The Heavens Do Rule (continued)
Symbols of Spiritual Ascendency
Mountains have an important place in Matthew's Gospel, and this is significant in the Gospel which introduces the Church: for the Church has got to be seen in spiritual altitude, out of the world in spirit, and out of the world as to voluntary connection with it: for a true seeing of the Church it must be seen from the standpoint of its altitude, which is - "with Christ far above all," that is how God sees it, and only so is it the instrument of the administration of that sovereignty invested in the Sovereign Head of the Church: the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mountains are mentioned fourteen times in Matthew, and mountains in the Scriptures represent spiritual ascendency. The Lord is governing things from the mountains in Matthew; we read of Him spending nights in prayer in the mountains. He appoints a place in a mountain to meet them when risen from the dead, and he risen has put His Church in the mountains: "The disciples went ... unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them ... and Jesus came to them ... saying, all authority hath been given unto Me in heaven and on earth ... go ye therefore ... lo, I am with you all the days even unto the consummation of the age" (Matthew 28:16-20).
"And it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow into it" (Isaiah 2:2). The Church in its administrative position is always related to the heavens, and the Lord meets the Church and commissions it in the mountains before He passes up in glory. Judgment is also from the mountains: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ... how often would I have gathered thy children together ... and ye would not! Behold, your house is left desolate" (Matthew 23:37-38).
The end of Matthew's Gospel sees Jerusalem set aside, ignored - "The eleven disciples went into Galilee unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them" (Matthew 28:16). Here the Lord is speaking to them of sovereignty: but sovereignty as related to the nations. Galilee is a question of sovereignty, not grace: it is grace that takes Jerusalem in - "He led them out until over against Bethany, and lifted up His hands and blessed them, and was carried up into Heaven, and they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy" (Luke 24:50-53). Only grace takes Jerusalem in, sovereignty sets authority aside as to having its base in Jerusalem, and brings all sovereignty into the Person of the Lord Jesus: and He in a mountain in Galilee away from Jerusalem. It is the authority of the Person of Christ, the authority is not Jerusalem but in HIM and HE is universal, not merely local.
Luke begins at Jerusalem, and grace continued in Jerusalem until they slew Stephen, when they committed the sin against the Holy Spirit, and the Lord moved out from Jerusalem to the Gentiles, i.e. the nations: but first He gained a company out of Jerusalem at Pentecost in relation to all nations. Wonderful grace to those who crucified Him. He could have chased them off, but no! He got His representative nucleus out from Jerusalem: here is sovereign grace at work!
Again He did the same thing in a member of Christ, thereby showing who touches a member of the Body of Christ, directly touches Christ HIMSELF: "Saul, Saul why persecutest thou ME?" Saul was persecuting Him in the person of Stephen and sinning against the Holy Spirit; and the Lord moved out from heaven. Grace strove with Saul until he became Paul.
The Lord does not recognize authority as having its seat in Jerusalem, but in dealing with authority to all nations He moves into Galilee. Matthew brings in authority as invested in the Person of our Lord Jesus, then brings in the Church as the administrative instrument of that authority, and lifts it out of the earth, bringing it into the heavenlies and the universal. A Remnant, an Elect Company, an Overcomer Vessel, a Called Out People, or whatever you like to name them, has to be brought into position of spiritual altitude and ascendency, and so have administrative government in the nations; but it is the sovereignty in Grace, in this age it is a Throne of Grace. And the sovereign grace of God in Christ Jesus is being proclaimed to the nations and calling out from them a people for His name.
(continued with # 9 - (2. Heavens)