Mountains in the Bible

6 Aug 2013


Mountains are often peaceful, contemplative places. They are often mentioned in Scripture and we can learn many lessons from events associated with them.

Mount Ararat: salvation

Genesis tells us Noah’s life was saved by remaining in the ark when the earth was flooded. Genesis 8:4 records that the ark came to rest on Mount Ararat and he was able to walk out into a new life. Peter in his letter tells us baptism is the equivalent for us. Noah obeyed God by building the ark and was ‘saved by water’ in the Ark. Being fully immersed in water is “the answer of a good conscience towards God” (1 Peter 3:20,21) and obedience to the command of Jesus (Mark 16:15,16). 
As Noah left the ark, God gave him the promise that He would never again destroy all life by a great flood. The token of this covenant was the rainbow. So Mount Ararat speaks to us of salvation through obedience to his commands, and a promise of life.

Mount Moriah:  faith in God

Genesis 22:2 records God’s request that Abraham sacrifice his own son Isaac on Mount Moriah. This was a test of Abraham’s faith and obedience. In the event, God didn’t require him to actually do it and provided an animal instead. But Abraham’s willingness to do as God commanded, and his faith in God’s ability to raise Isaac again (Hebrews 11:19) became a central example for all to follow (Galatians 3:16). The promises God made to him looked forward to Jesus. All who show the same sort of faith in God as Abraham did have the opportunity of sharing in those promises too. 

Mount Sinai: God’s commands

Exodus 19:16-18 recount Israel’s time at Mount Sinai, while Exodus 24:12 records that Moses had to go up the mountain to receive the tablets containing the Ten Commandments from God. So the Law was written down and given to the people as their guide for living. Tragically, at the very time Moses was receiving this Law from God, the people were indulging in their own sinful desires and disregarding God completely (Exodus 32:19-20). The lesson of Mount Sinai is that we must listen to God, and read His word with care. This will help us to stay on the right path. 

Mount Carmel: God versus idolatry

1 Kings 18:18-33 records opposition of the idolatrous priests of Baal to the true God of Israel, and how Elijah demonstrated there was only One True God. An idol is anything which gets in the way of true worship of the True God. The message of Mount Carmel is that we must not allow anything to prevent us giving our whole-hearted attention to God. As Jesus said, we cannot serve ourselves as well as God (Matthew 6:24). 

Jesus in the mountains

Luke 6:12 records how Jesus carefully considered who his disciples were to be, spending all night in prayer to God in the quietness of a mountain. In Luke 9:28, Jesus took his disciples into a mountain to see a vision of the kingdom – the Transfiguration. As we read in Luke 9:35, we must listen to Jesus’ voice. We are to watch events in the world that give us an indication of his second coming (Luke 21:25-28) and watch ourselves to ensure we are not ensnared in things that drag us away from God (Luke 21:34-36). 

Zion – the Mountain of the Lord

Isaiah 2:1-3 speaks of the time when “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”. This will be a time of peace when all people shall learn of God’s ways and submit to Him in obedience. The message of Mount Zion is that we should prepare now for that day, listening carefully to all that God has said and trying to follow the example of the Lord Jesus.