Clouds are used in scripture to represent Gods presence, Gods glory, Gods power, Gods armies or those hosts that accompany God.
Gods presence with Israel was represented during their wandering, Ex 13:21-22; 16:10; Num 10:34.
At the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai, Ex 19:16; cf. 20:21; 24:15-18.
When the Lord communicated with Moses at the Tent of Meeting, Ex 33:9; cf. 34:5.
Both the tabernacle and the temple were filled with a cloud symbolizing Gods glory, Ex 40:34-38, 1 Kings 8:10-12.
Jesus ascended on a cloud, or actually He was received by a cloud, Acts 1:9.
Believers will ascend into the clouds at the Rapture, 1 Thess. 4:17.
And then at the second advent, Christ will return with clouds, Dan. 7:13, Matt. 24:30.
Gods radiance and glory is so bright that is it said that no man can see His face and live, Ex. 33:20, Heb. 1:3.
As we mentioned yesterday, Jesus Christ has made a promise to His Church, believers in this current dispensation, that they will not be made to endure the days of testing of the Tribulation. Thus the rapture is reinforced as the removal of the Church prior to the Tribulation.
10 ‘Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth. NASB
Following the Rapture, Christ will reward believers according to their spiritual lives, Rom 14:10; 1 Cor 3:12-15; 4:5; 2 Cor 5:10; Phil 1:6,10; 2 Tim 1:12,18; 4:8; Rev 11:18.
Resurrected believers, and the glorified Church, will return with Christ at the Second Advent, Rev 19:7-9; cf. 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:22-30, Rev 19:14.
The church will be vindicated before the unbelieving world, proving who truly belongs to the Lord, 2 Tim 2:19.
Therefore, in order to escape history’s tribulation, in order to be glorified and rewarded, Christ has to have already gathered up His Church.
And, in order to return with Him at the Second Advent, the Church has to have already been in heaven. Therefore, the Rapture has to occur prior to the Second Advent.
And it is at this Second Advent that we will return with Him, described as clouds. Clouds also represent vast numbers, stretching from horizon to horizon.
14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. NASB
And that is you. You will have been in heaven for seven years, from the time of the Rapture until the time of the Second Advent. You will have been through the cleansing fires of the Judgment Seat of Christ, removing all of the wood, hay, and stubble human good from your life. You will have received your just reward for your spiritual growth and production (if any), and you will be clean, as it were, of all of the filth that is characteristic of this world. You will have participated in the wedding feast during those last three-and-a-half years
Now you will mount your very own white war horse, and follow the charge, along with billions of other believers, across the universe, at the speed of God, and enter the atmosphere of planet earth, right behind Christ, an army that is comparable to no other.
And there in the upper atmosphere, we will be witness to the result of what has been happening on this earth for the prior seven years – evil to the maximum and all out war threatening the extinction of humanity.
Christ will descend to the ground this time (He did not in the Rapture), and end the war with a single blast of His voice. Humanity will drop where they stand, around the planet, dead right in their tracks. And then the rescue and gathering up, of those who were faithful (not very many), will commence and the Millennium will begin.