"A mountain tree if it would see The far horizons and the stars, May never know a sheltered place, Nor grow symmetrical in grace. Such trees must battle doggedly with the blasts and bear the scars." ~Loyal Marion Thompson~
A few years ago, I saw a mountain tree for the first time while vacationing near Denver, Colorado. I only had a day or two in this city, and I wanted to see the Rocky Mountains that are just west of the city.
While driving, I inadvertently came across a road that ascended Mount Evans. A sign indicated it was the highest mountain in North America whose summit, which is about fifteen thousand feet, could be reached by automobile.
In awe of the mountain, I couldn't resist driving to the top. It took many miles of roadway weaving back and forth across the mountain to reach the summit. The road was narrow, icy, and dangerous. The higher I went, the more uninhabitable the cold environment became.
As I ascended, I noticed that the mountain trees at the higher elevations were distinctly different from those of, the lower. Near the top of the mountain, I discovered one lone, gnarled and broken mountain tree that was higher and more isolated from the other trees on the mountain.
The view and vision of this tree were magnificent, for it could indeed see the far horizons and the stars. Nature somehow planted this tree far above all others causing it to gain a glorious vision of the heavens above and the earth below.
However, the price this tree paid for such vision could be determined by viewing its scarred trunk and gnarled branches. Seeing a mountain tree for the first time made an impression on me, and I pondered the experience for many weeks.
While on that mountaintop, I experienced great exhilaration from seeing such a majestic view of the far horizon while nestled amongst the clouds. My ponderings eventually evolved into a vision.
The Lord started showing me that many of God's choicest saints are like this lone mountain tree. Scripture often refers to men in metaphor as trees.
These saints are battling the gusts and storms that come about from spiritual warfare in heavenly places. They are battling an unusual amount of life's trials and tribulations. They are mountain climbers also who are pressing up into higher realms in God.
They outwardly look unfruitful and uncomely and have no outward beauty that they should be sought after and admired by men. They are only distinctive by their ignominy and obscurity.
By nature, they were planted in environments that were rugged and isolated; they have been separated by the Spirit unto the Lord and have known a degree of death to self as few have. These would have perished had it not been for the grace of God upholding them.
Though some are planted in fellowship, many are not, as it has been difficult for them to find their place amid traditional Christian churches. They are increasingly seeing a glorious vision. They are beholding the distant horizon of what God is about to do on earth in this hour.
Like mountain climbers, these are pressing into the heavenlies. As mountain trees, they are waiting on the Lord to transform their lives. Though the vision of such trees is a joy, I wondered how all this could profit the tree if, after its growth, all that is left is an uncomely scared and gnarled life.
And how effective is the testimony of such a tree's vision to others if its fruitfulness appears to be so much less than the other trees of lesser vision. I wondered how such a life could glorify the Lord.
I pondered this vision for many months, and eventually, He opened my understanding. Mountain trees have to struggle to survive. They bear the blasts of the mountain storms that twist its trunk and break its branches. Their growth is somewhat stunted, and they fail to reach full height. They are gnarled, scarred, and stripped of leaves. Their fruitfulness is minimal.
The mountaintop, where they are planted, speaks of a place of separation. These mountain trees are also mountain climbers separated unto the Lord to obtain the promises associated with dwelling on Mount Zion. (Rev.14:1) It identifies those who are willing to pay the price that they may abide in this realm of eternal gain.
By nature, these live with a considerable degree of poverty of spirit. When they come to Jesus Christ, they are usually willing to die to all they may have by nature in order to gain all that He is in the supernatural.
Lives that mirror such mountain trees have a difficult time. Their lives show the marks of intense spiritual battles that they would not have endured had they been planted in the safety of the valleys.
These hunger and thirst for more of the Spirit of God and are certain He can be known in a deeper dimension. Although the mountaintop environment is difficult to endure, they know that what they see from their vantage point is not seen by others and is close to the heart of the Lord; this is their joy, hope, and satisfaction.
In considering the sufferings endured by these mountain trees, struggling to maintain their lonely place of vision in spite of the raging spiritual storms; and the mountain climbers which ascend toward a higher realm of vision and understanding in God, we may ask: Are today's mountain climbers climbing in vain?
Are today's gnarled and scarred mountain trees seeing in vain? The scriptures give us an answer.
The children of Israel, who lived for four hundred years as a people of promise, had just been delivered from the bondage of Egypt into a dry and barren wilderness. Moses knew God and communed with Him in a unique way.
The children of Israel needed an unprecedented revelation of this God with whom Moses spoke to encourage them to press on with their journey in the wilderness. This God Moses knew, and the One the children of Israel needed to get to know was the same God whom their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew.
They needed to know God's purpose for them as a people that they may have a vision, a future, and a hope. They were in a circumstance much like that which the Body of Christ is in today. The burden of this need rested on the shoulders of Moses.
To seek an encounter with God, Moses was driven to mountain climbing. After Israel camped at the foot of Mount Sinai, "Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying,
On that mountain top, God showed Moses His purpose for the children of Israel.
Moses heard the heart-cry of God, echoed down through the ages, seeking again to be heard by a people in our day to find its greater fulfillment. The Lord then said to Moses:
God would descend upon Mount Sinai once again with great power to further reveal His plan and purpose for Israel. Again, Moses climbs the mountain.
This mountain climbing Moses had a revelation of God previously unknown to man. Moses pressed through the darkness, fire, and thundering of God till He broke into the light of His glory and splendor of His holiness. It is significant that Moses had a calling up into this experience with God (Rev.14:1, 17:14).
As Moses pressed through these mighty displays of power, he might be tempted to believe his God was a harsh and vindictive God, only interested in instilling fear. As the fullest revelation of God comes through His words, Moses found out God's heart for His people.
After Moses broke through the darkness, the first thing God speaks of is His tenderhearted love and concern for the welfare of His people.
Hiding behind this seemingly mean God of thunder, darkness, and quaking, which seems to tell us to "stay away" (judgment), is a God of tender mercies which tells us to "come" (mercy).
One might ask why Moses could gaze upon the Lord and live while if the people gazed, they would perish. What made Moses so special and unique? What made Moses so special was that he spent forty years in the wilderness under the heavy hand of God, enduring God's dealings and disciplines, making him the meekest man on earth (Nu.12:3).
This humility in Moses' spirit enabled him to respond to God's intimate fellowship without offending or grieving His Holy Spirit.
Meekness is the key that liberates the Lord to fellowship with His people, individually and corporately, in all His glory and holiness, without us being in danger from the God of judgment.
Moses, the mountain climber who endured the seemingly unendurable storms of the Lord, was preserved by grace, fellowshipped with the God of glory so much, so his countenance shined as he came down from Mount Sinai. Upon that mountain, Moses received the commandments of God for the people of Israel that governed them as a nation.
Later in history, Moses fellowshipped with the greatest of mountain climbers, Jesus Christ the Lord, as was the case while on the mount of transfiguration (Matt.17:2) Jesus dwelt on the highest of high mountains known to man, that is, Mount Zion.
The writer of the book of Hebrews speaks of a different mountain to which the early church believers have come, the same mountain with which latter-day church believers see they are increasingly confronted. This spiritual mountain is called Mount Zion and will be found by those overcomers that are forsaking all to:
Just as the children of Israel were at a dead-end apart from what God revealed from Mount Sinai, so also is the Body of Christ today without a fresh revelatory word from Mount Zion. We need this word to awaken the church to God's plan and purposes in this present hour.
Only from on top of Mount Zion can vision be obtained to guide the church through the world's darkest hours. The church is called to be a separated people unto the Lord who will be the light of the world. Only on top of Mount Zion will the church obtain the spiritual power and perspective to do effective spiritual warfare in the heavenlies.
Thus the Biblical metaphors that refer to Mount Zion need to be better understood. Zion was the site of the Jewish temple and royal residence of King David and his successors. Zion is also a term used to identify Israel as a nation, and it is also used to identify the Christian church.
In Jerusalem, it was the place of God's glorious manifest presence in the holy of holies of the Jewish temple. It was a place of authority from which God ruled and reigned over the spiritual life of Israel. Zion in Scripture often refers to heaven.
Heaven is most commonly thought of as a spiritual realm or place that exists beyond the limitations of our universe. And so it is. However, Jesus often referred to it as a kingdom that is a present reality on earth now that He has arrived.
Though heaven can be understood as a place, it is more accurately understood to be a realm. A realm is defined as a kingdom or domain, the scope or range of any power or influence. The realm of heaven is where Jesus' manifest glory is found, regardless of the place. It is where He exercises governmental authority.
Zion is that place and realm in heaven from which Jesus Christ is now enthroned, dwelling in the full manifest glory of God, ruling over the spiritual powers that govern the earth. That same heaven and glory dwelt on the mercy seat in the holy of holies of the Jewish temple.
Zion is thus understood to be heaven, the place or realm of His manifest glory. Heaven thus being the presence of His glory, the environment of heaven can be made available on earth as it descends from heaven.
His glory contains all His fullness. To one who is born from above (born again), a measure of heaven, a measure of glory, abides within; this is Christ in you and is referred to as the morning star (2Pet.1:19).
Our hope is to discover the morning star (also called the daystar) to arise within us individually, thus clothing us with His glory.
As we approach the end of the age, and the Sun of Righteousness breaks the far horizon (Mal.4:2), His glory will rise upon and clothe choice saints while the morning star rises from within.
The Christian has the high calling of having His glory arise within and having it clothed upon him as was typified by the ark of the covenant that was present in Moses' tabernacle.
The ark speaks of Jesus Christ, and His brethren conformed to His image that will carry His presence and glory to the four corners of the earth at the end of the church age. The ark was made of wood, which symbolizes our human nature inlaid and overlaid with gold, representing His divine nature and glory.
Such a precious son or daughter of Zion will be walking in heaven while yet on earth. This glory realm creates an environment the apostle Paul calls the heavenlies, the realm of the fullness of the Spirit. When the scriptures speak of Mount Zion, it refers to Zion, or heaven and the heavenlies, where Zion touches the earth and interacts with the earthly realm.
Jesus said the kingdom of heaven was at hand. Jesus, who came from heaven and lived in the heavenlies, brought forth heaven on earth.
The sick got healed, demons were cast out, the blind saw, the lame walked, a few loaves of bread and several fish fed thousands, the dead were raised, and the mighty gospel of the kingdom was revealed. His kingdom had indeed come to earth as it was in heaven (Matt.6:10).
Jesus walked on earth while at the same time walked in heaven. Jesus spoke from earth while at the same time spoke from heaven. Jesus spoke from Zion because He lived on Mount Zion and was the manifest glory of God in flesh and blood. Jesus was the place where the glory of the Father first found a tabernacle inside of men.
He is the place where heaven first kissed earth, bringing the love, light, and life of God to men. Through the cross, the veil to the holy of holies was rent so His glory may be free to descend on those chosen of the Lord.
A multitude of people will discover Mount Zion as the Sun of righteousness (Mal.4:2), which IS His manifest glory, arises upon the earth at the end of the church age. This "sunrise," which will enable His prepared people to enter the realm of Mount Zion, is that which they have been waiting on.
The kingdom of heaven will be established in people's lives as the blessings of the garden of Eden (Jo.2:3) will be partially restored. The leaves of the tree of life will be used for the healing of the nations.
The fruit is reserved for the overcomer. The ministry of Jesus Christ will be reproduced in a greater dimension than when he walked on earth as He finds His will performed by a corporate ministry.
His ministry was cut off at the cross, but He will restore it through an obedient people. Yes, this seems too good to be true, but brethren, it surely is going to happen.
However, judgment shall come forth before and during this restoration of His ministry, and a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit will occur in order to prepare the church as a bride without spot or wrinkle.
The Bible prophecies great revival, renewal, and restoration to the church as well as the pouring out of His Spirit on all flesh (all mankind) while in the midst of judgments before the day of the Lord and before the Great Tribulation begins (Jo.2:23-32).
The Lord has so much more to do on earth to fulfill His plan of salvation before that day. He wants us to preach the gospel of the kingdom to all nations with healings, miracles, and unprecedented joy. Spiritually speaking, Mount Zion is the Lord's footstool.
It is the place from which the Lord is establishing a "foothold" in this world, a place from which He will more vigorously intervene in the affairs of men. It is the place from which He will exercise His kingdom throne rights and bring forth a people with authority who demonstrate the kingdom of God in word and power as a witness to the nations.
Mount Zion will be the place from which Christ will rule His true Church as denominational organizations are shaken and fall away from sound Christian doctrine. It is where He will establish His holy nation, which is His nation amongst the nations.
From Mount Zion shall flow a pouring forth of the blessings of healing and deliverance for one's spirit, soul, and body.
Mount Zion is also a place of judgment where the Lord puts underfoot all the pride of man that is opposed to His kingdom, that is, opposed to His will, love, light, life, law, and holiness.
Mount Zion will be a place of refuge for His church as the trials of the latter days come upon the earth. The prophet Obadiah envisions,
Mount Zion is the realm to which all of the church is being drawn. It is to be the heavenly Jerusalem, the city set upon a hill that cannot be hidden. Zion also speaks of the universal church. However, it is only a church established and functioning in the heavenlies with spiritual authority.
Today the Lord is seeking, calling, and drawing those who can believe such a place and position in the heavenlies is available to the believer in the here and now rather than in the bye and bye.
Believers who ascend Mount Zion to hear what God is saying and see what He is doing have great blessings awaiting them. To be an empty vessel through which the Spirit can speak with authority and from where he can pour forth HIS ministry is a great blessing indeed.
To work with the Lord in His redemptive purposes is the most meaningful life one can have, the joys of which spill over into eternity. However, there is a price to be paid.
Just as Moses endured the storms of the Lord that manifested in the natural with darkness and fire, the climbers of Mount Zion will endure the storms of the supernatural in darkness and fire.
These are the storms of the fury of principalities and powers, spiritual powers of darkness and wickedness with all temptations and oppressions, fires that would seek to turn them back. These powers under no circumstances want them to have a place and vision in the heavenlies.
To ascend into the heavenlies is to invade the usurped domain of the prince of the power of the air (Eph.2:2) and obtain a position from which this prince can be confronted and brought down. One gets vision and perspective on how he controls nations.
The storms are at times brutal, and they take their toll, producing a crucified life within those who climb. We pay for treasures in the kingdom of God with the content of our own soul.
Nevertheless, as one presses through the darkness, that one arrives on the top of the mountain where the light of the Lord shines radiantly. Here he can obtain a clear and pure word from the Lord.
It must be understood that just because one arrives at the top of the mountain, which is the end of self and the resultant spirit of humility, does one enter the presence of the realm of Zion. It is a vain and presumptuous thought to believe heaven's gates can be forced open through one's strenuous efforts.
The best that this mountain climber can do at the top of this mountain is to wait. Wait patiently upon the Lord. All that we obtain from God must come through sovereign grace.
Just as Moses climbed as far as he could and depended upon God to COME DOWN to fellowship with him, so also are today's mountain climbers dependent on God to COME DOWN to fellowship with them in the splendor of His glory and holiness.
Be encouraged and hopeful, mountaineers; your hope has reason because we are living in the hour of intervention, and the Lord is already DESCENDING.
He is coming quickly to this earth, and His glory will precede Him. A new millennial day full of the divine light of Jesus Christ is breaking on the horizon as He descends with darkness, that is, the powers of darkness under His feet.
And after you have pressed through those powers of darkness, they shall be under your feet. The destiny of this earth is to be full of the glory of the Lord eventually;
This, of course, will not fully occur till Jesus comes back to earth literally bringing that dimension of glory. The joyful hope for all you mountain climbers and mountain trees is that it is first to appear on the mountaintops as His glory descends.
His light appearing on the mountaintops is evidence the Sun of righteousness has broken the far horizon and will soon be shining in the valleys. And where will the Lord of Zion first choose to establish His throne and dwelling place? And with whom will the Lord choose to make His abode?
Has climbing high wearied you so that it brought you low. We are entering a day when the lowly will be lifted up while the lofty are brought low. The God whose dwelling place is above the stars also chooses to establish His dwelling place with the lowly of spirit.
The Lord is descending to revive your spirit, establish His abode and throne in you, then lift you up to the high places of His purposes.
Just as Jesus climbed Calvary's hill and was brought down to the end of Himself and was revived and exalted to God's throne in heaven, so also will His foot-step followers find the same exaltation in the heavenlies and become
As God's glory envelopes the mountaintops, it will also envelop that uncomely mountain tree life you have endured. Your tree will be embraced, resurrected, and empowered with divine life and living waters. As the Sun of righteousness breaks the far horizon, you will behold it first, causing God's glory to descend upon you.
You will be enraptured and caught up in the Spirit, beholding His glory face to face, thus conforming you to His image. The path the Lord will put you on will surely be a street of gold, yet you will still be walking on earth.
The morning star will arise in your heart, transforming you from a terrestrial glory to a celestial glory. Your tree trunk will become erect, and your life will hereafter always be an upright one. You will no longer be naked as new bark will grow, and you will hereafter be clothed in a heavenly robe of righteousness.
Branches twisted and broken will be restored and will come into divine symmetry. Leaves will grow, which will complement and enhance that special person you are in the natural and glorify the special Person who dwells within by the supernatural.
The Lord will use such leaves for the healing of the nations. Fruit will grow that is abundant and most pleasing to the Father. You will discover that your uncomely mountain tree life has become a Tree of Life through which the ministry of Jesus Christ is once again restored on earth.
Your earthly tree will be uprooted from the limitations of the earthly realm, and you will hereafter be sustained and conveyed in the heavenlies. You will be free to leap over and upon the mountains of this world.
When you descend the mountaintop into the valley of brother trees to share your vision, you have the testimony of a transformed life, a life that ministers HIS life.
Brother trees will marvel that this "something more" in God you have been seeking is real and will challenge them to climb Mount Zion for themselves; this is a paradox only found in the Christian experience.
The lowest, driest, most broken, and most uncomely of trees has become one of the most ornate and beautiful of trees shrouded and protected by the manifest glory of the Lord.
Oh, that the salvation of the Lord should now come out of Zion to revive His mountain climbers and shine upon His mountain trees.