FROM the CANDLESTICK to the THRONE, PART 159
THE 144,000 on MOUNT ZION
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
“Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God…”
PART ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-NINE
There is no part of the Revelation that is more bountiful in rewards for those who pursue the high calling of God in Christ Jesus than the opening scenes of chapter fourteen. It is a garden of fruits and nuts and flowers, a display case of wondrous jewelry. It is a vast and imposing landscape, filled with beauty and grandeur, the horizon of which is fringed with the bright dawning glories of God’s kingdom Day. Here, in a manner surpassing all others, we can see the real scope and magnificence of the purpose of sonship to God. Here we can trace God’s plans for His called and chosen elect to their ultimate consummation, and learn the real majesty of our destiny as sons of our Father. At every step there is something to encourage and challenge us under the trials and testings of our journey; something to confirm our faith and to fill us with glorious anticipations!
The twelfth and thirteenth chapters of the Revelation were designed to set before us the three great adversaries of God’s apprehended ones. We have been told of the dragon, the principle and root of all evil, whether inward or outward — the carnal mind and the flesh nature — which persistently dogs all of our steps. We have been further told of the first beast, rising out of the sea of humanity, that bestial world system to whom the dragon has committed his authority and power. He is the second adversary. Lastly, we have been told of the second beast, rising out of the earth of the soulical nature, that false spirit of religion which unites itself to the world system, and which, even more cunningly opposed than the world itself to the life of the spirit, brings multitudes of the Lord’s people into an even greater bondage than they might otherwise have been. The picture thus presented were it to stand alone, would in a most powerful way be discouraging and depressing! How we praise God with joy unspeakable and full of glory that the Revelation does not end with chapter thirteen!
We have only to read carefully and prayerfully the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the Revelation to see the close and inspired connection between them. They are constructed on the same lines. They run parallel in their emphasis. Consider some of the similarities and contrasts. “I saw a beast coming up out of the sea.” “I saw a Lamb standing on mount Zion.” The worshippers of the beast celebrated his greatness in a hymn of praise: “Who is like unto the beast and who is able to make war with him?” And over against this earthly song there is an heavenly: “And I heard a voice from heaven as the voice of many waters…and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sung as it were a new song…and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” (Rev. 14:2-3) It is clear that in the fourteenth chapter the Holy Spirit is drawing a companion, yet contrasting, picture to the events of the thirteenth. He sets the two companies — the followers of the beast and the followers of the Lamb — in strong and vivid contrast.
The book of Revelation is full of wonderful and striking contrasts which cannot but excite the spirit of all who have ears to hear and eyes to see! The Revelation deals with the mightiest contrast that ever existed — the contrast between Christ and Adam, between spirit and flesh, between truth and error, between spirituality and carnality, between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness, and between God and the devil. We meet, furthermore, with the contrast between the company of the overcomers and the carnal church systems of man, between the two witnesses and the beast, between the manchild and the dragon, between the Lamb and the beastly system, between God’s Christ and the kings of the earth, between the saints and the world, and between Mystery Babylon and the holy city, New Jerusalem. Again and again this mighty contrast is painted for us in brilliant hues and vivid scenes of divine revelation!
It was a dark day that John painted for the church in chapter thirteen. But follow him into the fourteenth chapter. With true dramatic inspiration he quickly shifts the scene. The shadows flee, the light of a new day rims the sky, and the glory of a new order breaks upon the horizon. Let us note that in chapter fourteen we have a continuation of the symbolism begun in chapter thirteen. The fact that this has been generally overlooked has led to many dreadful errors in the interpretation of the scenes of this portion. Void of spiritual understanding the natural mind takes mount Zion in the literal sense of the word and concludes that at the end of the age, in the days of the supposed great “antichrist,” Jesus will appear on the earthly mount Zion as the defender of His people, the fleshly Israel, and will gather about Him 144,000 flaming Jewish evangelists in order to save Israel from the vengeance of the beast. Truly there is an impassible gulf between the carnal mind and the spiritual mind, for the spiritual mind understands all things which concern the things of God and the things that pertain to the world of the spirit, whereas the fleshly mind understands only those things of the physical realm and interprets all things as pertaining to the outer, natural world. It must be clear to us, therefore, that John is viewing heavenly, spiritual realities and speaks of these as he sees them by the spirit — in highly symbolical language.
After the dark vision of the beast and his kingdom John now receives a bright vision of the Lamb and those who are with Him in the splendor of His glory and exaltation. And all is symbolism! Christ is denoted as the Lamb, which, however familiar, is nevertheless symbolical language. No one ever mistook the Lamb of God for a wooly, four-legged barnyard animal! Those who stand with Him are described as 144,000, as those who are not defiled with women; for they are virgins. And a wonderful song is heard out of the heavens of the spirit, which they alone can learn. The contrast is very evident. In chapter thirteen we have the picture of the beast lording it over all the earth-dwellers. Here we have the vision of the Lamb upon the dizzying heights of mount Zion, along with a great company who stand with Him in His majesty. There we have the vision of the multitudes of carnal-minded church goers who pay homage to the beast and his image; here we have the picture of the 144,000 who have gained the victory over the beast and who belong to the Lamb alone. There we found the followers of the beast and his worshippers receiving his sign on their right hands or in their foreheads; here we find that also the Lamb company has a sign — the name of the Father written in their foreheads! The Greek text actually reads, “His name and His Father’s name.” This is the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to the overcomer back in chapter three, verse twelve, “I will write upon him the name of my God… and my new name.” The name speaks of the nature and character, HIS NATURE AND CHARACTER raised up within us; His love, holiness, wisdom, truth — all of this is inscribed in the forehead, becoming the function of our MIND. All that we think, all that we desire, all that we manifest is the outraying of Himself — for we bear His name. “I will put my laws (will and purpose) in their MIND, and write them in their HEARTS.” (Heb. 8:10). That is the contrast!
“And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads.” (Rev. 14:1)
The scene of John’s vision is “the mount Zion,” that Zion so often spoken of in both the Old and the New Testament as God’s special dwelling place and the seat of His authority and rule. It is described as being beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth. It is the Zion in which God “dwells,” the Mount Zion which He “chose,” and which He “loved,” and “out of which salvation comes and the law of the Lord goes forth.” It is that “holy hill of Zion” upon which God set the firstborn Son as King when He said to Him, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee.” It is that Zion, too, to which “the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.” Finally, it is that dwelling place of which the inspired apostle, writing to the Hebrews, says, “Ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better than that of Abel.” (Heb. 12:22-24)
Mountain peaks have often been used as a scaffold, lifting high many glorious experiences between God and man. On Mount Moriah God met with Abraham in the greatest revelation of his life. On Mount Sinai God appeared and gave the Law to Moses. Mount Carmel was the scene of God’s power sending fire to consume Elijah’s sacrifice and judging the prophets of Baal. On the heights of Mount Hermon the firstborn Son of God was transfigured, and from mount Olivet He ascended. In the Song of Solomon the Shulamite was called by her Beloved to come away with him to mount Bether, the mount of separation. There are numbers of other mountain-top experiences. The last to be mentioned in the scriptures is John’s vision of mount Zion. On this ultimate elevation God paints the symbol of a lamb and one hundred forty-four thousand companions, with the Father’s name in their foreheads. There have been a lot of “mountain-top experiences,” but there is no mountain that can compare with THIS MOUNTAIN, for it is a STATE OF BEING, a condition IN CHRIST. As Peter discovered on Mount Hermon, the Lord never intended for us to build tabernacles and camp on any of these other mountains. We are not to settle for anything less than HIS DIVINE PERFECTIONS and HIS ULTIMATE PURPOSE. We are to be conformed to the image of His Son, we are to share His glory and sit with Him in His throne, and He brings us to that mountain. Truly this is the highest and ultimate mountain-top experience!
There are some conclusions which the Holy Spirit would mark indelibly upon our minds. One of these is the fact that the Mount Zion of John’s vision is not the literal, physical, earthly mount Zion. Look to the Middle East, to the mount Zion in the earthly Jerusalem. Do we see the glorified Lamb of God standing there? Has He ever been seen standing there at any time during the past two thousand years? Absolutely not! Nor is the Lamb of God going to stand visibly again in flesh on that earthly mount Zion. Why should He? “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched…but ye are come untomount Zion…the heavenly Jerusalem.” (Heb. 12:18, 22) Jesus Christ Himself is the chief cornerstone in the spiritual house of God raised up upon the heavenly Mount Zion! “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay IN ZION a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded.” (I Pet. 2:6). And again, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against His Christ. For of a truth against Thy holy child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together. For to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I declare the decree: Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee” (Ps. 2:1-7; Acts 4:25-28). To this heavenly and spiritual Mount Zion come the 144,000 who “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.” Can we not see by this that the mount Zion that John saw in his vision was a “sign.” It signified, symbolized, the invisible heavenly Mount Zion; and that is where the firstborn Son of God has been laid as the chief cornerstone! And it is there upon the heavenly, spiritual mount Zion that the 144,000 overcomers follow the Lamb!
How appropriate that our Lord Jesus should be standing on the heavenly, spiritual mount Zion! Why should this be? Because his forefather, King David, captured the earthly Mount Zion, and the citadel upon it came to be called “the city of David” (II Sam. 5:4-9) The earthly is but the picture, the type, the shadow of the heavenly! His standing there indicates that He has begun to reign, that the king has taken His power. And now John beholds 144,000 following the Lamb to the summit of the heavenly, spiritual Mount Zion! Fail not to observe that it is not simply “Mount Zion,” but rather “the Mount Zion,” signifying the spiritual, even the heavenly — the unique, abiding, eternal mount of the Lord. The literal, earthly mount Zion is still in the earthly Jerusalem in the land of Israel, but it is merely a type. The Mount Zion of the Revelation is a spiritual mountain! This Zion realm IS NOT A CERTAIN GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION. But it is in certain geographical locations! A place doesn’t make Zion — Zion makes the place itself — ZION! The “place” of Zion is within a people, in the spirit. Man doesn’t create Zion, Zion is the Christ manifested in all His fullness! The new creation man has come to mount Zion. Mount Zion represents a spiritual reality and attainment that is available to us right now in the realm of the spirit! It’s a spiritual place, a spiritual identity, a spiritual administration, and a spiritual state of being. Aren’t you glad!
To correctly unlock the great revelation and reality of this mount Zion we need to go back and look at the shadow. Zion is a special place with distinctive associations. It was that part of Jerusalem which was considered impregnable and was held anciently by the Jebusites. After the death of Saul all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron where “King David made a covenant with them.” (II Sam. 5:1-3) Following this, David and his men went to Jerusalem where “David captured the stronghold of Zion, that is the city of David” (II Sam. 5:7). It was with the deepest satisfaction that David acquired mount Zion, for it was a most strategic fortress. Immediately he built thereon a palace and many public buildings, his joy in Zion increasing with the progress of the work. David ordered that the Ark of the Covenant be brought to Zion from the house of Obed-Edom; and with much ceremony the ark was brought up to mount Zion and deposited in the beautiful silken tent which David had prepared for its reception, and where it remained until the building of the temple. God’s presence, God’s glory, God’s king, God’s governmental people were all concentrated on mount Zion. The Psalms of David are rich in expressions of joy and pleasure in Zion, not only on David’s part, but more importantly on God’s part. “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge…let Mount Zion rejoice…walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof…for this God is our God for ever and ever” (Ps. 48). The magnificent vistas presented on all sides; the beauty of Jerusalem on the opposite hill across the valley, and beyond on the east side of Jerusalem the mount of Olives. However, Zion was more than a geographical locality, it was a combination of divinely designed ingredients which made it not only the city of David, but truly the “city of God.” (Ps. 87:3)
Israel was God’s land, the whole nation of His people. In Israel there was the city of Jerusalem, the capital city, the seat of government comprising all the ruling classes of various kinds and degrees. Yet in Jerusalem there was only one who, with his household and closest associates, dwelt on Mount Zion. He was the king! Mount Zion is the highest mount in Jerusalem, and David the king established his throne there. His was the highest pinnacle of glory attainable. Mount Zion was the site where the power and authority of God was recognized, experienced, and manifested. But that Zion was only a shadow of the true mount Zion to which we are come in the Spirit. David was king over natural Israel. Christ is king over spiritual Israel. David dwelt on the natural Mount Zion. Therefore Christ dwells on the spiritual Mount Zion. And this spiritual Zion is composed of those who in union with Christ the Head have reached the very highest pinnacle attainable in the heavenly Jerusalem, those who have followed the Lord all the way to His throne. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne.” (Rev. 3:21)
The company of 144,000 standing with their Lord upon the mount Zion can represent nothing other than those who have followed the Lamb all the way from death on mount Calvary to the glory and exaltation of mount Zion. God has but one throne, and those who are called to share that throne share it in the heights of the spiritual mount Zion. “The Lord shall reign over them in Zion, from henceforth even for ever” (Mic. 4:7; Isa. 24:23). “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains (Zion), and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it…for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations.” (Isa. 2:23-4) Out of Zion, out of God’s Zion people, shall go forth the principles and power of God’s kingdom! Not a law of external rules and regulations as Moses’ law, but God’s holy, righteous law, that is, His divine nature, His incorruptible law of life, even the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus! Oh, the wonder of it!
Jerusalem is built upon seven mountains and mount Zion is the highest of them all. The sun kisses the hill of Zion first every morning. Those who dwell on mount Zion see the light of God’s new day before any others. When a new day dawns in God’s kingdom those standing on mount Zion are the first ones to greet it. I declare to you today that a new day is now dawning! Is it dawning in your understanding? Is it dawning in your consciousness? Is it dawning in your experience? Is it dawning in your state of being? Or is your awareness still beclouded and your vision obscured by the darkness?
All who are dwelling in the high and holy realm of Zion, are hearing the voice of the Son of God! Good tidings of great things, of full salvation, of perfection of holiness and power, the reign of Christ, and the peace of the kingdom of God, are now being declared in Zion. “For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Ps. 132:13-14) Ray Prinzing commented on this passage, “The word ‘chosen’ literally means TO CHOOSE AFTER TESTING. No wonder He caused us to be plowed so deeply, He would lay bare every secret within us, to test and try us, to prove us — and then, having been duly brought up to His specifications, qualified to meet His approval, He chooses us to be His own. All through our dark night HE HAS BEEN THERE, participating in the processings, and using it all to do a whole work on Zion, until He could bring us to the border of light, even to this mountain. Full well He knows all of our down-sitting and our up-rising, our going out and coming in. His choosing is based upon a full knowledge of His people, and the work which He has wrought in them. ‘Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, A TRIED STONE, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation’ (Isa. 28:16)
“‘When the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory’ (Ps. 102:16). The Lord is FOUNDING ZION, BUILDING UP Zion, and therefore ‘Zion shall be redeemed with judgment…’ (Isa. 1:27). Redeemed — here the Hebrew word is padah meaning TO FREE, redeem. Freedom from all the bondage of vanity comes with judgment. These very correctional processings of God are the means of loosing us, freeing us from this gross materialism into the freedom of spirit. ‘When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.’ (Ps. 126:1) Almost too good to be true, it’s like a dream. Ah, now it does seem that this travail is the reality, and the glory is a dream, but then shall the glory become the everlasting reality, and our present travail will seem as but a dream in the night when it passeth away. He will wipe away the many tears from our hearts, fill our mouth with laughter and our tongue with singing, and our joy no man shall take away. This is the vision of those who are being processed for Zion!
“‘What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord hath founded Zion’ (Isa. 14:32). What is the word for this hour? What can we tell a groaning creation that stumbles on in the black of night? What is the hope for this sin-cursed earth? TELL THEM THAT THE LORD IS FOUNDING ZION! He is preparing a people through whom His salvation shall flow to the ends of the earth. His glory shall come, it shall return to earth again, for there shall be a people in whom He shall fully dwell. ‘Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion…how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth’ (Isa, 52:1,7). Here is the message to declare! Not that darkness reigns, not that the enemy seems to have gained control, not that we are doomed. DECLARE THAT THY GOD REIGNETH! He works all things after the counsel of His own will, His victory is secure!” — end quote.
“As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it forever. Let mount Zion rejoice…walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces, for this God is our God for ever” (Ps. 48:11-14). A prepared people with a holy purpose in God is a very spiritual people. God is raising up just such a people in the earth in this hour and they are the Lord’s chosen remnant today. They are spiritually motivated and are seen in the spirit marching around Zion, the highest calling in the heavens of God’s Spirit. These are exploring Zion’s intricacies, measuring Zion’s bulwarks, counting Zion’s towers, inspecting Zion’s palaces, including all the spiritual experiences and dealings, and the abundance of truths and divine inworkings in all who are called to Zion. As they walk about Zion, they are challenged by her many glorious truths and experiences, causing them to cry out to God mightily that He may finish His work. They are ever learning, growing, and changing into the likeness of Christ the king. They walk about Zion with humility, trust, and earnest expectation. They are inquisitive, pliable, and teachable in the preparatory school of God, striving to learn and grow spiritually, conformed to the full stature of Christ. These elect, who are maturing sons of God, are destined of their Father to embody within themselves all the spirit, nature, glory, and power of the Mount Zion realm, to become fully manifest sons of God, radiating the life and glory of Christ. They are weaned from all the old ways of the dead, desolate, obsolete church order of the past, and are walking in the light of this new Day!
When that work becomes life to us by the Spirit, the Lord then fills us with the joy, peace, holiness, and power of Mount Zion. Then those qualities shall flow out of us to fill, first, the city of God, then the whole land of God’s own people, and finally the whole earth and all nations. Zechariah prophesied, saying, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion…behold, THY KING COMETH unto thee…and He shall speak peace unto the heathen, and His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even unto the ends of the earth” (Zech. 9:9-10). Christ our King reigns from the top down, from the height of His throne in the heavenlies down to the lowest valley and unto the deepest hell. That is why the prophet pointed out that the dominion of Christ is from the river even unto the ends of the earth. The dominion of Mount Zion is a flowing dominion, flowing like a river, flowing from its source in the highlands of Zion, and flowing out, bringing life to all the peoples and nations of the world. Our King comes first to Mount Zion, the sons of God, the 144,000 who accompany the Lamb; then to Jerusalem, the true church, the bride of Christ; next to the land of Israel, that is, all the rest of the people of God on whatever spiritual level they may be; and finally to the whole race of mankind even unto the ends of the earth. What a mighty flowing!
These are the four elements or components in the scope and economy of the kingdom of God: mount Zion, Jerusalem, the land, and the world. Mount Zion was in Jerusalem, Jerusalem was in the land, and the land was in the world. All things in every realm are gathered up in those four areas, as typified by the natural Israel of old in the midst of the earth. In Christ’s coming to Zion to be perfectly and fully formed in the sons of God, the reign of Christ is then evident in the lives of His elect. When He fully rules and reigns in our lives, the reign of Christ then progresses to spiritual Jerusalem, which is the realm of the daughters of Zion, the true church which is the bride of Christ. The bride then “makes herself ready.” This takes in all who truly love the Lord, are baptized in the Holy Spirit, and are led by His Spirit in the measure they know, though they are not fully overcoming sons of God. From there the kingdom progresses to the whole land which is all nominal Christians who name the name of the Lord, acknowledging Him as Savior, be they Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, or any other denomination in Christianity. All of these people of God are presently formed on various spiritual levels and stages of development all the way from little children to the fully matured sons of God. They may be classified as Mount Zion (sons), Jerusalem (bride), and the land (children). From the land the reign of Christ finally spreads to the rest of mankind, to every tongue, and people, and kindred, and nation, and culture, and religion — until He fully reigns over all!
A strange and wonderful work is reserved for mount Zion — the mount Zion company. “For saviors shall come upon mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau (flesh): and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s” (Obadiah 21). The ramifications of this passage of scripture are numerous. Years ago a precious brother wrote the following: “Becoming Saviors doesn’t require that we memorize more scripture verses, and make many more trips cross-country and overseas, in retreats, workshops, meetings, and ministry. Quoting from the Bible, and telling others what the Bible says about Jesus, will save some; but it will not bring to fruition God’s ultimate intentions for creation. In fact, telling everyone who we are, and what our destiny is in God, will not manifest us as Saviors. If I go up on top of a house, or hang from the branch of a tree and knock my stomach, saying, ‘Me Tarzan, me Tarzan,’ that doesn’t make me Tarzan. I can walk around telling everyone I meet that I am God, I am a son of God, or any other religious dignitary of my fancy, and it would not singe a strand of hair on anybody’s head. The bottom line is simply this: Becoming a Saviour, as Obadiah 21 declares, means a lot more than announcing my identity, or acting more religious or spiritual. Becoming a Savior is not in what I say, but in my manifestation. ‘What I do’ is not in order to become a Savior. ‘What I do’ must be the fruit of the fact that I am a Savior!
“These Saviors will be coming up on Mount Zion. So let us see what Zion is. ‘For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation (where He lives and acts). This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it’ (Ps. 132:13-14). The word ‘Zion’ means ‘a monumental or guiding pillar, sign, title, or waymark. To glitter from afar, splendor. A goal, or the bright object at a distance traveled towards.’ Now hear this! ‘Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined’ (Ps. 50:2). Zion is God’s desired place in us, and our place in Him, producing a state of being. It is the brightness of God’s glory which we behold, toward which we are journeying, and into which we are entering, transforming us into shining ones. Can we begin to comprehend with all saints what God is saying to us in these days of the unveiling? We can only be Saviors as we enter and abide in the realm of Zion where every one is filled with light, and where the face of God is seen. It is there, upon mount Zion, that the mount of Esau, the kingdom of the flesh, is judged, dealt with, consumed by the fiery glory of the Lord. As this judgment is wrought in us and through us, it is then that the kingdom becomes the Lord’s!” — end quote.
Recently I read this experience of a brother regarding mountain climbing. “In my younger years, I was a mountain climber and scaled some of the best-known mountains in the world: the Matterhorn, Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, Mount Ranier, and others. I can tell you from those experiences that nothing is more demanding or exhausting than to keep climbing when everything within you cries out for relief and rest. I can also tell you that nothing is more devastating to the human spirit than getting all primed to go to the top of a magnificent and lofty peak, only to get stranded halfway up the mountain. Friend, God is calling us to the very peak of His holy mountain. What’s more, He is calling us to become kings and priests of His holy mountain and the city perched on its pinnacle.”
Ah, yes, all of those who stand with the Lamb upon Mount Zion HAVE CLIMBED THE MOUNTAIN! There is no cable car nor any helicopter rides to the heights of Zion. Nor are we “raptured” away to that high and holy realm. The challenge of “following the Lamb” up the slopes of Zion is illustrated by an experience Ann Baker once related in a letter to us. She wrote, “Something you said in your paper reminded me of a precious experience. Many years ago Barry and I, with some others, climbed McBain mountain which is on an Indian Reservation in northern Ontario. An old Indian who knew the mountain guided us up the trails. We climbed, and climbed, and climbed some more. I would think surely we were at the top, but each time we reached what seemed to be the summit there was yet another trail leading ever upward.
“There were beautiful blue lakes that couldn’t be seen from the foot of the mountain. And we saw two eagles flying high in the sky. We became very thirsty and our guide, John Owl, led us to a refreshing spring of water that poured out of the rock that hot day. The higher we went the more plentiful were the blueberries that grew in abundance. We ‘ate and drank’ while climbing that mountain. And then, finally, we reached the top. I shall never forget that awesome scene. We could see fifty miles across Georgian Bay. The air up there was excellent — so pure and fresh. I looked around at my fellow climbers and everyone was standing with their hands raised high over their heads praising God! The top of that mountain was crowned with His presence. I can never describe the sense of exaltation and glory — as if we had reached the Most Holy Place — after the long, torturous climb through the great pine forests. I remember the heat, the endless trails, the ever-upward climb — but oh, the glory at the top!” — end quote.
Ricky Evans, in one of his writings, has given this confirmatory exhortation. “There is a stirring going on in the midst of the church in this hour, but just being stirred is not enough. Just having a desire is not sufficient. We must arise and go up! It is possible to be stirred and have a desire and still sit in our present position and never come to the glory God has for us. We can see the revelation and understand it, but if we don’t get up we will never see the manifestation of such revelation. The revelation excites us and should motivate us to rise up, but unfortunately in some the excitement of the revelation has been enough. We want the expected end without having to go through the process of getting there. I remember a time I was talking with a friend about playing the piano and I made the statement, ‘I would love to learn to play the piano.’ No sooner had the words departed out of my mouth than the Lord spoke in my spirit and said, ‘You don’t want to learn to play the piano.’ I replied back, ‘Lord, you know I would love to be able to play the piano.’ He said, ‘No, you don’t want to learn, you just want to be able to play.’ It hit me like a ton of bricks — I didn’t want to learn to play the piano, I just wanted to be able to sit down and play the piano. I wasn’t willing to go through the practice it takes and the effort it requires to play, I just wanted to sit at the piano one day and effortlessly start playing! God can do that, but guess what? It hasn’t happened! I have been too lazy to sit down and learn. I have all my excuses for why I haven’t, but the desire is still there. Slothfulness will eventually kill desire. We can desire greedily all day long, but our refusal to labor will kill us.
“The righteous man, on the other hand, gives it all he has. He will pursue, he will press toward the revelation the Lord has given. He will rid himself of all that stands in the way of reaching that revelation. The glory of God has apprehended him and he is now pressing to apprehend that for which he has been apprehended (Phil. 3:12). The righteous man realizes he has not come into the fullness of what God has for him. Oh, yes, everyone will say they know they are not perfect, but have you ever noticed they never get too specific? Have you ever noticed how they justify their sin by pointing to the fact that no one else is perfect either? How long will we justify our sin by pointing to someone else’s? I believe that should show us we have a desire, but don’t really want to deal with the problem that stands between us and the revelation we have received. We want the glory without the process to get there!
“There is an open door in the heavens and a voice sounding out, ‘Come up here’ (Rev. 4:1). We have heard the word to overcome and now the door is open to rise up out of our present situations and overcome and enter into a new realm in God. This is not a time to get offended by a word to overcome; it is time to take that word and rise up and be set free from whatever it is that holds us down. Some people get offended by being told they aren’t in the most holy place with God because of some habit they have or some attitude they hold on to. Don’t get mad, take this word and realize you can overcome — and overcome! You say you have tried and tried and failed time and time again and now you have just given up. There you sit with your bondage or your attitude and now you change your theology to accommodate your defeated condition and somehow that is supposed to make you feel better about yourself. But it doesn’t. Get up! Take up your bed of self-pity and walk! Shake off the dust of lies that the devil has told you and begin to climb the mountain. Don’t you know that the prodigal son must have felt the same way? Don’t you know that he must have felt there was no way out of the hog pen situation? Oh, but glorious day when he came to himself! He said, ‘I will arise’ (Lk. 15:17)” — end quote.
Well did Paul Mueller write, “Many years ago the Lord got my attention through visions and other experiences with Him. One vision, in particular, was an urgent call to ascend the high places in God. In that vision, I saw a large mountain. It was the mount of the Lord’s presence. Many people were climbing that mountain, higher and upward toward the pinnacle of His presence. But few were reaching the heights. In that vision, the mount of His presence was like the literal mountains. The higher one goes, the fewer trees there are. And the higher we go in God, the fewer believers there are at that level. As I watched the people climb that mountain, they appeared on the spiritual level where they were when they died. Some of the people climbing that mountain of the Lord’s presence were loved ones and friends. One among them was a man whom I considered a man of God, a man I had known quite well. By the Spirit, I was taken up that mountain but close to the people who were on various levels ascending that mountain. As I passed by some friends and loved ones, they all cried out to me, ‘Go higher! Don’t stop now, but keep going higher and higher.’ That vision made a profound impact on my life. I shall never forget it! By His grace and His Spirit, I intend to keep climbing higher and higher in God!
“Those who have lived and died in Christ are now in a realm where they can see and understand more clearly. The true reality is in the realm of Spirit, and they know it well now. They know what it means to walk with God toward perfection, and they appreciate it more now than when they were in this earthly realm. If the Lord would give us ears to hear the cries of those who have gone on before us, we would hear them crying unceasingly for us to ascend the very heights of the mount of the Lord. I heard them briefly. And the tone of their voices persuaded me to believe that our spiritual growth will also mean something significant and wonderful for them. Their call to keep going higher was almost a cry of desperation, but was one of hope as well. Without us they cannot be made perfect (Heb. 11:40). Therefore, the remnant of this hour must ascend in the Spirit to the heights of the mount of the Lord, where we shall be changed. And we shall also release many who died in Christ from their limited, static positions where they rest on the mount of the Lord.
“As we ascend the heights of the mount of the Lord, we will find that it is a lonely walk. To take a step higher in God may mean forsaking old friends and loved ones. When Moses made his seventh and last ascent up mount Sinai, the Lord said to him, ‘And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me IN THE TOP OF THE MOUNT. And no man shall come up with thee…’ (Ex. 34:2-3). Like Moses, some are invited of the Lord to ascend the mount of His presence and meet Him there. Half way up the mount will not do! Those who shall partake of His life and the fullness of His kingdom must go all the way up. The top of the mountain was Moses’ goal, and it is ours as well. And it is impossible for us to take anyone else with us. We must go alone! Spiritual progress is not based on fellowship with people, but on fellowship with God! A few others will also go alone to meet the Lord in the top of the mount, so that a remnant — all the remnant — shall ascend the mount to present themselves to Him in the top of the mount. No one member of that remnant company shall be missing, for the Lord will lead them all there by His Spirit” — end quote.
I am quoting from a number of different brethren and writers and I do so because they each have something significant and vital to impart unto the Lord’s elect in this hour who are following the Lamb to the heights of mount Zion. I would be remiss if I did not share also this precious word from the pen of Ray Prinzing. “There has been a glorious procession making its way to Zion — we have come with weepings, with deep travail and rendings of heart. We have passed through the fire and its purifications. We have gone through the deep, while all its waves and billows went over our heads. There have been times, as it were, we inched along on hands and knees, pressing upward over the rocks, often to fall and be broken — the descriptions and types abound, personally applied as only the Holy Spirit can inwork His purposes into us. Mount Zion — here is a mountain that can be climbed, embraced, and its victory, authority, and power be possessed! This is a mountain where we can draw nigh unto God even while He draws nigh unto us.”
“They that trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever” (Ps. 125:1). These words are far too potent and full of meaning to be read over carelessly or laid aside to be forgotten. These precious words reveal to us the great truth that Zion represents stability. In the natural, mountains and hills give us the impression that they cannot be moved. Nations may change, governments change, laws change, customs change, people change, places of position and habitation change, but when one gazes upward towards the mountains they give the impression of having always been there and of their being there ever afterwards. Their stability and immovability formed the basis for Jesus’ teaching about the omnipotent power of faith — faith that can do the impossible — faith that moves mountains! Humanly speaking, mountains just do not move. And in such stability and steadfastness there is strength. Is that not the reason that mountains are used in the scriptures to signify kingdoms, government, governmental authority and power. Hence the person who trusts in the Lord is like Mount Zion — he receives a kingdom that cannot be moved and he, like the mount of God, is immovable, steadfast, and stable. To reign with Christ in the kingdom one must be stable, otherwise he will be tossed about by every wind that blows and every wave that billows. His reign would not be that of an IMMOVABLE KINGDOM!
Multitudes of believers are not very stable in their spiritual life. One moment they are so zealous, enthusiastic, confident, and victorious; at the next moment they are like a disaster area, confused, frustrated, questioning, discouraged, offended, torn asunder, defeated, inoperative, and void of power. They have met the Lord, but have not matured — stability is not in them. And how is it that Mount Zion is singled out here as the symbol of stability? Jerusalem is built on a total of seven hills with Mount Zion constituting but one of them. It is because on Zion is to be found David’s palace. Zion is the place where royalty dwells. Zion is the site where the throne of David is set. Mount Zion thus symbolizes the kingdom authority of God! Ah, my beloved, if you confide yourself unreservedly and wholly to the Lord, to follow the Lamb whithersoever He leads, to endure and persevere every step of the way up the ascents of the mount of God, you shall be infused with a divine stability, a strength which comes from knowing the Lord in HIS KINGSHIP, as the sole and complete authority of your life. The Lord comes and dwells in you in the full measure that Zion represents, and you become as mount Zion. The throne of God is established in your mind and heart. The authority of God is recognized, honored, and expressed in all things. And whenever the authority of God is established as the law of life in anyone’s heart, he becomes as stable as the Mount of God — nothing can shake, rattle, discourage, frustrate, upset, confuse, concern, depress, defeat, or move him! There descends upon that person a regal air, a special nobility, because the throne of God is in Zion.
At the dawn of this new kingdom Day the reign of Christ has now come to Zion, to confirm and seal His reign in the lives of His elect, preparing them for power, dominion, authority, and rulership as kings and priests unto God after the order of Melchizedek, thus setting the stage for the coming of His kingdom to the other companies of His people and to all the ends of the earth. In due time the Lord shall manifest His kingdom in Jerusalem, to reign in and over all who love Him and love His appearing. What a day it will be when all the Pentecostal and Charismatic believers in the whole world are cleansed from all their religious and denominational idols, from all the error and false doctrines that have clung to them like a death shroud, from all their carnality and fleshly methods of meetings, programs, and evangelism, and are filled with the fullness of the righteousness, peace, and joy of the kingdom, matured in Christ Jesus, submitted to His Lordship, and put on the wisdom, knowledge, understanding, love, faith, and glory of the wonderful mind of Christ! Oh, yes! What a day! And that, precious friend of mine, will be the next stage in the progression and unfolding of the kingdom of God on earth.
When God’s spiritual Jerusalem has been brought fully under the sway of His kingdom dominion, it shall then be brought to those who make up the “land,” all Christians who acknowledge Jesus as Saviour. And finally, the kingdom will come to all the kindreds and nations of the whole world who now lie completely outside of the territory of God’s people. When the reign of Christ has fully come to those who in this hour have received the call to sonship, which is Mount Zion, and to all the other truly born-again believers that make up spiritual Jerusalem, which is the bride of Christ, and to all the so-called Christians of the world who dwell in some area of God’s land, then He shall simply “speak peace to the heathen.” When God speaks, His omnipotent and creative word brings forth that which did not previously exist. God proclaims by the power of His word, “Let there be!” and the light of Christ shines to dispel all the darkness everywhere. God speaks and the hatred, ignorance, vanity, violence, and sinfulness of man is forever crushed by the emergence of a new nature of life and transformation within. By His breath the beast in man is slain, even the dragon in the sea, and the former tyrant masters of the flesh, the world, and the devil are replaced with HIMSELF. When God speaks He sends forth His delivering, quickening, regenerating spirit of power, might, and holiness and changes everything. We have experienced this on the personal level, but as God’s kingdom comes to fill all the earth it shall happen on the national, international, and universal scale. When God speaks peace to the nations, through His kings and priests upon Mount Zion, all the peoples of the earth — the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Moslems, the Jews, the Communists, and all others, from the least to the greatest, shall receive a divine and supernatural revelation of the Lord, and shall cry out mightily, and bow in humble and worshipful obedience before God’s Christ. Isn’t it wonderful!
Everything I have just said was prophesied specifically and precisely by the prophet Micah nearly three thousand years ago! “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain (kingdom) of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains (Zion), and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law of the Lord shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Mic. 4:1-3)
The terms Zion and Jerusalem as well as the mountain of the Lord and the house of the God of Jacob speak prophetically and spiritually of kingship and priesthood. John the Revelator beheld the 144,000 sons of God standing on Mount Zion having the Father’s name written in their foreheads. Mount Zion, the highest hill in Jerusalem, spiritually represents the highest pinnacle attainable in God’s kingdom. Such are the ruling class prefigured by King David of old who dwelt on the natural mount Zion in the earthly Jerusalem. From there he reigned. This company, standing upon the Mount Zion, following the Lamb of the throne, can represent nothing other than those who have followed Jesus all the way, who have put on the mind of Christ and the nature of the Father, and shall now reign with Him on His throne forevermore. The house of the Lord, on the other hand, bespeaks the temple on mount Moriah in Jerusalem with its order of sacrifices and priesthood. The two together constitute God’s ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, or God’s KINGLY PRIESTHOOD, the kings and priests after the order of Melchizedek. Kingship and priesthood, embodied together in the ministry of sonship, constitute the new governmental order for the new age!
To be continued…
FROM CANDLESTICK…, Pt. 159 [J. Preston Eby] ~ BIBLE STUDY 1