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Mountain-top experiences

Mountains often had a significant role in God’s dealings with His people. In the English language we have the expression “mountain-top experience”. This expression has originated from the Bible because of the dealings God had with His people on various “mountain-tops”. So the phrase has come to mean a moment of transcendence – or epiphany; and in particular an experience of significant revelation given by God.

It was on the Mountains of Ararat that Noah’s ark came to rest after the Flood (see Genesis 8:4). God made a covenant with Noah there.

On one of the mountains in the region of Moriah God asked Abraham to make a sacrifice of his only son Isaac and God provided the Ram as a substitute (see Genesis 22:2). Later Solomon would build the temple on Mount Moriah – the place where substitutionary sacrifices would be offered until Jesus came. See 2 Chronicles 3:1.

On Mount Sinai (also known as Mt. Horeb) God revealed His character to Moses and gave him the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 19:16-20:12).

On Mt. Carmel Elijah challenged the false prophets of Baal to a contest to see which God would answer by fire. Of course it was the Lord who demonstrated His power that day (see 1 Kings 18). And after the great contest when Elijah ran for his life he travelled to Mt. Horeb and God met with him there in the “still small voice” (KJV) or “gentle whisper” (NIV) see 1 Kings 19.

Jesus taught His disciples on the Mount of Olives (see Matthew 24:3) and He was transfigured on a mountain (see Mark 9:2). It shouldn't surprise us that Moses and Elijah (who both had their own mountain-top experiences) were seen talking with Jesus on that mountain.

And we must not forget Mount Zion – the place where King David built his city (later called Jerusalem). Where God is said to dwell (Isaiah 8:18). Mt Zion figuratively points forward to the new heaven and new earth where all true believers will one day be welcomed into God’s dwelling place forever. See Hebrews 12:22 and Revelation 14:1.

So Mountains are symbolic of God's revelation to man. God gives the “mountain-top experience” in order to sustain His people as they go down into the valley! His revelation is always intended to help us journey with Him more closely on the road ahead.

For Moses that journey was to lead God's people to the Promised Land. For Elijah it was to confront wickedness in the land and appoint the next prophet. For Jesus it was the journey to the cross and for us it is a journey from the cross to the New Jerusalem.