Jesus replied by interpreting Scripture with Scripture. What did He do? He quoted Deuteronomy 6:16: “You shall not tempt the LORD your God.” Jesus used Scripture to interpret Scripture when he was tempted by the devil. By doing this, Jesus ...was saying to us that a passage of Scripture must be understood in the light of those clearer and more expressive Scriptures.
First, it is agreed by all that Acts 1:11, "...this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven," refers to the Parousia. Jesus used the term "parousia," (presence) four times in Matthew 24, speaking of his return. But lest look at all the context Acts 1:9-11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."
Often times we hear the argument that Acts chapter 1 is speaking of a literal physical coming of Jesus Christ. But is there another biblical alternative for these three verses? First, as with all passages, we should try to use some sort of a consistent hermeneutic.
Let's draw some biblical lessons from the Bible to see what the account of Act 1:11 really say. Most people agree that Jesus was in a material body at this time. That is indeed correct. The Angels tell the disciples that Jesus will return just as He left-bodily and visible right? It that correct? Problem one. That is NOT what Acts 1:11 says.
Lets tack a closer look at the verse11. "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so (COME IN LIKE MANNER) as you saw Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11) The verse says Jesus will (come in like manner). There is no mention that Jesus will return just as He left-bodily and visible. The Bible is not to be read in such a way that it is made to conform to our opinions and assumptions; instead, we must conform to what it says.
What was the (manner ) that the disciples saw Jesus go into heaven? Verse nine contains the answer. Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and (A CLOUD RECEIVED) Him out of their sight. (Acts 1:9) Verse 9 speaking of the (manner in which Jesus was going into heaven). What was that manner? A cloud received Him out of their sight.
The two Greek words that Luke uses in the construct (OUTOS…TRAPON) specifically means, “the same manner.” The angels verify that Christ would return in the “same manner.” Just reverse the order. Here is the Hebrew Cloud: CLOUD `anan OT:6051, "cloud; fog; storm cloud; smoke." Cognates of this word appear in Aramaic and Arabic. Its 87 appearances are scattered throughout the biblical material. ; (A) of the "cloud" which covered Israel in the Red Sea, 1 Chronic 10:1-2; (B), "The cloud, of course, symbolizes the Divine Glory of God,
Problem two. The angels tied Christ’s coming directly to (the disciples). "This Jesus, who was received up from you (the disciples) into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you (the disciples) beheld him going into heaven." v. 11 Jesus stated the same thing on numerous occasions. Worth noting is Matthew 10:23. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the (Son of Man comes).
And from the manner in which He went up into heaven we can learn certain things respecting the manner of His Return: Letting Scripture interpret Scripture. Did Jesus ever mention returning in the clouds other places when speaking of His Parousia? This is precisely the thought Jesus was conveying to Caiaphas when he told him he would see him coming in the clouds. But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." (Matthew 26:63-64)
When Jesus said he was going to come in the clouds this was a claim to the Messianic office and divine nature; Caiaphas responded, "He has spoken blasphemy!" Caiaphas was not responding to a claim that Jesus would literally return on a physical cloud. He was responding to the IDENTITY which Jesus was claiming by associating himself as the one to come in the clouds of heaven! Jesus adopts the classical style of Jewish apocalyptic literature.
The idea of God's coming in the clouds is also associated with the exercise of his sovereignty in JUDGING his enemies. In Zephaniah 1:14-16 we are told the "great day of the Lord is near;" and that it would be a day of "wrath," "distress," and a "day of clouds," when the Lord would come. This is precisely the thought Jesus was conveying to Caiaphas when he told him he would see him coming in the clouds.
In Daniel 7 one like the Son of man is depicted as coming in the clouds of heaven. This concept of Messiah on the clouds was certainly one well known to Caiaphas and all the Jews in the first century.
One final thought. The New Testament TIME FRAME for the coming of Jesus in the clouds. Jesus told Caiaphas he would see Him' return in the clouds. He did not say Caiaphas would die and be resurrected a thousand years later to view the parousia. He was living and was told he would witness Jesus' return.
"Any interpretation of Acts 1:11 that fails to honor the time limitations for the parousia is not "exegesis" but "eisegesis"!"