Monday, February 11, 2013

Consider the Clouds #7.--- The Cloud of the Lord

The Cloud of the Lord.
view from Poatina, Tas. Western Tiers.

Israel journeyed under a cloud. In Numbers 10:34 it says ‘the cloud of the Lord being over them by day…’ as they journeyed. The cloud was a demonstration of the Lord’s presence. From other references it is easy to see that the association of God and  clouds points to an atmosphere, an environment..

In Matthew, Mark and John are their accounts of Jesus’ transfiguration. Each has their own peculiar way of retelling the event. This comes out in some minor but expressive descriptions. When slotted together they present a  majestic revelation of Christ.

Why did Jesus go to the high mountain considered to be Mt. Hermon?  Luke says it was to pray. This took place after Jesus had asked them who they thought He was. It also came after He explained to the 12 about His forthcoming death. Remember even though Jesus is the Creator the world had been enslaved by the Devil. Jesus was in a foreign and hostile environment.  In going to the top of Mt. Hermon the Lord sought a taste of home.

Luke informs us that Peter, James and John were weary, possibly after the climb and in the rarefied air.  They soon came fully awake when Jesus entered into a conversation with Moses and Elijah. More dramatically a cloud began to envelope them. Would we be far off the mark by thinking that Jesus was absorbing the atmosphere of home? I don’t think so! Why was this so important?

The cross was now uppermost in Christ Jesus mind. In fact Moses and Elijah were discussing this fact with the Lord. Luke uses the Greek word translated as Exodus. Jesus was about to go out of His journey. How? He would leave this earthly realm by fulfilling the symbolism of the Passover Lamb. As that historical event began Israel’s exodus to the Promised Land so the cross would achieve a spiritual deliverance. After the resurrection we know Jesus ascended to glory. He is the forerunner of those who will join Him there.

From out of the cloud the voice of the Father came. It must have petrified the three disciples. Flat on the ground they heard ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with Him I am well pleased; listen to Him.’ Once again the grace of God protected the disciples from beholding His consuming glory. However they did catch a glimpse of what it as like when Jesus was transfigured before their eyes. At home in His environment He was seen as He really is. Luke in fact uses adds a graphic word to the whiteness of Jesus appearance. He wrote it flashed with the brilliance of lightning. 

From here two more mountains awaited Jesus. Mount  of Olives and Mount Calvary. There is no account of clouds there until after the resurrection. Then we see Him ascending back into His environment. His waits until He mounts His chariot clouds to come conquer and claim His creation. Marana tha!  ‘Our Lord come.’

Ray (waiting to see Jesus in His environment) Hawkins.

Next week… The Cloud and the Mercy Seat. (This wil conclude our series.

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