Revelation 1:4-8 Part 6

REVELATION 1 4-8 Part 6

“LO! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, all who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. YES! Amen.” (verse seven)

Here is the substance, the keynote, of John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ. This is what is “near”; what is to be done “in quickness”. This is what is disclosed (revealed) in Revelation of Jesus Christ.

These are the words, directly from Almighty God the Father, witnessed by Jesus Christ, witnessed by John the apostle, and sent to all of Jesus’ other servants.

“Lo! He is coming with the clouds…..”

“He” is Jesus the Christ of God, Who came to the Father in His Glory Cloud, having faithfully completed all His work of atonement. “He” is Jesus the Christ, Who had “emptied Himself of” (or put aside) His glory for a time in order to become sin and atone for the sins of His Father’s elect people. “He” it is Who has come to the Father and has received all His glory, and a Kingdom, and all authority in the heavens and upon the earth. (“Ask of Me and I will give you the nations as an inheritance.”) (Psalm two) “He” is Jesus the Christ of God (the Anointed of God) Who has invaded the household of the “strong man”, has bound him, and has stolen his goods; and now Gentiles from every tongue and tribe and nation belong to the Father!

And “He” is Jesus Christ, Son of God/Son of Man, Who, in a covenantal law suit, comes to execute the death penalty for an idolatrous and adulterous nation, and bring the Light of Life to all nations of the earth.

“LO, He is coming with the clouds…….”

How many times, during our years in the Gospel of Matthew, have we seen this little one-syllable word – Lo? And here it is again as John receives Revelation from God at the “keynote” of Revelation of Jesus Christ.

And on most every occasion it has been the signal for great and imminent prophetic fulfillment. On every occasion we’ve been able to go back into the corpus of the Scripture to determine what it was that was to be imminently “filled up” by The Christ. Remember, He is the “fullness” of the entirety of the prophetic Word. And that is certainly the case here, for all the rest of Revelation of Jesus Christ is the Word of God from the heavenly sanctuary regarding the Christ and what “He” is about to do “in quickness”! “Lo! He is coming with the clouds…..”

We are going to see many descriptions of the Throneroom/Judgment Seat/Sanctuary of God as we move through Revelation and through the text of other portions of Scripture; but Jesus, the Anointed, the resurrected God-man, “came” to the Father in the glory cloud, having finished the work of atonement for the sin of the world. And having finished that work, He was then crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords and given all authority in the heavens and upon the earth. He is God…..resurrected Son of God/Son of Man Who assumed the Throne of God for His absolute faithfulness to His covenantal Word.

His work as Son of God/Son of man having been completed, He “came” to the Father in the Glory Cloud. Now He has different “work” to do. Having complete authority over all things in the heavens and upon the earth, His work is to return all of creation intact and clean as it was before sin and the curse….and even better! The reason? In order that God might be glorified in all that He has made.

John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ is about “that which is necessary to be done in quickness”. It is not about the “second coming of Christ”; it is not about two thousand years of Church history; it is not about what happens in the hearts of believers……! And it has nothing whatever to do with the “rapture” of believers out of a broken, fallen and doomed creation!

Revelation of Jesus Christ is about an unprecedented event which is necessary to be done in quickness! And that event is introduced by God, written down and described by John and sent to all of Jesus’ other servants in the Churches. It is, “Lo. He is coming with the clouds……” (present tense)

Now. As is our usual course of study, when we see something like this (which piques our interest and causes many to engage in activities of the imagination) we promptly seek out answers from other portions of Scripture. We can’t just leave weighty and vital statements like this one to human imaginations. That always results in precarious consequences.

One of our presuppositions with regard to the interpretation of Scripture is that Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture. So, should we need clarity concerning what God has said, we don’t just “conjure up” an answer; we search God’s Own Word for answers!

So, when God says, “LO, He is coming with the clouds……..”, we can’t just “conceive” or “formulate” or “dream up” something in our own minds what that might look like. Should that be the case, then the image produced would be maybe something like a “jesus figure” appearing to everyone all over the earth at the same time, in the clouds of the atmosphere, with his long hair and his flowing robes, and people rising to meet him in the clouds, and going to be with him in heaven.

Well, we’re not here to improvise; and we certainly don’t wish to involve ourselves in mythical fantasy. I brought up the word “chimera” in one of our introductory sermons. A chimera is a grotesque product of the imagination. And right now I’m asserting that at the point of human imagination superceding the Revelation of God, the product is always grotesque. It doesn’t matter whether the figure imagined is part goat – part lion – and part serpent; if it isn’t what God reveals, it’s still grotesque. If the mental image of Jesus the Christ of God (and what He’s about to do) is one of human imagination rather than that which God has revealed in His Word, then it is grotesque; and it’s idolatry! Mythology nor eastern mysticism has a place in the pulpit of the sanctuary. And Christians are not to have a mythological image of Jesus Christ in their minds.

So let’s find out exactly what God is “unveiling” here in His Word. Then our devotion and worship of Him will be deepened, that we may be gifted with true piety and faithfulness.

In Exodus 14, as the armies of Egypt were chasing Israel to the Red Sea, we find this:

19) And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them:

20) and it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud and the darkness, yet gave it light by night: and the one came not near the other all the night.

A little later on, in Exodus 16, we read this:

9) And Moses said unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before Yahveh; for he hath heard your murmurings.

10) And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of Yahveh appeared in the cloud.

As Israel comes into the Sinai, this is what we read from Exodus chapter 19:

1) In the third month after the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.

2) And when they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mount.

3) And Moses went up unto God, and Yahveh called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:

4) Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.

5) Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be mine own possession from among all peoples: for all the earth is mine:

6) and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

7) And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which Yahveh commanded him.

8) And all the people answered together, and said, All that Yahveh hath spoken we will do. And Moses reported the words of the people unto Yahveh.

9) And Yahveh said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and may also believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto Yahveh.

And from Exodus chapter 24:

16) And the glory of Yahveh abode upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.

17) And the appearance of the glory of Yahveh was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.

18) And Moses entered into the midst of the cloud, and went up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

Thereafter the glory cloud of Yahveh was with Israel for forty years. Next we see the cloud with reference to the building and furnishing of the tabernacle. This is more lengthy, but it should be keenly interesting to you since we’ve been looking at the tabernacle and the temple. Exodus 40:

1) And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying,

2) On the first day of the first month shalt thou rear up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.

3) And thou shalt put therein the ark of the testimony, and thou shalt screen the ark with the veil.

4) And thou shalt bring in the table, and set in order the things that are upon it; and thou shalt bring in the candlestick, and light the lamps thereof.

5) And thou shalt set the golden altar for incense before the ark of the testimony, and put the screen of the door to the tabernacle.

6) And thou shalt set the altar of burnt-offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.

7) And thou shalt set the laver between the tent of meeting and the altar, and shalt put water therein.

8) And thou shalt set up the court round about, and hang up the screen of the gate of the court.

9) And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the furniture thereof: and it shall be holy.

10) And thou shalt anoint the altar of burnt-offering, and all its vessels, and sanctify the altar: and the altar shall be most holy.

11) And thou shalt anoint the laver and its base, and sanctify it.

12) And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tent of meeting, and shalt wash them with water.

13) And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments; and thou shalt anoint him, and sanctify him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.

14) And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them;

15) and thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office: and their anointing shall be to them for an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.

16) Thus did Moses: according to all that Yahveh commanded him, so did he.

17) And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up.

18) And Moses reared up the tabernacle, and laid its sockets, and set up the boards thereof, and put in the bars thereof, and reared up its pillars.

19) And he spread the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above upon it; as Yahveh commanded Moses.

20) And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy-seat above upon the ark:

21) and he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the veil of the screen, and screened the ark of the testimony; as Yahveh commanded Moses.

22) And he put the table in the tent of meeting, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the veil.

23) And he set the bread in order upon it before Jehovah; as Jehovah commanded Moses.

24) And he put the candlestick in the tent of meeting, over against the table, on the side of the tabernacle southward.

25) And he lighted the lamps before Yahveh; as Yahveh commanded Moses.

26) And he put the golden altar in the tent of meeting before the veil:

27) and he burnt thereon incense of sweet spices; as Yahveh commanded Moses.

28) And he put the screen of the door to the tabernacle.

29) And he set the altar of burnt-offering at the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and offered upon it the burnt-offering and the meal-offering; as Yahveh commanded Moses.

30) And he set the laver between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water therein, wherewith to wash.

31) And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat;

32) when they went into the tent of meeting, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as Yahveh commanded Moses.

33) And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work.

34) Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of Yahveh filled the tabernacle.

35) And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of meeting, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of Yahveh filled the tabernacle.

One more with regard to the cloud and the tabernacle; and this is extremely interesting and apropos at this point. In Moses third book, Leviticus, there is detailed information with regard to the ceremonial and sacrificial system in the tabernacle. In Leviticus 16 we read this:

12) and he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from off the altar before Yahveh, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil:

13) and he shall put the incense upon the fire before Yahveh, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy-seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not:

Aaron, Moses’ brother, was the first high priest of Israel. The fire of incense that he was to burn before the mercy-seat was to produce a “cloud” to cover the view of the judgment-seat of Yahveh. Along with all the other things concerning the tabernacle, this, too, is a man-made replica of the real throne of God in His sanctuary.

And now, for the last few minutes this morning, let’s see that the appearance of the Glory Cloud is a manifestation of judgment! Listen to the first verse of Isaiah chapter 19:

“Behold, Yahveh rides upon a swift cloud, and cometh unto Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall tremble at his presence; and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.”

And Psalm 18:

8) There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, And fire out of his mouth devoured: Coals were kindled by it.

9) He bowed the heavens also, and came down; And thick darkness was under his feet.

10) And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly; Yea, he soared upon the wings of the wind.

11) He made darkness his hiding-place, his pavilion round about him, Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.

12) At the brightness before him his thick clouds passed, Hailstones and coals of fire.

13) Yahveh also thundered in the heavens, And the Most High uttered his voice, Hailstones and coals of fire.

14) And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; Yea, lightnings manifold, and discomfited them.

15) Then the channels of waters appeared, And the foundations of the world were laid bare, At thy rebuke, Yahveh, At the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

And in the prophecy of Nahum chapter 1:

2) Jahveh is a jealous God and avengeth; Yahveh avengeth and is full of wrath; Yahveh taketh vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

3) Yahveh is slow to anger, and great in power, and will by no means clear the guilty: Yahveh hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

4) He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel; and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.

5) The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt; and the earth is upheaved at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.

6) Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken asunder by him.

We will see many, many more of these in weeks to come as we proceed through the Revelation. But I would read one last passage for you. It is three verses from Matthew 24. Listen:

29) But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30) 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 on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31) And he shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

The Glory Cloud, as you have heard, veils the very Presence of Almighty Yahveh Lord of Hosts. He comes in protection and deliverance; and He comes in terrible judgment with awesome sights and sounds and phenomenal events in His creation. “The IS, the WAS and the COMING “comes with the clouds of heaven……..”

We will continue with this verse next Lord’s Day; but now we know what to expect from God’s Revelation of Jesus Christ. “LO! He is coming with the clouds……….” to do what is “necessary to be done in quickness”.