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Holman Bible Dictionary


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Collection of moisture suspended in the skies over the earth and used by biblical writers to symbolize God's miraculous power and sovereignty as well as His judgment. Clouds carry the rainbow of God's covenant not to destroy the earth by flood (Genesis 9:14 ). On Mount Sinai God appeared in a dark cloud (Exodus 19:9 ; Exodus 24:15 ; Exodus 40:34 ; compare 1 Kings 8:10 ; Isaiah 4:5 ; Matthew 17:5 ). From May to September, Palestine has no rain or clouds, but God produced them for His people (1 Samuel 12:17-18 ; 1 Kings 18:44 ). Clouds brought darkness, symbolizing disaster (Job 3:5 ; Lamentations 2:1 ; Lamentations 3:4 ; Ezekiel 32:7 ). They also vanished quickly in the sun, symbolizing the brief nature of human life (Job 7:9 ) but also the brief life of human sin when God forgives (Isaiah 44:22 ). They symbolize His sovereign power over all creation, even the heavenly bodies others would worship (Job 26:8-9 ). The rain cloud promised hope for the crops and thus symbolized grace and life (Proverbs 16:15 ). God came to His people, riding on the clouds (Nahum 1:3 ; compare 1 Samuel 22:10 ; Isaiah 19:1 ; Revelation 1:7 ). A sign of the last days is the coming of the Son of Man on a cloud (Luke 21:27 ), just as He went into heaven on a cloud (Acts 1:9 ). The great qualities of God can be described only by saying they reach from here to the clouds (Psalm 36:5 ; Psalm 57:10 ; Psalm 68:34 ).

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Cloud'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 20th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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