The Cloud Of God
Genesis 3:8-18 speaks to us about God in the Garden with Adam and Eve. It begins by saying this, “They heard the voice of the Lord God, walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze.” We know that God must have met with them often and spoke to them because they knew His voice. They heard Him coming. But the question is, how did God appear to them that they could hear Him coming? Let’s take a closer look.
Exodus 13:21-22 says, “And the LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from the presence of the people.” Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:1a tells us this, “For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and they all passed through the sea; and they all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”
Paul tells us that God led them by a cloud. He not only led them by a cloud, but He was in the cloud. Let’s continue.
Exodus 16:10 says, “And it came about, as Aaron spoke to the entire congregation of the sons of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.”
Exodus 19:9, “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also trust in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.” Exodus 19:16 says, “So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud over the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.”
Exodus 24:15-16 tells us, “Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud.” Exodus 24:18 goes on to say, “Then Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.”
We see here that Moses entered the cloud. He entered into the presence of the Lord. Let’s continue to read further.
Exodus 33:10-11 says, “Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would stand and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. So the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.”
WOW! Moses saw God face to face or did he?
Exodus 33:18-23 goes on to say this, “Then Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory!” And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion to whom I will show compassion.” He further said, “You cannot see My face, for mankind shall not see Me and live!” Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”’
So did Moses see God’s face or not, for certainly the Scriptures would not lie? When the Scripture tells us that Moses spoke to God face to face, it is speaking about the amount of revelation that he received. Let’s look at
1 Corinthians 13:8-12 which I think will give us the answer. “Love never ends; but prophecies will pass, tongues will cease, knowledge will pass. For our knowledge is partial, and our prophecy partial; but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, argued like a child; now that I have become a man, I have finished with childish ways. For now we see obscurely in a mirror, but then it will be face to face. Now I know partly; then I will know fully, just as God has fully known me.”
So we see that Moses, when he entered the cloud, was in God’s presence, and so he received revelation, not like we receive it, which is partial at best, but he received it like one who was face to face with a friend. One day we too, will no longer know in part, but in full, for we will see the face of God.
So let’s continue.
Exodus 40:34-38 says this, “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.Throughout their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up.For throughout their journeys, the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.”
When God had the people build the Tabernacle it was to recreate the Mt Sinai experience. God wanted to dwell with man like He did in the Garden of Eden. Exodus 25: 8-9 tells us this, “Have them construct a sanctuary for Me, so that I may dwell among them. According to all that I am going to show you as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, so you shall construct it.”
God did not want them to build any sanctuary, but one that resembled the sanctuary in heaven. He wanted the people to experience a little bit of heaven on earth. He is a God of holiness, and He calls us to be holy also, and so the Tabernacle was to be holy, from the utensils, to the furnishings, to the clothes the priests wore, to even the unblemished sacrifices. The Tabernacle was truly a picture of God. And of course, the cloud sat upon the Tabernacle.
Leviticus 16:2 tells us, The LORD said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the atoning cover which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the atoning cover.” Leviticus 16:13 goes on to say, “ He shall put the incense on the fire before the LORD, so that the cloud of incense may cover the atoning cover that is on the ark of the testimony, otherwise he will die.”
It was the cloud of incense that mingled with the cloud over the ark of the testimony that became as one. God wants us to be one with Him as John 17:8-9 says, “I am not asking on behalf of these alone, but also for those who believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” 1 Corinthians 6:17 also says, “But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”
The cloud was not just in Moses’ time as we see here in 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 , “In unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD, and when they raised their voices accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other musical instruments, and when they praised the LORD saying, “He indeed is good for His kindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not rise to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.” We also see in Matthew 17:5 that God appeared in a cloud to the crowd in Yeshua’s day. “While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice from the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!” And even Revelation 14:14-16 says, “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, with a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. And another angel came out of the temple, calling out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.”
We see this in Acts 2:1-2, “ When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a noise like a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” John 3:7-8 tells us this, “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so is everyone who has been born of the Spirit.” We see on the day of Pentecost that there was the sound of wind. Did not the Scriptures tell us that God would walk with Adam and Eve during the evening breezes? We also know that on Pentecost and at Mt Sinai there was fire, and fire causes clouds, and we know that God is fire (Ezekiel 8:2) and even His angels are as Psalm 104:4 tells us, “He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.” So I think that we can say that God met with Adam and Eve, and spoke to them out of the cloud. And how did they know He was coming? Because they could hear the sound of the wind. Let’s conclude with this, one day God is going to create a new heaven and earth, (Revelation 21:1). Revelation 22:3 says this, “There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.” There will be no need for the cloud for now perfection will have come, and we will see God face to face. 1 John 3:2-3 says, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope set on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”