The Coming of the Son of Man

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 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. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” – Matthew 24:29-31.

This is our Lord’s answer to the second question, describing His second coming [Matt. 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:20-24].

“the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light” (v.29) — This was OT apocalyptic language of the end time (cf. Isa. 13:10; 34:4; Ezek. 32:7-8; Joel 2:10,31; 3:15; Amos 8:9). There will be upheavals in nature at the coming of the Day of the Lord (cf. 2 Pet. 3:7,10-12; Rev.6:12-14).

“the powers of the heavens will be shaken” — This could simply be the continuation of the OT apocalyptic language, and thereby a reference to the convulsions of nature at the Lord’s coming or a reference to angelic powers that influence history (cf. Dan. 10; Eph. 6:12; Col. 2:15; Rev. 12:4).

“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven” (v.30) — It is possible that this is a connection to Isa. 60:1-3. The “sign” would be the light of the Shekinah cloud of glory. Earthly lights fail, but God’s light (cf. Gen. 1:3), the true morning star, shines forth!

Jesus’ humanity (Ps. 8:4; Ezek. 2:1) and deity (Dan. 7:13) are emphasized by the term “Son of Man.” Clouds were seen as the means for transportation of deity in the OT. Jesus used them in Acts 1:9 and 1 Thess. 4:17 which implied His deity. This sign will be Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven as the eastern sky “opens.”

“and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn” — This refers to the visible return of Jesus. It will be seen by the entire world. Unbelievers will suddenly recognize the consequences of their unbelief.

“with power and great glory” — This shows the drastic contrast between His humble first coming and the glorious Second Coming. This is the way the Jews expect the Messiah’s coming.

“His angels” (v.31) See Mark 13:27, 8:38, and 2 Thess. 1:7. God’s angels are called Jesus’ angels here. This implies His deity.

“with a great sound of a trumpet” — This probably refers to the shophar, the left ram’s horn, which was used to signal Jewish Sabbaths and feast days and also used in ancient times by the Israelites to sound a warning or a summons. In Isaiah 27:13 there is a trumpet blast related to the last days (cf. 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16).

“gather together His elect” — This is OT imagery of restoration from exile (i.e., Deut. 30:4), here turned into an eschatological gathering (cf. Matt. 13:40-43,47-49). The exact order of these specific end-time events is uncertain. Paul taught that at death the believer is already with Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 5:6,8). 1 Thess. 4:14 states that “if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” This implies a disembodied state between death and resurrection day. There is so much about the end-time events and afterlife that are not recorded in the Bible.

“from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” — This implies a worldwide following of Jesus! It also implies a long period of time for the gospel to spread.

The numerical four is symbolic of the world. It refers to the four corners of the world (Isa. 11:12; Rev. 7:1), the four winds of heaven (Dan. 7:2; Zech. 2:6), and the four ends of heaven (Jer. 49:36).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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