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Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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A type of refreshment, as it shades off the oppressive sun in Palestine, and gives promise of rain (1 Kings 18:45). It stands out the more prominent because of the clear sky that surrounds it, and the usually cloudless weather that prevails in the East. "Cloud without rain," therefore, symbolizes a man that promises much, but does not perform (Proverbs 16:15; Proverbs 25:14; Judges 1:12). Isaiah 25:5; "as the heat in dry place (is brought down by the shadow of a cloud, so) Thou shalt bring down the triumphant shout of the foreigners." Also typifying transitoriness (Job 30:15; Hosea 6:4). Also of what intercepts God's favor from us (Lamentations 2:1; Lamentations 3:44). As the veil between things seen and things unseen, it, with its floating undefined form, is the symbol manifesting the mysterious unseen presence of God (2 Samuel 22:12-13).

Sometimes in thick gloom portending judgment (Joel 2:2). "Clouds and darkness round about Him" (Psalms 97:2). The fire of lightning, too, warped in the clouds, suggesting the same punitive aspect of God (Isaiah 19:1), especially as He shall come to judgment (Daniel 7:13; Revelation 1:7; Matthew 26:64). The supernatural cloud on mount Sinai was attended with fire (Exodus 19:16; Exodus 19:18; Deuteronomy 4:11), a fit symbol of the legal dispensation which speaks the divine terror to the transgressor, in contrast to the gospel which speaks Jesus' loving invitation from the heavenly mount (Hebrews 12:18-25).

PILLAR OF CLOUD. The symbol of God's presence with Israel, guiding them from Egypt to Canaan (Exodus 13:21-22). It became fire by night. So in the Red Sea it gave light to the escaping Israelites, while interposing between them and the pursuing Egyptians, to whom it" was a cloud and darkness." When Israel was appointed to rest in any place, it rested on the tabernacle over the mercy-seat, and was named by later Jews the Shekinah (Exodus 29:42-43); at the door (Exodus 33:9-10; Numbers 12:5; Numbers 9:15-23); covering the tabernacle of the congregation (Exodus 40:34-38). The ark (Numbers 10:33-36, Speaker's Commentary) went in the midst of the people, and the cloud rested on them, guiding them where to halt. The cloud covered them from the heat (Psalms 105:39; Isaiah 4:5).

Its fire symbolized God's purity and glory (Exodus 24:17; Daniel 7:10), and His consuming wrath against transgressors (Leviticus 10:2; Numbers 16:35; Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29). Its nebulous haze typifies His hiding Himself, even while revealing Himself (Isaiah 45:15); unfolding only a small part of His ways to our finite faculties (Job 26:14; 1 Timothy 6:16). The cloud is not mentioned as having been on the tabernacle after Israel's entrance into Canaan, until it rested on Solomon's temple at the dedication (2 Chronicles 5:13-14), in the moment when the trumpeters and singers together "made one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord." Again, Ezekiel in vision saw the glory of the Lord leaving the temple (Ezekiel 10:4; Ezekiel 11:23). Its return is foretold (Ezekiel 43:2; Isaiah 4:5). Paul speaks of "the glory," i.e. the divine glory cloud, as Israel's peculiar privilege (Romans 9:4).

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Cloud'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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Monday, December 9th, 2019
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