The Shekinah Cloud
February 5, 2019
Background: Christianity is rooted in ancient Judaism. Judaism is mystical in a spiritual way that is apparent to the senses and obvious to intelligence. For this reason, Scripture can be read over and over and it speaks to us in a different way. It is like a white water kayaker shooting the same rapids again and again. The river is never the same. Neither is the man. However, to the extent that we separate the teachings and actions of Jesus from the faith and hope of the first century Jewish people, we risk to completely misunderstand Him. The New Testament is hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is revealed in the New. There is an entire discipline of Jewish mysticism known as Gematria that is devoted to finding hidden meaning in the numeric value of words. The early Church Fathers regard Biblical numbers to be filled with mystical meaning. Their interpretation of numbers was part of the critical explanation of Biblical text.
The Shekinah Cloud: The Shekinah Cloud (Heb., “dwelling, or glory cloud”) is the visible manifestation of God’s divine presence. In the exodus from Egypt, God appears in a cloudy pillar by day and a pillar of fire by night. The glory cloud resides in the tent of meeting where God speaks to Moses. Later the glory cloud resides in the Holy of Holies of Solomon’s Temple, or the First Temple in Jerusalem. It is one of the ancient wonders of the world. In today’s dollars, the value of gold and silver alone would exceed $200 billion. According to Ezekiel, the glory cloud departs towards the east and comes to rest on the top of the Mount of Olives where it ascends to heaven shortly before the destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians. It the hope of the first century Jewish people that the glory cloud will return when the Temple is rebuilt. It had been under construction for 46 years when Jesus dies. It takes 84 years to complete.