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TANATA is devoted to discussing the paradoxes and the mysteries of life, among which is the paradox of the coexistence of good and evil. “God is love,” John tells us. Evil exists, we would suggest, not because God is detached or unconcerned, but because free will exists which is required for true, unforced love to exist. Still, it is painfully hard to reconcile this paradox. We believe that all evil one day will be judged and destroyed, until then we must pray.

DANIEL 7:13-14

13 “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.

14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.

REVELATION 1:7

7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

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Saturday
Sep122009

The Cloud

This absolutely true experience has been an encouragement to me. I hope these words written about it may somehow be an encouragement to you. To be succinct, the Supernatural Is Real.

On a cloudless night in the late summer of 2006 a cumulus cloud roughly 15-feet high and 10-feet wide formed or descended to a point of less than 5 feet over the southwestern portion of my house, which is located on an 1800-foot ridge in southeast Tennessee. I saw it around 1:30 A.M. when I stepped outside to refresh myself after a long stretch of writing at my bedroom desk computer. Whether the cloud formed there at that exact spot or descended to this point I don’t know, but what I have concluded is this: the cloud’s presence defied, as best I can judge, physical laws of natural and meteorological science.

Since there were no clouds in the sky I can only assume that the cloud formed at the point where I saw it. Think of it, a divine presence ordered the molecules to gather as vapor.

From my research I’ve learned that the base of cumulus clouds, at their very lowest point, is 6,000 feet. They do not typically appear at a height of 1800-feet on an otherwise cloudless night in the summer or early fall. In winter, according to the BBC, the base of a cumulus cloud can be as low as 2,000 feet — but they would not be of the dense, puffy sort like the one I observed on a warm to cool early morning. The lowest that cumulus clouds descend and remain clouds is around 6,000 feet; otherwise, a low-level or ground-level cloud is simply fog. The BBC Weather Page offers a good explanation of how cumulus clouds and other clouds form and typically behave: http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/features/cumulus.shtml

Initially I thought that it was a stray cloud which had somehow gotten straggled or caught up in the trees surrounding my home, all of which were a good 15 feet taller than the cloud, measuring from the top of the cloud. But that conclusion, I later decided, made no sense. 

The cloud did not change shape, and it did not move until I was overwhelmed by sleepiness and decided that I must go in. At that point the cloud slowly began to rise.

Before it rose, I walked around my house to the southeast to my backyard and looked up at the cloud, which was brightly illuminated by moonlight with the moon at nine or ten o‘ clock to the southeast. I noticed what looked like the tip of a wing, well defined, protruding from the upper left portion of the cloud. I was frankly intimidated by the experience, hesitant to walk further into my backyard for a better look, but being as sleepy as I was I was too groggy to assimilate my thoughts and emotions pertaining to the experience until several weeks later. I walked back to the northeastern portion of my home to the driveway and looked at the cloud for several minutes at a distance of about 30 feet, concluding finally that as much as I wished to stay outside I must retire. At that instant the cloud began to rise. A stand of seven tall trees lie to the south of my home. I was certain that the cloud would collide with the trees and break up. I recall thinking that now I could see what the cloud was really made of. But the cloud cleared the tops of the trees by inches or less. I recall having feelings of disappointment but also admiration at this maneuver by the cloud. I had wanted to see the collision.

The cloud rose like a large helium balloon toward the south to a point of about ten feet over the stand of trees over the rear portion of my neighbor’s backyard. The sky was perfectly clear and had a pinkish hue as I recall around the cloud. It suddenly dawned on me that from this perspective I ought to look at the tip of the wing. At that instant, this part of the cloud, which was perhaps three feet in height, broke away and dissipated. The rest of the cloud maintained its shape. I sleepily reentered my home and quickly fell asleep. 

I do not hallucinate. I am not a sleepwalker. I rarely dream, but when I do I’m aware that I have been asleep and in my bed dreaming.

What is this apparently paranormal experience saying to me? After three years, with no further similar experiences, I want to tell myself that it means nothing special. But then I must correct myself, knowing that clouds do not behave this way, knowing that cumulus clouds do not appear at a height of 1800-feet on a cloudless night. The lowest that cumulus clouds descend and remain clouds is around 6,000 feet.

What I have told myself is important about this experience is that the cloud responded to my personal thoughts: it rose when I decided to go in, and, the tip of the wing broke away when I refocused my attention on it. It is also remarkable that I suddenly became as sleepy as I did — otherwise I would have remained outside, and perhaps I would have gotten onto the roof of my home. Even now I think about getting on my house and sitting at the approximate point where the cloud was, which is just over my bedroom. I don’t imagine there is any special energy there or that a new cloud would appear, but I might do this one night.

I like to think that I am a devout believer in God and the Scriptures — and more so now — though I do not regularly attend church due to my wife’s cancer, the treatment for which weakens her terribly. I am in the process of studying the books of Daniel and Revelation, largely because I have never done so, once considering them to be too fantastic for me to grasp. What compels me to study them are the references in them to clouds, found at Daniel 7:13 — and “the one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven” who “came to the Ancient of Days” — and at Revelation 1:13-14. Dunn says this: “We can conclude at once, therefore, that Daniel’s vision of one like a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven has clearly influenced at least two Synoptic passages: Mark 13:26, Mark 14:62, and probably two others: Matthew 10:23 and 24:44 and Luke 12:40, along with the description of one or more visions in Revelation 14:14.” (p. 531)

What I said at the outset is true: The Supernatural Is Real. This should be an encouragement to any and all people who need to know that the supernatural does exist and that it operates “atomically” in our world. Yay. Thanks, God. Write me (visit About Us) or leave a comment.

— rcg

“The Danielic Son of Man in the New Testament,” Dunn, James D. G. The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception/ edited by John J. Collins and Peter W, Flint. Boston: Brill, 2001. 

PREVIOUS MATERIAL:

Three years ago in August or September of 2006 a puffy cumulus cloud about the size of a small car hovered over this part of my home on Signal Mountain in Tennessee. At this end of the house is my bedroom where my wife and I sleep (our kids are grown) and where I work. At the upper left of the cloud was what looked like a protruding wing tip with defined edges. The perspective of the photo is from my backyard. The corner of my house which you see points to the south. The trees to the left are the trees which the cloud cleared by inches when it rose, when I thought surely the cloud would collide with them. This occurred at roughly 1:30 a.m. on a cloudless night when I stepped outside to smoke.

It may have been a full moon or at least it was a very bright one rising in the southeast, which illuminated the cloud brilliantly. The cloud was roughly halfway up the vertical length of the trees from the top of my roof — so that’s about 15 to 20 feet high, in terms of the height of the cloud. It was taller than it was wide, like a small car stood on its end. The puffy cloud never changed shape and began to rise when I grew too sleepy to remain outside any longer. However, the wing tip, upon refocusing on it once the cloud cleared the trees, broke away to the left and dissipated. The rest of the cloud continued to rise to the south and up like a helium balloon.

The mountain elevation here is only 1,800 feet. Cumulus clouds do not descend below 6,000 feet and remain clouds. The only cloud cover we receive at this height of 1,800 feet is fog or mist.  I am on a mission to determine what happened that night … and what it means.

If you have any similar cloud stories … please share them. Visit About Us for our email address or leave a comment.  

UPDATE: It is September 4, 2009, and we continue to struggle with the meaning of the appearance of the cloud. We’ve come to a conclusion that the cloud may have meant one of two things: one, the cloud and its rising away from our house may mean that God’s presence had been with us in a uniquely supernatural way, but it departed on that night; or two, the cloud may mean that God’s presence had been with us and remains with us, which, naturally, would be our hope. However, since this event occurred there have been no incidents remotely similar to it. The fact that the cloud rose and departed when we decided to go in and that a portion of the cloud dissipated when we focused on it may hold the key to the cloud’s meaning. Is it reasonable to say that our thoughts were one with God when the cloud rose and when the small portion of the cloud dissipated when we focused upon it? Was God telling us that our thoughts and actions are in tune or aligned with his, even now? Can we conclude that the appearance of the cloud was evidence of the presence of God at all?

There were other similar events which preceded this one which are still jarring to us, though they are not as dramatic as this one event — but some are weather-related. Until the appearance of the cloud … we had almost convinced ourselves that none of these other events were really supernatural events. Perhaps, what the cloud is telling us is that those events and all previous events in our lives which have seemed to be supernatural or mystical were, in fact, what they appeared at the time to us to be. We’ve had no responses to our invitation to share similar experiences from anyone. In fact, though we have shared this experience online with three people, including members of the clergy, and in addition several Coptic priests, whom we did not know, all in the form of email, we have received only one response. That response came from an enthusiastic Coptic priest, whose name we have forgotten, who was excited for us … and who believed that an experience such as this was a special blessing just for us. He indicated that he has had his own mystical experiences, which he treasures. Perhaps we have been wrong to share this experience at all, as it understandably calls into question whether we are lucid or incapacitated. Well, our ability to write thoughtfully and lucidly should answer this question. We are incapacitated to the extent that we are wholly reliant for every breath on the Lord Jesus, who commanded us to believe in him and to love him. We have the same control over our faculties as the next person who is lucid and capable of discerning reality from a dream. We saw what we saw. We’re obviously willing to be ridiculed and called boastful for having shared this experience with others. Knowing ourselves, if there are those who would ridicule us and call us boastful, have at it.

It can be said that the Internet, largely because it allows for the open sharing of experiences of reality with the guarantee of some anonymity, has made us all more aware that there are “a lot of kooks out there.” We encounter people whom we would consider “kooks” all the time, but we stop to ask ourselves constantly if our impressions are fair. The only real “kook,” in our view, is someone who is absolutely certain that he or she has correctly interpreted a mystery or mysteries associated with divine revelation, including those mysteries found in scripture. We don’t claim to have correctly interpreted anything.

UPDATE: July 26, 2012 … A day hasn’t gone by that I haven’t thought about the cloud experience and what it says to me. I have come to several new conclusions. The cloud is an encouragement to me, me being someone who suffers, sometimes severely, with anxiety and depression. I am a disabled Vietnam-era vet receiving a disability pension for psychological issues. And I am in great need of encouragement, now that my life has basically become one of a homebound recluse. I rarely leave my home, as there are few things that I can do or want to do. Consequently, I have the whole day often to dwell on my disability, which is a punishing way of thinking. But the cloud is what I turn to for strength. God must have known that I was going to step outside to smoke on that night. He knew the future and how it would unfold. The cloud has become for me an object of wonder, a clear indicator of God’s presence which gives me hope that he loves and cares for me.

Why do I say this cloud is an indicator of God’s presence? Firstly, there are numerous accounts in the scriptures pertaining to cloud’s and their divine significance, the best known being the cloud that led the Israelites during the day as they progressed in the wilderness. A cloud the size of a man’s hand appeared to Elijah as he wrestled with his divine appointment. Jesus left the earth in the clouds. He will return amid a cloud or clouds in glory.

And after all, clouds are miraculous, gravity-defying things, if we pause to think about it. We take clouds for granted, until we acknowledge that there is something miraculous about them. Water falls to the earth as rain. When the sun returns it heats the water on the earth, and the water does what? It rises as unseen vapor until the conditions are just right for the formation of a cloud, as God draws from the moisture present in the upper atmosphere of the earth he created.

So, though I have claimed not to have correctly interpreted anything, I am moved nonetheless to say that these things I have considered have been a great encouragement to me. And surely that must be what God intended. Whenever I doubt God’s love or his care for me, I  remember the cloud and all that it means. The Supernatural Is Real. I hope that means something to you.

— rcg