Clouds in the Bible are mentioned far more than you might think and they carry deep and important symbolism. Clouds are part of every person’s daily life on earth and they also have an important role in our lives. We will look at the symbolism of clouds in the Bible and how they relate to the role of clouds in our lives.
When you get up in the morning and see clouds, they tell you something. Will it be a cloudy day? Will it rain? Perhaps, in the winter, you can tell that it will snow by how the clouds look. Clouds in the Bible are also meant to give us a deep and powerful message. Be sure to download the Clouds in the Bible Scriptures to help you dive into the Word.
Types of Clouds
UCAR – University for Atmospheric Research – defines 6 groups of clouds. The first, High Clouds, includes Cirrus, Cirrocumulus, and Cirrostratus. These clouds are so high in the atmosphere that they are not associated with weather. However, they can tell us about future weather that might be coming our way.
Cirrus clouds, sometimes called “Mare’s Tails” are high, thin streams which we see during fair weather. However, they may gather together to form cirrostratus clouds which signal a warm front is on the way.
The second group of clouds, Middle Clouds, includes Altocumulus and Altostratus. Altostratus clouds are two-toned grayish white and darker gray. Altostratus show up as a solid but thin layer making the sun fuzzy looking and their appearance means a rain or snow storm might be on the way.
Low clouds tell us even more than the high and middle layers, Stratus clouds look like fog that is floating above us and may include rain or drizzle. Stratocumulus clouds are low, lumpy, and gray and either line up in rows or spread out. They may contain light rain.
“Nimbostratus clouds are dark gray, have ragged bases, and sit low in the sky. Nimbostratus clouds are associated with continuous rain or snow. Sometimes they cover the whole sky and you can’t see the edges of the cloud.” UCAR
Clouds With Vertical Growth
Cumulus and Cumulonimbus are more familiar names for clouds. Cumulus clouds look like cotton balls floating above us and are associated with fair or stormy weather. If they are bumpy on top then look for rain.
Cumulonimbus are big and puffy but shaped like an anvil. They signal rain, storms, snow, hail, lightning, or even tornadoes.
This group includes lenticular clouds which are lens shaped and may look like a flying saucer. Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds look like breaking waves on the ocean. Mammatus clouds look like a field of tennis balls.
Everyone has probably see contrails in the sky. UCAR tells us this about them, “Jet aircraft flying at high altitudes often produce a trail of condensed vapor called a contrail. The mixing of hot exhaust gases from the engines with cold outside air causes ice crystals to form on particles in the exhaust. A contrail evaporates rapidly when the relative humidity of the surrounding air is low. If the humidity is high, a contrail may stay visible as cirrus-like clouds for many hours.”
Clouds in the Bible
We know some things about what clouds in the natural realm tell us. However, it is far more important to know the deep meaning and symbolism of clouds in the Bible.
Jesus then said to the crowds gathered around him, “When you see a cloud forming in the west, don’t you say, ‘A storm is brewing’? And then it arrives. And when you feel the south wind blowing, you say, ‘A heat wave is on the way.’ And so it happens. What hypocrites! You are such experts at forecasting the weather, but you are totally unwilling to understand the spiritual significance of the time you’re living in. Luke 12:54-56 TPT
What Can Clouds Tell Us?
It is far more important to understand the importance of the time you are living than to understand the weather. However, we often get caught up in things even more trivial than weather.
Jesus was contrasting natural sight with spiritual sight and using clouds and weather to teach a valuable lesson. The use of clouds in the Bible starts in Genesis and continues through to the book of Revelation.
What Do Clouds Symbolize?
God’s Sovereign Control
Clouds in the Bible are used to demonstrate God’s sovereign control over all things:
Psalm 135:7 NIV, “He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain
and brings out the wind from his storehouses
The Mystery of God’s World
In Job, God shows us the mystery of all He has done.
Symbol of Judgment
Dark clouds are symbolic of judgement.
Symbol of Blessing
Isaiah 45:8 NIV, “You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up let righteousness flourish with it; I, the Lord, have created it.“
Symbol of Impermanence
Clouds are used to show us that sin will not always reign.
Hosea 13:2-3 NASB, “And now they sin more and more, And make for themselves cast metal images,
Idols skillfully made from their silver, All of them the work of craftsmen. They say of them, “Let the people who sacrifice kiss the calves!” Therefore they will be like the morning cloud And like dew which soon disappears, Like chaff which is blown away from the threshing floor, And like smoke from a chimney.“
Revealing God’s Majesty
Revealing God’s Presence
God still appears to us in the cloud of the Holy Spirit.
Deuteronomy 31:15 NASB, “And the Lord appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud, and the pillar of cloud stood at the entrance of the tent.”
Revealing God’s Awesome Holiness
Leviticus 16:2 NASB, “The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the atoning cover which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the atoning cover.”
Cloud of Glory
1 Kings 8:10-12 NASB, “And it happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.“
Jesus’ Coming in Glory
Revelation 1:7 NASB, “BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.”
The Genesis Cloud
The cloud of promise in the rainbow.
Genesis 9:13-15 NIV, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.“
What is the Significance of Clouds in the Bible?
In Matthew 17:1-8, Jesus took the Disciples up on a high mountain. There, He was transfigured right before their eyes. Can you imagine what that would have been like?
It says that His face shone like the sun and His clothes became white as light. As if that wasn’t enough, a cloud overshadowed all of them and they heard God speak from the cloud saying, “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” The Disciples fell on their faces in fear.
Jonathan Edwards, a preacher in the early 1700’s captured the essence of this moment beautifully:
“There was a glory in that cloud that the apostle calls an excellent glory. When it is said in the evangelists that a bright cloud overshadowed them, it is not meant such a light or white cloud as shines by a cast of light upon it from some shining body, such as are some clouds by the bright reflection of the sun’s light; but a cloud bright by an internal light shining out of it, which light the apostle calls an excellent glory. It probably was an ineffably sweet, excellent sort of light, perfectly differing from and far exceeding the light of the sun…And there probably was an exact resemblance between the glory that the disciples saw in Christ’s face, and that which they saw in this cloud, which declared him to be the Son of God; for they saw him to be his express image.“
Clouds in the Bible are meant to help us remember that we are not of this world, that we are seated in heavenly places with Christ, and that we are seeking a city far more glorious than this earth. We are only passing through and while we are here, we need to look to the cloud God has given us.
Earthly Clouds and Heavenly Clouds
Both hold a message for us. In the heavenly realm there are High Clouds like the one that surrounds God and Middle Clouds that mean something is coming.
The Low Clouds are the Holy Spirit who brings vertical growth, unusual pathways, and contrails for us to follow. The Holy Spirit works in our lives and, again, we must learn to read and be attuned to the message of the Holy Spirit.
Messages in the Clouds
There are messages in the clouds. Not the physical clouds we see floating in the sky. Instead, the spiritual clouds which hold mystery, blessing, change, refreshing, judgment, the voice of God, Jesus presence, blessing, and the majesty of God. The clouds in the bible cover every facet of our lives.
It is our job to understand the times we are living in and what God is saying in the cloud of the Holy Spirit which was given to each of us. After all, the Holy Spirit speaks only what He hears directly from God the Father Almighty.
That cloud is always with us to provide shelter by day and fire by night just as He did with the children of Israel. The cloud is always near us to bring refreshing and hope. The cloud is with you and me every moment. Clouds in the Bible help us see a higher law and to seek heaven.
The Deep Symbolism of Clouds in the Bible
There are many, many more verses I could have given but I would like to challenge you to look them up for yourself and begin to find your own understanding of the deep and powerful symbolism of clouds in the Bible.
Also, I am including CLOUDS IN THE BIBLE SCRIPTURES. There are over 100 references for you to look up and meditate on. This free reference is another tool for you to use as you study your Bible now!
You might also enjoy – Free Printable Bible Study Guide for Beginners
SYBN uses verses from different Bible translations. To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit this page – Scripture Citations.