For many, the Bible seems to present subjects and symbols that are difficult to understand. Who is Michael the archangel? What are the mysterious "beasts" that appear in the prophetic books of Daniel and Revelation? And what are the "clouds" that consistently appear when someone is traveling between Heaven and Earth? These may seem like trivial questions, but to the sincere believer, they create a thirst for deeper Bible study. If we would be saved eternally, we must live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. We must form study habits that will fortify our faith, for "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Today, I want to show you how to unlock all of these purportedly difficult-to-understand Bible subjects. I want to show you the key that, if used and practiced, will revive your interest and joy in studying the most amazing book ever written.
The key to understanding difficult Bible texts can be found in the Bible itself. In Isaiah 28:9, the question is asked, "Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine?" This rhetorical question is quickly answered in the next verse. "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little" (Isaiah 28:10).
This verse reveals that the key to understanding the Bible is to allow the Bible to interpret itself. One scripture must explain the next. This is what it means for "precept to be upon precept." Wise Bible students will not form a set of beliefs from one scripture only. Rather, they will scour the pages of Scripture to find all that is written on a subject to discover its true meaning. They will search the whole Bible, here a little, there a little. Now, let's put this key to the test today.
In Revelation 1:7, we are told that Jesus "cometh with clouds". In context, this scripture speaks of His second coming. But what exactly are the clouds on which He comes? At first glance, we might assume that the Son of God travels upon tiny water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air, a scene we've witnessed many times in movies. But let's apply our secret key to discover the answer.
In Psalms 104:3, we find our first clue. The psalmist writes the following about our LORD, "Who layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds His chariot." According to this verse, the LORD makes the "clouds" His chariot. But what is meant by the word "chariot"? In Biblical times, chariots were used to transport kings. Is this the implication here? Although tempting, we must not assume. Let's continue to apply our key.
We find our second clue in Psalms 68:17: "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels." According to this verse, another name for chariots are angels, a group of twenty thousand angels. With this key detail, we now have enough Bible information to accurately understand Revelation 1:7 which reads, Jesus cometh with clouds. According to the Bible, these clouds are chariots, and chariots are angels. Therefore clouds are thousands of angels that transport our God from place to place throughout His creation! Now, let's apply the key to other places in the Bible to see it all come together.
In Acts 1:9, we read about the Savior's final meeting with His followers after His resurrection. This special meeting took place 40 days following His resurrection (Acts 1:3). Jesus had told His disciples to meet Him in Galilee on Mount Olivet (Matthew 28:10; Acts 1:12). Now that He was about to return to Heaven, He had hoped to use this time to encourage them. Concerning this final visit, it is written, "And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9). Since we now know that clouds are angels, we can safely conclude that the cloud that received Jesus was a large group of awaiting angels. They received their LORD and transported Him back to Heaven.
Interestingly, two of the angels stayed back to comfort the onlooking disciples. In Acts 1:10, we read, "And while they looked steadfastly 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" (vs 10, 11). As we continue to apply our key, we learn from these angels that Jesus will return in the same way as He ascended into Heaven, with thousands of angels attending Him.
This is exactly what Jesus told His disciples when describing the scene of His second coming in Matthew 25:31: "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 glory." Angels, or clouds, are going to escort Jesus at the second coming, just as the angels told His disciples as they watched Him ascend into the clouds on Mount Olivet. And according to Matthew 24:31, the angels, or clouds, that return with Jesus will have important work to do. "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 (with the angels) of Heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels (clouds) with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heaven to the other" (vs. 30, 31). As you can see, angels will gather the living and resurrected saints, and prepare them to meet the LORD in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).
This is only one example of how to apply the key. Others include Elijah's translation to Heaven in a chariot of fire, which we now understand to be angels. Or Elisha's prayer for God to open the eyes of his worried servant when their city was surrounded by a wicked king who had come to capture him. Elisha's prayer allowed his servant to see what Elisha saw through the eyes of faith--thousands of chariots of fire surrounding them to protect them. Using the key, we now know that chariots are thousands of angels.
Friends, we can trust the Bible. But we must make an effort to dive deeper to understand His expressed will. I hope you have enjoyed today's devotional thought, because we will cover other exciting subjects over the next few days. Using the key will allow the Bible to interpret itself, and in doing so, we will be drawn closer to our loving Savior.
Please let us know if you have a Bible subject that you'd like to understand better. You can contact us at www.onethoughtfulhour.com. Until next time, Maranatha!
Praying for you--Pastor DL