The Pillar Cloud of Israel
Isaiah 4:5
And the LORD will create on every dwelling place of mount Zion, and on her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day…

(with Exodus 13:21, 22): — It was good for the Israelites that they were so long in the wilderness. There the most impressive intimations of a present Deity followed their every step. Miracles were wrought, to feed them when hungry, and to satisfy their thirsty souls. Jesus was in the manna — "I am the living Bread which came down from heaven." There, in the form of a vast column of mingled fire and smoke, is the mysterious yet faithful guide of the Lord's people. When it is stationary, they rest; when it advances, they journey. The pillar cloud was typical of Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ ever liveth as the Church's Prophet, Priest, and King. "And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion," etc. If the pillar cloud was the shadow of good things to come, Jesus Christ is the glorious substance; and we shall endeavour to show in what manner the Redeemer leads His Church.

I. JESUS LEADS THE CHURCH BY HIS WORD. Not more certainly was there one pillar cloud than there is one Bible. The Word stands alone in its authority. It is the sole director of our faith; it is the sole regulator of our walk. The Word is the sole standard in all matters pertaining to the worship of God, and if human opinions or imperial statutes should oppose its high demands, "we must obey God rather than men."

II. JESUS LEADS THE CHURCH BY HIS SPIRIT. How precious the promise which He made to His disciples. "The Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." The Word is a lamp to the feet and a light to the path; but what if the hands of men are so feeble that they cannot hold the heaven-sent lamp? What if the darkness which shrouds their minds is so dense that all the rays shining from the Word serve only to render the darkness visible? In such circumstances how desirable to have a living guide to expound the infallible directory! The cloud which was in the tabernacle by day, and the fire by night, formed a guiding pillar, but for which the people of Israel must have wandered and lost their way In the desert. Yet there was an imperfection arising from its very nature. The fiery pillar taught seeing men where to go; but it could not give sight to the blind. It pointed to the direction in which the pilgrims were to advance; but it could not make the lame man leap as an hart. We do not say that the Spirit of Christ did not impart inward light, saving knowledge, in the days of Moses. Wherever holiness adorned any character, He, the Sanctifier, was its source. The crowning excellence of the New Testament economy is, that it is the dispensation of the Spirit. While it does not dispense with forms, it specially inculcates the power of godliness. While it commends the Word, it holds the Word to be powerless without the Spirit of God.

III. JESUS LEADS THE CHURCH BY HIS PROVIDENCE. The Saviour whom we adore, is Ruler of all worlds. Supreme in heaven, He is not less so on earth. The Author of salvation, He is the regulator of all the complicated wheels of providence. Providence is a volume which is often hard to be understood. And the reason why we put providence after the Word and Spirit of Christ is, that no man is able to explain providence aright until he has studied the Word, and been taught by the Spirit of the Lord.

(J. Patrick, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.

WEB: Yahweh will create over the whole habitation of Mount Zion, and over her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy.

The Perpetual Pillar of Cloud and Fire
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