From the Mountain

From the Mountain May 11, 2016

John is carried by the Spirit to a “great and high mountain” (Revelation 21:9-10), where he sees new Jerusalem descend from heaven. It’s the last mountain in Bible, in line with Eden, Sinai, Zion, Moriah, Tabor, Olives. The link with Sinai is especially important, but not because this is a law-giving scene. Rather, this vision picks up on the revelation of the tabernacle pattern to Moses, the tabnit on the mountain, the “pattern” after which the sanctuary is to be built. This scene is important for understanding artistic creation.

Yahweh shows Moses the pattern for the tabernacle – perhaps a sort of blueprint, perhaps a model. Something on the mountain, in the presence of the glory of God, sets the pattern for what Moses will build at the foot of the mountain. Heaven is where things happen first, and once they have been achieved in heaven, they are brought to earth.

In Exodus, the description of the form and furnishings of the tabernacle is laid out in seven speeches from God to Moses, which roughly follow the order of the days of creation. God speaks a new world into existence by these seven speeches, the world-model of the tabernacle, which is an architectural universe, and the new world in which the tabernacle exists.

But this new world isn’t created simply by the speech of God. God speaks to Moses, Moses has to instruct the craftsmen, and the craftsmen have to do the work. This is mediated creation, God creating a new world through the mediation of human beings!

And that is the position that John is in as well: He is a new Moses on a great and high mountain, seeing the visions of the bridal city from heaven. He delivers this vision to us, and the vision is realized on earth as we make according to the pattern on the mountain. God speaks a new world into being from heaven, but He brings that Word into reality by the breath of the Spirit that works in and through us.

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