The Lord said to Moses, Say to Aaron, your brother, that he may not come at all times into the holy place inside the veil, before the cover which is on the ark, for fear that death may overtake him; for I will be seen in the cloud on the cover of the ark. Lev 16:2
It’s in the cloud. Today, that concept has a new twist to it. It is ubiquitous – both the concept as well as the cloud. I heard a story yesterday by a pastor, recalling the first time he preached from his iPad. IT had told him that the files were on his iPad, but in the midst of service they were gone. The iPad worked, but his notes were gone.
Talking to IT, they said: “Well, the files were not on your iPad exactly, but in the cloud. The pastor did not quite understand, until they told him about Apple’s server farm that hosted his files and the internet connection needed to get the files. If the connection broke, the files weren’t accessible.
It is a rather mundane analogy – but it really is in the cloud. As we learn from today’s verse, God will be seen in the cloud. There are many examples for that in the bible. Think of the rainbow in the cloud, reminding man that God will never destroy the earth in a flood again. Think of the pillar of cloud that led the Israelites in the wilderness during the day, even lighting up in the night. Or the cloud that Moses stepped into when he went to Mount Sinai to receive the law.
Last time I spoke of shadows in the old covenant of things in the new. The cloud clearly is such a shadow.
What would be the real thing it portrays?
Remember the phrase Paul uses all the time? In Christ.
It is when we enter the cloud, when we are in Christ, that the law of the new covenant is written on our heart, which is the Holy Spirit. It is in Christ that we receive guidance, and it is in Christ that we know that we have eternal life – no more destruction.
Christ is the Tabernacle.
Maybe you have heard that Jesus is the true arc of covenant. Or that the journey through the Tabernacle is a picture of our journey towards God. If you are a frequent reader of this blog you sure have. And it is true.
And the bigger picture to this is that Christ is the Tabernacle. Not Jesus only, but Christ – He the head and we the body.
Putting the Tabernacle “on it’s feet” shows that the outer cord portrays the lower body, feet and legs. The Holy Place represents the body itself, seat of the soul and the spirit. The inner most being from which will flow living water. The Most Holy Place portrays the head.
Our journey begins in the outer cord. We are in Christ there, and we are surrounded by the fence made out of linen. Whoever is on the outside can only see the linen fence. Linen speaks of righteousness. His righteousness. We are made righteous the moment we accept Christ, and all the world sees is his righteousness.
But according to Ephesians we are not to stay there but to grow up into His full measure, into the head. We are to continue the journey inward and upward into the Most Holy Place, into the fulness of Christ.
It is when we receive the Holy Spirit in Pentecost, entering the Holy Place, that we get the connection to the cloud, the cloud that according to our verse is in the Most Holy Place. The Holy Spirit is called the guide, the paidagogon, the pedagogue. That is the servant that leads the children to the teacher, reminding them of everything they had learned so far. He in us kindles a fire, stirs a hunger for the teacher, for Jesus.
And at last we enter the Most Holy Place. Just like Aaron we can do this only by His righteousness. It is not wearing our full attire that we go there, but only the linen clothes. A sign that all we need to enter this room has been given to us right at the start – we just did not get it. The journey is important – for ourselves to grow into what has been all the time. To strengthen our faith. But also for the Christ. By that I do not mean Jesus, but the other members of this many membered Christ. Our calling, our functions, our gifts are used to accompany others on the journey. To lead them into and through Christ to grow into the fulness of Christ.
But in maturity we recognize that it is only by His accomplishments, only by His righteousness that we can have communion.
Since the old covenant many things have changed. In the old covenant, the cloud was only in the Most Holy Place. Jesus, the true arc of covenant, was the carrier of the presence of God. But in His death he tore the veil.
OK, this veil still exists. It is torn, but still there. But at least there is an entrance now. And only one person can enter the Most Holy Place still – the Christ. Only in Him we can grow into the fulness of Christ.
But there is a way in, and there is a way out. By His death, Jesus enlarged the cloud. Instead of Himself being the cloud, it now is Christ. This is the reason the writer of Hebrews talks of a great cloud of witnesses.
For a long time I thought that this was the saints that have gone before us and now, being in heaven, cheer us on.
But I am seated in heavenly places with Christ. I am in the same place as the cloud. The old view of us running the race down here and the heavenly ranks of spectators cheering us on is therefore flawed.
Again in Ephesians we read that it is the part of the saints to build each other up. Could we say: every Christian is to cheer on his fellow Christians? Equipped to do so by the five fold ministry, growing up in Christ to become all that they can be?
Thus, I realized that the cloud is Christ. The cloud of witnesses is Christ – all believers gone before us, all believers alive, and Jesus the head.
Our connection to the cloud:
- the hardware – the Holy Spirit
- the protocol – prayer
- the energy – faith
- the standard – the bible
- the environment – the church, seated in heavenly places
- the plug – our decision for Jesus
- the other plug – his decision to die for us
Only in a personal, living relationship with Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, and connected with others we are in Christ.
Make sure your connection is up and running. Because it’s in the cloud.
It – that is all your promises, all your provision, all your blessings, all your successes, all your growth, your destiny.
It’s in the cloud.
Are you connected? Let me know your thoughts in a comment.