Cloud

Concise Bible Dictionary:

Clouds fill an important place both in the Old Testament and New Testament They were the celestial veil of the presence of God—His chariot, and the hiding place of His power. It pleased God to manifest His presence to Israel in a cloud. The PILLAR OF CLOUD guided the children of Israel through the wilderness (Ex. 40:34-3834Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 36And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: 37But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. 38For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys. (Exodus 40:34‑38)). When they constructed the tabernacle Jehovah promised to appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat (Lev. 16:22And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. (Leviticus 16:2)). On special occasions Jehovah came down in a cloud, and spake unto Moses (Num. 11:2525And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. (Numbers 11:25)). At the dedication of the temple “the cloud” filled the house so that the priests could not minister because of the cloud: “for the glory of Jehovah had filled the house of Jehovah” (1 Kings 8:10-1110And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. (1 Kings 8:10‑11): Compare Num. 14:1010But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel. (Numbers 14:10)). This visible symbol of God’s glory is often called the SHECHINAH. The word is from the Aramaic shakan, “to rest.” The word does not occur in scripture, but is often used by Jewish and Christian writers as signifying the dwelling or resting place of Jehovah.
In the New Testament on the mount of Transfiguration, a cloud overshadowed those present, and “a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear Him” (Luke 9:34-3534While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 35And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. (Luke 9:34‑35)). At the ascension a cloud received the Lord out of their sight (Acts 1:99And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. (Acts 1:9)). At the rapture the dead and the living saints will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:1717Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)); and when He comes to the earth He will come with clouds (Luke 21:2727And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Luke 21:27); Rev. 1:77Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)). In the future, one “like unto the Son of man” will sit upon “a white cloud,” and execute judgments upon the earth (Rev. 14:14-1614And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. 16And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. (Revelation 14:14‑16)). The mighty God who dwells in light unapproachable by man manifested His presence shrouded by clouds.