Teachings From the Mountain

Matthew 5:1-2 And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him:
2 And He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying…

What do you see when you read these two verses? Many would only see that which is on the surface: Jesus went up on a mountain and His disciples came to Him and He taught them. The teaching that followed is called “the Sermon on the Mount.” That information, however, is not very nourishing to the hungry heart unless we can find the hidden manna below the surface and feed on it. Everything Jesus said and did have spiritual implications. Luke made reference to this when he spoke of his Gospel to Theophilus. The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach. Acts. 1:1. Everything Jesus did and said has spiritual significance. His words and His actions were living. That means that everything He did and said gave entrance to the realm of Spirit.

What we are going to do is scratch the surface and take a peek at the hidden manna. We won’t uncover everything; it would be foolish to even consider such. The Word is living and eternal; it cannot be exhausted. Someone else will come along and peel another layer off, revealing more of its precious treasures. For the moment, though, the Holy Spirit is highlighting three things in these two verses, and these we will consider: (1) He went up into a mountain, and when He was set, (2) His disciples came unto Him, and (3) He opened His mouth and taught them. The spiritual application of these three things summed up together reveals how disciples can initiate a flow of the living Word from the Lord of Glory to their hearts.


The King James Version says, “He went up into a mountain: and when He was set….” The Greek reads, “He went up into the mountain: and when He was set….” The indefinite article “a” is not in the Greek text; it is “the mountain,” not “a mountain.” This is one indication of a spiritual truth below the surface. “The mountain” indicates that He did not just go up any mountain, but He went up a particular mountain. In this case, it refers to a spiritual height. The word “mountain” in the Scriptures is usually associated with “kingdom.” For example, Mount Zion is always figurative and points to God’s elect, His holy ones. But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…to the general assembly and church of the firstborn…to the spirits of just men made perfect. Hebrews 12:22, 23. “The Mountain” speaks of the “Kingdom Realm.” It is from there that the “King of kings” ministers His Word to His subjects.

It is also significant that it is said that He went up “into the mountain.” The New American Standard Version says that He went up “on the mountain,” and the New International Version says that He went up “on a mountainside.” “On the mountain” is incorrect. The Greek text says that He went up “into the mountain.” Now, if you only want this passage of Scripture to be agreeable to the logic of the human mind, then “on the mountain” would read better. But that destroys the spiritual implication, and it is not what the Holy Spirit inspired Matthew to write. It is not uncommon for the choice of words by the Holy Spirit to be disagreeable to humanistic thinking. But then the Holy Spirit is more interested in that which will lead the hungry heart to spiritual truths. So when the Word says that "He went up into the mountain," it is indicating spiritual ascension into the realm of His Kingdom and from there He ministers the Word of Life.

The phrase “when He was set” is also significant. Both the NASB and the NIV says He “sat down.” “Sat down” makes more sense logically, but “set” is more agreeable to the spiritual truth, and besides that, “set” is the literal translation of the Greek. The Greek word for “set” is kathizo. It does not mean “to sit.” It means that one has been “set,” as appointed to a special place. It is used to speak of the enthronement of Jesus Christ as King. The same word is translated “set” in Ephesians 1:20: Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places. Kathizo is used again in Acts 2:30, but the KJV incorrectly translates it “sit.” Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit (kathizo = to be set) on His throne. We see the same usage of kathizo twice in Revelation 3:21. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit (kathizo – to be set) with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set (kathizo) down with My Father in His throne.

The Hebrew word nacak has exactly the same meaning and is found in Psalm 2:6 where it verifies perfectly what the Holy Spirit is highlighting. Yet have I set (Hebrew: nacak = Greek: kathizo) My King upon My holy hill of Zion. So Jesus “went up into the mountain, and when He was set…” Spiritually, He ascended into a Kingdom realm where He was enthroned as King, and from that place of authority He taught His disciples the Kingdom truths of the Sermon on the Mount.


…He went up into the mountain, and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him…. Jesus ascending spiritually into His Kingship realm had a drawing effect upon His disciples. When He is lifted up in this way, those who are open to Him are drawn to Him. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me. John 12:32. You may have noticed that while it indicates that the disciples were drawn to Him, it does not say that the multitudes were also drawn. And seeing the multitudes, He went up into the mountain: and when He was set, his disciples came unto Him. The statement, “His disciples came unto Him,” indicates their humility of heart. So Jesus saying that when He is lifted up “all men” are drawn to Him, the “all men” are not all men in general but all men of like spirit as the disciples. They had submitted their hearts to the Lord and were walking with Him. When Jesus ascended to a new level, His disciples were drawn to Him because their hearts were already preset to submit to Him on the next level.

Look at John 12:32 again. And I, if I be lifted up from (Greek: ek – Literally, “out of”) the earth, will draw all men unto Me (literal, “Myself”). The King James translators translated the Greek word ek as “from.” Literally, though, ek means “out of.” For example, the Greek word for “church” is ekklesia, from ek, “out of,” and klesis, “a calling.” The Church, then, are those who are the “called out.” They are called out of the earthly realm (the worldliness of man) into the spiritual realm of the Lord. They do not need to literally leave the earth; it is a spiritual ascension. In like manner was Jesus’ ascension into the mountain realm of Kingship. It doesn’t mean that He didn’t literally go up on a hill and from there speak to His disciples and the multitudes, but what He did in the natural was typical of what He was doing spiritually.

So Jesus saying, “If I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me,” is really saying, “If you will not merely see Me on the earthly realm, but can see Me by revelation in the ascended realm of My Lordship and Kingship, then you will be drawn unto Me.” How you see Jesus Christ is important, because that determines His drawing upon your life into His life. Also, notice that the phrase “will draw all men unto Me” is literally “unto Myself,” which is even more illuminating. It is not merely a drawing to where He is, but a drawing to what He is. It is this drawing unto Himself that causes the disciple to become as his Master. The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord. Matthew 10:24-25. The spiritual implication is the same in our text from Matthew: “When He was set, His disciples came unto Him.”


What we have seen thus far, spiritually, is Jesus lifting His spirit into the Kingdom realm, the realm of where He now permanently dwells as King of kings and Lord of lords. Even though His ascension to the Father had not yet taken place (Acts 1:9-11), He was able to ascend spiritually so that His ministry of the Sermon on the Mount was based on a Kingship yet to be fully realized naturally. This should not be difficult for us to grasp. The apostle Peter said in his epistle that we are healed by His stripes (I Peter 2:24), yet Jesus healed many in His earthly ministry before He received His stripes. In like manner Jesus ministered a Word of authority that was based on an exaltation yet to be realized.

Jesus went up into the mountain and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him, and He opened His mouth and taught them, saying…. Why does Matthew say that Jesus “opened His mouth” and taught them? Why didn’t he just say that Jesus taught them? “He opened His mouth” is a Hebraism, indicating that what is spoken is not just normal speech but is an utterance of spiritual authority. Matthew confirms this at the end of Jesus’ teaching. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Matthew 7:28-29.

The saying, “He opened His mouth,” is used again in Matthew 13:35 where we get a clearer understanding of its use. All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake He not unto them: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. Matthew 13:34-35.

Now we understand why Matthew said that Jesus “opened His mouth” and taught His disciples. He was speaking hidden truths, things unknown to man. The prophecy referred to is Psalm 78:1-2. Give ear, O My people, to My law: incline your ears to the words of My mouth. I will open My mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old.

The Sermon on the Mount was “dark sayings,” “things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” Unless one has very keen spiritual perception, he will not be able to hear the “dark sayings.” That is why Jesus said, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:9).

The words of Jesus are words of spirit and words of life (John 6:63). His words carry information, but more importantly they carry His life. Thus the Lord says, “Incline your ears to the words of My mouth” (Psalm 78:1). To hear, according to the Scriptures, means to receive. So to hear the words of Jesus is to receive not only the information, but to also receive of His life. Anyone can read the Scriptures and receive the information, but very few are able to receive of His life. All Christians do not have ears to hear.

How can we receive His words of spirit and life? We must do what the disciples did. They didn’t just follow Jesus up a mountain and receive words of information. “His disciples came unto Him.” They viewed Him in His Kingdom realm and with humility they came unto Him. They received teachings from the mountain realm, because they had a revelation of His Lordship. If you are not growing spiritually, if you are not hearing the “dark sayings,” and if you are not receiving the life in His Word, only one thing is needed. You need a revelation and a corresponding submission to His Lordship! You need to see Him in the realm of His Kingdom!

Copyright © 2000 by Henry DuBose