Acts 1:9 As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. (The Message Bible)
Joni Mitchell wrote in her song Both Sides Now “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now/ From up and down, and still somehow/ It’s cloud illusions I recall/ I really don’t know clouds at all.” Not so for the New Testament writers. The presence of God was often indicated in the Old Testament by a cloud. Most particularly when God met with Moses and gave him the 10 Commandments. God had been leading the people “in a Pillar of Cloud during the day to guide them on the way, and at night in a Pillar of Fire to give them light” (Exodus 13:20) and then “God said to Moses, ‘Get ready. I’m about to come to you in a thick cloud so that the people can listen in and trust you completely when I speak with you’” (19:9). When Luke wants to describe what happened on the Mount of Transfiguration as Jesus meets with Moses and Elijah he writes, “a light-radiant cloud enveloped them. As they found themselves buried in the cloud, they became deeply aware of God. Then there was a voice out of the cloud: “This is my Son, the Chosen! Listen to him” (Luke 9:35). So, it made perfect sense to the Jewish folks in the first century that if the risen Jesus was to go to God he would do so in a cloud. Now we keep our digital info in the cloud. Why not use a similar image for the glory of God?