As I was preaching, I became aware of this “smoke” and wondered where it came from. I remember thinking that the doors to the outside were open and smoke had drifted in from someone burning leaves. Suddenly, however, it dawned on me that I didn’t smell smoke. This was when I realized the smoke must be spiritual.
I had heard about the “glory cloud,” but had never seen it. There was a pretty strong move of God in the church at this time. People were being saved, healed, and delivered. The weight of God’s presence had increased substantially. Now I was literally seeing smoke in the room. I remember calling the people’s attention to it.
From this point on during our services, this smoke would appear frequently. At times it would look like smoke. At other times it was more like a cloud. There were even times when it was like a mist hanging in the air as the services progressed. I only knew to refer to it as the “glory cloud.” I considered it to be the weight of God’s presence tangibly manifesting.
I still believe this, but now I’m convinced something more was occurring. I believe it was a portion of the Great Cloud of Witnesses coming in. I had no concept for this then. I now, however, believe that what we consider the manifestation or expression of the glory of God can also contain spirits of just men made perfect. Even still, if the Cloud of Witnesses play a role in this manifestation of glory, it’s always to focus attention all the more on the reality, majesty and holiness of Jesus.
To further substantiate this belief, I should tell you another more personal encounter. Yes, these are my own personal stories, however, I base these experiences on the Bible as well as my desire to encounter the supernatural of God. I am convinced we must have new levels of the supernatural without compromising the Word of God. If the level of supernatural we currently have could accomplish all that God requires, it would have been accomplished years ago. We must become settled in our theology so we can open ourselves to the supernatural without fear. We must know how to see Heaven and earth in agreement so Heaven can shake earth!
I had begun to have several encounters with the Cloud of Witnesses. This was happening through dreams, in church services, and other venues. I will share more of this as we progress. It seemed that this realm had opened to me. I am not saying it happened all the time, but frequently. I had, however, not really talked about it.
One Monday after Easter I was talking to my son, Adam, who pastors his own church. He begins to tell me what happened during the Easter services he was leading the day before. He says that at the end of the services that a cloud came into the sanctuary and the weight of God’s presence intensified. He spoke of how special this was. Many of the people were aware of the Cloud and were swept up in the glory of God that came at the end of the service time.
We thanked God for that experience and how God was so faithful to honor the service and the people with His closeness. I simply stated, as Adam was telling this to me, that I had come to believe that “The Cloud” was more than just the presence of the Lord. I shared with him that I felt confident it was the Cloud of Witnesses who were being drawn to us and coming to be part of our gatherings. When I said this, Adam gasped and said, “Dad, I just remembered something that happened before the services as I was praying.” He then tells me that while he was praying before the services that morning, the Lord spoke to his spirit. He said he heard the Lord say that his Mamaw (his grandmother—my mother) would be in the services that day. That is not spectacular except for the fact that she had died several years before.