Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Hebrews 12:1 says that Christians are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. The word "cloud" is from the Greek nephos which appears only once in the entire Bible. The Greek Lexicon defines nephos as "a large or thick cloud." The only other Greek word translated "cloud" (twenty-five times - nephele) is defined as "a small or thin cloud." It is strange that this is the only place the word is used, and it does not refer to an actual cloud. Chapter eleven presented a large list of faithful Old Testament people who now reside in heaven with Jesus (Paradise accompanied Jesus to heaven and Paradise, as a place, no longer exists - a study for another time). The context of 12:1 clearly refers to the preceding chapter due to the connecting "wherefore." This may be an indication that those in heaven can observe those who remain on Earth. I wonder how they feel about what they see.

The Word is clear that our God is not only all knowing, but He is omnipresent, or everywhere. Psalm 139:7-10 teaches that God is everywhere. Jeremiah 23:23-24 tells us that God is where we are. Jesus told His disciples that wherever two or three are gathered in His name, He would be there with them (Matt. 18:20). We are surrounded by God, even to the point of Him dwelling within us (Jn. 14:17). For those who do not believe God is a Tri-unity (Trinity), the concept of Christ in heaven with the Father, while the Holy Spirit lives within believers must be troublesome. The fact that He is here, there, and everywhere at the same time is beyond human comprehension. In our thinking, He is either here, there, or everywhere, not all three. And yet, He is! I wonder how He feels about what He sees.

We are also being observed by the heavenly host of angels. Little children have angels that look out for them (Matt. 18:10). Christians are in the presence of "an innumerable company of angels" (Heb. 12:22). Not only are we surrounded by angels, we are being watched very closely by them (1 Pet. 1:12). And they apparently do more than watch, for there are many recorded occurrences in the Bible where angels visited mankind. And we are warned that we should show hospitality to strangers, because we never know whether our guest is a human being or an angel (Heb. 13:2). I wonder how they feel about what they see.

Not only are we surrounded by Old Testament witnesses, by God, and by angels, we are surrounded by the world of unbelievers. They also watch us to see if we "practice what we preach." Unfortunately, most of us "do not preach" and therefore are neither a good nor a bad testimony for Christ. Equally unfortunate is the fact that those of us who do witness for the Lord are battling our own sin nature (Rom. 7). We often fail to show a Christ-like life. We do not have to wonder what the world feels about what they see.

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