Monday, January 1, 2024

Coming with the Clouds (1.7–8)


See, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of him. Yes, amen.

‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.


In Daniel 7, ‘one like a son of man’ is a passive figure, symbolizing ‘the people of the holy ones of the Most High’ (i.e. Israel). In the original vision, the son of man rides on clouds in order to be presented to God, a representation that Israel would be rewarded with an eternal kingdom as gentile world powers would be condemned. The son of man was reinterpreted in 1 Enoch as the ordained Anointed One, who would receive divine authority to execute judgment in the eschaton. Early Christian texts recognized Jesus as this ‘son of man’, and so flipped the symbolic ascent into the divine presence into a literal descent from the sky to the earth, identifying it as the return of Jesus. The author’s placement of the statement here, immediately after the epistolary blessing, establishes the purpose of his ‘letter’: it concerns the eschaton.

This is followed by God being identified with a variety of titles. The ‘Alpha and Omega’ was likely inspired by similar statements in Isaiah, which stress the unique authority of Yhwh over the world.


Baal Cycle

KTU 1.2 IV.8–10 And Kothar wa-Hasis speaks: ‘Indeed, I tell you, O Prince Baal, I repeat, O Cloudrider: Now your foe, Baal, now your foe you smite, now may you vanquish your enemy. May you take your eternal kingship, your everlasting dominion.’


41.4 Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, Yhwh, am first, and will be with the last.

44.6 I am the first and I am the last

48.12 I am he; I am the first, and I am the last.


12.10 when they look on the one whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him


7.13–14 I saw one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.


L 37–39 He is entirely heavenly, and he brings everything to completion on earth, being the beginning, the middle, and the end.


13.26, 28–30 ‘Then they will see the son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory.’


24.30 ‘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.’


19.37 And again another passage of scripture says, ‘They will look on the one whom they have pierced.’

Testament of Isaac

6.35 ‘He is the first and the last, as the prophets have said.’

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