Shared from Spoiledmilks, a snippet of Lindsay’s excellent review of Dr. Mike S Heiser’s amazing book The Unseen Realm.
One of the biggest enemies of God’s people was another god called Baal. Israel was a monotheistic community, but they usually didn’t live like it. Baal was the storm and fertility god. So if his followers needed crops, they would pray for rain and grain. In some ways it was easier to be polytheistic, at least for the placebo affect. You don’t just pray to one god because, really, how can one God do it all? So you pray to all gods to get all of your prayers fulfilled.
Yet Baal wasn’t just another face in the crowd. He was one of the higher deities in the polytheistic pantheon. And Israel like to worship him, especially since one form of worship involved sexual rituals. Who could say no to that?
In some of the texts of Ugarit, Israel’s northern neighbor, Baal is called “the one who rides the clouds.” It pretty much became his official title. LeBron James shoots hoops, Baal rides cloud.
Yet, it wasn’t just Baal who rode clouds. To turn all the attention back to Yahweh instead of Baal, the biblical authors “occasionally pilfered this stock description of Baal… and assigned it to Yahweh…” (251).
There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty (Deut 33.26)
O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord, Selah
to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice (Ps 68.32-33)
Bless the Lord, O my soul!… He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire (Ps 104.1-4)
An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them (Isa 19.1)
“The effect was to… hold up Yahweh as the deity who legitimately rode through the heavens surveying and governing the world” (252).
Every instance in the OT where someone is riding the clouds, that “someone” is Yahweh. Except, there is… one exception. There is a second figure. A human figure…
Source: The Cloud Rider