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He Came In Like Manner

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By Virgil - Posted on 06 February 2010

By William H. Bell, Jr.
To some, several passages have been more difficult to interpret within the A.D. 70
framework of time than others. One such passage is Acts 1:9-11. “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, he was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into Heaven.” Briefly, we want to study three major points in this passage. (1) the cloud coming, (2) the same Jesus, and (3) in like manner. Our purpose is to honor the very words of Christ while also showing the inconsistency and contradictions in the literalistic, futuristic/ammillennial view of this text. Acts 1:9-11 fits perfectly within the A.D. 70 framework for Christ’s return. First, the Old Covenant usage of the cloud coming of God symbolized divine presence in judgment. “The burden against Egypt. Behold, the Lord rides on a swift cloud, and will come into Egypt; the idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst. (Isaiah 19:1).

Quite clearly, this is a spiritual, yet actual coming of the Lord. God was coming on a cloud to judge Egypt but he was not coming in a physically visible body or cloud. See Psalms 18:8ff; 97:2; 104:3; Joel 2:1, 2; Nahum 1:2ff; Zephaniah 1:14,15.

Secondly, Christ’s coming in A.D. 70 is neither upon a physical cloud nor in a physical
body. It too was a spiritual coming, yet real, and actual. “Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30).

Most all Bible students agree that Christ’s coming in this text was literal, (actual) but not physical, and that it occurred before that first century generation passed, (Matthew 24:34). They must also agree that this was the SAME Jesus who was crucified and who ascended in the cloud per the Acts 1:11 passage. These things being true, then we must agree that we can have a spiritual, actual and real coming of the SAME Jesus, in a cloud, without either that coming or cloud being physical. Of no lesser importance is the fact that this non-physical coming was seen by all the tribes of Israel. It is time that we open the “eyes of our understanding,” (Ephesians 1:18). In fact, Paul exhorted the Ephesians to use their eyes of understanding in order to “know what the hope of their calling was all about. “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the richer of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” (Ephesians 1:18) In so doing, we will begin to see more than what is visible to the physical eye!

Third, does one have to retain the same bodily form to be the same person? This is what is argued for a fleshly, physically, visible return of Christ. However, such would make the Bible a multitude of contradictions. In the beginning, Jesus existed spiritually with God as the Word.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God,” (John 1:1-2). In the KJV, verse 2 reads, “The Same” meaning “this one,” i.e., Christ. Verse 14 tells us, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...”

Therefore, when Jesus changed from his pre-earthly spiritual form to his incarnate fleshly form, he was yet the same Jesus.

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