The Shekinah Glory
by Wayne D. Turner
What is that big funnel-looking cloud visible during the day that glows like fire at night preceding Israel? That's what we call the "Shekinah Glory." Actually, you won't find the words "Shekinah Glory" written in our English Bibles anywhere per se. The Hebrew word "shaw-kan´" literally means "to inhabit or dwell." It is used in Exodus 40:35, "And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle." The Hebrew word used in that verse for "abode" is "shaw-kan´," hence, "Shekinah Glory."
Some have suggested that this pillar of cloud by day and fire by night was actually a fiery banner carried by the standard bearer in front of Israel. Look at the following scriptures and see if that feeble explanation makes sense to you:
- Exodus 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
Exodus 13:22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
- Exodus 14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
Exodus 14:20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
Exodus 14:24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
- Exodus 16:10 And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.
- Exodus 19:16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
Exodus 19:18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
- Exodus 40:34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
Exodus 40:38 For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.
- Numbers 9:15 And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.
Numbers 9:16 So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.
To top it off, let's take a look at what took place at the new temple on the day that Solomon dedicated it:
1Kings 8:10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,
1Kings 8:11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.
1Kings 8:12 Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
1Kings 8:13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.
Based upon these scriptures, I think we can conclude with confidence that the term "Shekinah Glory" is an accurate description of the supernatural presence of God among Israel during their wilderness wanderings.