The Glory Cloud
by Rich Murphy


What Can $1 Do?

There are a lot of churches these days praying that God send "the glory cloud" to fill their sanctuaries. They are doing this because they are looking for the presence of God to be manifested in their midst. But, what is this glory cloud, and what will it do when it comes into our churches?

First of all, before we can answer this question, we need to ask the question, "What is the glory of God?" If we want to understand the Bible, it is often good to look to the Bible to interpret itself.

In Exodus, chapter 33, Moses was on the mountain talking to Jehovah God and asked Him, "show me your glory" (Ex 33:18). God's answer was to show Moses His presence. He said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you… When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by" (Ex 33:19, 22 NIV). Notice that. Moses asked to see God's glory, and God showed him His presence.

In other words, the glory of God, and the presence of God are the same thing. So, when we are praying for the glory of God, we are actually asking for His presence amongst us.

Okay, so now we have a basic understanding about what the glory is, so what is this glory cloud these churches are praying for? Obviously, these people are praying for the glory cloud because they want something from the presence of God.

When the nation of Israel was wandering in the wilderness they had the pillar of cloud to lead them by day, and the pillar of fire to lead them by night. This pillar represented God's presence amongst them. Let's look at how it is mentioned in the last verses of Exodus:

In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; 37 but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out - until the day it lifted. 38 So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels.

Ex 40:36-38 NIV

The same pillar was there both day and night. In the daytime, it looked like it was only a cloud, because the light of the sun would block out the light of the fire within the cloud. But, when the sun set, the fire would become visible within the cloud.

Why is this important? Because, the presence of God is not represented by a cloud, but by fire. Everyplace I know of in Biblical prophecy (Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Revelations) where the presence of Jehovah God is mentioned, it is described as "like fire." God is so pure, righteous and just that His presence is brighter than the sun.

In reality, there is no such thing as "the glory cloud;" it is a misnomer. This term never appears in the Bible. What these people are referring to is the cloud that appeared in the Old Testament, when the glory of God appeared. However, that cloud wasn't the glory. What the Bible says, is "the glory appeared in a cloud" (various places). The cloud wasn't the glory; it was literally there to hide the glory of God.

Why would one want to hide the presence of God? Because, the presence of God always has an impact on our lives; an impact that causes us to change. The problem is, many people are not ready to allow God to change them.

Let's go back to Exodus, chapter 33 again for a moment. When God was talking to Moses about his presence, or glory, He said, "no one may see me and live" (Ex 33:20). But, earlier on in this chapter, in verse 11, it says, "The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend." In other words, since Moses had been speaking face to face with God, he was a dead man. Not in the sense of physical death, but in the sense of dying to himself.

Moses was willing to enter into God's presence, and allow God to change him in any way that God saw fit. He was considered the humblest man who ever lived (Num 12:3). We could all use to learn from his example.

Many of us are just like the people of Israel who were afraid of the presence of God. When God gave the 10 commandments to Moses, He commanded that the people of Israel came to the foot of the mountain to witness the presence of God hidden in the cloud. Their response to seeing God's presence veiled by the cloud was fear of God. They didn't want to talk to Him, they wanted Moses to do it for them.

When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us, or we will die."

Ex 20:18-19 NIV

How many believers today are saying essentially the same thing to their pastors? Instead of entering into God's presence, they are asking the pastor to do it for them. Instead of hearing what God wants to say to them, they ask the pastor to hear for them. Instead of seeking God, they seek a man to act as an intermediary between them and God.

God has given us the only intermediary that we are to have, it is His Son, Jesus (1 Ti 2:5). We should never fear to come into the presence of the Lord and receive what we need from Him. The writer of Hebrews instructs us to "come boldly before the throne of grace" (Heb 4:16); not ask someone else to do it for us, not have fear, but to come boldly.

The reason the cloud doesn't appear anywhere in the New Testament is that we are not to fear God's presence. We shouldn't need a cloud to hide God's presence from us. In fact, we should actively seek His presence.

Don't bother praying for the glory cloud; just pray for the glory. Let His wonderful presence fill you to overflowing.

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