Are you on “the mountain” or under “the bushel”?
Matthew 5:1-2, 14 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…
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
First, we must notice two important things concerning verse one. “Mountain” in the original carries with it the definite article “the.” So it should read, He went up into the mountain. Next, the phrase, when He was set, in the Greek indicates being set in a place of appointment or authority.
The activities of Jesus are prophetic of spiritual truths. For example, when He ascends a mountain, it is indicative of spiritual ascension and “mountains” in the Scriptures very often represent kingdoms. “The mountain” would speak of the Kingdom of God, and “mountains,” plural, would speak of earthly kingdoms as in Genesis 7:19,20.
Matthew 5:1-2 is prophetic and agrees with Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 2:2-3. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
So we see in Isaiah’s prophecy that the Word of the Lord is going forth from the mountain of the Lord’s house, and the people are flowing upward to it to hear the Word of the Lord and to learn of Him. In Matthew 5:1-2, we see the same thing. From the mountain where the Lord is sitting in authority, the Word of the Lord goes forth and His disciples come unto Him to be taught of the ways of the Lord.
In Matthew 5:14, Jesus tells His disciples that they are the light of the world. Jesus, who is the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (of His Kingdom) (John 1:9), is shining forth through His disciples. Jesus in the midst of His disciples and on the mountain of the Lord is “a city that is set on a hill” and “it cannot be hid” (Matthew 5:14).
His disciples are the Body of Christ, and the Lord Jesus is the Head of the Body. The Body of Christ with Jesus in its midst, then, is the city of God, New Jerusalem. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. Revelation 21:2-3.
The prophetic picture of Matthew 5:1-2 and Isaiah 2:2-3 is seen again in a prophetic utterance to the Thessalonians through Paul.
II Thessalonians 1:10 – 2:1 When He shall come to be glorified in His saints,
and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was
believed) in that day.
11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power:
12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him.
Paul also speaks of the brethren (the Body of Christ) being gathered together unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ being glorified in His many-membered Body is the “True Light” shining forth. In this way, the Church is “a city set on a hill.” The light of the Lord shining through this city cannot be hid. It cannot be dimmed or limited in any way.
Matthew 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
In the original “candle” is “lamp,” “candlestick” is “lampstand,” and “a bushel” is “the bushel.” So it should read, Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on a lampstand; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
The Body of Christ, with the Lord Jesus as its Head, is the light of the world. In verse 1, they are seen on “the mountain”; and in verse 14, they are a city set on a hill which cannot be hid. In other words, the light of the Lord shining forth from the Body of Christ is unrestricted.
Just as the word “mountain” in verse one was significant because it was preceded by the definite article “the,” so is the word “bushel” in verse 15. Many churches today have placed their lamps under “the bushel.” What is the significance of “the bushel”? A bushel is a unit of measurement. It will hold just so much and no more. The lamp under “the bushel” will not shine beyond its standard of measure.
Each denomination is like “the bushel.” They have their legalistic standards by which they measure how far their light will shine. Many churches will preach forgiveness of sins by accepting Jesus as Savior, but will go no farther. Their standard of measure will not allow them to go any farther. Their lamp is under “the bushel.” Some denominations will go a little farther, but each one has its limits. “The bushel” of one may be a little larger than “the bushel” of another; nevertheless, each one is limited by its standard of measure.
Are you on “the mountain” or under “the bushel”? Is your lamp limited because of unbelief? Unbelief is the greatest sin of all in the Kingdom of God. Unbelief is “the bushel” that hinders the lamp from giving light unto all that are in the house. Be among those who are gathering unto the Lord Jesus Christ. He is on “the mountain.” Come unto Him! Be among that “disciple company,” which is “the light of the world.”
Copyright © 1996 by Henry DuBose