Glory Clouds – Let the literal Glory come
It’s been great to see video of the glory cloud manifestations in Bethel Church (Redding California) over recent weeks. I was very struck by Jesus and the 3 disciples encounter with a glory cloud (cloud of bright light with God in it), in Matthew 17. Jesus appears to them shining and Elijah and Moses show up ( I know- representing the Law and the prophets- but before we get sidetracked by the symbolism let’s remember this was an actual supernatural experience). Their instinct is to work, to build. Many of us have preached that they wanted to camp out to sustain the experience, I don’t think that’s the story, as they actually end up on their faces in fear. However, the amazing revelation and experience they have makes them want to work, be useful. How many of us get fidgety in the presence? We can be so works oriented that even manifest presence makes us work, and we could end up missing the fullness of the encounter.
The cloud shows up, the glory cloud, and envelopes them and God speaks. Jesus ‘needed’ time alone with Father. How much of this event was for Jesus and how much was for the disciples we don’t know exactly. But Jesus did often withdraw to be with the Father. In the earlier account of him spending time alone on the hillside, we don’t get any description of what happened, but we do know he decided to walk across the lake and not around it straight afterward! (Matt 15;23-25)
The early apostles are exposed to tremendous manifest presence. They see Him changed before them, get enveloped in a cloud; hear the voice of the Father. Later in Acts they hear a mighty wind, speak in tongues and see fire on their heads and then see their building shake. They then ‘shook’ their world.
Isaiah points to days like ours in chapter 60. When thick darkness is over the people of the earth His Glory appears over us and nations will come to our light. (v 1-3). Again we have interpreted it metaphorically – this is about our shining holiness and good deeds - yet the early church had actual encounter experiences with physical manifestations that led to people being attracted. Could this shinning have a more literal application as well? It’s time to believe that the literal Glory of the new covenant exceeds that of the old. In the Old Testament the Glory manifested visibly in one location, and on one man and it was fading. In the new it’s going to cover the earth by being on the church and it is set to continually increase. Lord let your glory fall as you intend in our day, we don’t want the ancient day, we want the new day.