|PILLAR OF CLOUD AND FIRE |
Visible evidence of God's presence with Israel during the Exodus and wilderness wanderings (Exodus 14:24;
Deuteronomy 31:15). As a sign of God's presence, the pillar of cloud and fire was associated with divine actions: salvation (Exodus 14:19-20); revelation (Exodus 33:9-10;
Psalms 99:7); judgment (Numbers 12:5); commissioning (Deuteronomy 31:15). Nehemiah used the pillar as a sign of God's faithfulness (Nehemiah 9:12,Nehemiah 9:19).
Psalms 99:7 reflects an otherwise unknown tradition that the pillar abided with Israel until the time of Samuel. Jesus' self-presentation as the incarnate Light of the world (John 8:12) recalls the guiding light of the wilderness wanderings. In Jesus' day, the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2) included the lighting of great, golden lamps in the Temple court as a reminder of the pillar of fire and cloud. Jesus as the living Light challenged persons to follow Him as Israel had followed God's earlier light.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'PILLAR OF CLOUD AND FIRE'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".