Coming of Christ

Signs of Coming

Prophecy has made it known that the Messiah will establish the kingdom of God in Israel. "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed . . . [and] it will itself endure forever" (Da 2:44). Jesus was "questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming" (Lk 17:20). They asked as though they believed he was the Christ, however it seems that they were rather baiting him to commit himself. Jesus hadn't been advertising overtly who he was because it would have just precipitated unnecessary controversy. If we fast-forward to when Jesus was arrested and brought before the Council we see that Caiaphus, the high priest, asked him, "'Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?'" (Mk 14:61). Jesus answered, "'I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven'" (:62).

Later "the disciples came to Him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?'" (Mt 24:3). Paul cited that "Jews ask for signs" (1Co 1:22). But Jesus explained to the Pharisees, "'The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed'" (Lk 17:20). The questions were in reference to his coming. It is the Greek word parousia pertaining to a presence or a coming. It is from a root meaning to have come or being present. Jesus answered with a long discourse beginning at Matthew 24:4, Mark 13:5, and Luke 17:22. He states, "'The sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky . . . and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory'" (Mt 24:30). Mark quotes he will be "'coming in clouds'" (Mk 13:26) and "coming with the clouds of heaven'" (14:62). Luke quotes "they will see the son of man coming in a cloud'" (Lk 21:27). How much of a distinction should be made regarding coming "on", "in", and "with" cloud(s)?