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Cloud / Shekinah


The “the clouds of heaven” which the rabbis call ‘Shekinah’, means “that which dwells”. Such a cloud, manifesting the glorious presence of God, was visible when the Israelites escaped from Succoth in Egypt. The Lord appeared to them in a cloudy pillar during the day and a fiery pillar by night (Ex 13:20-22). The Lord’s glory later filled the tabernacle. “Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle” (Ex 40:34). This glorious presence of God continued in the Temple of Jerusalem. “When the priests left the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud, since the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD” (1 Kgs 8:10-11).

In his vision, Daniel saw the Son of Man coming in the clouds to establish his perfect kingdom. “As the visions during the night continued, I saw coming with the clouds of heaven One like a son of man. When he reached the Ancient of Days and was presented before him, He received dominion, splendor, and kingship; all nations, peoples and tongues will serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, his kingship, one that shall not be destroyed” (Dan 7:13-14). The Psalmist describes clouds as the chariot of God. “You make the clouds your chariot; travelling on the wings of the wind” (Ps 104:3).

In the New Testament, the cloud of divine presence appeared during the transfiguration of Jesus. “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him’” (Mt 17:5). The ascension of Jesus was on a similar cloud. “As they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight” (Acts 1:9). While the disciples were watching the ascension, two men dressed in white garments said to them: “This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven” (Acts 1:11). So, just as he went up on the cloud, he will also return with the Shekinah cloud. In Daniel’s vision, he “saw coming with the clouds of heaven one like a son of man” (Dan 7:13).

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