How Christ Returns

"He cometh with a cloud" (Rev. 1.7) - Just as He went up to heaven with a cloud, so shall He come back with the cloud. The word here is in perfect accord with what is said in Acts 1.9-11. Then: "And every eye shall see him, and they that pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn over him. Even so, Amen" - These words agree with Matthew 24.30.

Act 1:9 And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
Act 1:10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,
Act 1:11 and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."


Rev 19:11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

19.11 The marriage ceremony is over, now the Lord comes down to the earth with His faithful followers. These names “Faithful and True” have already been spoken of in chapter 1 of this book. Here they are names of our Lord in His second coming, and they reveal His relationship to the world; in chapter 1, however, these names are especially connected with the church.

Mat 24:27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man.

vs.27 “Lightning” flashes in the sky and everybody sees it, whereas by contrast “the wilderness” is hidden from many eyes. The Lord’s appearing is absolutely open. He shall come in the cloud. If anyone suggests that the Lord will come to the earth stealthily, do not believe him. Nevertheless, the first rapture does happen secretly, and the Lord’s coming from the throne to the air is also in secret. Just as the lightning is first hidden in the clouds until the time of its flashing in the sky, so Christ will hide himself in the cloud until the right moment for His appearing (see Rev. 1.7, Acts 1.11). According to the record of the book of Acts, at His ascension the Lord was first taken up without any cloud, and only then was He received by a cloud. Even so shall be His coming again, except the order will at that time be reversed. First, He will be hidden by the cloud (which will include the rapture), and next will He appear publicly (by that time all the saints will have been raptured before His appearing). So that what we are waiting for in parousia is not the coming but the going.

Zec 14:4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley; so that one half of the Mount shall withdraw northward, and the other half southward.

What the Scriptures do say is that when the feet of the Lord Jesus shall touch the Mount of Olives God will open a foundation of salvation for the children of Israel, and then and there they will be saved (Zech. 13.1, 14.4, 12.10-14).

Mat 24:30 then will appear the sign of the Son of man 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;

v.30 In heaven” – Since the sign appears in heaven, all the tribes of the earth shall see it. “All the tribes of the earth” refers to the twelve tribes of Israel. They shall mourn and weep (see Zech. 12.10-14).

“With power and great glory” – At His first coming, the Lord manifested both great authority (in that He cast out demons and healed the sick) and glory. At His second coming, He will manifest power and glory. At His first coming, people marveled His teaching and authority (Matt. 7.28). The Pharisees questioned Him as to the source of His authority (Matt. 21.23). A centurion believed in His authority (Matt. 8.8-9). But at His second coming, He will not only manifest authority but also power. He will not ride on a colt (as the Prince of Peace) but will ride instead on a white horse. Power is used in executing the judgment of God. In the future Satan will greatly increase his lawless works; so the Lord will destroy him with power. The difference between power and authority may be illustrated by the driving of a car (power) in contrast to the directing given by a policeman (authority). At His first coming our Lord healed the sick, cast out demons, and calmed the storm – all these being demonstrations of authority. Even when He overturned tables and drove out sheep and oxen with a scourge of cords, He did not use the whip on men. Only at His second coming will He exercise such power.

First Fruits: Advanced Parties and Harbingers in Every Sphere

Rev 14:1 And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing upon mount Zion, and with him a hundred [and] forty-four thousand, having his name and the name of his Father written upon their foreheads.
Rev 14:2 And I heard a voice out of the heaven as a voice of many waters, and as a voice of great thunder. And the voice which I heard [was] as of harp-singers harping with their harps;
Rev 14:3 and they sing a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders. And no one could learn that song save the hundred [and] forty-four thousand who were bought from the earth.
Rev 14:4 These are they who have not been defiled with women, for they are virgins: these are they who follow the Lamb wheresoever it goes. These have been bought from men [as] first-fruits to God and to the Lamb:
Rev 14:5 and in their mouths was no lie found; [for] they are blameless.

Later Harvest Ripening

Rev 14:14 Then I looked, and lo, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand.
Rev 14:15 And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat upon the cloud, "Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe."
Rev 14:16 So he who sat upon the cloud swung his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.


14.14 The phrase “a white cloud” fits perfectly with the words in 1 Thessalonians 4.16,17. “Like unto a son of man” shows that this word is spoken to the church (see 1.13). The words “having on his head a golden crown” reveal that He is already glorified. A sharp sickle is indicated for quick reaping. In Matthew 13.37 the Lord is identified as the sower; at His second coming He will be the reaper.


Watchman Nee