Preachers that teach the prophecy view of Dispensationalism believe there will be a future “coming of Jesus Christ.” These preachers describe this time to include protection for God’s people and judgment for those in rebellion against Him. For this event, these preachers say this “return” will literally occur three very different ways. Here are the verses they use for this:
Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
So, Jesus is coming on a white horse. However, they also say this:
Revelation 14:14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
So, it’s a white horse and a white cloud? But wait, they also use this verse:
Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
These same Dispensational preachers say the above verses must be read as literal occurrences. So, they have a physical Jesus simultaneously sitting on an actual horse, cloud, and throne. But can a physical body of Jesus be on all three of those things at the same time? Simple answer—He can’t. But a person who understands how prophetic imagery is used in biblical prophecy, they can explain how these three things are not in conflict, but instead that they emphasize the meaning of each other. In an effort to prove this, look at the following example of how prophetic imagery is used in the Bible:
9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
In this passage, Jesus is said to be coming again in “like manner” as the disciples saw Him go. Nowhere do we see a horse or throne here. This absence makes this passage problematic if a horse, a cloud, and a throne is to “literally” be found during a physical coming of Jesus. Since every verse in the Bible agrees together, we need to look deeper to see how these three items agree with each other within the passages where they are found. To do this we must first ask if the issue in Acts 1 is the “cloud” or the “manner” in which Jesus departed? If it is the cloud, then the missing horse and throne are a problem for the Dispensationalist. But if this cloud is a reference to “the manner” in which Jesus is to return, then we can find agreement. I say this because the Bible uses images like clouds, horses, and thrones as prophetic imagery. By using this hermeneutic, much of the meaning of the Bible’s prophetic language can be properly interpreted. Some examples of the Bible’s usage of imagery is Jesus being a lamb and a shepherd, a sacrifice and a priest, a servant and a master, an advocate and a judge, a son and a father. Each of these pairings of images conflict with one another. For instance, how can Jesus be both a lamb and a priest? No one I know teaches that Jesus was a literal wooly lamb or a literal Temple Priest. Instead, they see these as images of something deeper for which He is known. So, why shouldn’t that same hermeneutic be used to explain a horse, a cloud, and a throne being used in verses about His return? With that in mind, look at how these three images all harmonize in what was prophesied to occur during that time.
In prophetic imagery, clouds are associated with God’s power and His glory. See Isaiah 19:1; Jeremiah 4:13-14; Ezekiel 30:3, Ezekiel 30:18-19; Nahum 1:2-6; Joel 2:1-9; Nahum 1:2-6; Zephaniah 1:14-17; Joel 2:1-9
A horse in prophecy represents the unfaithfulness of man, as well as the swiftness and the power of God. See Deuteronomy 20:1-4; Psalms 20:7, Psalms 33:17-19, Psalms 147:10-11; Proverbs 21:31; Zechariah 1:8, Zechariah 6:3-8, Zechariah 9:10, Zechariah 12:3-5, Zechariah 14:20; Hosea 1:7; Revelation 6:2-8; Job 39:19
To see if I am using these three images correctly, look up the abovementioned verses. Then read each of them using the included meanings within the context where the verses are found. Don’t take my word for it. Study it through. I’ve found the Bible is easily understood if you use the tools found within itself to interpret its meaning. That takes study and commitment, for you cannot know what the Bible says until you fully devour what is found on its pages. This explains why many of the Bible’s truths are called a “mystery.” It is also why Jesus spoke in parables. Neither a mystery or a parable is to remain hidden. Instead, they are purposed by God so that only the sincere will find their meanings. (See Matthew 13:10-13; Luke 8:10; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 3:4-5)
So, what does it mean that Jesus will return on a white cloud, a white horse, and a white throne? It means He would come in God’s power and in His glory, to bring judgment against unfaithful men with the swiftness and the power of God, while acting in the authority of the Almighty. This interpretation does not involve literal clouds, horses or thrones, instead, it uses the prophetic imagery found in the Bible. Therefore, this interpretation does not conflict—but instead agrees—with the other verses that speak of what was to occur during this coming of the Lord.
To see more on Jesus coming in a cloud, go to THIS STUDY.
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