In James 4:14 it states: “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” A single vapor is insignificant and hardly noticed. But when many warm, moist vapors gather together and there is a stark contrast between them and the rest of the cold, dry air of the world, then a battle between the two air masses occurs when they meet. This is how storms happen. The warm, moist air is pushed up by the cold, dry air. As the warm, moist air moves up it thickens even more, fast moving air currents swirl, enormous static electricity is ignited in a flurry of powerful lightning strikes, rolling thunder shakes the earth, and large hail stones can be formed.
This is what happens when the true servants of God gather together to devote their lives and worship in Spirit and in truth. God honors their worship with his almighty presence, and people of the earth are shaken, they notice! This is exactly what happened in Acts 2:1-41 “when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place….” and it happened again in Acts 4:23-33 when “they lifted up their voice to God with one accord…. …And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”
This is also what is described as happening in numerous places in Revelations where it describes the servants of Jesus as being gathered together as one in true worship of God and God’s presence honors their worship. The effect always includes the effects of a powerful spiritual storm:
- “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.” (Revelations 7:3-5)
- And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” (Revelations 11:15-19)
- “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” (Revelations 14:1-3)
- “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.” (Revelations 16:17-21)
The disciples of the Lord were told that the way Jesus would come again would be “in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” How did Jesus leave them into heaven? “and a cloud received him out of their sight…”
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 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.” (Acts 1:8-11)
The angels told them that Jesus would come again “in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Jesus has already come many times “in like manner” in the spiritual clouds of the hearts of those who worship him in true unity and true love. But Jesus will also come this way “in like manner” at the final trump at the end of the world!
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:15-17)
For our benefit and to the glory of God, Jesus often does physically what he also does spiritually “in like manner” so that we might better comprehend. That is why he told the disciples while he was on earth that:
“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be… …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 in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory… …So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matt 24:27 & 30 & 33-34)
When the “tribes of the earth” saw Jesus being worshiped instead of the religious rulers, they also at that time did “mourn”. But Revelations 1:7 also tells us there will be other times when “every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Yes, everyone shall see him: including they who pierce him today by their sins and religious hypocrisy, and those who physically pierced him when they crucified him.
“But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.” (John 19:33-37)
Yes, “they also which pierced him” is everyone whose sin caused him to have to die on the cross yet have not repented to serve Jesus – not just those few at Golgotha that physically pierced him when he was crucified. They “wail” at the sight of him in the clouds because they are guilty of his blood being shed. You either accept his blood as the merciful sacrifice for your sins to deliver you from sin, or you are guilty of that same blood. This is not just a New Testament teaching, but it was also true in the Old Testament:
“And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:5-7)
In the cloud of witnesses, there is the witness of the Lord’s great mercy to those who will receive Jesus, but to those who have rejected it, they are guilty already because of their sins, and God still “will by no means clear the guilty”.
“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” (Revelations 1:7)