The Mountains Around Jerusalem
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 6 - The Mountain of the Eclipse of the Earthly

"And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. Then said Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended in me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee" (Matt. 26:30-32).

Midnight

Here the Mount is the place of the eclipse of all the earthly. It is rather remarkable and impressive how one thing moves into another like this. It is as though you are in one continuous, unbroken movement; the Mount of Olives bringing out in clear revelation this thing which has to go, and the Mount of Olives again showing how it is going, and bringing them right into the eclipse of all that. They were still clinging, still holding on for something here. Now it is shown that that is going into midnight, going to be blotted out, and so far as they are tied up with it, they are going to be blotted out, they will go with it if they are bound up with it, and their only hope is that they come out on to other ground altogether. What a terrific thing is the breaking of the earthly and the natural things! Just look at these men when this word was fulfilled - all made to stumble, offended because of Him, scattered abroad, disintegrated in every way; personally in themselves, broken to pieces, shattered; among themselves, scattered, no one trusting the other's report. Nobody is being trusted. Yes, a real scattering in every way. What a shattering thing it is to be delivered from the old, earthly attachment, even in the things of God. Your world goes to pieces. When God brings you into view of His real spiritual order of things, the real nature of His work in this dispensation, your world eclipses, disintegrates, and you go into the dark, you do not know where you are. You have lost one world and so far you are not right through into the other. It is midnight.

There can be midnight in spiritual history; when the Lord is putting us through a transition from one level to another, applying the Cross to things which were less than the Lord's intention, we cry out to the Lord to lead us into His heavenly fulness. We pray and beg of Him to do it, but let us remember that that is not done mechanically or automatically. You go through some tremendous disintegrating process, the scattering and breaking up of your old world. At times it may be like this. You are between two worlds. Here the Mount of Olives for this occasion was between two worlds, heaven and earth. It was something suspended, so to speak, between the two. It was the end of one; the other was in process. They will be there presently, but they are not there yet.

There was an earthquake when Christ died, and there very often is an earthquake in another way when we come really into the meaning of that death so far as things spiritual and things temporal are concerned. Our very earth shakes under us, and things come tottering, tumbling and crashing down all about us, and so often it takes an earthquake to do that. Ruins, just ruins! Well, that is a dark side because we are talking about the mountain of the eclipse of the earthly. "Scattered abroad".

The Dawn

Thank God, from this mountain the streaks of dawn had begun to rush across the sky. Presently we shall see them in that dawn which is not yet daylight, see them between the Cross and the day of Pentecost. It was just like that - flickers, streaks of light rushing across the sky. Two men on the way to Emmaus - it is a streak of the new dawn. And other things are happening, all very uncertain yet, all seemingly unreal, and yet very real, something in between day and night. But the day will break! They will come right into the daylight. I say that here, because, remember, God's nights are always intended to lead to new days, and if you are in the inbetween stage now, you may just be getting streaks, swift shafts of light flashing across your horizon, that is the promise of a new day. "All ye shall be made to stumble, shall be offended...". That may be necessary in the ways of God with us. If offendedness has to come to us in our ways with God, in our very going on with the Lord; if He has to bring about the offendedness and allow us to stumble, let us remember He never does it with a view to final devastation, it is not to ultimate loss, it is simply the exchange of the lesser for the greater. We are going to come out into something better through this eclipse. "I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered." Yes, scattered on the earthly ground, but gathered on the heavenly.

The Day

The fact is this is not just an outside event and happening. The fact is that that earthly ground itself as the very nature of disintegration, is only accelerating the process which will take place sooner or later. That earthly life, that earthly association, has in it all the seeds of corruption, therefore of disintegration, because there is death in it. You know quite well that any Christianity that is earthbound has death in it, and sooner or later it will disintegrate; it will not stand the shaking. It is only on resurrection ground where another incorruptible life is present that you have the very nature which cannot be disintegrated. It is in the resurrection that we are begotten again - not to the prospect of another eclipse or shattering, but unto a living hope. In resurrection there is an indissoluble life, and therefore that which is on that ground is something that will stand and withstand the shaking.


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