“And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that 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 had filled the house of the LORD.” (1 Kings 8:10-11)
This remarkable glory cloud filling Solomon’s Temple at its dedication had also been present when the tabernacle in the wilderness was dedicated. At that time, Moses recorded how “a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, . . . and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” Furthermore, this “cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys” (Exodus 40:34-35, 38). There could be no doubt as to His presence.
It is well known that this cloud of divine glory was called the Shekinah. Although this actual word never occurs in the Bible itself, it is closely related to the Hebrew words for “dwell” (shakan) and “tabernacle” (mishkan).
The significant truth here, of course, is not the name, but the fact. The glory cloud was removed when Israel became apostate. “And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city” (Ezekiel 11:23).
When God returned to Earth in the person of His Son, “the Word was made flesh, and [tabernacled] among us.” Then, once again, those who had eyes to see “beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14). By His Spirit, He now even lives in the human bodies of those who receive Him, and “Christ in you” becomes our own “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Then, as we live in His Word, “we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). HMM