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North American Baptist Conference 48th Triennial Awesome God, Amazing Place


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Title: North American Baptist Conference 48th Triennial Awesome God, Amazing Place

North American Baptist Conference48th
TriennialAwesome God, Amazing Place
  • Bible Study Sessions
  • Of God and Mountains
  • Prepared by Jerry Shepherd
  • Associate Professor of Old Testament
  • Taylor Seminary

Of God and Mountains
  • Thursday Session One
  • Majesty and Mystery
  • Friday Session Two
  • Paradise and Paradox
  • Saturday Session Three
  • Redemption and Relocation

Of God and Mountains
  • Session One
  • Majesty and Mystery

I. Majesty
  • 1. God Existed before the Mountains
  • Psalm 902
  • Before the mountains were born or you brought
    forth the earth and the world, from everlasting
    to everlasting you are God

2. God Created the Mountains
  • Psalm 656
  • by your strength you established the
    mountains (NRSV)
  • Psalm 954
  • the heights of the mountains belong to him
  • Amos 413
  • the one who forms the mountains

3. The Mountains Are Immeasurable How Much More
So Is God!
  • Isaiah 4012
  • Who has measured the waters in the hollow of
    his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked
    off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the
    earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on
    the scales and the hills in a balance?

4. God Terrifies the Mountains
  • Deuteronomy 3222
  • sets on fire the foundation of the mountains
  • Judges 55
  • The mountains quaked before the LORD, the One
    of Sinai, before the LORD, the God of Israel.

  • Job 95
  • He moves mountains without their knowing it
    and overturns them in his anger.
  • Psalm 187
  • The earth trembled and quaked, and the
    foundations of the mountains shook they trembled
    because he was angry

  • Psalm 975
  • The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
    before the Lord of all the earth
  • Psalm 10432
  • The Lord is the one who looks at the earth, and
    it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they

  • Micah 13-4
  • Look! The LORD is coming from his dwelling
    place he comes down and treads the high places
    of the earth.
  • The mountains melt beneath him and the valleys
    split apart, like wax before the fire, like
    water rushing down a slope.

  • Nahum 15
  • The mountains quake before him        and the
    hills melt away.  The earth trembles at his
    presence,        the world and all who live in

  • Habakkuk 36, 10
  • He stood, and shook the earth        he
    looked, and made the nations tremble.       
    The ancient mountains crumbled        and the
    age-old hills collapsed.        His ways are
  • The mountains saw you, and writhed

5. The Mountains Stand as Symbols of Gods Power
and Protection
  • Psalm 1211-2
  • I lift up my eyes to the hillswhere does my
    help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the
    Maker of heaven and earth
  • Psalm 1252
  • As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the
    LORD surrounds his people both now and

6. The Mountains Stand as Symbols of Gods
Sovereignty, Awesomeness, Righteousness, and
  • Mount Sinai and the giving of the Law
  • Psalm 366
  • Your righteousness is like the mighty

  • Jesus
  • Temptation on the pinnacle of the Temple and on
    a high mountain
  • Sermon on the Mount
  • Teaching from the Mount of Olives
  • Goes up on a mountain and calls and his twelve
    Apostles to him
  • Mount of Transfiguration
  • Ascension and Great Commission

7. The Mountains Join in the Praise of God
  • Psalm 988
  • Let the mountains sing together for joy
  • Psalm 1487-9
  • Praise the LORD from the earth . . . you
    mountains and all hills

  • Isaiah 4423
  • Burst into song, you mountains
  • Isaiah 5512
  • You will go out in joy        and be led
    forth in peace        the mountains and hills
           will burst into song before you,       
    and all the trees of the field        will clap
    their hands

8. The Mountain of the Last Days
  • Isaiah 21-3
  • In the last days        the mountain of the
    LORD's temple will be established        as
    chief among the mountains   it will be raised
    above the hills,        and all nations will
    stream to it.

  • Many peoples will come and say,        Come,
    let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
           to the house of the God of Jacob.
           He will teach us his ways,        so
    that we may walk in his paths.       The law
    will go out from Zion,        the word of the
    LORD from Jerusalem.

  • Isaiah 256-8
  • On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare
           a feast of rich food for all peoples,
           a banquet of aged wine        the best
    of meats and the finest of wines. 

  • On this mountain he will destroy        the
    shroud that enfolds all peoples,        the
    sheet that covers all nations
  • he will swallow up death forever.
  • The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
    from all faces   he will remove the disgrace
    of his people from all the earth.       
    The LORD has spoken.

II. Mystery
  • Alan Hovhaness, composer of Mysterious Mountain
  • Mountains are symbols, like pyramids, of mans
    attempt to know God. Mountains are symbolic
    meeting places between the mundane and spiritual

In the Ancient Near East, gods were thought to
live on mountains
  • Several passages in the Old Testament suggest
    that both Israelites and foreigners believed this
    was also the case with Israels God

  • Exodus 31 the mountain of God
  • Deuteronomy 332 the LORD came from Sinai
  • Judges 55 the LORD, the One of Sinai
  • 1 Kings 2028 Israels God was believed to be
    a god of the hills

Sacrifices typically offered on mountains
  • Noah Genesis 9
  • Abraham Genesis 22
  • Elijah 1 Kings 18
  • Numerous references to high places

Plans for Tabernacle/Temple Given on Mountains
  • Moses Exodus 2540 2630 278 Hebrews 85
  • Ezekiel Ezekiel 402
  • John Revelation 2110

Death/Suffering Ordeals on the Mountain
  • Aaron Numbers 2027-28
  • Moses Numbers 2712 Deuteronomy 34
  • Jephthahs Daughter Judges 11
  • Saul 1 Samuel 31
  • David on the Mount of Olives 2 Samuel 15
  • Jesus on the Mount of Olives
  • Jesus on Calvary

Mountains Are Places to Meet God
  • Moses
  • Elijah
  • Jesus

Exodus 3318348
  • 18Then Moses said, Now show me your glory.
  •  19And the LORD said, I will cause all my
    goodness to pass in front of you, and I will
    proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I
    will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I
    will have compassion on whom I will have
    compassion. 20But, he said, you cannot see my
    face, for no one may see me and live.

  • 21Then the LORD said, There is a place near me
    where you may stand on a rock. 22When my glory
    passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock
    and cover you with my hand until I have passed
    by. 23Then I will remove my hand and you will see
    my back but my face must not be seen.

  • 1The LORD said to Moses, Chisel out two stone
    tablets like the first ones, and I will write on
    them the words that were on the first tablets,
    which you broke. 2Be ready in the morning, and
    then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to
    me there on top of the mountain. 3No one is to
    come with you or be seen anywhere on the
    mountain not even the flocks and herds may graze
    in front of the mountain.

  • 4So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the
    first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the
    morning, as the LORD had commanded him and he
    carried the two stone tablets in his hands. 5Then
    the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there
    with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. 6And
    he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming,

  • The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and
    gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love
    and faithfulness, 7maintaining love to thousands,
    and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet
    he does not leave the guilty unpunished he
    punishes the children and their children for the
    sin of the fathers to the third and fourth
  • 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and

Exodus 204-6
  • 4You shall not make for yourself an idol in the
    form of anything in heaven above or on the earth
    beneath or in the waters below. 5You shall not
    bow down to them or worship them for I, the LORD
    your God, am a jealous God, punishing the
    children for the sin of the fathers to the third
    and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6but
    showing love to a thousand generations of those
    who love me and keep my commandments.

Of God and Mountains
  • Session Two
  • Paradise and Paradox

I. Paradise
  • There is a very interesting Garden of Eden/Mount
    Zion connection established by several Old
    Testament texts

Ezekiel 2813-14
  • 13You were in Eden,        the garden of God
           every precious stone adorned you       
    ruby, topaz and emerald,        chrysolite, onyx
    and jasper,        sapphire, turquoise and
    beryl.        Your settings and mountings were
    made of gold        on the day you were
    created they were prepared.

  • 14You were anointed as (or with) a guardian
    cherub,        for so I ordained you.       
    You were on the holy mount of God        you
    walked among the fiery stones.
  • Note the two location references
  • Eden, the garden of God
  • the holy Mount of God

Genesis 210-14
  • 10A river watering the garden flowed from Eden
    from there it was separated into four headwaters.
    11The name of the first is the Pishon it winds
    through the entire land of Havilah, where there
    is gold. 12(The gold of that land is good
    aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13The
    name of the second river is the Gihon it winds
    through the entire land of Cush. 14The name of
    the third river is the Tigris it runs along the
    east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the

The Gihon
  • 1 Kings 133, 38, 45
  • 2 Chronicles 3230
  • 2 Chronicles 3314

A River Runs Through It
  • Psalm 464
  • Ezekiel 471-12
  • Zechariah 148
  • Joel 318

The Center of the Whole Earth
  • Ezekiel 3812
  • I will plunder and loot and turn my hand
    against the resettled ruins and the people
    gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and
    goods, living at the center tabbur of the
  • Judges 937
  • But Gaal spoke up again Look, people are
    coming down from the center tabbur of the land,
    and a company is coming from the direction of the
    soothsayers tree.

What does tabbur mean?
  • tabbur navel of the earth
  • In other words, if any people have ever had the
    right to be a society of navel-gazers,
    belly-button inspectors, it was the inhabitants
    of Jerusalem, Mount Zion.

Zion, Gods Holy Hill, the Place WhereGod Dwells
  • Psalm 26 Zion, my holy hill
  • Psalm 34 his holy hill
  • Psalm 911 Sing praises to the LORD, enthroned
    in Zion
  • Psalm 433 your holy mountain . . . the place
    where you dwell
  • Psalm 481 the city of our God, his holy

  • Ezekiel 2040 my holy mountain
  • Joel 21 my holy mountain
  • Psalm 742 Mount Zion where you came to dwell
  • Isaiah 818 the LORD who dwells on Mount Zion
  • Joel 317 I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion,
    my holy mountain
  • Psalm 7854 And he brought them to his holy
    hill, to the mountain that his right hand had won

  • Psalm 7868 Mount Zion which he loves
  • Psalm 872 The LORD loves the gates of Zion
    more than all the dwellings of Jacob
  • Psalm 1251 Mount Zion which cannot be moved,
    but abides forever
  • Exodus 1517 the mountain of his inheritance
  • Jeremiah 3123 The LORD bless you, O righteous
    dwelling, O sacred mountain

  • Psalm 6816 Why gaze in envy, O rugged
    mountains, at the place where God chooses to
    reign, where the LORD will dwell forever?
  • Psalm 13213 For the LORD has chosen Zion, he
    has desired it for his dwelling
  • Psalm 482 It is beautiful in its loftiness,
    the joy of the whole earth
  • Psalm 502 Zion, perfect in beauty

  • Psalms 120-134 The Songs of Ascents
  • Mossad LeAliyah Bet

II. Paradox
  • Why does Isaiah say in Isaiah 22 that the
    mountain of the LORDs house will be established
    as chief among the mountains, and that it will
    be raised above the hills?

  • At barely 2400 feet above sea level, Mount Zion
    hardly qualifies as a mountain. Its more like a
    glorified hill.
  • There are many mountains in Israel that are
    taller than Mount Zion -- remember again Psalm
  • As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the
    LORD surrounds his people both now and

Ancient Empires (area in sq. miles)
  • Hittites 260,000
  • Egyptians 360,000?
  • Assyrians 400,000?
  • Babylonians 750,000?
  • Persians 2,400,000
  • Greeks 1,000,000
  • Romans 2,400,000
  • Israelites 9,500

Psalm 87
  • 1He has set his foundation on the holy mountain
  • 2the LORD loves the gates of Zion        more
    than all the dwellings of Jacob.
  • 3Glorious things are said of you,        O city
    of God

  • 4I will record Rahab and Babylon        among
    those who acknowledge me       Philistia too,
    and Tyre, along with Cush       and will say,
    This one was born in Zion.
  • 5Indeed, of Zion it will be said,        This
    one and that one were born in her,        and
    the Most High himself will establish her.

  • 6The LORD will write in the register of the
  •        This one was born in Zion
  • 7As they make music they will sing,
  •        All my fountains are in you.

Of God and Mountains
  • Session Three
  • Redemption and Relocation

Matthew 21-6
  • 1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea,
    during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east
    came to Jerusalem 2and asked, Where is the one
    who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his
    star in the east and have come to worship him.
  • 3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and
    all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called
    together all the peoples chief priests and
    teachers of the law, he asked them where the
    Christ was to be born.

  • In Bethlehem in Judea, they replied, for this
    is what the prophet has written
  • 6 But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
          are by no means least among the rulers of
    Judah     for out of you will come a ruler
          who will be the shepherd of my people

  • Why was Jesus born in Bethlehem?
  • Answer
  • Because he wasnt born in Jerusalem

Micah 39-12
  • 9Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob,
           you rulers of the house of Israel,
           who despise justice        and distort
    all that is right
  • 10who build Zion with bloodshed,        and
    Jerusalem with wickedness.

  • 11 Her leaders judge for a bribe,        her
    priests teach for a price,        and her
    prophets tell fortunes for money.        Yet
    they lean upon the LORD and say,        Is not
    the LORD among us?        No disaster will come
    upon us.
  • 12Therefore because of you,        Zion will be
    plowed like a field,        Jerusalem will
    become a heap of rubble,        the temple hill
    a mound overgrown with thickets.

Correspondences betweenExodus 1-2 and Matthew 1-2
  • Pharaoh attempts to kill all the Hebrew boy
    babies in Egypt. But Moses, the one who will
    lead the Israelites out of Egypt, is rescued
  • Herod attempts to kill all the boy babies in
    Bethlehem. But Jesus, the one who will redeem
    his people from their sins, is rescued

  • As an adult, Moses flees from Egypt in order to
    escape the wrath of Pharaoh
  • Jesus escapes the wrath of King Herod when his
    family flees and takes Jesus down to Egypt
  • Of course, the irony in all this is that Moses
    flees away from Egypt Jesus flees to Egypt
  • Furthermore, Moses flees from an Egyptian king
    Jesus flees from an Israelite king

Galatians 421-26
  • 21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are
    you not aware of what the law says? 22For it is
    written that Abraham had two sons, one by the
    slave woman and the other by the free woman.
    23His son by the slave woman was born in the
    ordinary way but his son by the free woman was
    born as the result of a promise.

  • 24These things may be taken figuratively, for the
    women represent two covenants. One covenant is
    from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be
    slaves This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for
    Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the
    present city of Jerusalem, because she is in
    slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem
    that is above is free, and she is our mother.

Revelation 118
  • Their bodies will lie in the street of the
    great city, which is figuratively called Sodom
    and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.

Two Jerusalems
  • The present city of Jerusalem
  • In slavery
  • Mt. Sinai in Arabia
  • A different Jerusalem
  • Above
  • Is free

John 419-24
  • 19Sir, the woman said, I can see that you are
    a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this
    mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where
    we must worship is in Jerusalem.
  • 21Jesus declared, Believe me, woman, a time is
    coming when you will worship the Father neither
    on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You
    Samaritans worship what you do not know we
    worship what we do know, for salvation is from
    the Jews.

  • 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the
    true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit
    and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers
    the Father seeks.
  • 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship
    in spirit and in truth.

Hebrews 1218-24
  • 18You have not come to a mountain that can be
    touched and that is burning with fire to
    darkness, gloom and storm 19to a trumpet blast
    or to such a voice speaking words that those who
    heard it begged that no further word be spoken to
    them, 20because they could not bear what was
    commanded If even an animal touches the
    mountain, it must be stoned. 21The sight was so
    terrifying that Moses said, I am trembling with

  • 22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the
    heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.
    You have come to thousands upon thousands of
    angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the
    firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You
    have come to God, the judge of all men, to the
    spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus
    the mediator of a new covenant, and to the
    sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than
    the blood of Abel.

  • God has rejected the old Jerusalem
  • He is building a new Jerusalem
  • This new Jerusalem has no other designated
    location except that it is from above
  • There is no longer any such place as the holy

  • We are building the new Jerusalem
  • It is located every place in which the people of
    God meet together and do his will
  • We do, however, still live in a world that would
    prefer that the new Jerusalem not be built
  • We still live in the already, but not yet
  • The task set before us is not an easy one

2 Corinthians 312-18
  • 12Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are
    very bold. 13We are not like Moses, who would put
    a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from
    gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.

  • 14But their minds were made dull, for to this day
    the same veil remains when the old covenant is
    read. It has not been removed, because only in
    Christ is it taken away. 15Even to this day when
    Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16But
    whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is
    taken away.

  • 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the
    Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And
    we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the
    Lord's glory, are being transformed into his
    likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes
    from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

John 1415-18
  • 15If you love me, you will obey what I command.
    16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you
    another Counselor to be with you forever 17the
    Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him,
    because it neither sees him nor knows him. But
    you know him, for he lives with you and will be
    in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans I
    will come to you.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ
  • Acts 167 the Spirit of Jesus
  • Romans 82 the law of the Spirit of life in
    Christ Jesus (NRSV)
  • Romans 89 the Spirit of Christ
  • 2 Corinthians 317 the Spirit of the Lord
  • Galatians 46 the Spirit of his Son
  • Philippians 119 the Spirit of Jesus Christ
  • 1 Peter 111 the Spirit of Christ

Lewis B. Smedes, Union with Christ (Grand Rapids
Eerdmans, 1983), pp. 44-45.
  • 1. We are sealed in Christ (Ephesians 113)
  • We are sealed in the Spirit (Ephesians 430)
  • 2. We are consecrated in Christ Jesus (1
    Corinthians 12)
  • We are consecrated in the Spirit (Romans

  • 3. We are righteous in Christ (Philippians 38-9)
  • We are righteous in the Holy Spirit (Romans
  • We are righteous in both (1 Corinthians 611)
  • 4. We have life through Christ (Ephesians 25
    Colossians 34)
  • We have life through the Holy Spirit (Romans

  • 5. We have hope grounded in Christ (1
    Corinthians 1519)
  • We have hope grounded in the power of the
    Spirit (Romans 55 Galatians 55 68)
  • 6. Christ is the alternative to the law of sin
    and death (Romans 104)
  • The Spirit is the alternative to the law of sin
    and death (Romans 82)

  • 7. We are commanded to stand fast in the Lord
    (Philippians 41)
  • We are commanded to stand fast in one Spirit
    (Philippians 127)
  • 8. We are told to rejoice in the Lord
    (Philippians 44)
  • We are told to have joy in the Holy Spirit
    (Romans 1417)

  • 9. We are told to live in Christ (Colossians 26)
  • We are told to walk in the Spirit (Ephesians
    43 Galatians 525)
  • 10. Paul speaks the truth in Christ (Romans 91
    2 Corinthians 217)
  • Paul speaks the truth in the Spirit (1
    Corinthians 123)

  • 11. We are called into the fellowship of Christ
    (1 Corinthians 19)
  • We are blessed with the fellowship of the Holy
    Spirit (2 Corinthians 1314)
  • The role of the Holy Spirit is to unite us to
    Christ and to reproduce the life of Christ in us.
  • The Spirit-filled Christian, or the Spirit-filled
    Church, is the person or Church that reproduces
    the life of Christ.