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Gospel Gazette Online

Vol. 11 No. 10 October 2009

Page 10


Raymond Elliott

For several weeks we have experienced a real ‘monsoon’ season in the southeast section of our country [USA]. However, I don’t remember enjoying looking at the clouds in their various sizes and shapes since my childhood. Even the sunsets have been enhanced as the sun rays are seen beaming around a magnificent cloud. Some of the cumulous clouds reach perhaps 20 to 30 thousand feet in height. The beautiful blue sky at times has been filled with soft pillows of clouds. Other clouds that hang low and are darker in color have for their background the larger whiter clouds. Some clouds hide the sun and make for cooler weather while working in the yard or in the field. Then there are storm clouds that bring lightning and loud bursts of thunder and heavy rains and sometimes hail. On some days the entire sky is overcast with clouds that can make a person feel depressed. Yet, all in all, clouds are beautiful and they make believers appreciate God’s creation. The Psalmist declared, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalms 19:1). You need to stop for awhile from your busy schedule and look upwards to the beautiful scenes not made with man’s hands.

It is amazing how often we read about clouds in the Bible in connection with important persons and events. Here is a list of just a few times clouds are mentioned in both the Old and New Testament.

  1. God set a rainbow in the clouds (Genesis 9:13).
  2. A pillar of cloud guided the Israelites during the day on their exodus from Egypt (Exodus 13:21).
  3. The glory of God often appeared in a cloud (Exodus 16:10; 19:9; Numbers 11:25).
  4. A cloud covered Mount Sinai when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24:15-18).
  5. A cloud filled the Holy Place and the house of the Lord when the glory (Divine Presence) of God appeared (I Kings 8:10-13). This is called the Shekhinah.
  6. “A day of clouds” is mentioned when God speaks of punishment on Egypt, Ethiopia and other enemies of Israel (Ezekiel 30:1-4).
  7. Job describes how rain is formed from the drawing up of the water “Which the clouds drop down and pours abundantly on man” (Job 36:27-28).
  8. Daniel wrote of the time when “One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him” (Daniel 7:13-14).
  9. “A bright cloud overshadowed them” on the Mount of Transfiguration when God said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5).
  10. At the Lord’s judgment upon the city of Jerusalem the “Son of Man” is depicted as “coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).
  11. Luke wrote about the Ascension of Jesus in Acts 1:9, “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”
  12. The apostle wrote that the Israelites “all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Corinthians 10:1-2).
  13. Paul, in giving encouragement to the Thessalonians regarding their loved ones who died in Christ, wrote of the second coming of the Lord in this manner, “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
  14. Both Peter and Jude wrote harshly concerning false teachers who would lead Christians astray as being like “clouds carried by tempest” and “clouds without water, carried about by the winds” (2 Peter 2:17; Jude 12).
  15. The apostle John wrote that the Lord Jesus Christ was “coming with clouds” (Revelation 1:7).
  16. John also “saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud” (Revelation 10:1).
  17. In the highly figurative Book of Revelation John wrote, “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.” This was regarding the reaping of the earth’s harvest, a matter of punishment (Revelation 14:14-16).

Sanford F. Bennett in 1867 wrote the beautiful lyrics of the song “Sweet By and By” and the first stanza tells us that “There’s a land that is fairer than day, And by faith we can see it afar; For the Father waits over the way, To prepare us a dwelling place there.” In the Book of Revelation we read that “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light” (21:23). Also “There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever” (22:5). It is necessarily inferred that no clouds, especially storm clouds, will be there as the beautiful hymn “O They Tell Me of a Home” teaches:

O they tell me of a home far beyond the skies, O they
Tell me of a home far away; O they tell me of a home
Where no storm clouds rise, O they tell me of an unclouded day.
O they tell me of a home where my friends have gone, O they
Tell me of that land far away Where the tree of life
In eternal bloom Sheds it fragrance thro the unclouded day.
O they tell me of the King in His beauty there, And they
Tell me that mine eyes shall behold, Where he sit on the throne
That is whiter then snow, In the city that is made of gold.
O they tell me that He smiles on His children there, And His
Smile drives their sorrows away; And they tell me that no tears
Ever come again, In that lovely land of unclouded day.
O the land of cloudless day, O the land of an unclouded sky;
O they tell me of a home, where no storm clouds rise,
O they tell me of an unclouded day.

Josiah K. Alwood, 1890

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