Matthew 24 Messiah Coming In The Clouds With Power And Great Glory

This Olivet Discourse Deception study provides an explanation for the fulfillment of Messiah coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, in Matthew 24.

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:30

Messiah is not talking about His second coming, but rather to His coming in great power and glory in judgment of the Jews, who had rejected Him and delivered Him up to be killed.

Before we focus on the words in the verse, let’s put it in its proper context; with other, similar statements from Messiah.

In Matthew 10:23, Messiah declared to His disciples that they would not have gone through the cities of Israel before He came in power:

When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

In Matthew 16:28, Messiah declared that some of His disciples would see Him come into His kingdom:

Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.

In Matthew 26:63-64, Messiah told the High Priest that he would see Him come in the clouds of heaven, meaning in judgment.

And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Should we not believe Messiah’s clear statement, that the High Priest would witness Him coming on the clouds of heaven, which matches the description in Matthew 24:30?

He was telling the High Priest that though I look powerless now, you will witness my resurrection, as I fulfill the sign that I gave to you of rising after three days.

And that he would see Messiah come in great power and glory when the temple and city and Jews would be destroyed, because He rejected Him as Messiah and delivered Him up to be killed.  Just as the High Priest was judging him and condemning him to die, so too did Messiah judge the High Priest and condemn him to die.

Either those verses are referring to Messiah’s second advent in the first century, which did not happen; Or it is referring to Him coming in power to desolate the Jews; Or Messiah is mistaken. That’s the only three options.

Applying His statements to the end times takes them out of context, as He told His disciples and the High Priest that they would see these things happen.

Then just three verses later Messiah said in Matthew 24:34,

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”

When Messiah makes a plain statement, we should not dismiss it, just because we don’t understand the fulfillment.

He was clearly saying that all of the things that He just stated in the previous verses would be fulfilled in that generation.

To reinforce that, after berating the Jewish leaders and casting woes on them in Matthew 23, He said in verses 35-36, that they would be killed in their generation.

That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

And within a Biblical generation of 40 years, history proves that in fact that the disciples and the High Priest, did see Him come in power and glory; when He caused the Roman army to desolate Jerusalem, the temple and the Jewish leadership system.

This matches the prophecy in Daniel 9:26-27, that foretold the coming of our Messiah, and that He would be delivered up by the Jews to death; and that as a consequence, the city and the temple and the Jews would be desolated.

..and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. …and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

The whole context of the Olivet Discourse was that after Messiah berated the Jewish leaders, He proclaimed to His disciples, that the temple would be desolated,

And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

The disciples were not asking about the end times, they were asking about when the temple would be destroyed.

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

The word ‘world‘ should be rendered as ‘age‘, as the New King James has it. The latter days of the Jewish age started when they were released from Babylon, after 70 years of captivity; and ended in 70 A.D., when the temple, the city and the Jews were desolated.

The former days were before the Babylonian captivity. In between the two ages was 70 years of captivity when they did not possess the Holy land.

So let’s look at the verse now that we have a proper perspective of its context:

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:30

The Jewish leaders were always asking Messiah to give them a ‘sign‘ to prove His power and glory.  The Greek word for sign is semeion, which was used by John often to refer to Jesus’ miracles; the word itself denotes a token of identification or verification.

He gave them the sign of rising again after they had delivered Him up to be killed, with the analogy of Him being the temple.  “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:19

Then He judged the Jewish leaders and He gave them the sign of destroying their magnificent temple, desolating Jerusalem and the Jews; which proved His power and glory.

The word ‘tribes‘ is referring to the people of the land of Judea.  Some from the House of Israel had regathered in the northern region of Galilee, where Messiah spent most of His time.

That is, the land of Judea; for other lands, and countries, were not usually divided into tribes, as that was; neither were they affected with the calamities and desolations of it, and the vengeance of the son of man upon it; at least not so as to mourn on that account, but rather were glad and rejoiced: (JG)

The Greek word for ‘earth‘, ‘ge’, does not mean the whole earth, but rather it means ‘country or land’; in this context, the land of Judea.

It’s the same word used in Matthew 2:20, “Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land(ge) of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.”

And the people of the land of Judea truly did mourn when they saw the power of Messiah commanding the mighty army coming against them.

The symbol of ‘clouds‘ can represent judgment. In this case the judgment of the Jewish nation, which had rejected Him and delivered Him up to be killed.

In Jeremiah 4:13 the word clouds is referring to the Babylonians whose army was coming against the Jews, as the Father’s judgment against them.

Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.”

In Zephaniah 1:15 the ‘dark, gloomy day of clouds’, is referring to the wrath of Elohim against his people for their sins; these judgments being the effects of his wrath, provoked by their iniquities; and of the wrath and cruelty of the Chaldeans, exercised in a furious manner

That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,”

Messiah coming in the clouds in Matthew 24:30 is speaking of His coming in great power to judge the Jews, by using the Roman army to desolate them and their temple; and to setup His kingdom, which would last forever.

Daniel 7:13-14 foretold that the Son of Man would come in the clouds of heaven!

I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.”

Historical witnesses of Messiah coming in power and glory:

Jewish historian Josephus, who documented the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, witnessed chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor, running about among the clouds:

“Besides these [signs], a few days after that feast, on the one- and-twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. (Jewish Wars, VI-V-3).

The medieval Jewish historian Sepher Yosippon expounds upon this angelic army in the sky by saying,

“Moreover, in those days were seen chariots of fire and horsemen, a great force flying across the sky near to the ground coming against Jerusalem and all the land of Judah, all of them horses of fire and riders of fire.” (Sepher Yosippon A Mediaeval History of Ancient Israel translated from the Hebrew by Steven B. Bowman. Excerpts from Chapter 87 “Burning of the Temple”)

Matthew 24:27 reads, “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”  This verse seems to suggest that lightning might mark the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds.

Historical confirmation of lightning marking the second coming of Christ may found in the writings of the Roman historian Tacitus:

In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armour.  A sudden lightening flash from the clouds lit up the Temple.  The doors of the holy place abruptly opened, a superhuman voice was heard to declare that the gods were leaving it, and in the same instant came the rushing tumult of their departure, (Tacitus The Histories 5.13.)

Commentaries from great theologians about Matthew 24:30:

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man – The plain meaning of this is, that the destruction of Jerusalem will be such a remarkable instance of Divine vengeance, such a signal manifestation of Christ’s power and glory, that all the Jewish tribes shall mourn, and many will, in consequence of this manifestation of God, be led to acknowledge Christ and his religion. By της γης , of the land, in the text, is evidently meant here, as in several other places, the land of Judea and its tribes, either its then inhabitants, or the Jewish people wherever found.

Coke’s Commentary on the Holy Bible

And then shall appear the sign, &c.— The plain meaning of this is, that the destruction of Jerusalem will be such a remarkable instance of divine vengeance, such a signal manifestation of Christ’s power and glory, that all the Jewish tribes shall mourn, and many will be thence led to acknowledge Christ and the Christian religion. In the ancient prophets God is frequently described as coming in the clouds, upon any remarkable interposition and manifestation of his power; and the same description is here applied to Christ. See Bishop Newton, and Gerhard’s Dissertations, p. 200, &c. and John 6:30. Dr. Clarke says, that the sign here mentioned means the figure given by the prophet Daniel, the signal of that Son of man there described. Instead of the tribes of the earth, some read the tribes of the land.

Professor Dr. Francis Nigel Lee

For at that time, Christ came invisibly – with the visible Roman armies – in order to destroy the Pharisees’ House in 70 A.D.

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

he shall appear, not in person, but in the power of his wrath and vengeance, on the Jewish nation which will be a full sign and proof of his being come: for the sense is, that when the above calamities shall be upon the civil state of that people, and there will be such changes in their ecclesiastical state it will be as clear a point, that Christ is come in the flesh, and that he is also come in his vengeance on that nation, for their rejection and crucifixion him, as if they had seen him appear in person in the heavens. They had been always seeking a sign, and were continually asking one of him; and now they will have a sign with a witness; as they had accordingly,

And then shall the tribes of the earth, or land,

mourn; that is, the land of Judea; for other lands, and countries, were not usually divided into tribes, as that was; neither were they affected with the calamities and desolations of it, and the vengeance of the son of man upon it; at least not so as to mourn on that account, but rather were glad and rejoiced:

and they shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. The Arabic version reads it, “ye shall see”, as is expressed by Christ, in Mt 26:64. Where the high priest, chief priests, Scribes, and elders, and the whole sanhedrim of the Jews are spoken to: and as the same persons, namely, the Jews, are meant here as there; so the same coming of the son of man is intended; not his coming at the last day to judgment; though that will be in the clouds of heaven, and with great power and glory; but his coming to bring on, and give the finishing stroke to the destruction of that people, which was a dark and cloudy dispensation to them: and when they felt the power of his arm, might, if not blind and stupid to the last degree, see the glory of his person, that he was more than a mere man, and no other than the Son of God, whom they had despised, rejected, and crucified; and who came to set up his kingdom and glory in a more visible and peculiar manner, among the Gentiles.

Messiah coming in the clouds in great power and glory clearly represents His judgment of the wicked Jews, as He oversaw their desolation by the Roman army.

David Nikao

Next Olivet Discourse Deception Study: The Abomination Of Desolation Deception

Matthew 24 - Messiah Coming In The Clouds With Power And Great Glory

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