their minds were reeling from your words. Then you say “Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken” At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.”’ (Matthew 24:29, 30) What a great incentive to be a cloud watcher!
You were accused of blasphemy because you linked yourself to the quote of Daniel 7:13 As Daniel saw it, he wrote ‘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; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.’
If you hadn’t risen from the dead but your body had remained in the tomb, the judgement of the High Priest and Sanhedrin would have been correct. The message of the angels is our victory chant, “He is not here; He has risen!” You are the conquering Lord over sin, death and Satan’s kingdom.
What an emotional moment it must have been for those with you on the Mount of Olives. As they were enjoying your company you ascended into your Father’s presence embraced in a cloud. (Acts 1:9) Awe struck seems apparent as they stand there gazing at the cloud. I’m sure they never lost the significance of the angel’s words when he said “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11 and Zechariah 14:1-4) That is so plain. Why do some try and tell us you have already come, invisibly beats me! They have eyes but do not see what is written. They have hearts which choose not to believe your word. They will be amongst the mourners when you return.
I look forward to my grandchildren maturing so as to talk to them about the spiritual significance of the clouds. Until then I will enjoy both the fun of seeing ‘things’ in the clouds with them and anticipating the spiritual reality of the clouds.
Personal soliloquy. There’s a cloud experience waiting for you. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Post card from God. ‘Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen.’ Revelation 1:7.
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