Summary: Surprising things we can learn about the cloud mentioned in the Bible. instead of the text being more about the return of Christ, It is Hope in the text may hold more weight.
The Cloud 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
1. This text many believe is a story of how the return of Christ will transpire
• After Jesus’ ascension, angels had told those who witnessed the event that he would return (Acts 1:11), and most of his then disciples assumed that meant Jesus was coming back soon.
• The brothers and sisters died, the surviving believers worried that the deceased would be excluded Lord’s return. They worried that they, too, would die before Christ came back and be also excluded from eternity with Jesus.
• Paul’s real concern is in the first verse of the passage: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”
• Paul here writes, they shouldn’t “grieve as others do who have no hope
2. The text is about Hope?
• Hope to a dying soldier: One of the cruelties of war is death of comrade many times a Chaplain could be there to bring hope to the person passing.
• Hope to a dying victim of Covid: One of the cruelties of the Covid-19 pandemic has been that a significant number of patients hospitalized with the disease died without loved ones present
• We’ll still grieve when a loved one dies in war time, and we’ll still feel gutted when a loved one must die alone, but we are not without hope, for them or for ourselves.
3. The text shares with us that coming from the clouds is Resurrection hope, Hope in a return, and Hope beyond life .
• Paul reminds his readers “that Jesus died and rose again,” and thus they can count on the fact that when Jesus returns from the clouds, “God will bring with him those who have died.” In other words, as God had done for Jesus, so he will do for those who die in Christ.
• Coming in the clouds is Jesus’s return remember Acts 1: “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
• Coming In The Clouds is Hope beyond this life text verse 17 “we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”
4. Paul tells us, the cloud is the place where Jesus followers and the dead in Christ come together to meet their Lord. Clouds signify the presence of God
• It was the Cloud that spoke and told Moses His presence was in the cloud : “Then the Yahweh said to Moses, ‘I am going to come to you in a dense cloud (19:9). Transfiguration God spoke in the cloud
• Ezekiel shares the Glory of God was in the Cloud: “Then the glory of the Lord rose up …; the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the glory of the Lord” (10:4).
• At Jesus’ ascension, it was a cloud that took Jesus “out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). And In a cloud shall He return
• Revelation tells us Jesus sets on a cloud 14I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one "like a son of man"A with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand
• One day there will come a Shout from the Cloud 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God,
• There’s a great reunion in the cloud and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
• The book of Daniel also pictures the Messiah coming in a cloud: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven
• Is this text about the Rapture?, is it about something else? For the Veteran, for the Covid victims that have died, for the people of the ages it’s a text that brings people hope.
• Song These are the days of Elijah Say, behold He comes, riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun, at the trumpet's call Lift your voice, it's the year of Jubilee
Out of Zion's hill, salvation comes, Yes Salvation comes in the cloud.