Todd Friel from WretchedNetwork brings up some interesting scriptural insights as to why this “glory cloud” from Bethel Church in Redding, California is probably a false sign. I honestly had not even considered this angle until now.
For the record, I DO believe that God shows up supernaturally whenever and wherever He chooses. Supernatural signs and wonders did not stop with the book of Acts, so why would He NOT show up at Bethel? How do I know this isn’t God?
From a practical perspective, it could come from the ventilation system. Yes, that’s a pretty weak argument, but you can’t rule out that possibility.
Not too long ago, photographs of “orbs” started to appear on the web, and people were just amazed… all too quick to believe that this just HAD to be a sign from God! The problem with this is that you can’t find God manifesting as “orbs” in the Bible (why would He?) AND you can get the same effects on your photos if you have grains of dust on your camera lens.
There are also online pictures of streaks of light above people’s heads while they’re worshiping. But there are so many different colored lights and effects (strobes, flashes, etc.) in these services that you really can’t get a credible (or believable) image to pass off as a supernatural manifestation.
I’m saying all this because believers who are eager to see God move can be extremely gullible. Usually the people distributing these photos and videos are extremely charismatic and excited, oftentimes deceived themselves. But we’re not called to just go along with every sign and wonder, in fact, we are to “test the spirits.”
So how do we know what is a manifestation from God and what is just our eyes playing tricks on us?
That’s also a good question… one I don’t have a complete answer for, but I DO have a starting point for you. Use the Word as your plumbline… for everything! When you see or hear of a particular sign or wonder… look in the Word for a similar event. How did God operate? How did the people respond? What did YOU see? How did YOU respond?
I’m pretty much going to side with Todd (and the Word) on this one. In the Bible, when the Glory of God showed UP, people went DOWN because His presence was too much for them. They couldn’t stand in the middle of God’s greatness.
Do we see that here? Nope.