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On the Mountain With God

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On the Mountain With God

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When we come back "into the world" from our Feast of Tabernacles trip, we can find ourselves in the valley of a post-Feast letdown. Let's see how we can cling to the inspiration we received and stay on the mountain with God.

Mountaineering With Moses

Moses died in faith and will be in the "better resurrection" (Hebrews 11:13, 23-29, 35). But because of Moses' mistake and sin at Kadesh, God told Moses that he would die before the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River. God would not allow him to lead the Israelites over into the Promised Land (Numbers 20:7-12; Deuteronomy 31:2).

But God in His mercy offered Moses this blessing: "Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, across from Jericho; view the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel as a possession" (Deuteronomy 32:49). Later, as God directed, "Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land [much of Canaan]" (Deuteronomy 34:1).

Moses must have been very grateful and inspired to at least and at last see the land that they had longed to see and inherit for 40 years. His last moments before he died were filled with the joy of seeing the Promised Land stretching far and wide before him. He had long had a vision in his mind's eye, and now he could literally see it for himself.

In the Bible, "mountain" often represents government, and a powerful government compared to "hills" of lesser governments. But going up a mountain sometimes represents approaching God, seeking a closer relationship with Him. Just as one sees more when on top of a mountain, one sees more spiritually when close to God.

An Uplifting Experience

Each year, God's people go up on a mountain to receive a vision of God's plan for mankind, a vision of our ultimate destiny, a vision of the wonderful world of tomorrow, a vision of the spiritual Promised Land!

We experience small mountains with each Holy Day, and we experience the larger mountain when we go to observe the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. It should be the most uplifting experience of the year. We experience a spiritual high with God's Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and become spiritually recharged for the coming year.

Jerusalem was on a small mountain, and that is why traveling to Jerusalem was spoken of as going "up to Jerusalem." But when they "came up to worship at the feast," there was a dual meaning (John 12:20). Anytime we worship or draw closer to God, we are being elevated. During the Millennium, whether or not Jerusalem is at a higher elevation than surrounding areas, all people "shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles" (Zechariah 14:16).

A Vision of the Kingdom

When Jesus was going to be transfigured, He took Peter, James and John up on a high mountain. There they received a vision of Jesus in His glorified state along with Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:1-9).

We as God's people go up to His feasts to receive "visions" of life after Christ's second coming.

Reflecting the Light

After Moses had been with God on Mt. Sinai for 40 days, his face shown so brightly the people were frightened and he had to put a veil over his face (Exodus 34:29-35). He had in a sense absorbed light from God and was reflecting light from God.

We need to take advantage of every opportunity to absorb light from God and to reflect His light. When we return from God's Feast, our faces should be glowing with smiles of joy. More importantly, our hearts should be glowing with joy and renewed dedication to God and His great work.

For us to be lights, we must continually go to the source of light. May this become our habit or "instinct," like some bugs instinctively are attracted to light. Jesus said, "He who does the truth comes to the light" (John 3:21). "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you," James wrote (James 4:8). We must continually and zealously come to the light and draw near to God.

Solidly in "Mount Zion"

In the Bible, "Mount Zion" often refers to God's Church. "For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire...but you have come to Mount Zion...to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven" (Hebrews 12:18-23). One important way to stay close to God is to be solidly in "Mount Zion"—in God's Church.

This includes obediently going up to His assemblies—to His holy convocations when He commands us to come and worship Him (Hebrews 10:23-25). "O Zion , you who bring good tidings, get up into the high mountain," Isaiah wrote (Isaiah 40:9). We have more than one mountain each year. We are invited to come up on the mountain with God every Sabbath and every Holy Day.

And we can and must climb the "mountain of God's holiness" daily (Psalm 48:1). Our prayers rise all the way to the third heaven! These weekly and daily ascensions are vital to keeping us inspired, motivated and empowered all year. "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:2).

Although we are sad to see the Feast end, God intends that we come back into "the midst of a crooked and perverse generation" so we can "shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15). After we have received, we must give. Light is not something that can be selfishly bottled up. It must flow through us and reach out to others through a good example and good works (Matthew 5:14-16). Whereas we tend to feel a letdown after the Feast, focusing on giving and serving brings continued joy. "There is more happiness in giving than in receiving" (Acts 20:35, Today's English Version).

We are warned not to "neglect so great a salvation" (Hebrews 2:3). Jesus said, "A little while longer the light is with you. Walk [actively put the light of knowledge into practice] while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you" (John 12:35).

Follow the Flashlight

Someday, end-time events will progress very rapidly. The analogy Jesus was using is like trying to walk through a very dark woods following the one person who has a flashlight. The farther behind the leader you are, the less you see the stumbling blocks. And if we fall very far behind, the flashlight could disappear behind a hill, and we could be helplessly lost. It could be too late to catch up.

We might say that the most important mountain each year is God's Feast of Tabernacles. God wants us to have zealous determination to keep His Feast, such as is expressed in Isaiah 2:3—"Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways." As much as possible, let's plan to be there every year forever.

Each year at the Feast we take a good look across the "Jordan River" at the "Promised Land." We look across into the Millennium with its peace and idyllic conditions for the humans on earth. But more importantly, we look across into the next life—the glorified life in the Kingdom of God. That vision is vital to our endurance and growth.

And after each Feast, may we strive to hold on to the glow—the inspiration and strength we have received—throughout the coming year. We do that largely by going up to the Source of that glow—daily, weekly and yearly. UN