13:26coming in clouds. Clouds sometimes signify divine presence (Ex. 19:9; 24:15–18). If the first coming of the Son of Man is characterized by suffering and humiliation (8:31 note), His future coming at the end will be an open declaration of His divine glory. Such a coming recalls the visible manifestations of God (theophanies) in the Old Testament (Ex. 19:16; 34:5; Ezek. 1:4; 10:3, 4), with the difference that this one will be universal. But vv. 24–27 may point, not to Christ’s appearance in universal judgment, but to human realization that Jesus is reigning in the kingdom of God (Dan. 7:13), a realization triggered by the fall of Jerusalem (God’s final judgment on the city). Then v. 27 would refer to the worldwide spread of the gospel that followed that event. The “angels” there would be the messengers of the gospel (angelos is the Greek word for “messenger,” either human or angelic). On this view, Jesus’ first reference to the end (His Second Coming) is not until v. 32 (“that day”).
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