Biblical Answers to the World Mission Society Church of God

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.--1 John 4:1

Are you or a loved one struggling with this group? Do you need Biblical answers about the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCoG or CoGWMS), their founder Ahnsahnghong (Ahn Sahng/Sang-Hong) or their current leader "Mother Jerusalem" (a.k.a. "Heavenly Mother God," Zang/Zahng Gil-Jah, or Chung Gil Cha)? Thank you for coming here. I hope my blog helps you. Questions and comments are always welcome.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Clouds and Flesh, Part3

Continuing on about whether "clouds" are symbolic of "flesh" and therefore mean that Christ will return by being born in the flesh...

I wanted to see if there are any other Scriptures concerning someone coming in or with clouds, or riding on clouds. Can “clouds” can be interpreted as “flesh” there?…

Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him [Moses] there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.  And the LORD passed before him…. (Ex 34:5-6)
It seems here that the Lord did appear to Moses in some kind of form, but as for the cloud, God was known to show His presence to the Israelites in the form of a cloud or pillar of cloud. So the word still means that there was an actual cloud on the mountain with Moses, such as in Ex 24:15.  Besides, if this meant that God was being born as a baby, there would not have been time for Him to grow up enough to stand there and talk with him.

Then the LORD came down in the cloud, and spoke to him [Moses], and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders... (Num 11:25)
The seventy elders were there with Moses (v.24), so if God actually stood there as a man in flesh with Moses, I’m sure it would have caused quite a commotion that definitely would have been written about. Here again it is the cloud of the Lord’s presence.

Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. (Num 12:5)
Did God stand as a man in flesh and call to Aaron and Miriam? Verse 10 says that “the cloud lifted from above the tent,” (NIV) so we know it was the cloud of the Lord’s presence and not a man in flesh that spoke with Aaron and Miriam and then rose into the sky (that also would have been notable to write down).  Besides, was God born as a baby every time He is said to "come down in a cloud" for the Israelites in the wilderness?  No.

There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to help you,
      And in His excellency on the clouds.
(Deut 33:26)
This passage is about how God comes swiftly and mightily to help us. Can He help us by coming in the flesh? Well, Jesus came in the flesh and helped us, but looking at the context, I don’t think that’s what this Scripture meant.  Moses lived long before Jesus, and he was talking in the present tense about God.

He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under His feet. (Ps 18:9 NIV)
Well, this could be that dark people were under His feet, but the next verse talks about God soaring “on the wings of the wind.” So it more likely means that God was above the dark clouds in the sky.

Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
         Extol Him who rides on the clouds,
         By His name YAH,
         And rejoice before Him. (Ps 68:4)
Are we to praise God who comes in the flesh? Jesus came in the flesh, and we are to praise Him, so this verse could work with the “flesh” interpretation. But somehow, I think the writer (David) was picturing a God great enough to ride the clouds like a chariot, like in Ps 104.

...Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain. 
He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
         Who makes the clouds His chariot,
         Who walks on the wings of the wind
(Ps 104:2-3)
Here God is pictured as riding on the clouds like a chariot. Could it mean that God has a body of flesh? Maybe, but looking at the surrounding verses which talk about God’s sovereignty over the grandness of nature, it is more likely talking about actual clouds.

...Behold, the LORD rides on a swift cloud,
      And will come into Egypt...
(Isa 19:1)
Is God coming to Egypt in the flesh? Joseph and Mary did take the baby Jesus and flee to Egypt for a time, but looking at this verse in context, that’s not the time that is being talked about (it sounds like some kind of civil war in Egypt). Could it maybe happen with the Second Coming Christ? Did Ahnsahnghong go to Egypt, or maybe Jerusalem Mother? Is this maybe a prophecy they have fulfilled?  Hmmmm.

Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thess 4:17)
In this Scripture it is the people who are alive together with the saints who have died who join the Lord in the air.  It is pretty obvious that the people will ascend bodily, in the flesh, and also that they will be in the air where there are actual clouds.  Here, "clouds" could mean "flesh" or "clouds" or both.

And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. (Rev 11:12)
These are the two witnesses whom God allows to prophesy for 1260 days. They are killed and their bodies lie in the street for 3 ½ days, after which they are resurrected and ascend to heaven. Since their enemies saw them, they must have gone up to heaven in the flesh, so “cloud” meaning “flesh” could work. But this does resemble Jesus’ ascension, so “cloud” could mean an actual cloud.

Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.  And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.”  So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. (Rev 14:14-16)
Here Jesus is seated on a cloud like a throne. It could be that He will be a man in the flesh harvesting the earth, but it could also be just a descriptive image of a king so great that He needs a throne as big and high as the clouds.  Or it could be another image of the cloud of the Lord's presence, as in Exodus.

Here's the conclusion of the matter...
Most of the time in the Bible, "clouds" refer to actual clouds or the great cloud of the Lord's presence.  When Jesus returns "on the clouds," that's most likely what is being described--either an actual cloud or the cloud of the Lord's glorious presence.

In other places, it is used to provide a desciptive image as a simile or metaphor to the reader (or hearer, since in those times the Scriptures were often read aloud).
IF "clouds" are sybolic of "flesh", then that symbolism is definitely not used consistently in other references for clouds.
Furthermore, in those few verses where it might be symbolic for "flesh," the interpretation of "being born in the flesh as a baby" does not fit.

Mainstream Christianity does believe that Jesus will return bodily, in the flesh, and not because of any interpretation of "clouds" meaning "flesh."  He still has a body.  He doesn't need a new one to be born into. 

But think about this:
Giving it the benefit of the doubt that the prophesies mean Jesus will return to earth as a baby again, to grow into a man of flesh. Who could potentially fulfill that prophecy? Ahnsahnghong, yes...and every man on earth. So it would really be no help at all in pinpointing who was the Second Coming Christ.

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