Fall 2007 Magazine: Two High Mountains
Author: John Triplett
Publish date:
 
 
Which mountain will you choose?
There are many differences between God’s Kingdom and the devil’s kingdom. But, in this article I would like to focus on one particular theme that is often overlooked.

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12).


When the people of God are described that are living in the last days, the word patience is used. Why is this? Why is the word patience used to describe God’s people?
   
I would like to submit to you a principle regarding the two kingdoms, God’s and Satan’s, that will help us better understand why the word patience is used to describe God’s last day people. Let us begin my looking at Matthew 4:8-9:

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of this world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.


Here we see Jesus fasting in the wilderness in our behalf. He is going through a terrible ordeal and at His weakest moment He is tempted by the devil. This is the same way the devil comes to us as well. At our weakest moments his temptations are the most difficult to withstand, but he is no match for the Word of God, and when the Word of God is buried like a treasure in our hearts he is a vanquished foe.
   
But, I would like to direct your attention to the very last temptation in the wilderness. His last temptation was in essence, “I will give you everything now, if you will worship me.” This is how the devil’s kingdom operates. He offers immediate gratification and immediate pleasure.

He is the god of the immediate, and the enthronement of selfish desires is central to his kingdom. Selfishness and immediate gratification cannot be separated. They cannot life without the other, and the tragic news is that the whole world has bought into this philosophy.

I remember as a child when I had my heart set on a new toy. I begged my parents for it, and when they finally caved into my childlike persuasion I was very happy with my new toy for a while. But, after a few days it lost its appeal, and something else caught my fancy. Many of us have carried this same mentality into our adult life and have embraced the kingdom of the devil without even being aware of it. The devil’s kingdom is all about self and the pleasures of now. God’s Kingdom is about selflessness and pleasure forevermore.

 

Consider Pharaoh and Moses. Pharaoh lived a life filled with selfish carnal pleasure and he is in some dusty tomb in a museum that will ultimately be destroyed during the millennium. Moses lived a life devoted to God in selfless labor, and has pleasures forevermore in heaven.

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward (Hebrews 11:24-26).


There is no doubt that sin has pleasure, for if it did not no one would enjoy it. But, sin only lasts for a season. The pleasures that God has are far more noble in nature and bring lasting contentment and true joy. In fact, they are so grand and so deep they will intensify throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.

But, let’s return to the passage in Matthew 4:


Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of this world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.


This is an amazing scene. Here the Creator of the universe is taken by one of the beings that He created. That created being has the audacity to say, “I will give you this world, if you worship me.” The very first sentence is interesting to me. The devil took Jesus up to an exceeding high mountain. This high mountain was Satan’s secret weapon.

He tried in vain during the first two temptations and now he employs his most cunning and vile deception. He offers Jesus immediate pleasure, immediate gratification. And this is shown clearly on this high mountain. This high mountain is in essence how the kingdom of darkness operates; selfish desire is made the center of the life. But, this is not the only time the phrase “high mountain” is used:

And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God (Revelation 21:10).


Note the similarities between Matthew 4:8 and Revelation 21:10. Both Jesus and John were taken to high mountains and both of them were shown something. Jesus was shown the glories of this present world and John was shown the New Jerusalem. If you want to have this world you can have it now, or if you want to have patience you can inherit the New Jerusalem, along with the new heaven and new Earth.

But, we also can have pleasure now in God’s economy also. The pleasure of the world is like fools’ gold, it looks really good to the beholder, but at the end of the day it is a mirage, a counterfeit. The pleasure of God is unparalleled and unprecedented. Nothing on this earth can even remotely compare with knowing with all your heart that God is a real being, who loves you and wants the very best for your life.

Which mountains do you want to identify with? The mountain of having all that this world has to offer, or the mountain of patience and learning in the school of Christ?

One results in 72 years of vain pleasure here on this earth as it is. The second, living with Jesus for all eternity, enjoying real pleasures for evermore. The choice is up to you.

 

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