When Christ comes in the clouds (Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64; Mark 13:26; Mark 14:62; Revelation 1:7), is that the end of it all?
B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, June 4, 2020
A number of times in the Old Testament, the Lord appeared in the clouds and led the way or made statements from it (e.g., Exodus 24:14-18, Numbers 9:21, and Matthew 17:5). In many cases, though, clouds and judgment often went hand in hand.
A few of these judgments in clouds are in Exodus 14:23-25; Daniel 7:13; Jeremiah 4:13; Joel 2:1-3; Numbers 12:5-10, Isaiah 19:1; and Ezekiel 38:9-13. Yet the world did not end then. But it did put judgment to something or someone.
The clouds are often representative of the dust (of armies), as well as the burning and cloud of smoke (of fallen cities) as a testimony of the destruction – things that can be seen in the distance. Some examples of this principle in Scripture are Jeremiah 21:12, Judges 20:37-40, Genesis 19:28, Psalm 11:6, Isaiah 14:31, Isaiah 34:10, Nahum 2:13, Joel 2:30, and Joshua 8:20. Consider this with regards to Revelation 18:18.
When the Lord came in judgment on the clouds, it was directed against the Jews/Jerusalem and the Temple – which was utterly destroyed by the Roman army and left to burn in A.D. 70. After all, they killed the Lord and rejected Him. And the Lord enacted judgment after a remnant of them had come to know Christ. Matthew 27:25 have the Jews in unison calling for the death of Jesus saying:
And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”
The blood of all the prophets that were pointing toward Christ was charged to that first century generation of Jews (Luke 11:50-51). So this caps that the blood of the ultimate prophet, Jesus Christ, was on them as well. They asked for it.
Note the parallel here. The Jews killed the Son of God and then demanded that the blood of Christ be on them and their children. And when judgment came, it was reflected on them…and their children. They essentially offered up their own sons (and daughters) to be judged after killing the Son of God.
This was truly the end of the age when the Temple was destroyed and Jerusalem left desolate. The Mosaic sacrificial system was no more, thus the end of all the things to which the Jews were accustomed. With Christ’s sacrifice being sufficient, it ended the [now] unnecessary sacrificial system and performed duties associated with the sanctuary.