“Whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed. At the commandment of the Lord they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed: they kept the charge of the Lord” (Numbers 9:22–23).
The cloud that guided the children of Israel through the wilderness was eventually lifted up to heaven. But another cloud descended from heaven centuries later, at the Upper Room in Jerusalem. The Holy Ghost—the same Spirit who had hovered over the wilderness tabernacle—came down and hovered over 120 worshipers who had gathered in the Upper Room after Jesus’ death. This cloud came farther down, into the very room where the people sat, and it dwelled upon the people’s heads as cloven tongues of fire.
The Greek word for cloven means “thoroughly distributed.” In short, this cloud of fire had split up and sat on each person in the Upper Room. Then the flames possessed the people’s bodies.
At that point, Jesus’ followers were “in the Spirit,” with the Holy Ghost living in them. Yet it is one thing to have the Spirit abiding in you, and something else entirely to live in total submission to the Spirit. You can be filled with the Holy Ghost, but that doesn’t mean you’re walking in obedience to His leading and allowing yourself to be governed by Him.
We who love Jesus today also have a cloud to follow. We may be filled with the Holy Spirit—praying and singing in the Spirit, or experiencing manifestations of the Spirit—but we still have to commit to taking orders from Him. If we don’t wait for His direction in all things, we simply aren’t walking in the Spirit. Paul’s instruction makes this distinction clear: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).