A Clue: Which Jesus Returns in Acts 1:11?

Dear reader,

In the written word, the authority in Christian thought, we find a voice that communicates very powerfully that the Messiah will be seen by others when he returns to the planet in power and glory (Lk. 21:27, Mk. 13:26, Mt. 16:27, Mt. 24:27-30, Rev. 1:7, Ac. 1-9-11).

This is probably one of Jesus' promises that is most overlooked by the media at Christmas and Easter.  But, it is a statement the Messiah wants his followers to remember.  It is not a hidden promise.  Let's look again at one of the well-known texts for this in Acts 1:9-11.

¨When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven?  This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven'¨ (Ac. 1-9-11, NRSV).

In the spirit world, heavenly entities (angels, Jesus, and God) have been giving secret revelations to final prophets in end-time groups to re-explain this text.  They teach a figurative meaning to ¨clouds¨ and use spiritual reasoning or hidden meanings in other verses to show that ¨clouds¨ hide things.  In these movements, Christians are taught that the clouds make it clear that Jesus' return will be hidden/invisible or as a spirit.

In Shiinchonji's article on Rev. 1:7, they write, ¨Clouds are capable of hiding things from view. The fact that Jesus returns with the clouds means that he is coming in spirit. In Acts 1:9-11, Jesus’ disciples were staring into the sky after Jesus’ ascension, and a cloud hid Jesus from their sight¨ (1).  

How can we know who has the right meaning?

The surest and most reliable method to test a spirit revelation to a final prophet is to let the voice in God's written word reveal the right idea.  The written word should correct a revelation, not the other way around.  In the written record, one phrase sheds light on this question.  God's voice makes it known that ¨this same Jesus¨ or ¨this Jesus¨ is the one who returns to earth.

¨This Jesus, who has been taken up from you in heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.¨ (NRSV).

¨Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner¨ (21st C. KJV).

According to the voice in the written word, the same Messiah/Jesus is coming back.  This means that, regardless of any secretive or figurative meaning to clouds, the same Jesus is returning, not a different Jesus.  This is an important voice in the written word because the Jesus who left was not a glorified spirit.

God raised Christ's humanity to a new glorified state, which is why the tomb was empty (Lk. 24:2-5).  Jesus is the firsfruits of a new race of humans (I Cor. 15:20, Col. 1:19).  The Messiah was not transfigured into a spirit (Lk. 24:39).  Rather, his body never saw decay (Ac. 2:29-31, Ac. 13:35-37).  Christ was the first human to be raised with a body prepared for glory.  The written word shows that he still has this body (Phil. 3:21).  See other articles on the resurrection for more information on this topic.
In summary, even though final leaders reveal figurative meanings to the clouds in Acts 1:11 - meanings that the written word does not teach independently - one phrase indicates that the same Jesus is coming back, not a spirit Jesus (Ac. 1:11).  This harmonizes with Jesus' statement that he would be seen (Mt. 24:30).

(1) For Shinchonji's full explanation, see ¨What is the True Meaning of Rv. 1:7?,¨ Shinchonji Website Articles.  Accessed January 11, 2014.