(Ps. 24, Matt 17:2ff, Mark 9:2ff, Luke 9:28ff, Ps. 91)
We might see our lives as an ascent up the mountain of the Lord. But what is that? We are told in Hebrews that we are come to the cloud of witnesses who are in God’s presence. We are come to that heavenly Zion. And to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant. Knowing that the veil is gone and we can access the Lord by the Spirit at any time, is the place we start from. This is the inexplicable reality we know as His children. It is the life that Christ knew as He walked among us before His death and resurrection. If we say we abide in Him, we ought to be walking as He walked. We have periods of growth and fruitfulness. Some seasons seem dry; some we seem to be soaring on His wings. As Bunyan wrote of the Celestial City (heaven) in Pilgrim’s Progress, our lives are a journey up the mountain.
It is an Individual and church-wide reality that we pass through seasons. If one goes on a hike up a mountain, we may find well worn, established trails. Parts of the route may descend to avoid obstacles that are extremely difficult to deal with. The valleys are places where God shows Himself in other ways. Spiritual awareness to see what God is after, what His purpose is along the way, is essential. Lessons and revelations of His glory are available. As He said to all of the seven churches of Asia (Revelation 2 & 3), let those who have ears to hear, pay attention.
According to our personal need and His particular purpose in our lives, we may experience heavenly encounters. I was not sure whether to say may or will experience. As with all spiritual gifts or experiences, the Spirit gives as He wills. He holds and exercises the prerogative. I could go through recorded experiences of such throughout the Bible but will not take the words to do so. You may do that as you like. I will mention one of the most significant that I have mentioned before.
As Jesus knew His crucifixion was drawing near, He took three of His disciples up to a place where He might pray. There those three men, humans like us, saw Jesus Christ in a glorious state along with Elijah and Moses. They were talking about His impending death. The Son of God, the Son of Man, was going to taste death. Think how foreign that is for God to taste the judgement pronounced on Adam. I would think they also would speak of His resurrection for those two with Him had already entered that place. If we think about all this too analytically, it might give us a headache. Let’s hear the story and be strengthened in our faith.
It happened . It was real. Peter reacted in his immaturity. Jesus brought those three to see this and he was making preparation among His living stones whom He would build as His church. Peter wanted to build something on the mountain because that was what he knew. Later Jesus would shift it all by the outpouring of His Spirit. We are learning not to do what Peter suggested because we have years of building that which is not heavenly. Among us are those who have had experiences like they had on that mountain. And others among us have encountered angels.
Sometime around 1990, I was praying in my living room and knew a strong presence. I saw nothing but was afraid for I believed angels had come. Rather I might say my spirit was aware of those who are always present. Many years later, about 2015, I knew a season of angelic encounters. Some of these taught me how they cooperate with us as they minister to others who are coming toward the Lord. Other visions of angels were related to God’s care for me as I passed through an emotional breakdown. While I could share specifics, I think it would not help you. Rather, I would have you be aware. As Jesus told them on the mountain to tell no one till after He was raised from the dead. So I will hold details.
Know this, as Ps. 91 tells us, He gives angels charge over us to guard us in every way. That is for those who dwell in His shelter, who abide in the true vine. May we stay close, awake, and alert. If we have heard Him call us to come higher, let’s say yes and begin to go up the mountain that represents the pursuit of His presence. And if we have not heard such a call. Let us pray like the one in Song of Songs, “Draw me, and we will run after You.” Once we catch a glimpse of Him, we will never be satisfied with less than Himself. He desires it more than we. That’s why He came.