Antarctica and the Upward Calling—A Divine Invitation to Exceptionalism

When you think of the Antarctic, what images does your mind conjure up? Probably endless snow and ice packs with icebergs floating by. No doubt penguins and whales as well. Subzero temperatures. How about Eskimos, igloos and polar bears? Sorry no. Wrong hemisphere. That’s the Arctic, not the Antarctic where the South Pole is located. Sounds like a God-forsaken place. Actually it is not. By some accounts, it boasts some of the most majestic and specular scenery on earth, and only .000027 percent of earth’s population or 100,000 people visit this bottom of the world continent each year, and my wife and I were recently one of those blessed people. Without a doubt, Antarctica is an exceptional, other-worldly place unlike any other on earth. It was there that I met our exceptional YHVH Elohim, the Creator of it all, in new and enlightening way. What follows chronicles this divine encounter and how he is calling his people to join him at a new level of exceptionalism. 

Let’s go back to the beginning for a quick history review. Never forget that to know where you are going or your destiny, you must know where you are at, and to know that you need to know where you came from. That said, YHVH Elohim created man in his own image with the destiny and potential to become like him. He placed man in the idyllic setting of a garden and invited man to walk with him in this most blessed and exceptional place. Sadly, man chose to walk the downward rather than the upward path, and from that time until, the Creator has had his hand extended inviting those whom he created in his image to pursue an upward path leading to another garden and place of encounter with him, namely, the New Jerusalem. The point of the Bible, therefore, is to shine a spotlight on this upward path that if taken will bring man to his exceptional destiny. Everything else contained therein is the how, step-by-step process of coming to this place. Along the way, a few notable biblical characters have caught visionary glimpse of this higher walk, the ultimate goal, and they have recorded it for us to inspire to join them on the same journey—to embrace the upward calling by accepting the divine invitation to exceptionalism. 

Without a prophetic vision of our destiny, we are likely to grow weary in the journey and possibly even perish spiritually along the way (Prov 29:18). The following Bible verses cast the vision and point us in the right direction. 

Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world…I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:11, 14)

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua, that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us in Messiah Yeshua. (Eph 2:6–7)

Elohim eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which Elohim hath prepared for them that love him. But Elohim hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of Elohim. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of Elohim knoweth no man, but the Spirit of Elohim. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of Elohim. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of Elohim: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor 2:9–14)

For our citizenship [community] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Yeshua the Messiah: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Phil 3:20–21)

Make no mistake, not because of any effort on our part or any redeeming qualities that we may possess, has Yehovah Elohim called. It is only according to his sovereign will, mercy and grace that he has called each of us to come up higher to himself. Let us never forget that we have not chosen him, rather, he has chosen us and that we, in our state of spiritual lostness and sinfulness, simply responded to his calling to come out of this world and come up (emphasis on the word up) to him morally and spiritually and eventually literally or bodily at the resurrection. Presently he is calling us to transcend the physical and carnal existence of this earthly cosmos, and to come up or closer to him. He has shown us the way up, which is the way of the cross. This is the only door or gateway to our Father in heaven and the only way to be admitted or adopted into the eternal family of Elohim. The Bible is the revelation of this divine path upwards. 

Yet this narrow path is much nobler and higher than most religious systems of men have sadly made it out to be. The upward path is vastly more than mere dogmas, rituals and legalistic systems of dos lane don’ts. Although many Christians, to their credit, have caught glimpses of this path, most churches, denominations and Christian instructional institutions have largely missed the bigger picture of what the Bible teaches regarding the higher path. Most prefer instead to take a mere snapshot of the Infinite and then quantify that one glimpse into a system that can then be packaged, labeled, promoted and marketed for the gain or profitability of the few at the top of the organizational pyramid. Even most well meaning but misguided promoters off a more Hebraic approach to the Bible are guilty of this, for they have learned well from their mainstream Christian mentors how this system works and are by default replicating it either out of ignorance, self-serving interests, or even nefarious and ulterior motives. 

John the Baptist faced the same problem with the religious system of his day, which is why he left the organized religious system of the Levitical priesthood and shunned the pseudo-righteousness promoted by the Pharisees. Disgusted, he exited this sociological and physical system choosing rather to operate in the wilderness of the Jordan Valley well outside the environs of Jerusalem and its temple. His divine mission was to prepare the people for Yeshua’s coming by calling them to the higher ways of Torah through repentance and a spiritual conversion. This mission could only be fulfilled outside the limiting confines of men’s traditional religious paradigms. The old wine skins were unable to contain the new wine. The same can be said of the biblical prophets who typically were loners and outcasts. In our day, some of us view ourselves in ways analogous to John and may even have a similar calling and path to walk in as we help to prepare the way for the Messiah’s return.

A deep and long study of the Scriptures reveals that ultimately the Bible does not promote rules, regulations and dogmas as much as it points people to Yehovah and toward the upward spiritual path of excellence and exceptionalism leading to an eternal relationship with our Creator. The writings of Paul and the first epistle of John capture the sweet nectar, the captivating fragrant aroma and the quintessential essence of this higher path in the New Testament as does Deuteronomy in the Torah and several of the Old Testament prophets such as Isaiah.

This upward path in symbolic form is Jacob’s ladder to heaven which involves walking out Torah through a personal relationship with Yeshua the Messiah, who is man’s ladder to heaven (John 1:51). Or as Paul states, he characterized his approach to Torah as being “under the law to [literally, through] Messiah” (1 Cor 9:21). 

No less a figure than Yeshua himself expresses this same higher approach to Torah in his heavenly sublime and elegant final instructions to his disciples prior to his arrest in John’s Gospel chapters 14 through 17. He is about to reunite with his Father in heaven by way of the cross, and he in turn invites us, his disciples, to follow him upward to his Father, for he is the way to the Father. That way involves a full dose of both letter and spirit obedience to his Torah as he eloquently teaches in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters five through seven). Paul characterized his upward spiritual journey similarly although he admits that he had yet to attain that lofty goal to which he had committed himself unequivocally and unreservedly (Phil 3:12–13).

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Elohim in Messiah Yeshua. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, Elohim shall reveal even this unto you. (Phil 3:14-15)

As I have reading and rereading the Bible daily for approaching six centuries, I see more clearly at a higher level than ever before a more stunning picture emerging of a higher high way to our Father in heaven than is often taught and believed. This is the Bible’s divine invitation to a higher, other-world level of excellence and exceptionalism to which our Creator is calling us as his potential children and adopted members into the forever family of God as children, mini-elohims or members of the God family (John 1:12; Rom 8:14–15, 23; 9:4; 2 Cor 6:18; Gal 4:5-6; Eph 1:5; 1 John 3:1–2; Rev 21:7; Ps17:15).

I am writing this as I exit the waters of the Antarctic in a ship. For the past several days, we have been experiencing up close the expanse of the endless white wilderness of the Antarctic Peninsula in all of its pristine glory and majesty. Words cannot express the spectacular grandeur of this land that few of eyes have ever seen. As has been said by others, Antarctica is akin to Alaska’s famed Inside Passage, but on steroids. Or as I would express the comparison between the two, Alaska’s Inside Passage, as glorious as it is (I have made this voyage so far three times), is a mere footnote to the volume entitled “Antarctica”. 

Why is my trip to Antarctica apropos to this discussion on exceptionalism leading to the higher spiritual path to which our Father in heaven has called us? It is because viewing this continent (which is twice the size of Australia and at places has ice that is several miles thick) transports one to another dimension, for there is no place like this elsewhere on earth (and I have visited more than 30 countries on six of the seven continents). Visiting this place has the potential to transport a deeper thinking person to places in one’s thoughts where they have possibly never ventured before. Such has been the case with me. Without a doubt, we are moved and inspired by our surroundings—by the things we see, feel and hear. Exceptional and novel life experiences have the ability to transport us to mental, emotional and spiritual places we have never been before if we will only open ourselves up to this. Perhaps we will even hear heaven’s voice and receive some measure of enlightenment. Such has been the case with me. For me, the Antarctic has been the birth place of some divine revelation from heaven flowing to me as I sail the silent waters off this vast continent, and my thoughts are carried to another, higher place. In this quiet land of endless white landscape stretching from seashore up the winding and tortuous glacial staircase to the mountaintops from which these vast glaciers originate, I am hearing heaven’s still small voice—a whisper that shouts loudly into my spirit unhindered by the confusing babble and cacophony of the man-made cosmos that usually envelopes virtually suffocating a person in the city—a place the Bible euphemistically refers to as “Babylon the Great.” 

Continue reading

I’m back from the bottom of the world—LITERALLY!

For the past month, you have not heard from me on this blog. Why? Did I die, or just simply lose interest? NO! I’m still very much alive and am still here, by YHVH’s grace, to serve his precious saints as best I can. 

So where was I?

In a place few people ever go.

ANTARCTICA! — and a few other amazing places in South America as well.

For nearly a month, Sandi and I were blessed to be able to spend time in several countries (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile plus the British overseas territory of the Falkland Islands), in addition to voyaging for several days in the waters of the Antarctic. We went from tropical jungles with summer temperatures in the mid-90s˚ F (30–35˚ C) to snow and ice and subfreezing temps in the waters of the Antarctic all in one trip! Ever try to pack clothing for an adventure like this with the luggage weight limits the airlines impose on their travelers? A challenge, to be sure, but we did it.

So what can I say about the Antarctic? There are no words. It is another world outside of this one. Etherial. Other-worldly. Majestic beyond description. Almost heavenly. Totally pristine. Spiritual. Totally unique. Enrapturing and mystifying. The pictures below give a grain of sand’s worth view of what we saw. The videos that I will begin posting shortly on my personal YouTube channel ( will tell the story a little more fully, but not much. Nothing that one can say or show will do justice. It was a totally spiritual, physical and psycho-emotional experience that one can only understand if they have experienced for themselves. 

First, we will see some views of Iguazu Falls on the border between Argentina and Brazil and close to Uruguay. This is a world-class falls that is many times larger than Niagara Falls in New York and on a par with Victoria Falls located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe in Africa. While Victoria Falls is taller, the cliffs over which Iguazu Falls tumbles is longer (1.7 miles or 2.7 km) and it is the largest falls complex (275 falls total) in the world. This was our first stop before embarking on our 16-day cruise out of Buenos Aires, Argentina ending in Santiago,Chile nearly a month later. For those of you who have seen America’s Grand Canyon in Arizona, you will have a sense of Iguazu’s grandeur when I say that this falls awed and amazed me as much as the Grand Canyon!

Please enjoy!

This photo shows only about one-quarter of the Iguazu Falls.
Nathan and Sandi in their sub-tropical jungled attire.
This photo shows maybe a little more than one-third of the total falls. It is impossible to capture the entire falls complex in one photo because of the twists and turns in the Paraná River.
A king penguin colony in the Falkland Islands.
A gentoo penguin drying off on the beach after having emerged from the surf.
Fledgling gentoo penguins—five months old.
Antarctica! (The is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg!)
The temperatures were hovering around the freezing mark, and we even had a couple of days of snow. The wind was constantly blowing off the Antarctic continent. One time with wind chill, we briefly got down to -25˚F or -32˚C, but that was only for a brief time. The rest of the time, it was warmer in our part of the Antarctic (remember, it’s the summer there now) than in most of the USA including my home in Oregon!
Sandi, my Eskimo wife and lifelong Ruth and traveling companion. On this trip, actually I was Sandi’s “Ruth” since it was her idea to come here. At first when she first proposed the trip a few years ago, I brushed it off as another one of her crazy ideas. Then she convinced me otherwise. Am I glad of this. I’ve now been in some 33 countries on six continents, and this trip beats all!

I hope you enjoyed this pictures. If you would like to see more, I invite you to stay tuned for videos on my YouTube channel.