The theology of glory clouds, miracles, and strange manifestations are all tied to one thing, God’s manifest Presence. God is omnipresent, yes but through out the bible there are times when there is a manifestation of God’s presence that people can observe and experience. In the Old Testament, a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire lead the Israelites through the wilderness. This was the manifest presence of God, and when ever it lifted, the Israelites would follow it.
The Lord provided bread from heaven from His manifestation and also meat.
Exodus 16:7 And in the morning [d]you will see the glory of the Lord, for He hears your grumblings against the Lord; and what are we, that you grumble against us?”
Here you can see the concept of physical objects appearing throughout he cloud of glory. If the bread was from heaven, what about gemstones, gold, or oil manifesting?
This passage amazes me, the ground turned into Sapphire and there was an open vision of heaven. The glory of God manifests the realities of heaven.
Exodus 24:9 Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity.
Moses had a deep relationship with God. He would enter the Tabernacle and God would speak to him in this cloud of glory and God considered it face to face as a man would speak to his friend.
Exodus 33:10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. 11 So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.
I love how when Moses went out, Joshua was focused on staying in God’s manifest presence. I believe that is what qualified him to enter the promise land.
After this encounter, Moses asked God who He would send with them and God said,
Exodus 33:14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
I love Moses’ response,
Exodus 33:15 then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”
So this manifest presence of God or glory of God is what separated Israel from every other nation. After this Moses asked to see Gods glory and God made His goodness pass before him. God’s glory is God’s presence manifesting God’s goodness.
Exodus 33:19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 2
There are many more references to His glory in the Torah, but lets jump forward to Solomon.
Solomon dedicated his temple and held a tremendous sacrifice to the Lord. When all the worshipers became as one, God’s glory came as a cloud and it actually was so heavy the ministers could no longer minister.
2 Chronicles 5:13 Indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying:
“For He is good, For His mercy endures forever,”
that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not [e]continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.
1 Kings 8: 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.
2 Then Solomon spoke:
“The Lord said He would dwell in the dark cloud. 13 I have surely built You an exalted house, And a place for You to dwell in forever.”
These passages show a powerful example of the glory of the Lord coming through worship and sacrifice and being so heavy that ministers could no longer minister. Probably because the sheer power and magnitude of His presence caused them to be stuck on the floor.
There are many other references to the glory of the Lord in the Prophets, especially in Isaiah, One passage points to the new Jerusalem and talks about this glory abiding with us.
Isaiah 4:5 Then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering.
And there are many promises of His glory. Isaiah 60:1 is one of my favorites.
Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
In the new Testament, the glory doesn’t disappear but it comes in an unexpected way. Jesus came and opened the heavens. He was the living House of God at “Bethel” where angels ascended and defended upon Him. He was the gateway between heaven and earth and through Him the realities of the Kingdom of heaven was made manifest.
John 1:51 And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter[o] you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Jesus does His first Miracle, turning water to wine.
John 2:11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
Now we see that the glory of the Lord is in a person. Jesus is not only carrying this glory but also manifesting this glory through signs and wonders. Through out the book of John is a promise to see God’s glory, and Jesus told Mary and Martha that they would see God’s glory before He rose Lazarus from the dead in John 11:40.
At the Last Supper, Jesus prayed an amazing prayer for us. He prayed that we would be one in Him and each other and that His glory is given to us who believe. “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who [j]will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
Jesus is talking about us, the church, being filled with His glory and in a oneness with God and each other. This glory comes in worship and unity in the Holy Spirit.
Afterword, Jesus died on a cross, rose again, and then Pentecost happens. Winds blow, tongues of fire land on the disciples and they speak with new tongues, Peter who denied Christ out of fear now boldly preaches to the multitudes and thousands come to the Lord, but the crowd upon looking at them said they were drunk.
Acts 2:13:15 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”
“For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only [e]the third hour of the day.”
So the first outpouring of the Spirit, resulted in them looking like they were drunk. Sometimes when God’s presence shows up, people do act drunk, or laugh because they experience extreme joy, or shake because the power of His majesty. In the Old Testament, people would fall down in fear at His Holy Presence, (Ezekiel 1:28, Daniel 10:7-8). How about when we have been made holy and righteous by the blood of the lamb and experience the fullness of Joy in His presence?
Sometimes the manifest presence of God can cause people to look a little drunk, but we are not to be filled with wine but with the Spirit through worship, similar to worshipers in Solomon’s temple.
Ephesians 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of [f]God.
Now if the glory of the Lord came with Solomon's temple, how much more us who are His Holy Temple, being built together to be a house for the Holy Spirit?
Ephesians 5:21 In whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Now back to Acts. The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter and John prays for a lame man who walks and they get beat for it, they respond by praying for God to do more miracles and more boldness to preach God’s word. The place was shaken and they were all filled. God’s manifest presence had a physical effect on the area.
Acts 4:31And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
Weren’t they all filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost? Yet they were filled again. You see the result of that prayer in the next chapter.
Acts 5:4 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
So there was such an anointing that even peters shadow was healing the sick. This was an increase of the glory of God, the manifestation of the Spirit on his life. Phillip carried this so much that when he entered a town demons would screech out in fear.
Acts 8:6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city
The glory of God is now in believers and manifest when believers come together in true worship, love, and humility.
As believers, I believe Jesus’ prayer for His glory to be given to us is still valid and His presence changes everything. I personally have seen areas where God’s presence was poured out where crime rates dropped and there was an increase of receptivity to the Gospel. I have seen His glory cause demons to manifest and be cast out and incredible miracles happen with no one laying hands on them.
During the Azusa Street Revival in 1906, there was such a manifestation of this glory that fire trucks were called to put out the fire on top of the building. There was a cloud that would appear during the services and that was the birthplace of the Pentecostal and charismatic denominations around today. Same thing happened during the Indonesian revival when the Holy Spirit fell on a Church and many were baptized in the Holy Spirit, the end result was over 100,000 people converting to Jesus (Mel Tari - Like a Mighty Rising Wind). This happened in Brownsville, Toronto, Argentina, and Pensacola at the same time. It was this glory that drove the great awakening in the 1700’s and 1800’s. This is so much bigger than a cloud, or gold dust, but this is about seeing and experiencing God’s manifest presence on the earth. This is about His Kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven. One day we will be in the fullness of it, but right now, it’s at hand, “Within Reach”
- By Joshua Shaw