Picture yourself for a moment in the wilderness at the foot of Mt. Sinai with the Israelites. You’ve been told that you’re going to meet with God – that He is actually going to come down and talk to you. It’s a clear, hot day but suddenly there is thunder and lightening and a thick cloud coming down onto the mountain. The piercing blast of a ram’s horn sounds above the noise of the thunder. But this is not one of the priests blowing the shofar. No, the sound is coming from above you and it’s growing louder and louder until it merges with your spirit and brings you to your knees. Now the ground begins to rumble and quake beneath you and fire breaks out on top of the mountain. Then, as you lay terrified on the ground clinging to the roots of a large tree, you hear the loud, clear voice of the living God.
This was not just a supernatural, spiritual experience or a vision. This literally happened to every one of the Israelites who came out of Egypt.
God’s deep desire has always been a close fellowship with man, the kind He enjoyed with Adam and Eve in the garden before the fall. He chose Israel to be a holy people separated unto Himself. He planned to come and dwell in the midst of them and be their God. He had revealed Himself through the miracles of Egypt and the escape into the wilderness. He showed Himself in the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that travelled with them. He supplied numerous miracles in the wilderness to sustain them. But He longed to be closer to them. Finally He told Moses to prepare them to meet with Him.
After all the preparation was finished, “on the third day, it being morning, it happened. There were thunders and lightnings, and a heavy cloud on the mountain, and the sound of a ram’s horn, very strong! And all the people in the camp trembled. And the mountain of Sinai was smoking, all of it, because Jehovah came down on it in fire. And its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace; and the mountain quaked exceedingly. And it happened while the sound of the ram’s horn was sounding, and becoming very strong, Moses spoke. And God answered him by a voice. ” (Ex. 19:16-19 Literal Translation)
A careful reading of Exodus 20 and the parallel passage of Deuteronomy 5 reveals that this was the time when God gave them the 10 commandments. I had always pictured God giving them to Moses on the mountain, then Moses coming down to read them to the people. But God says clearly to Moses, “Say to the children of Israel, you have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.” [Ex. 20:22] In chapter 5 of Deuteronomy Moses is relating their history to them and tells the whole story of how they saw the mountain on fire and heard the voice of the Lord giving them the commandments. He also reminds them of their response. They were terrified and told Moses to hear from God then tell them what He said so they wouldn’t die.
So God’s plan of closer fellowship was rejected by them and God gave them what they asked for. Now He talked to Moses and Moses told them what God said. The Lord spoke His heart on the matter later through Jeremiah (Jer.7:22-24) when He said that His first plan was obedience to His voice rather than sacrifice. His original goal was always a close, intimate relationship with man. But since they rejected the relationship He desired, another system with laws had to be put in place for their own protection.
The lesson here is about relationship once again. Our own fears can keep us from the presence of God. The book of Hebrews tells us that Moses was fearful as well. (Heb.12:21) But evidently His hunger and passion for God was greater than his fear. The voice of the Spirit within us always whispers, “You were made for this.”
When we allow God’s perfect love to cast out our fear, (1 Jn. 4:18 ) when we hunger and thirst for Him more than anything else, we can be drawn into a depth of relationship with Him that others only dream of.
In the next posting we will look at Moses reaction to the same fiery mountain. (Ex. 19:20) “The Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.”
Are you aware that there are scriptural accounts of people who were so close to God that they were literally sucked off the face of the planet? Some actually bypassed death and were simply taken away to Heaven.
There are only a few scriptures about the life and experience of Enoch. But the little that is said is amazing.
The Good News Bible says that “he spent his life in fellowship with God and then he disappeared because God took him away.” Gen. 5:24
Could this kind of relationship be possible for us today? In the New Testament, the writer of Hebrews even makes mention of this in the “Hall of Faith” chapter:
“It was faith that kept Enoch from dying. Instead, he was taken up to God, and nobody could find him, because God had taken him up. The scripture says that before Enoch was taken up, he had pleased God.” Heb. 11:5 Good News Bible
In Genesis chapter 5 we find the list of genealogies stating his family and their ages. Enoch was only 7 generations from Adam. He was born when Adam was 622 years old. Adam lived to be 930. Enoch lived 365 years and was taken up. So Adam and Enoch had 308 years together.
It is safe to assume that most of the population was still in a somewhat limited area since the scattering at the tower of Babel had not yet occurred. It would also be natural to assume that families and extended families lived near each other. History tells us that families eventually became clans. So it is likely that Enoch and his patriarchal grandfather Adam would have spent time together. I can picture little Enoch on Adam’s knee as Adam related experiences of walking in the garden with God. [see footnote] Something in Enoch’s heart responded. A desire was born to be that kind of friend with the Lord.
The main point of the life of Enoch is that he walked so closely with God. Finally the Lord just bypassed death and translated him directly to Heaven. What a relationship! And apparently, according to Enoch’s own writings, this was not the first of such experiences for he had been taken away in the Spirit and received revelation many times before. He sets an example of deep spiritual intimacy and of travelling back and forth from here to Heavenly realms that is available to us as well.
I know beyond a doubt that God still wants this kind of close relationship with every one of us – and even more. There are many scriptures that tell us of how much He desires to be with us, in us and have us near Him. (2 Cor. 6:16,18, Eph.3:17,19 Amp., John 17:24) The same relationship that Enoch had … and Moses and David and Paul and countless others in the scripture … is available to us today. We may even actually get so close that He would rather have us there in Heaven with Him all the time.
I once heard a childrens minister explaining this story:
“One day Enoch and God were out for a walk and they walked so far that the Lord said, “Enoch, we are closer to My house now than we are to yours. Why don’t you just come home with Me?” And so he did. ”
How does this happen? In Enoch’s case it seemed to be the result of a lifetime of walking with God and pleasing Him. (Gen. 5:24) Any one of us can do that. The goal is to see how close to the Lord we can come, how deeply we can enter into His presence. We can even be carried away into Heavenly realms and receive wisdom and revelation to bring back here. And we thought space was the final frontier!
Footnote – We know that Adam fell and was punished and expelled from the garden. But after the fall in Gen. 3:21 God “made clothes of animal skins for Adam and his wife and He clothed them.” It was God Himself who made the first animal sacrifice, pointing forward to the sacrificial system under the Law and further to the sacrifice of His own Son. So Adam’s sin was atoned for like the other saints of the Old Testament and he was able to have a relationship with God once again. He must have taught his children and grandchildren the ways of the Lord. If not, none of them could have ever walked with God.
The reality of Heavenly realms is waiting to be discovered all around us. We were created from the dust of this earth and the very breath of God, making us creatures of both realms with the ability to function in either realm. (Gen. 2:7)
Though it often seems like a vague dream, all it takes is one experience, one vision, one encounter with the Lord to open our eyes to His truth. (Mt.10:7, Mt. 13:1, II Cor. 12:2-4, Rev. 4:1) The following prophetic experience illustrated this clearly to me and I’d like to share it with you. In fact, I’m inviting you to come along for the ride!
Reclining under the palm trees listening to the tide come in, I closed my eyes to look for the familiar Heavenly portal I had entered several times before. Soon I sensed it open all around me and I felt my spirit being carried aloft.
At the top of the portal I found myself standing in a blue sky where the wind was blowing my hair and garments and the air smelled fresh and clean. It was like being released from a cage and my first impulse was joyous flight. Higher and higher I flew until I was soaring and gliding effortlessly on the changing currents in this marvellous wind.
Although I did not see the Lord, I was very conscious of His presence. Unexpectedly He broke the silence with this amazing announcement.
“From here, you can go anywhere!”
His words released such freedom in me that I soared even higher. I could hear His obvious delight as He continued.
“I can take you into the past, the present or the future. (see footnote below) You can ascend into the throne room or go wherever I send you on the earth.”
My heart was almost bursting within me. He was teaching me to rise up on the wings of the Spirit and fly away into His realm as I had prayed for so long. (Isa. 40:31) He was clearly so pleased that I was learning.
For a long time I lay on the earthly beach watching myself fly in the Spirit, basking in His approval. Eventually I wondered,
“If I opened my eyes, could I still see both realms?”
I sensed He was encouraging me to practice and learn more. Hesitantly I opened my eyes, looking up into the palm trees and out onto the turquoise blue waters of the Indian Ocean. But somewhere within me, I continued to see myself flying in the blue sky.
“You’re still up here in My realm with Me,” He spoke to my heart.
Encouraged to keep experimenting, I wondered,
“Would I be too distracted if I walked along in the surf? Would I be able to keep watching both realms at the same time?”
Slowly I got up and walked to the water’s edge, listening for His voice again. Still I could see myself flying in the blue sky.
“You are here in My realm with Me although your feet are there,” He said once more.
Quietly now as we walked, He began to unfold mysteries to me.
“I want you to understand that you can live in My realm and travel back and forth. But at all times your spirit is meant to dwell here with Me, even when your body remains there. (Eph.2:6) In this way, wherever I take your feet, you can open your mouth or stretch out your hands and bring My realm into the earthly realm ( Luke 11:2 ) because you dwell in both realms at once, and in both I have given you great authority.”
Footnote – There are many examples in the Bible of going backward or forward in time. Isaiah and Ezekiel were taken into the past as well as places in their present time. Daniel and John were taken into the future.