The Revealing of Jesus!
April 21, 2022 – Fotet.org
In this last article on the Cloud Rider Series, we will examine clouds in prophecy, and focus on the verses surrounding the return of the Lord.
On the last day of His public ministry, Jesus led the twelve apostles from Jerusalem up onto the Mount of Olives. After further instructing them, with no warning and right before their eyes, Jesus effortlessly lifted up off the earth in plain view of His stunned followers.
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
As Jesus rose in the atmosphere a cloud enveloped Him and took Him out of their sight! This of course was no ordinary cloud. Like Elijah’s chariot, it was the supercharged vehicle to carry the Son back home to the Father.
As the apostles gazed into the sky, the angels that stood nearby gave the awe-struck followers a wonderful message of hope.
And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.
Just as the Cloud Rider ascended in a cloud; He will one day return in one. As such, this passage gives insight into the Day of the Lord when Christ returns again. Does it agree with other prophecies on this topic? Yes, it does, as Christ Himself prophesies in Matthew 24:
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear 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.
In Matthew 26, Caiaphas, the high priest, wants to sentence Jesus to death for blasphemy (Matthew 26:57–59). After several failed attempts, he finally challenges Jesus to answer whether He is the Christ—the Messiah—and the Son of God.
Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Jesus’ words make direct reference to Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13 leaving no doubt in the mind of Caiaphas that Jesus is claiming to be the eternal Messiah and Son of God.
Thus, Jesus pronounced He was messiah by referring to Himself as the ‘Son of Man,’ and associating Himself as the divine Cloud Rider from the familiar messianic prophecy of Daniel.
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.
Finally, the apostle John adds his final witness to the Cloud Rider saying that Christ will break through earth’s atmosphere at His Second Coming with power and glory “riding” the clouds for all to see:
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
Riding God’s Portable Throne!
April 20, 2022 – Fotet.org
Any discussion of God’s cloud demands a look at Ezekiel 1 and 10.
These two challenging and interesting chapters offer the prophet’s description of God’s “portable throne.”
The throne’s portability and large wheels demonstrates God’s throne as a massive chariot (Ezekiel 1:14-21) serving as His means of judgment or as a war machine that can move instantly to be wherever God wants to go.
In Psalm 104:3 the psalmist sees clouds as God’s chariot. If we stop to reflect, most regular clouds are generally on the move, sometimes rapidly so. Thus, since they’re always on the move, Psalm 104:3 is saying that clouds can become God’s means of transport.
Ezekiel introduces his description of the throne with a reference to clouds:
As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal.
Ezekiel 1:4 ESV
The “gleaming metal” is likely a reference to Christ who is riding “in the midst” of the cloud. Compare the description of Christ’s feet at Revelation 1:15: “His feet were like unto brilliant metal as if they burned in a furnace.”
In Ezekiel 1:27-28, the prophet concludes his description with a reference to the One riding the cloud, mentioning a stunning display of God’s glory:
I looked at Him from His waist up. He looked like hot metal with fire all around Him. I looked at Him from His waist down. It looked like fire with a glow that was shining all around Him. The light shining around Him was like a rainbow in a cloud. It was the Glory of the Lord.
The Good News Translation
describes the rainbow mentioned in verse 28 as “the dazzling light which shows the presence of the LORD.”
Again, in Ezekiel 10:4, the prophet cannot miss the glory of God radiating from His cloud:
Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and paused over the threshold of the temple; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’s glory.
A broad look at Ezekiel’s description of God’s portable throne makes it clear that God revealed more about the “inner workings” of His cloud to Ezekiel than to anyone else. The passage is a good example of God’s exercising His sovereign prerogative to reveal knowledge according to His purposes.
Interestingly, about the only element missing from the description of the portable throne in Ezekiel 1 and 10 is smoke. Clouds are there, as are fires of coal and lightning, but no smoke. It may be that God, choosing to reveal never-before-secrets about His cloud and throne, purposefully removed the smoke to permit the prophet a better view.
Likely, Psalm 18:11 is a poetic description of God’s riding His portable throne where David alludes to the cloaking effect of the cloud: God “made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.”
Isaiah 19:1, where the prophet writes that “the LORD rides on a swift cloud and will come into Egypt,” is another verse where God’s transporting Himself wherever He wishes while cloaked in His brilliant cloud.
An even better-known example of the Cloud Rider appears in Daniel 7:13 describing Christ’s second coming:
Daniel 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.
Keep an eye out for part four tomorrow.
God’s amazing portable throne with wheels inside wheels described in Ezekiel 1 and 10.
Hiding in the Cloud!
April 19, 2022 – Fotet.org
“Where the LORD goes, there are whirlwinds and storms, and the clouds are the dust beneath His feet.”
In Part One, we saw that God possesses His own cloud and He enwraps Himself in it.
“His cloud,” as David calls it in Psalm 18:12, is more than supernatural: It is positively spectacular, discharging not only rain but fire, not only hail but smoke.
From His magnificent yet terrifying cloud, God reveals His secrets to some according to His sovereign will, while hiding Himself from others according to the purposes of that same will. His cloud can aid in revealing Himself as easily as it can conceal Himself.
God is present in His cloud. It is no wonder, then, that so many scriptures associate His cloud with His glory.
Exodus 16:10 tells us that “the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.” Exodus 24:16 reports that “the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days.”
It comes as no surprise then, that the glory of God in His cloud, also filled the Tabernacle:
Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
As a parallel scripture, consider the description of the dedication of Solomon’s Temple:
And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.
1 Kings 8:10-11
The cloud at once announces God’s presence and obscures enough of His glory to protect humans from destruction. Our Creator-God wants to communicate with us in order to reveal Himself they we may know His ways. And to do that, He’s chosen to protect those to whom He appears to in order to more fully reveal Himself. Whether we want to think of the God-cloud as a manifestation of the shekinah glory or not, it is apparent that He is there, present in His cloud.
The gospels also link God’s glory to His cloud. A case in point is the Transfiguration:
While He was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.
Here as elsewhere, the cloud hides God so people do not succumb, overcome by the brightness of His glory. But the same cloud also provides the opportunity for the Father to reveal a truth He deemed important to the three disciples present on the occasion, namely, the opportunity to teach them that the words of His Son carried more weight than the words of Moses or the prophets (represented by Elijah).
Just as God used His cloud (Exodus 19:9) to facilitate the Israelites’ hearing of Moses, so on this occasion the cloud facilitates the disciples’ hearing of Jesus.
After Christ’s resurrection, the apostle John, who was present at the Transfiguration, refers to this incident, connecting it with God’s glory:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Years later, Peter, who was also present with the brothers James and John at the Transfiguration, likewise connected it with the glory of God:
For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
2 Peter 1:17
Throughout scripture then, we learn with certainty that God’s cloud reflects His glory by virtue of the fact that He is present in it.
Keep an eye out for part three tomorrow.
“God’s cloud led them on by day when they broke camp and set out.”
This week, as part of the Cloud-Rider theme in our upcoming class, I will share a multi-part series of articles on how God uses clouds for His purposes in the Bible. We’ll start in the Old Testament and work our way through the Bible up to Christ’s Second Coming.
The Scriptures utilize the imagery of clouds far more than we realize. They are often used to signal God’s presence and this is one of those biblical themes that has not been given due consideration.
Indeed there are over 150 references to clouds in the Bible and while a few refer to clouds in the natural sense such as pouring forth rain, most references have to do with God, His nature, His revelation, His judgment and His travel to return to earth.
As part of God’s creation, clouds teach us something about God’s nature and His power. We can go so far as to call them a custom-made emblem—that is, a made-to-order symbol—to express God’s glory. God’s Clouds are unique and often used to assist His characteristic of hiding information from some and revealing it to others, according to His sovereign purpose.
Not Your Everyday Clouds
Of God and his Salvation, David writes:
He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through His clouds.
Note David’s mention of “His clouds,” giving a personal connection to God with a special class of clouds. Numbers 10:34 refers to “the cloud of the LORD” while Ps. 68:4 declares, “The clouds God rides.” Like His mighty fleet of chariots (Ps. 68:17), it’s no exaggeration to assume God has a sacred fleet of clouds to use for His many purposes.
He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind.
The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm,
and the clouds are the dust of His feet.
First, unlike the rainy-day clouds we experience, God’s clouds are supercharged for travel and issue “coals of fire” as well as moisture. God’s clouds are supernaturally powered to drive across the universe and cover God’s presence anywhere on earth.
Second and more importantly, God’s clouds reflect His glory. We might say God’s clouds are a lens to help us recognize and focus on His glory. When God’s clouds are around, He is around! His clouds signal His presence.
One of the most common purposes for God’s clouds is to protect His people (from Himself). That’s why God remained in a cloud over Mt. Sinai (Ex. 24:16) when speaking to Moses and the young nation of Israel. Similarly, that’s why He remained out of sight in the cloud by day during the wilderness wonderings (Numb. 10:34), to protect the people from His presence lest they die.
In the same way, the prophet Isaiah provides a good example about God’s protective cloud over Jerusalem as a place-of-safety during the Millennial Kingdom.
Then whoever is left in Zion (after the Tribulation) and whoever remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. The Lord will wash away the filth of Zion’s people. He will clean bloodstains from Jerusalem with a spirit of judgment and a spirit of burning. The Lord will create a cloud of smoke during the day and a glowing flame of fire during the night over the whole area of Mount Zion and over the assembly. His glory will cover everything. It will be a shelter from the heat during the day as well as a refuge and hiding place from storms and rain.
What provides shelter, refuge, and a hiding place is not so much the “cloud of smoke” itself as it is the glory and presence of God inside the cloud over Millennial Jerusalem. God keeps us and protects us today in many ways but in the Millennial Kingdom worshippers that come to Jerusalem will be able to see His glorious presence in the cloud overhead which will always be there for their protection.
Keep an eye out for part two tomorrow.
God remained hidden in the cloud as He spoke to Moses and the children of Israel on Mt. Sinai.
“And the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud.”
How Will the World End?
Are You Prepared?
So what do we know about the end of the world? Does the Bible tell us how the world will end?
Just as importantly, what don’t we know? And how should we live in light of this knowledge?
This intriguing subject will be the focus of our class next Tuesday as we discuss man’s final test and the sudden turn of events that triggers the end of the world.
To learn more, here are two helpful passages to read ahead of the class.
2 Peter 3
A few of Tim’s short teaching videos from Israel are now on YouTube
Kingdom Trilogy, Pt. 3
Heaven and Earth Shall Pass Away
1. Man’s Final Test (Pass or Fail?)
2. The Million-Man March on Jerusalem
3. Satan’s Final Deception
4. What kind of judgment will we face?
5. Is this earth going to be destroyed?
Join us for Part Three
of our Kingdom Trilogy Series
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7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.
God is all powerful. Yet He allows Satan to carry out his deceitful and destructive activities—within certain limits—for a purpose.
At the end of the Millennial Kingdom, Satan is set free!
After 1000 years in solitary confinement the Lord will let Satan, the “snake” of Genesis 3, back in the garden (so to speak) to offer the human race independence from God in order to reveal their hearts.
We learn from the book of Job that Satan plays an important role in God’s plans for mankind. Nothing makes that clearer then the devil’s release from prison at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. The purpose of his release is to “deceive the nations” (Rev. 20:8) one final time.
We will discuss suggestions as to how he accomplishes this in our upcoming class.
During the Kingdom Age, earth is filled with righteousness and there is great prosperity. There have been several generations over the 1000 years. The curse is lifted and man’s lifespan is quite long. There is love, righteousness, joy, and peace. There are no demons harassing anybody.
There is no pornography, there is no abortion, there is no perversion. There is nothing like that in the earth. Then Satan is let back into the garden so to speak. What happens is revealing! Millions of unsaved people born during the Millennial Kingdom choose to follow Satan just like Adam and Eve followed the snake.
There are some important reasons why this happens.
One reason is Satan has not been rehabilitated. You would think after 1000 years in prison he would get humble. He is not. He is more angry than ever.
Another reason is that the demons also become more angry, not more humble. They are not rehabilitated. When given the opportunity, they attack again.
God allows this scenario to be played out to reveal the wickedness of man’s heart and to leave man without excuse (Rom. 1:20). There are people who are saying, “If I only had better circumstances, I would not have sinned like Adam did.” The Lord says, Watch this. I am going to show you. I am going to make the glorious environment of Eden across the whole earth one final time to give man a fresh opportunity.
Then I will let the snake back in the garden like I did with Adam. What happens? Multitudes will choose the snake like great-grandpa Adam did because man loves sin.
Even though Christ dwells on earth in all His millennial glory and man sees the glories of redemption, the majority of mankind, at the end of the Millennium, still choose sin instead of the Savior.
This is the final lesson God wants to leave with mankind for all eternity. Given the best opportunity and perfect environment to surrender to Jesus Christ, man chose the wages of sin.