While visiting the Florida Keys, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of nature, the fish, the wildlife, and especially the sunsets. The clouds were so magnificent that often I would find myself just sitting and staring at the sky, watching their movements and formations. I went to the Word, and the Lord began showing me a greater depth of spiritual understanding about the significance of clouds. This has brought to me a fuller revelation of Christ and into a new level of ascension in Him. I pray that it does the same for you!
The scriptures tell us that when Christ returns, it is going to be in the clouds and with the clouds. If Jesus speaks to us about returning in clouds, then it behooves us to take note and receive the understanding of this similitude that God has chosen to appear in.
Jesus says in Matthew 26:64: “nevertheless I say to you hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and coming IN the clouds of heaven.”
The word “hereafter” means from this moment forth or from now on. It does not mean years and years in the future. Therefore, this verse can only be interpreted figuratively, given the meaning of “hereafter”. He has been “coming” for two thousand years. He is saying that from now on you are going to see me coming IN clouds, or I propose, clouds of His people emanating the glory of God! As we see God’s glory on a person, we are seeing Christ come into this world. We are now in the process of an entire company being gathered who desire for Christ to appear and “come” through them. This will be a corporate appearing of the Lord!
Revelation 1:7: “Behold, He is coming 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.”.
In the Old Testament, the cloud represented three things: 1)GOD’S GLORY, 2)GOD’S PRESENCE, 3)GOD’S FULLNESS. Let us look at each of these.
The Lord’s first appearing as a cloud was as a singular cloud, and in the Old Testament this cloud represented God’s glory. This singular use of the word cloud is representative of the presence of Christ to the Old Testament saints. In the New Testament, especially after the ascension of the Lord at the Mount of Transfiguration, the plural sense of the word is used – clouds. God is showing there are cloudS coming forth. Jesus, (the first cloud) was the firstfruit son. Now is the time when many sons of the right hand – the Benjamin company – (clouds) are coming forth! These sons and the clouds are one and the same. They represent the manifestation of Christ to the world. God does not desire one cloud, but many clouds. His first begotten Son provided the way for the adoption of many sons.
Rom 8:29: For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
In earlier years, I always pictured the Lord descending from the sky, surrounded by a cumulus of white puffy clouds. The Lord can certainly do that if He so chooses, but let us look beyond the traditional and literal application to see the SPIRITUAL application that the Lord desires. Remember, the Lord spoke in parables, always revealing a deeper, hidden truth – a truth that will bring us LIFE, not just a nice example or story to ponder.
In Exodus 16:10 we become acquainted with God’s first cloud: “and it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in a cloud.”
Here the Lord chose to represent His glory in a cloud. It also represented the presence of God among them.
In Isaiah 19:1: “The burden against Egypt. Behold, the LORD rides on a swift cloud, And will come into Egypt; The idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, And the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst.”
This is a powerful verse. We know that Egypt represents the world and carnality. The presence of the Lord will cause ALL worldly idols to fall. Hallelujah! As we allow the Lord to increase in our lives, He will cause us to decrease, causing all idols in our life to fall as His fullness is revealed in us. As we allow Christ to increase, as we join in unity as a corporate body, we will truly see the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior!
The cloud not only represented the GLORY and PRESENCE OF GOD, but it also represented the FULLNESS OF CHRIST:
Genesis 9:13: “I do set my rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.”
The rainbow represents the fullness of Christ. There are seven (number of perfection) colors in the rainbow which give us a beautiful picture of our progression into the fullness of Christ. He will put the rainbow, His fullness, in the cloud, in us. Hallelujah!!
Next, we will look at the function of the cloud and what it did for the children of Israel. The cloud appears at the beginning of their exodus in Exodus 13:21-22:
“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”
Here we see that the cloud was provided for fellowship and protection. Fellowship was provided in the assurance that the Lord was with them. He truly will never leave us or forsake us, though we may choose to leave Him. The cloud gave them warmth at night and protection from the sun during the day. We, as the clouds, do the same for the body of Christ. We provide fellowship and protection for one another.
The cloud appears again in the last chapter of Exodus, after the tabernacle had been erected and everything was in place:
Ex 40:34-38: “Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 36 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the LORD was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”
The glory filled the tabernacle only AFTER the tabernacle was erected. As the cloud was to them so Christ is to us. The Holy Spirit has come into our lives as comforter and guide to help us put our lives in order. As we cooperate with Him, when everything is “in place”, then the glory will fill our “tabernacle”. AFTER the tabernacle had been established, we see that the cloud controlled and directed their every movement, guided them in all their ways, and overshadowed the tabernacle.
Luke 9:34-36: “While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were fearful as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!"
The same way the cloud overshadowed the physical tabernacle in the Old Testament, the cloud overshadowed Christ, the fulfillment of the tabernacle, in the New Testament.
Another thing the cloud did for the children of Israel was to give them a revelation of a personal God.
Exodus 19:9: “And the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever." And in verse 16:“Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.”
Consider how the Lord came to the people in a thick cloud for them to hear what He wanted to say. It has always been God’s desire to show Himself and speak to His people, but most will not be able to receive. Many are called but few are chosen. The people were given the opportunity to embrace a personal God, but they were hindered by their carnality. They were too scared and chose to withdraw from the presence of God. They wanted Moses to be their mediator and stand between them and God. Flesh or carnality always interferes with God’s voice to you and tries to prevent you from hearing. But God desires to speak clearly to His people.
Ex 24:15-16: “Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain. 16 Now the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.”
See how God speaks through the cloud. If you want to hear the voice of God, it is vital that you enter the cloud. Moses went into the midst of the cloud and he had no trouble hearing God speak to him. When you are in Christ and He is in you, you will have no trouble hearing God’s voice.
Consider all the functions of the cloud for the children of Israel in the Old Testament. The MAIN REASON the Lord provided the cloud for Israel, is so they would have a visible representation of the glory of God!
1 Kings 8:10-12
10 And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. 12 Then Solomon spoke: "The LORD said He would dwell in the dark cloud.”
As we mature in the Lord, we come to realize that there is so much more to the stories in the Old Testament than a surface reading renders. They are meant for more than entertainment and showing God’s attributes to us, His creation. We are told in 1 Corinthians 10:11: “Now all these things happened to them for examples to us and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
The Lord has put all of this in the Word for us at this time to discern as deep calls unto deep. There are layers of depth to His word that He wants us to peel off. If we are in tune with His voice, we will hear His message concerning the cloud and clouds and receive His blessing for us today.
We are the clouds in which the Lord is returning and appearing in full glory. Apply to yourself personally all the functions that the cloud was to the children of Israel! You are to represent the glory of the Lord, the presence of the Lord, and the fullness of Christ to your generation in this fateful hour!! This is the potential you have as a cloud! He wants all of His fullness within you. Your function is to provide fellowship and protection to those within the body. The cloud controlled the movement of the children of Israel and you are to allow Christ within to control your every moment of every day. You are to surrender ALL of your life to Him and allow Him to guide you. You are to be a revelation of a personal God to everybody that you come in contact with. Our main purpose is to be a visible representation of the glory of God for all to see! God’s original purpose in sending the cloud to the children of Israel, was to show them His visible glory, and now He wants to show us as His visible glory to this world. This is our function in the body of Christ today – the same function as the cloud to the children of Israel. WOW!
I have asked myself why God would identify Himself to us as a cloud, and refer to us as clouds. First, we know that clouds contain water and are made up of billions of little water droplets, which contain LIFE for the earth. Jude gives us a solemn warning and wake up call in verse 12: “These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds”
This is a wake up call to the body of Christ, because you could be a cloud, but you may not have water. In nature the only way this is possible is to be a dust cloud. Yuck! Dust is a type of carnality. You can profess Christ all day long, but if you are not filled with the fullness of His water of life, you are spots in the love feast of our Lord. None of us want to be that. These dry clouds feast with the Lord without fear. They may show up at the gatherings, read their Bible occasionally, but they have no clue what it means to serve the Lord and to honor Him, to worship Him, and to surrender all to Him. They have chosen to remain independent when we were made to be dependent. We want to be the opposite of this – to be clouds FULL of the water of LIFE!
Parts of a cloud will evaporate when mixed with air dryer than itself. This is what causes clouds to dissipate. The lesson for us is to avoid mixing with “dry air” ( the things of this world, allowing our carnal mind to dominate, unequally yoking together, etc.), which will cause us as the cloud, to dissipate. Less of His glory will show through you. We do not want this!
The clouds change shape continually because of the winds. This is good. The wind of the spirit should be blowing through our lives and His body, and we need to maintain an attitude of surrender – “Lord whatever You want to do in me, do it.” We have to be willing to change and move and be flexible and pliable in the Lord’s hands. The winds of change blow, keeping us from getting in a rut, and keeping things exciting. I have learned to embrace and rejoice in the change the Lord brings, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
I was thinking about how gorgeous all my flowers look after a rain. At first, the grass is so green, but then the temperature rises and things begin to wilt and lose their brilliance. I begin to pray for more thundershowers so I do not have to go around the yard carrying buckets and watering my flowers by hand. If, in the natural, when the land gets dry and parched we pray for rain, how much more should we pray in the spiritual dryness of today? A lot of people in and outside of the church are very parched and dry in their relationship with the Lord and they are looking for those clouds with the rain. We all need an abundance of rain! Christ needs us, as the clouds, full of rain in order to pour out and water the dry land!
Ecclesiastes 11:3: “If the clouds are full of rain, They empty themselves upon the earth”
There are so many “ifs” in the Bible. Many things with God are conditional. The condition presented here is for the clouds to be FULL of rain in order to empty themselves. FILL US LORD! Clouds are made to empty themselves; it is their nature to do so. Likewise, we are made to empty ourselves out into others – as the rain in Psalm 72:6: “He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing, Like showers that water the earth.”
When we are emptying ourselves, we are not releasing ourselves, but Christ into the world. He is the rain the earth needs to bring forth fruit.
Zech 10:1: “Ask the LORD for rain
In the time of the latter rain.
The LORD will make flashing clouds;
He will give them showers of rain,
Grass in the field for everyone.”
We are in the time of the latter rain and we want to be a part of that work, filled with His light, manifesting as “bright clouds” to our generation. We want to be the clouds that the Lord will use to bring forth this latter rain! The first cloud was Jesus. He was the beginning of creation, the firstborn and the firstfruit that the Father emptied Himself into. Now Christ empties Himself into us and we empty into others what Christ has poured into us. How much are you allowing Him to pour into you? Is He increasing, which in turn causes you to decrease?
The Lord speaks often in sets of threes. The encyclopedia reveals this same principle concerning clouds. There are three types of clouds. Clouds are categorized according to their height, which corresponds to our progressive walk with the Lord. How high do you want to ascend? I desire to be in the throne room with my Lord. Other examples of this progression are: moving from the outer court to the Holy place to the most Holy place; moving from the feast of Passover, to Pentecost, to Tabernacles.
The first level of clouds is called low clouds. They are less than 6000 feet in the air. All that can be released out of a low cloud is drizzle. We all must have a starting point in our relationship with the Lord. This is a good place to start, but you should not want to stay at this place. You are equipped to release something, but it is only a drizzle, which will dampen things, but do not be satisfied with this.
The next type of clouds are the middle clouds which range from 6,000 to 10,000 feet high. They produce rain or snow. A higher level cloud releases more into the earth and brings a higher level of return.
The third and highest clouds are from 20,000 to 32,000 feet high and are only made up of ice crystals. Water solidifies when it turns to ice. Once we reach this “height” in the Lord, the word of the Lord has become solidified in our lives.
The significance of understanding the different levels of clouds enables us to understand our progressive relationship with the Lord. The most spectacular clouds I saw while in the Keys were those that encompassed all three heights. These are the thunderclouds. They were very awesome to behold as they formed out over the sea and expanded into tremendous clouds. These clouds can reach heights of above 60,000 feet! Even though they reach to great heights, their base is still close to the ground. Even though spiritually we may ascend to great heights in the Lord and have wonderful experiences and receive much from Him, our base is still on this earth where He will use us to minister to others. We are in the world but not of the world.
These thunderclouds have the shape of an anvil. An anvil is small at the bottom and fans out at the top. For this reason, the cloud can be seen for miles. These clouds contain heavy rain, lightning and thunder. We desire to be a cloud that brings heavy rain, lightning and thunder. Heavy rain is the revelatory word of God. Lightning is the flashes of His glory, and thunder is the voice of the Lord. We desire to be these thunderclouds which are ascending to great heights, but are still touching the earth with the presence of the Lord.
1 Kings 18:41: Then Elijah said to Ahab, "Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain."
There was a sound. Elijah could not yet see the source of the sound, but he heard it. Many of us today are hearing the sound of an abundance of rain. We KNOW that we are on the verge, the beginning of this new day in the Lord, the entrance into the kingdom age of our Lord. We are truly beginning to realize that His glory WILL fill the whole earth! It IS going to happen. So, there is the SOUND. I hear it. Do you? The clouds are forming. They are forming all over the earth. Those “hearing” the sound are gathering together. Soon, the rain will pour forth on the whole earth and there will be a great harvest of souls! Elijah represents the spirit of Christ. Think of the excitement and anticipation of our Lord! Even Christ is hearing the sound as the clouds are forming, His army is gathering, His Bride is preparings. Hallelujah!
1 Kings 18:42: So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees,
This positioning of Elijah represents intercession. As this sound of rain is heard, we will be led into intercession to pray in agreement with the plan and purpose of God, that it might be brought to pass.
1 Kings 18:43: and said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea."
The sea represents the heart of the church. Christ is saying to His servant – go look toward the church – there is something rising from within the church that is going to bring much rain. Clouds are formed from the evaporation of water from the sea and its sources. There are chosen “drops” (overcomers) within the church that are being evaporated (ascended) into the formation of His clouds of glory. Heat from the sun(SON), and wind(SPIRIT) cause the evaporation that DRAWS the water droplets OUT and UP! The overcomers are hearing and responding to the call - “Come out from among her” and “Come up here!” Hallelujah!!
1 Kings 18:43-44: So he went up and looked, and said, "There is nothing." And seven times he said, "Go again." 44 Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, "There is a cloud, as small as a man's hand, rising out of the sea!"
On the seventh time – the time of perfection that we are now approaching – the cloud appeared. The Lord has been looking for those corporate rain clouds to come forth to bring the rain. We are entering into the seventh day of the Lord since creation. This is the day of rest, the day of perfection, and the day of the fullness of Christ. It is the fullness of Christ that will release the rain from within us and the rest of His body. This rain, which is Christ, will water the earth and bring forth a great harvest of souls! Notice he saw a cloud as small as a man’s hand. I believe this is the edge of the thundercloud which is forming today. Just wait until the full cloud appears – the corporate appearing of Christ in a body of people!!! There will come forth a rain like no other! Truly, His glory shall fill the whole earth!! Hallelujah!
Once more, Revelation 1:7: “Behold, He is coming with clouds; and every eye shall see Him,”. Every eye shall see Him as they see Christ in US! We are to be the visible representation of the glory of God to this earth!!
In Romans 8, the scripture says that all creation is groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God. Creation is crying out for the clouds of water to come and rain on this dry, parched land. When my withering flowers need watering, it is if they are crying out for rain. When the water is poured into the hot, dry soil you can hear the water seeping down, as if the plant is saying “Ahhhhh”. It is the same when we allow Christ to minister through us into someone’s life. As He is poured out, you can visibly see and experience the “refreshing” that comes upon them. We must be willing to receive and release the rain (Christ).
27 For He draws up drops of water,
Which distill as rain from the mist,
28 Which the clouds drop down
And pour abundantly on man.
29 Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds,
The thunder from His canopy?
God is drawing UP the droplets of water to form the clouds – His body composed of many members. The purpose of the clouds are to pour ABUNDANTLY on man. These clouds are filled with His abundant life.
11 Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds;
He scatters His bright clouds.
12 And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance,
That they may do whatever He commands them
On the face of the whole earth.
He saturates the thick clouds, those thunderclouds. Lord, we desire to be those saturated clouds! Just as a cloud naturally releases the moisture that is within, once we become saturated with Him, we too will be unable to contain the fullness. It will be a “natural function” for us to release Christ. There will be no more hesitation or doubt or lack of boldness on our part! We will “be Jesus” to the world! Hallelujah!