KING OF THE MOUNTAIN
By Rayola Kelley
We live in a world of conflict. Most of the conflict has nothing to do with right or wrong. It reminds me of a game I played as a kid. It was called, “the king of the mountain.” It is where a group of kids find some small hill and everyone starts to shove, push, tackle, etc. to see who is left standing. The one left standing proudly declares they are the official “king of the mountain or the hill.” The title lasts only as long as the kid stands there and no one else challenges him. The foolish claim of glory ends as soon as everyone loses interest and goes on to other more noteworthy activities. That is when the now lonely “king” has to descend from the small little nub of a hill that everyone else had been thrown off of and follow the rest onto another activity. So much for glory!
As in every competition there can only be one victor, one king of the mountain at a time. And, it is assumed that in this competition that only the strongest or cleverest will be able to endure the challenge. The problem with the title of “king of the mountain” is that the significance of the elevation has been greatly exaggerated because at best it is a hill and most likely it is nothing but a natural slope. The other aspect is that a true king does not rule over hills or mountains, but a kingdom of people who may occupy space on some hill or mountain.
Most who desire such a position do not always realize that it will prove to be an empty, hallow place in the end because only one can claim the title. It is then, that wiser individuals discover that strength does not make a person a leader; rather, character and integrity. Cleverness may point to the ability to make the right moves, but if all you end up doing is standing alone on a clump of dirt, what is so clever about that exercise?
Today there are always a few in this world who are vying for the title, “King of the Mountain.” Only a more suitable title for them would be “the King of Fools.” In reality, the king of the fools proves that for the most part, like them, they lead a bunch of court jesters who are trying to finagle their way to the front. These jesters don’t realize they are fighting on nothing but a molehill when compared to heaven and eternity. After all, earth is Jesus’ footstool; therefore, the conflicts over territory, supremacy, and power on the dirt piles of this age make these conflicts appear as “much ado about nothing” (Matthew 5:35). Sadly, these great conflicts leave chaos, casualties and utter destruction behind them.
As more and more dirty, wretched, and abominable things come to light about what has been going on behind the closed doors of the wicked powers of this age, as well as in the deepest corridors of what would appropriately be entitled “hell on earth,” the more overwhelming and vexing it becomes to me. I realize that in light of my size, understanding, and the footprints that I leave behind, I can stand atop of what could be considered the top of the world; but remember, Mount Everest can cast a 250-mile shadow on a sunny day which would surpass all I see. The immensity of it begins to make me aware of my smallness and how my presence proves insignificant even if I could reach the top of the world. Pondering this causes me to know that creation will always prove one thing, and that is regardless of the height I may reach, the elevation can’t make me a king of anything. Although it feels as if I can see for miles, it still remains a molehill of dirt in light of the vastness of the heavens above.
It is important to keep things in perspective because the only way anyone can believe they are some “king of the mountain” is to elevate themselves in the imagination of their mind to that position. Granted, they may maneuver around the court jesters in power, push their way through diplomatic snobbery, sound clever with their small quips, and act like one of the “good old boys” while treachery reigns in the heart, waiting for their opportunity to step on top of the one who now holds the higher position to reach that prized pinnacle. But in the end that pinnacle will prove to be nothing more than a heightened pile of wickedness and insanity, that once judged and shaken will collapse into complete ruin.
The Bible reminds me of this very fact when you consider some of the idols in the Old Testament. They were made out of the things of earth. Given some status in the imagination of the ignorant and superstitious, they were formed out of gold, silver, or wood, and in some cases dough (Isaiah 44:12-20). They were lifeless, but given names, elevated among the masses to be honored and worshipped. You have to keep in mind, that the pagan nations in the Old Testament conquered people in the name of their god. Each victory was a confirmation that their particular idol was more powerful than the gods of their defeated foes. They would victoriously parade the images or representations of the gods of those they defeated through the streets as the people cheered them and honored their own particular idol for their army’s victory.
At feasts they would sometimes bring out the idols of defeated foes to mock them while celebrating the greatness of their own idol. This is what happened in Daniel 5 to Belshazzar. Even though the Medo-Persian army was surrounding Babylon, the elites were having a feast. No doubt they were trying to bolster their nerves as they erected and mocked the silent idols of their defeated foes. Since there was no image of the Jewish God, they brought out the temple vessels. We know how that fared for the king. He along with his city were brought down that very night by their enemies.
There have always been idols. In America our idols are found on our paper money and different forms of entertainment and they are summarized in wealth, power, fame, and the “American dream.” There was the golden calf that Aaron formed in the wilderness, and there was Baal, which means “lord.” Note he is lord with a small “l” but over what? Baal was considered the supreme male divinity of the Canaanites, and Ashtoreth was the supreme female divinity. You have Molech which means “king.” He was a fire god that required child-sacrifice. What about Dagon the Philistine god mentioned in 1 Samuel 5? He was the fish god. His image was a man’s head and torso with a fish tail. We could go on and on and never exhaust this subject. My question is where are all of these nations and empires of the past right now? Did their lifeless idols save them or are they buried by the winds of judgment under the dust of time?
Is there actually a lord who is over all the pagan, idolatrous entities that have been paraded through the ages? Yes, there is. His name is Beelzebub. The identity of Beelzebub is Satan but what does the name mean? It sounded like the “Lord of the flies” to the Jews when it was used. However, another meaning or name for the “Lord of the flies” is “Lord of the dung heap.” Satan is the prince of the power of the air (kingdom of darkness), god of this age (philosophies and practices), Lord over demons (flies) and Lord over a big dung heap (the world’s systems) (Matthew 12:25-28; 2 Corinthians 4:2-4; Ephesians 2:2; Colossians 2:8).
It should not be a surprise to us that Satan is prince over his kingdom that operates between the physical world and the unseen one and the inspiration behind godless philosophies, beliefs, and practices. It is clear, as you consider the fruits of the world’s wicked systems, that he is the lord over all of them. That is why when he took Jesus to a high mountain in Matthew 4:8-10, he had the authority to show him the glory of his systems as a means to entice Him to take a shortcut by claiming His rightful place as King and Lord over all before it was time, by bowing down and worshipping him.
These systems, for the most part, are tyrannical and their minions are utter despots who have sold their souls. They exploit the innocent, rob the poor, bully the vulnerable, defile the pure, and attempt to destroy what is right and true. Clearly, if there is a king of the mountain, it is Satan, but he is king over nothing more than a dung heap, designated for judgment.
It is obvious that the slaves of Satan have sold their souls for fleeting power and temporary wealth and glory. They often stand tall on some worldly platform as others give way to their arrogance and bow before their insanity. It is true that some may part to allow what we jokingly refer to as “His Nibs” to pass through, but within seconds they are swallowed up by the activities and masses to not be seen again until another platform has been prepared for them upon which they are once again elevated. The question is why do we worship mere man, bow before Satan, and ultimately honor him in our idolatrous ways and practices?
Isaiah 14:12-17 reveal the extent of the great battle for Satan and his minions to make him or themselves “king of the highest pinnacle, mountain, or system” in this world. Isaiah 14:12 states, “How are thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations.” First, we see where Satan fell from the heights of heaven because he wanted to rule over God. The great pride that caused him to see himself worthy of reigning over God clearly fell with him and as a result he has brought one nation down after the other. Keep in mind, Satan and his kingdom are the inspiration behind all idolatry.
Satan said in his innermost being that he would ascend into heaven, exalt his throne above the stars (angels) of God, sit upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. We know that Satan took a third of the angels with him and that the time of temptation, when it comes to the heavenly host, is over with because each of them has decided who they will serve.
Lucifer went on to say that he will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north. North is an important direction—there are some who believe heaven is in the north. Clearly, the devil not only plans to rule angels, but God’s people. It appears he has not succeeded in exalting his throne, but as we are reminded, it was the church of Pergamos where Satan’s seat was located (Revelation 2:13). His whole goal is to be LIKE the Most High. It is clear that he is unable to be the Most High, but he wants to be LIKE Him.
Remember the great temptation of Eve, if she would only eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, then she would be AS gods (Genesis 3:5). There is no way anyone will be LIKE God. There is only one true God and as Isaiah points out there is no God before Him, beside Him or even beneath Him for He IS GOD (Isaiah 44:6; 45:5, 6, 22; 46:9). There is no one who can be as God because as the Apostle Paul pointed out in Galatians 4:8, “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by NATURE are no gods.” (Emphasis added.) There is only one God by nature. Like water which can manifest itself is various forms such as liquid, ice and fog, the three persons of the Godhead may manifest themselves differently, but each person is divine by nature; therefore, they are God by nature.
The message to the arrogance on display in Isaiah is simple, “Yet though shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isaiah 14:15). This is true for not only Satan but all of his minions and followers. In the end, the one who finally embodies Satan will be exposed as the nations look on, “Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms: That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of the prisoners?” (Isaiah 14:16-17). In light of God’s holiness everything will be put in perspective.
From different perspective and angles, it is going to look as if Satan is ruling as God in the present age, but the truth is only the meek will inherit the earth, the righteous will be spared from His judgments and the saints will sit at His table in due time to partake of His promises. Believers are on the winning side and Jesus is coming back for us.
Right now, that is all we need to know because until we pass from here into glory, nothing will make sense. We are saved by hope, destined to be sojourners and pilgrims in this age that will not be content until we see our precious Lord face to face. Let us stand on hope, withstand with faith, and continue to stand because unlike Satan, our Lord never lies about what He has said, what He means, and what He has promised.