Glory Cloud: Real or Fake?

What the heck is a glory cloud, you ask? It is simply a physical manifestation of God’s glory and presence within a particular location. It is known as the “pillar of cloud” more specifically in the OT as a means of guiding the Israelites in the morning as they traveled (Exodus 13:21-22). However, it’s not something that you can simply manufacture or produce like a product. Whenever God chooses to reveal his glory in some physical way, it is something that He sovereignly does. There is nothing we can do except invite and be open to His miraculous work. Bethel is a church that claims to somewhat regularly experience these miraculous manifestations. Check it out here:

Cool, right? Well yeah, but not all Christians think its real:

It could be from the vents or it could be staged from gold glitter. So what should you think about this? If you’re an atheist, this might as well be a barbie girl’s church service. But I think as Christians, we have at least some biblical support for believing that this is possible. Who’s to say that God is not capable of physically manifesting Himself in these ways? However, it’s one thing to suggest that God is not capable and it is another to question whether this specific event is a real manifestation. Frankly, I don’t think we can scientifically prove it either way. If this is real, then God is clearly using physical means of doing so. Merely describing the physical structure of this manifestation wouldn’t rule out a divine cause of this structure anymore than describing the physical structure of a computer rules out a human cause.

As far as this video’s response goes, I haven’t seen any conclusive proof that this is staged/accidental but neither do I see any conclusive proof that it is real. He says that this is due to a vent, but where are his sources? Furthermore, while he makes a valid point about how serious the presence of God is, it seems as if the Israelites weren’t falling on their knees as God led them. This seems to be a less powerful manifestation of God’s glory, otherwise he would be correct. I’m open, but I remain skeptical.

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  1. Merely describing the physical structure of this manifestation wouldn’t rule out a divine cause of this structure anymore than describing the physical structure of a computer rules out a human cause.

    That’s not necessarily true. If, for example, we found with that the cause was “someone from the crowd dumped glitter into the vents”, then we can say that this rules out God as a cause (assuming humans have free will of course).

    Or, let’s say that we collected some particles for testing, and found out that they were real gold. We might be able to say that God wouldn’t do such a thing, because then people might start to think that God is prone to showering wealth upon them.

    But of course, since this happened over a year ago, all we can do is speculate based on whatever background information we bring to the table.

    • That’s true, I just mean that MERELY describing the physical structure itself is not sufficient to rule out a divine cause of some sort. However, if it can be explained via natural or human “efficient” causes then God should not be appealed to because He is not a direct cause of that physical manifestation.

      • Ok, that makes sense.

        What do you think of the idea that this could be dismissed because it doesn’t seem in line with God’s other appearances, such as fire, cloud, “like a dove”*, burning bush, as a human, etc.?

        *this is in quotations because I think Luke 3:22 is merely describing the manner in which the Holy Spirit descended, and not the form. Also, Balrogs don’t have wings.

        • I think it could be dismissed but it doesn’t seem inconsistent either. At the same time, I haven’t exactly read a biblical reference to a cloud that was created by God as a response to worship. Though I could be mistaken… And yeah, I completely agree with you regarding the dove.

  2. 1) Of course it is POSSIBLE for God to do/cause this – no question there.
    2) I reject this as fake. The question I would ask anybody who believes this video is of a “glory cloud” is this: what part of this video do you feel necessitates the invocation of the supernatural to explain it?

    I have seen other videos of alleged miracles which are actually a lot harder than this one to explain physically! This video shows a phenomenon I myself have witnessed literally dozens of times at music concerts or live shows.

    I don’t even see where the controversy is, I mean, you don’t have to claim to know what it is (science doesn’t work that way), and you don’t have to claim that it couldn’t possibly have been caused by God (science doesn’t work that way either). It just isn’t rational to believe it is genuine on the basis of this video alone. It’s arbitrary – why say this is a glory cloud and not the literally MILLIONS of other instances of this same phenomenon occurring? It’s not even necessarily gold, I mean, try throwing a couple of handfuls of sparkly confetti up near some kind of vent in a dark environment with a gold coloured stage-light aiming at a similar angle to this. Bingo, you’ve created your own glory cloud!

    • Hmm, I haven’t heard this being spouted as a “miracle” in the sense that something that is otherwise physically impossible to naturally cause is caused by God. At my church, for example, my friend notes that this is just a physical manifestation of God’s presence under the context of “worship” – which would rule out concerts or other such things because they do not involve the worship of God. However, like you said, I don’t see any reason for supposing that this must be explained by God at all. Hence I remain skeptical of it as a divine phenomena. Even if it is true, I wouldn’t consider a miracle by any means. This is why I want to witness the phenomena myself because if the cloud is correlated with a spiritual experience, do you think that would lend more credibility to this position?

      • Well whether you use the word “miracle” or the concept of “a physical manifestation of God’s presence”, I think the objection is the same.
        I don’t think the correlation with a spiritual experience is relevant for explanatory purposes. More important is whether or not the cloud can appear when there are no reasonable physical explanations to accompany it which cannot easily be recreated. To me, without this, it just seems arbitrary. Essentially somebody is taking a perfectly explainable event and ascribing to it a divine cause on the basis that it happened in the context of worship. The only way I think the connection or correlation with worship would lend more credibility is if (as I said above) the cloud appeared out of nowhere. So: no spotlights, not in darkness, no air vents directly nearby, and no possibly of confetti.
        THEN, if it occurred in the context of worship I would be more inclined to accept it. Otherwise isn’t it just arbitrary to say “in this case it was God, but in all the others it was just a physical phenomenon that can easily be explained”?

  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXFvC9y5SMY

    The above video was literally the first one that came up in Youtube when I typed in “sparkly confetti at music concert”. Skip to 24-25 seconds in, and you have another glory cloud (which could have appeared whatever colour you wanted, depending on the lighting you used).

  4. If anyone has ever watched Bill Johnson’s sermons or videos of his teaching on YouTube, you will recognize that God is far away from this. Bill Johnson makes a statement that God has given dominion to us, that he is not in control but just in charge, and has misinterpreted Jesus “becoming sin” (2 Cor. 5:21) to say that

  5. If anyone has ever watched Bill Johnson’s sermons or videos of his teaching on YouTube, you will recognize that God is far away from this. Bill Johnson makes a statement that God has given dominion to us, that he is not in control but just in charge, and has misinterpreted Jesus “becoming sin” (2 Cor. 5:21) to say that Jesus was born again.

    Problems here could not be more obvious. Bill claims that sickness and evil in the world are outside of God’s will, and they happen because He handed dominion over to us, and that bad things happen because he gave dominion to us and we have caused bad things in this world, or satan has caused it and God had no say. BIll’s words, “God is in charge, but not in control… He comes at our invitation because He has released the dominion to us… Did Jesus ever bless a storm?” First off, to say God is in charge but not in control is an oxymoron to say the least. And second, this stuff contradicts the bible completely. Read Proverbs 16:4, Romans 9, Amos 3:6, Entire book of Job. He is entirely in control. If God wasn’t in control, He wouldn’t actually be in charge, and He did not release dominion to us. On the contrary, He is the one who works and wills in us to do good works he PREDESTINED us to do (Philippians 2:13 and Ephesians 2:10). We are all HIS workmanship. God has 3 P’s in his will. His perfect will (the bible), His permissive will, the stuff He may not always cause but allows (satan’s plagues on Job), all going to His providential will (The ultimate purpose). Want evidence? Look at the gratest sin people ever committed: Killing Christ. The only perfect one who was without sin being thrown on a cross to die and taking the wrath of God upon Himself. God predestined that. Just go read the book of Isaiah. It was His plan that this heinous sin would be committed. Think people

    Secondly, Jesus was without sin, and was not born again. Becoming sin means he became a sin OFFERING. A perfect offering that would be the only thing that could cover the sins of mankind. To say He needed to be born again would rob Him of His divinity, and make His sacrifice worthless.

    So that said, signs and wonders as described in the New Testament are not to be the test of truth, as Matthew 24:24 warns. 2 Cor. 12:12 explains the purpose of the signs and wonders were to authenticate the ministry of the apostles who laid the foundation of the church. The foundation is laid, the perfect prophecy of the Bible is here and we no longer need signs and wonders to authenticate ministry, we only need to compare them to the Word of God. That said, if genuine signs and wonders of God are meant to autheticate one’s ministry, than why would God want to authentiate Bill Johnson and his bad theology. His ministry involves a supernatural ministry school, which is odd since we aren’t supposed to seek signs and wonders, and it is more noble to believe out of simple faith (Romans 10:17, John 6:26, John 4:41, John 4:48). Matt 24:24 may as well have said, “watch out for Bill”

  6. Only one thing you can say about church leaders who are willing to put glitter in vents or whatever and pretend it’s a manifestation of God:

    “No one who practices deceit
    shall remain in my house;
    no one who utters lies
    shall continue in my presence.” – Psalm 101:7

  7. I actually know several people who have experienced this at Bethel and after hearing their stories, my only conclusion is that it must be real and from God. There are no vents on the floor of this building…therefore, how on earth did it come from the floor and rise up??? Gravity is a reality here on earth people and without something to blow it up into the air, it is impossible to see these clouds form from the floor, rise and move around the room. Yet, that is what happened! I think believers need to stop putting God into a box. He works how HE wants, many times in ways we do not understand. Just because we dont understand it, does not make it a hoax…it just means that we need to have our minds renewed and press more into Him. He is the only one who can give us understanding and it must be on a personal level.

  8. Yes this is of course a “physical manifestation of god” he of course would spend his time making sparkly pretties for one single small church while tens of thousands of children die from disease and starvation everyday. He has priorities people!

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