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Heavenly Angels and Clouds

Heavenly angels and clouds are often mentioned together. At Jesus' ascension into heaven, clouds are involved:

"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 1:9-11)

He was received by a cloud. Somehow, this doesn't sound like a normal cloud. And, as the verse says, He will return "in like manner;" again, with a cloud angels:

"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." (Matt 24:30)

"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:" (Matt 25:31)

When the saints are "raptured" (read about the rapture) to heaven, there will also be clouds involved:

"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." (1 Thess 4:17)

"And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven." (Mark 13:27)

It seems that these are clouds of angels that are spoken of. It also appears that the angels escort Jesus from place to place:

"The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place." (Psa 68:17)

"Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:" (Psa 104:3)

"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him." (Dan 7:13)

The word "they" is referring to the angels ("came with the clouds" earlier in the verse).

In Isaiah, Satan makes a statement about his goals to "climb the ladder."

"For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." (Isa 14:13-14)

"I will exalt my throne above the stars of God (angels)" was not a reference to spatial position in relation to the angels but rather a way of expressing Satan's goal to usurp the position of Jesus. "Above the angels" could well be seen as "above" as in "in charge of." That would be taking Jesus' position as archangel which means head of the angels. This shows that the conflict is between Christ (rather than primarily the Father) and Satan.

Similarly, it doesn't seem likely that to "ascend above the heights of the clouds" is a reference to going high up in the sky. More likely, it is describing his goal to be greater, to have a higher position than any of the other angels, ultimately to "be like the most High." It seems He wanted to be like God not in character but in terms of position, power and prestige.

It is interesting that heavenly angels are so often pictured with clouds. Learn more about angels, archangels and Michael the archangel in the 4-part study Who is Michael the Archangel?

 


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