Exodus and Numbers, the cloud and the fire
The Bible book of Exodus contains a description of the passage of the Jewish people, led by Moses, through the Sea of Reeds, an offshoot of the Red Sea. God's guidance here was visible during the day as a pillar of cloud that went before the people and at night turned into a pillar of fire.
The angel of God, who had always gone out befor the people of the Israelites, now stood behind them. Even the pillar of cloud that first went before them, stood behind them, so that he came to stand between the army of the Egyptians and that of the Israelites. On the one side the cloud brought darkness, on the other side the column of fire lit the night.
The Bible book of Numbers describes a part of the journey the people of Israel made through the Sinai desert after the exodus from Egypt. During that time they made a portable tent, the 'tent of meeting' or 'tabernacle' in which they performed their religious rituals. In that tent was also the Ark of the Covenant, which contained both tablets with the Ten Commandments of Moses.
God's presence and guidance to the people was visible during the day by the cloud that was above the tabernacle and by the fire at the same place at night.
On the day the tabernacle was built to accommodate the text of the covenant, it was covered by a cloud. That night the cloud was like a shining fire, was to be seen over the tabernacle and remained so until the next morning. So it was continually: the cloud covered the tabernacle and at night was to be seen like a fire.
Every time the cloud rose from the tent, the Israelites moved on and at the place where the cloud stopped, they set up their camp. By the command of the Lord, the Israelites went on, and by order of the Lord they set up their camp. As long as the cloud rested upon the tabernacle, they remained where they were. If the cloud remained hanging over the tabernacle for a long time, then the Israelites did not break up all the time; they adhered to the instructions of the Lord.
The cloud and the fire were called the 'Shechinah': 'She who dwells with us'. In this way, God was the spiritual guide of the people on their journey through the desert.
The cloud and the fire formed a unity and were therefore in fact a cloud of light and warmth. To me it was shown that the human spirit proceeds from the divine universal spirit, an infinite ocean of spiritual light and warmth, by densification as a similar spherical cloud.
The difference is that in God's cloud of light and warmth, God's holy spirit is present in its entirety, directly from the divine spirit, while in the cloud of the human spirit all of God's attributes are present in predisposition and must be developed by the human spirit, during his journey through this barren, material existence, represented by the journey through the desert.
Other descriptions of a spiritual cloud
1 Kings 8:6-12
The priests brought the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord to its place in the back room of the temple, the Holy of Holies, under the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and overshadowed the ark and the staves. [...] In the Ark of the Covenant there were only the two tables of stone that Moses had placed there at Horeb, the tables of the covenant that the Lord had made with the Israelites when they left Egypt.
While the priests left the Holy of Holies, the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so because of that cloud they could not perform their service there anymore, for the Lord's exaltation filled the house of the Lord. Then Solomon spoke: "The Lord has decided to live in the dark."
[Other translations: "The Lord has decided to live in a cloud" or
"The Lord has decided to live in a dark cloud."]
Translation by Google Translate
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