Did you ever wonder, really did you ever really really wonder; of course you did, especially when you were a child, the child like heart loves to wonder. Come wonder with me then about all God was picturing for us as He rescued the Israelites from slavery. The pillar of cloud, the Cherubim above the arc there is much to wonder about as you dig into these mysteries.
Let’s start with “The Clouds of Glory” as the Jews call them, every Jewish child is meant to enjoy a Passover Seder where they get to ask the four questions. The reason a child does this is that they can WONDER. The last question in English reads this way: “On all other nights we eat sitting or reclining, and on this night we only recline.”
Yes, there is the wonder of being free from slavery and being able to recline but I really, really wonder about the connection to “The Clouds of Gory”. Ancient Hebrew Rabbi’s taught that the pillar of cloud in Exodus 13 were actually seven different clouds, one for each of the four directions, north, south, east, west and then one above to protect them from the sun in the desert. The one that blows my mind is the one below them, in other words they were walking on clouds. The ancients taught that this was why their shoes didn’t wear out this cloud literally took the rough terrain and made it literally a breeze to navigate, (How cool is that). Then the seventh cloud, (which by the way is pictured on three of the tribal standards including the tribe of Judah’s) is out leading them where to go.
This whole picture they teach is the Tabernacle or (sukkot) yes related to the feast of booths or Tabernacles, it’s clouds and you can make a Biblical case for that. Look at 2 Samuel 22 or Psalms 18
11 He rode upon a cheruv and flew.
He soared on the wings of the wind.
12 He made darkness His cover,
His sukkah all around Him—
dark waters, thick clouds.
The same in Job 36:29, when God is tabernacling with me he is surrounding me in His protective cloud, it is a God Hug…
Note how many times God shows up and leaves in a cloud, Sinai, The Tabernacle dedication, Solomon’s Temple, at the mount of Olives Jesus leaves and is said to come back that way. This is how this connects to the question asked at the Seder, “why recline”. The Hebrew word there has a lot to do with surrounding more than just laying down. Look in Song of Songs 1:12 Once again we have the King as Jesus did in the last supper reclining that word ” mecab ” means round about. We are surrounded by loved ones at our thanksgiving our feast of ingathering the feast of tabernacles. God’s cloud hug is surrounding you I promise.
Now some more WONDER, inside that cloud is the ARK itself and atop of that are the two Cherubim; who are these guys and what’s with the wings overlapping? The Jews make a big deal that a Sukkah has to be higher than 10 “Tefachim” about 32 inches, why? Because the length of the Cherubim wings on the Ark according to Solomon’s Temple was 10 “Tefachim” . The Chrubim’s wings need the clearance in order to fly over you Sukkah for real. Amazingly beautiful is that when they spread their winds as described in Exodus 37:9 it is the exact terminology of Boaz spreading his garment over Ruth in Ruth 2:12 and in Ezekiel 16:8 God is spreading his garment over Israel in the time of love.
So as I have taught before that if our body is the temple, where is the Holy of Hollies, it’s our heart. These Cherubim have your heart covered like a hen covers her chicks like Jesus told us. So we know their size they have a wing span of 32 inches, what about their face. Well in Ezekiel 10:14 we are told
“ And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. . “
If one of their faces is a cherub, what is that according to the ancient Rabbi’s it was a child . So there is the connection to your child like heart and your innocence. Remember when Jesus told us in Matthew 18: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. “
Clouds, faces of Angels and children, wings that have you covered, yes to Tabernacle with God there above the Mercy seat in your very heart… Its much to wonder about…
One more wonder, when you see your neighbor, think that God wants him surrounded walking on clouds, covered by Cheribium wings, yes that neighbor has a whole in his heart that only God can fill, and as John Eldredge observed that God has a whole in His heart that only your neighbor can fill, as C.S. Lewis pointed out “you never met a mere mortal” . As we pray and witness we are increasing the circle the cloud and the more love we feel, like the ultimate thanksgiving with all the saints around the table, heads in the clouds we will all feel heaven. I wonder…..