Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Glory-Cloud

Rob Rufus talks about the "Glory-Cloud" ... a lot! Anyone who listens to him and his wonderful preaching will know that the vision and reality of where he is trying to take his listeners is no less than into the very manifest Presence of God. I think Dr Lloyd-Jones saw this reality dimly through a glass when he made his comment from my previous post. But God is drawing back the veil of revelation. I was excited therefore to find the following document in my files of Ern Baxter's sermon notes. Once again there is a close paralell between Ern and Rob Rufus in what they speak about and what they look to. I've typed up the notes here:

The Cloud of Glory - Notes from the Ern Baxter Archive.

Exodus 40:1-38 and Numbers 9:15-23.

In this final section we consider the crowning glory of the finished work which God gave Moses to do. When the Tabernacle and all its furnishings were completed the builders brought it all to Moses for him to inspect to see that it had all been made according to the pattern. In the closing chapters of Exodus (Exodus 39-40) we are told 17 times that everything had been made “according as the Lord commanded Moses”. Moses then set up the Tabernacle positioning the furniture in its Divinely appointed place, sprinkling it all with blood and anointing it all with the holy oil. Thus “Moses finished the work” (Exodus 40:33). All of this was done on the Day of Dedication of the Tabernacle in the wilderness.

What was the end result? The Scriptures tells us that “A CLOUD covered the Tent of the Congregation and THE GLORY of the Lord filled the Tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34). Not even Moses could stand to minister in the Presence of that Glory-Cloud. This was the seal of God upon that which originated in Himself and that which had been built by the wisdom and Spirit of God through chosen vessels, according to that pattern shown to Moses in the Mount of God.

From that time on, the whole of the pilgrimage of the nation was governed by the Glory-Cloud.

The Glory-Cloud speaks of the Presence of the Holy Spirit. He is the Cloud of God’s Presence who fulfils in His Ministry and Operation all that the typical Glory-Cloud shadowed forth in Israel. The following is a brief outline tracing the history, function and ministry of the “The Cloud” as it relates to the Children of Israel and the Tabernacle both of which constitute the “Church in the Wilderness” (Acts 7:38).

The Lord led Israel by a cloudy pillar of fire out of Egypt to the Promised Land. This is the first mention of the Cloud (Exodus 13:21-22). Note the blessings of the Presence of this cloud.

(a) – The Lord went before them. He goes before the Church.

(b) – The Lord led them. So the Holy Spirit leads the Church.

(c) – The Cloud gave them light by night. Light in the surrounding darkness.

(d) – The Cloud was a pillar of Fire, giving them warmth.

(e) – The Cloud was a Shade for them from the heat of the day.

All that the Cloud was to Israel, the Holy Spirit is to the Church.

The Cloud led Israel through the Red Sea. The Cloud was darkness to the Egyptians but it was light to the Israelites, God’s people (Exodus 14:19-31 compare 2 Corinthians 2:15-16). The Lord was in that Cloud. God was in the type. It was a visible manifestation of the Presence of the Lord to the nation. Paul tells us that the nation was “baptized in the Cloud and in the Sea” (2 Corinthians 10:1-4).

The Glory of the Lord appeared in the Cloud (Exodus 16:10).

The Cloud eventually brought Israel to Mount Sinai and settled on the Mount. The voice of God spoke to the nation out of this Cloud at the Feast of Pentecost (Exodus 19:9-19, Deuteronomy 5:22).

Moses went up onto Mount Sinai into the Glory of the Cloud and was there for 40 days and 40 nights. There in the Presence of that Cloud Moses received the 10 Commandments and the revelation for the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 24:15-18, 34:5-7).

At the Dedication of the Tabernacle the Cloud of the Glory (The Hebrews refer to it as ‘The Shekinah’) left Mount Sinai and came and dwelt over the Tabernacle upon a Blood-stained Mercy Seat, in the midst of God’s people Israel (Exodus 40:34-38).

The Lord appeared in that Cloud upon the Mercy Seat and there the audible voice of God spoke to Moses, the Divine Communication (Leviticus 16:1-2, Numbers 7:89).

The Glory-Cloud governed all the journeyings of Israel in the Wilderness finally leading them to the Land of Canaan. When the cloud moved, they moved. When the Cloud stayed, they encamped. The eyes of the Priesthood had to be continually on the Cloud day and night. The Priests could blow the trumpets in order for the Camp of Israel to move on with God, whether it was by day or night whether it was in a day, a month or a year. (Numbers 9:15-23; 10:1-36; Deuteronomy 1:33, Nehemiah 9:9, Psalm 78:14). The message for all Israel was; “Follow the Cloud”.

When Solomon’s Temple was built, the Cloud of Glory came to it, dwelling upon the Ark of the Covenant which had been previously taken out of the Tabernacle of Moses, and the Tabernacle of David (1 Kings 8:10-11, 2 Chronicles 5:13-14).

The tragic end of the history of the Cloud in the Old Testament, relative to the Nation of Israel, is seen in the fact that the Glory-Cloud eventually departed from the Temple which had become polluted with filthy abominations. God allowed this Temple to be destroyed because of these defilements. Read Ezekiel 10:1-22 and compare with 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20.

The Glory-Cloud could never again return to a material Temple.

However this is not the final revelation of the Bible of that which pertains to the Cloud. The New Testament gives to us the glorious climax of this truth. When Jesus Christ the TRUE Tabernacle and the TRUE Temple went up into the Mount of Transfiguration, the record tells us that a bright cloud overshadowed them and a Voice out of the cloud said “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”.

That Glory-Cloud which left the defiled material Temple under the Old Covenant (Old Testament) now descended upon the New Testament Temple or Tabernacle; the Lord Jesus Christ. Once more God’s voice was heard out of the Cloud pointing to His Son.

In relation to Christ we see;

The Bright Cloud of Glory overshadowed Him on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5).

A Cloud is seen in His Ascension back to the Father (Acts 1:9).

He is clothed with a Cloud (Revelation 10:1).

He is seated upon a White Cloud (Revelation 14:14-16).

He will come in a Cloud of Glory (Luke 21:17).

He will also come in the Clouds of Glory with His saints who are in Clouds of Glory. That is the Glory-Cloud (Mark 14:62, Matthew 26:64, 1 Thessalonians 4:1, Hebrews 12:1).

The Glory that was in that Cloud will be the eternal joy of the redeemed in the City of God, the New Jerusalem. Until that time let us follow the Cloud of the Holy Spirit whose ministry it is to lead us to the City of Eternal Rest and to the Glory of God.


Peter Day said...

These are really interesting notes. I wonder, however, whether Ern Baxter could have gone further. He seems to refer to the glory cloud being part of the eternal joy, but as the church is the temple of the living God, isn't is right to expect the glory cloud to descend upon the church here and now? Isn't that part of our inheritance?

Dan Bowen said...

I think that's a fair point Peter. I have never claimed that Ern Baxter had the ultimate revelation into the end times and the progressive victory of the church. I'm sure he could have gone further, but I think that is the glory and wonder of progressive revelation. That our fore-fathers such as the Puritans didn't necessarily hold the monopoly on what God is doing in these days, but that God has things to show us in these days that He didn't show them, or Ern Baxter.

The wonderful unity between Ern and Rob Rufus's vision that is so thrilling me is that Ern's teaching on the Land from the Dales Bible Week 1976 is very foundational to what Rob Rufus is teaching in these days. I'm sure that Ern would be thrilled to know that someone is building on what he saw from afar.

Isn't it right to expect the glory cloud to descend upon the church here and now!? Of course it is. But I would never have dreamt that was possible until I started to expose myself to Rob Rufus's teaching and hear how he interacted with Scripture.

We are definately in uncharted territory here and I LOVE it. These are exciting days to be alive.

Peter Day said...

Absolutely! Thank you for the reminder. We do see in part now, but praise God that we see!

What you say is so true - Rob Rufus seems to be building upon what Ern was saying. It is like the next floor of the building being raised up. And with each floor, the Lord takes us to greater heights with Himself.

Yes, exciting days!