Mountains in prophecy

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The Creation Concept

Mountains will be made low

Mountains are eroded remnants

Mountains are durable

Rough places to become smooth

Mountains and worship

Isaiah's mountains

Ezekiel's mountains

How mountains 'skip'

John's prophecy was fulfilled

Jews and Gentiles

Mount of Olives

Mount Sion is the Church

The gospel is prophecy

Mountains in prophecy [pdf]

Mountains will be made low

Isaiah 40:4
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

Surely the prophet Isaiah does not mean the earth will be flat and featureless! What an uninteresting earth it would be, without the great mountain ranges! Why does Isaiah say every mountain and hill will be made low?

The words of Isaiah above were part of the message of John the Baptist. Luke wrote:

Luke 3:1-6
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

No one believes that mountains were literally made low, or that any valleys were literally filled up! The Jordan Valley, where John was preaching and baptizing people, is part of the Great Rift Valley. It extends through the Red Sea, and East Africa. The surface of the Dead Sea is about 1,300 feet below sea level. Did Isaiah and John the Baptist mean this great valley would some day be literally filled up?

Clearly, the mountains and valleys Isaiah refered to must be symbolic. What do they represent? He refers to a highway being prepared in the desert, to prepare the way for the Lord, as proclaimed by John the Baptist, whose preaching prepared the way for Christ.

A route that traverses a mountain may be steep and difficult, even where little change in elevation is involved. That was especially so in the days when most people travelled on foot, and roads were mere paths. Crossing a mountain involved some difficulty, and required extra effort.

Isaiah's prophecy about every mountain being made low, and crooked places being made straight, suggests that the unsolved mysteries that mountains represent will be solved. The crooked being made straight suggests that flawed interpretations will be set right, errors corrected, and corruptions introduced into the scriptures will be identified. The misunderstood passages of the scriptures will be explained.

Mountains are eroded remnants

The mountains and hills of Israel consist of rock strata, mostly sedimentary rocks of various types. They consist of layers of limestone, shale, salt, sandstone, chalk, clay, marl, siltstone, dolomite, gypsum, flint, conglomerates, along with intrusive volcanic rocks such as basalt, and some outcrops of igneous and metamorphic rocks like granite, quartzite, schist, rhyolite, and gneiss.  Like most mountains, the mountains and hills of Israel are usually eroded remnants of formerly continuous strata. Some mountains and hills are due to tectonic uplift and subsidence, related to faults, and they are modified by erosion.

These facts about the mountains suggest an analogy between the mountains and the revelations of God to us in scripture; as the mountains are eroded remnants of rock layers that were formerly continuous, and more extensive than now, the prophecies too are partial revelations.

Valleys and "rough places" occur where the rock strata has been eroded away.  The valleys are often regions where the rock strata are missing; they are the "gaps" between mountains, that have to be filled in. To fill up the valleys would be to supply the missing part of the revelations, to make a region that was rough because of erosion, smooth again.

Paul said, "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part." [1 Cor. 13:9] The knowledge of God was revealed to men in different periods of history, and in very different circumstances. The prophets learned from God's previous revelations. The words of the prophets are often missing the context in which they can be understood; it is like the strata that has been eroded away from the mountains. This context may be provided in other prophecies in the scripture.

The prophecy of Isaiah, quoted by John the Baptist, that "every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low" suggests the missing strata from the eroded valleys will be restored; in other words, the missing context of prophecies will be supplied, so their words make sense. Filling of valleys, as preached by John, pictures supplying the missing information or data.

A great mountain being turned to a plain was described by Zechariah, speaking of Zerubbabel the governor of Judah, who supervised rebuilding the temple of God after the exile. He is seen as a type of Christ, who is the builder of the true temple, the church.

Zechariah 4:7
Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

The great mountain referred to here is the kingdom of God, that is to fill the earth. It becomes a plain, by all its mysteries being explained. This may involve fulfillment of the prophecy. In the New Testament, Christ is identified as the "corner stone" of the temple, which is the church. [Eph. 2:20, 1 Pet. 2:6] Many examples of the interpretation of prophecy in the Bible involve supplying missing words and information, needed to make sense of the prophecy.  Rough places becoming plain, as John the Baptist preached, represents obscure sayings being understood.

Mountains are durable

Mountains and hills last for many generations, and so do God's promises. The scriptures speak of "everlasting hills," and the property of durability makes mountains and hills suitable symbols for the word of God, and his promises, which are very durable.

Genesis 49:26
The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

Some think mountains represent human kings or rulers, but the Bible compares humans to flowers in a field, not mountains.

Psalm 103:15-16
As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

James 1:10-12
Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

Mountains are landmarks for travellers. They are permanent over long periods of history, and remain while borders fluctuate, and empires rise and fall. Because mountains are unchanging over long spans of time, the Psalmist compares God's righteousness to great mountains.

Psalm 36:6
Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.

There are many similar scriptures show that show God's word is sure, his promises are steadfast, and endure forever:

Psalm 105:8 He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.

Psalm 119:89
For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Psalm 119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

Isaiah 40:8
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

1 Peter 1:25
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

The durability of God's word is probably one of the reasons the promises of God are represented by mountains.

Rough places to become smooth

Here is another prophecy of Isaiah that speaks of rough places becoming smooth. Darkness turning to light suggests knowledge and understanding will replace ignorance. This complements the interpretation of rough places becoming smooth as difficult sayings in scripture that will be understood.

Isaiah 42:13-16 (NIV)
The LORD will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.
For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant.
I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn rivers into islands and dry up the pools.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

In the above verses, Isaiah refers to symbolic mountains and hills, not literal ones. The mountains and hills of Israel were the most prominent features of the promised land. Abraham saw the land he was to inherit, but did not receive in his lifetime. He had only God's promise that it would be his. Because the promise was not fulfilled to him while he lived, he must have anticipated the resurrection! Thus the mountains of Israel are symbolic of God's promises, and the truths of the gospel. They are symbols of the covenants and promises, blessings and cursings, related to the gospel. Mountains and hills also represent the prophecies of the Bible, as those promises were prophecies.

Dispensationalist author H. A. Ironside portrayed the prophets as men standing on a prairie gazing at the distant mountains, that he associated with the events that they foretold. They saw ranges of mountains, and dimly saw the more distant peaks, Ironside said, but they did not see the intervening valleys that separate them. He claimed the prophets foretold the first coming of Christ, and also the second coming, but they failed to decribe the Church Age that intervened! (H. A. Ironside, The Great Parentheses, page 12)

Of course, Ironside was wrong, as the Church is the subject of many prophecies in the Old Testament, but his analogy that connects the mountain ranges with prophecies is interesting.

Isaiah seems to be saying that God wants to reveal to us the hidden meaning of prophecy, and the solution to all its riddles and puzzles. And the process is something like a woman giving birth! It is a painful process to demolish all the flawed theories and interpretations. Isaiah wrote:

Isaiah 49:11
And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.

The mountains Isaiah refers to above are prophecies, which show us the way to go! That is what prophecy is for. All the obscure sayings of the prophets are brought "low," when they are properly interpreted, and start to make sense! Isaiah says that the "blind" will understand things they never heard before. The rough places being made smooth pictures puzzles being solved, and enigmas explained. When we understand the hard sayings in the scriptures, our darkness will turn to light!

Making crooked things straight suggests the flawed interpretations will be corrected, corruptions will be exposed, and the meaning of the original text restored. This may be what the apostle Peter referred to as the "times of restitution of all things."

Acts 3:20-21
And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

Mountains and worship

In ancient times, mountains were places of sacrifice, as for example the mountain on which Abraham offered up Isaac.

Genesis 22:2
And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

This episode was a prophecy, as it foreshadowed Christ's sacrifice for us. It was also a trial of Abraham's faith.

In Egypt, the Israelites were given the land of Goshen to dwell in. This was a fertile area, but had no mountains. It was located in the Nile delta. In contrast, the promised land was a land of hills and mountains.

At Mount Sinai in Arabia, God made a covenant with the Israelites, which that mountain represents in the New Testament. Paul wrote:

Galatians 4:24-25
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

Mount Sinai represents the Mosaic system the old Mosaic system of temple service and sacrifices, that Paul called 'bondage.'

Judges 5:5
The mountains melted from before the LORD, even that Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel.

The old Mosaic system melted away, and became obsolete, because Jesus died on our behalf!

On Mount Nebo, Moses looked over to the promised land, to which he was denied admission because he struck the rock which yielded water, instead of speaking to it as God had told him. [Numbers 20:8-12]

On Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal, Joshua read the laws of Moses to all the tribes of Israel, along with the blessings and curses. [Joshua 8:30-35, Deuteronomy 11:29]

On Mount Carmel, Elijah challenged all the prophets of Baal, to determine whose sacrifice would be accepted. He turned the hearts of the people of Israel to the true God. [1 Kings 18]

The prophet Amos warned about trusting in the mountain of Samaria, a symbol of Israel's false religion.

Amos 6:1-7
Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria,

The mountain of Samaria represents the false religious system that was established there by Ahab and Jezebel.

1 Kings 16:30-32
And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him.
And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.
And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.

Isaiah's mountains

Isaiah refers to the kingdom of God as a mountain, as it is the greatest prophecy of the Bible. The mountain of the Lord's house is to be higher than all other mountains.

Isaiah 2:2
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.

Nations will be like rivers flowing towards a high mountain. However the direction of flow seems contrary to gravity.

Isaiah 2:12-14
For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:
And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,
And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up,

All mountains will be made low, Isaiah said, and rough places are to become plain.

Isaiah 40:4-5
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

The high mountain Isaiah refers to is the promise of the kingdom of God. He identified the church with Jerusalem. Isaiah exhorts God's saints to understand his works.

Isaiah 40:9
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Isaiah wrote of a unique mountain-threshing instrument, for threshing mountains, having teeth.  What does it mean to "thresh" the mountains, making them small? This prophecy would make sense, if the mountains that he refers to are metaphors for mysterious prophecies in scripture, to eventually be understood by God's people. The grain produced by this threshing process represents the word of God, and the information obtained by correctly interpreting those prophecies. To thresh the mountains would be to unravel their mysteries and discover kernels of truth.

Isaiah 41:15
Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.

Mountains are associated with the gospel, because they represent the promises of God, and those promises are good news. Standing on the mountains represents believing these promises.

Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Isaiah said the mountains will depart; perhaps he refers to erosion, which eventually reduces them to sand and silt, which is washed away by rivers. All mountains are slowly eroded over a long time. But God's kindness to us remains steadfast.

Isaiah 54:10
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

Isaiah said "mountains and hills will burst into song, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." 

Isaiah 55:12
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

These mountains are not literal mountains, but the promises of God to the church. There are many songs about the gospel, and God's promises to his people.

Ezekiel's mountains

Ezekiel 6 is a prophecy addressed to the mountains of Israel, as well as hills, and rivers, and valleys. The context shows it is referring to the people who dwell in that land. Verse 7 says, "Ye shall know that I am the Lord". A remnant of the nation will be left, which is scattered. These remember God in the nations where they are taken captive.

Ezekiel calls God's people "a mountain of the height of Israel".

Ezekiel 20:40
For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things.

Ezekiel says all Israel will serve God in his "holy mountain." This is a reference to the kingdom of God.

In another prophecy the "sheep" wandering on the mountains, scattered over the whole earth, are believers who are scattered in thousands of sects, cults, and denominations.

Ezekiel 34:6
My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.

Christians have been very confused about prophecy, because of flawed theories such as Preterism and Dispensationalism. But God will seek out his sheep that have been scattered!

The prophecy of Ezekiel 36 is also addressed to the mountains of Israel. They were occupied by an enemy, and made desolate; they had become a possession of the heathen, and were topics of infamy, a prey, and a derision to the heathen, and they bore the shame of the heathen. All the prophecies of the Bible been interpreted by theologians and Bible scholars, most of them unbelievers, and so spiritually they are "Gentiles." They claim to be "authorities," but failed to understand their message!

God said the mountains will shoot forth branches, and yield fruit to Israel, they shall be tilled and sown, men will be multiplied on them, the cities shall be inhabited, they shall bring forth fruit, the wastes shall be built, and it will be better than at the beginning. Perhaps this means that the promises of God, represented by these mountains, will be understood by those who believe the gospel, and then these prophecies of Ezekiel will be fulfilled.

How mountains 'skip'

Psalm 114:1-6
When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language;
Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion.
The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back.
The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs.
What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back?
Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs?

How do the mountains skip? When rams and lambs skip, they are entirely airborne. I suggest that the mountains in this Psalm are metaphors, that represent the promises of God. Mountains are prominent parts of the land promised to Abraham and his seed. Christ was a great promise, made to Israel.

Deuteronomy 18:15
The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;

John called Jesus the lamb of God.

John 1:29
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Paul referred to Christ as the passover lamb.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Christ is also our promised king.

Jeremiah 23:5
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

His kingdom is described as a great mountain, that will fill the earth.

Daniel 2:34-35
Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

His kingdom will have no end.

Luke 1:31-33
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

In Christ we are promised rest.

Matthew 11:28-29
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Christ is pictured "leaping on the mountains," in S. of S.

Song of Solomon 2:8
The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.

Peter said the promises given to us are "exceeding great and precious."

2 Peter 1:2-4
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Paul said all the promises of God are "Yea" and "Amen" in Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:20
For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

The great mountains are symbolic of the righteousness of God.

Psalm 36:6
Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.

Paul wrote that the gospel reveals the righteousness of God.

Romans 1:16-17
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Through the promises of God, we have peace.

Psalm 72:3
The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.

The great mountains picture God's promises to his saints, as God's promises are great, and endure for all ages, and also because from the lofty viewpoint of God's promises, we get a far better view of life, and of history, and of the world!

The curious thing about the promises God made to Abraham is that he never received any of the land. Abraham realized he would have to be raised up from his grave, to immortality, which is yet to occur. God promised Abraham, that in his seed, all nations would be blessed. Paul called this the gospel.

Galatians 3:8
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

The mountains and hills of Israel are symbols of all the promises of God, that are included in the gospel.

Nahum 1:15
Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!

These mountains represent prophecies! The gospel is prophecy, and its promises are represented by mountains of the land of Israel, the promised land, that all those who are the children of Abraham by faith inherit!

See what various commentators have written on Psalm 144:4 here.

John's prophecy was fulfilled

Most Dispensationalists claim no Old Testament prophecies apply to the Church. Dispensationalist Harry A. Ironside called the Church Age a "parenthesis" in God's plan that was unforeseen by the prophets. This error has been repeated by supporters of most of the various kinds and flavours of Dispensationalism.

Events described in the New Testament were actually a fulfilment of the message preached by John the Baptist, that was taken from Old Testament prophecy. John the Baptist preached Isaiah's message: 'every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain will be made low.' [Isaiah 40:4]

John told the Jews that they needed to bring forth the fruits of repentance, and not rely on their heritage by birth. The Jews supposed that the scriptures gave them a superior status over the Gentiles, as they were God's "chosen people." John said this was of no account, they still needed to get right with God, and produce good fruit. Luke's account says:

Luke 3:7-9
Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

The Jewish nation was destroyed in their war with the Romans in 70 AD, along with the temple. Its status has remained "low" until recent times. Although the state of Israel has revived, the lesson of Isaiah's prophecy remains true today. The Jews are not more "special" than other nations, as the promises made to Israel, represented by the "mountains," were "made low" in the sense that they applied not to Israelites after the flesh, but to those who are of faith, and their true meaning is spiritual rather than temporal. This is what Zionists and Dispensationalists fail to understand!

What are the valleys that will be exalted?

James spoke of the rich being 'made low,' and the poor brethren as being 'exalted' because of their status as believers. James appears to have seen this an application of Isaiah's prophecy about valleys being exulted and mountains and hills being made low. Man is compared to grass in Isaiah's prophecy.

James 1:9-10
Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

Jews and Gentiles

Another fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecy was in the changed status of Jews and Gentiles that resulted from the gospel going to Gentiles. Under the Old Covenant of Moses the Israelites were exalted, and the Gentiles were low, as those nations were driven out of the territory promised to Israel. But in the New Testament, as related in Acts, the gospel went out to the Gentiles, while many of the Jews remained in unbelief. And so the Jews, the chosen people, who rejected the gospel, and their promised Messiah, became low, while the Gentiles who believed in Christ were exalted, as they learned they could inherit the promises given to Israel through faith in Christ. This clearly fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy.

Paul pointed out that Gentiles who believe the gospel have obtained the very thing that the Jews were seeking.

Romans 11:7
What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

Jews have stumbled, but this provides an opportunity for Gentiles to obtain salvation. Gentiles received riches, and the Jews were diminished.

Romans 11:11-12
I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

In the judgement, the Jews will be reconciled to God, and the promises will be fulfilled to them.

Romans 11:15
For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

Paul warned Gentiles who were exulted, because of their new status as children of Abraham by faith, not to gloat about the Jew's misfortune.

Romans 11:17-18
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

He said the Jews are beloved for the father's sakes, their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who received the promises of God.

Romans 11:28
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.

This example of the events related in the New Testament fulfilling an Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah, also preached by John the Baptist, discredits the claims of Dispensationalists that the Church was unforseen in the prophecies of the Old Testament. Clearly it was foretold in Isaiah's prophecy; Dispensationalists have been blind to it!

Mount of Olives

In Zechariah's prophecy the Lord's feet stand upon the mount of Olives. Jesus stood there when he gave the Olivet Discourse to his disciples. Zechariah described the mount of Olives being divided into two parts, half moving to the north, and half moving to the south, forming a wide valley between. The Mount of Olives in Zechariah's prophecy represents the Olivet prophecy.

Zechariah 14:4-5
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.

Consider that the Mount of Olives is a relatively a low ridge, that rises 200 to 300 feet above the Kidron valley. It is no serious obstacle for people to walk across, who want to get to the other side. So what would be the purpose for God to divide the mountain into two parts?

If the Mount of Olives literally cleaved into two parts, and half of it moved north and half of it moved south, as a result of a major earthquake, why would the saints need to flee towards the fault zone? Usually the sites of earthquakes are very unstable, and subject to aftershocks. Why would the prophet tell people to flee AFTER the event? Wouldn't it be too late? And why would the saints need to flee, if they are caught up to the clouds to meet Jesus when he returns?

Zechariah says flee to "the valley of the mountains." This is the figurative valley formed between the two halves of the mount of Olives when it is divided into two parts. Interpreting this, the two halves of the mount of Olives represent the theories of Preterism and Dispensationalism, which displace the Olivet prophecy of Jesus from its true application. Those theories reject the application of most Bible prophecy to the Church today, but the Olivet prophecy is meant for us today, and applies to the period of history between the apostolic age and now, not to the Jews in the future, or to the Jews of the first century. Zechariah's prophecy shows we should take the Olivet discourse to heart, and apply it to the present, not to the first century, or to a future "age"!

In the Olivet prophecy Jesus says to "flee to the mountains," [Matthew 24:16]. Perhaps he meant we need to believe the promises of God given to us in prophecy, and seek the kingdom of God, which is the greatest mountain of them all!

Mount Sion is the Church

The kingdom of God is a mountain which fills the whole earth, in Daniel's prophecies:

Daniel 2:35
Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

Daniel 2:45
Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

The city of God, Jerusalem, is called a mountain:

Psalm 48:1
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.

The house of God, to which many people will come to learn God's ways, is also called 'the mountain of the Lord.' The temple on mount Zion was a symbol of the Church.

Isaiah 2:3 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.

The Church is called 'Mount Sion' in Hebrews 12.

Hebrews 12:23-23
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

John saw a vision of the New Jerusalem, on a great and high mountain. This city is symbolic of the Church.

Revelation 21:10
And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.

In "the sermon on the mount," Jesus describes those who are part of his Church. [Matthew 5:3-12]

The gospel is prophecy

Because it is a prophecy, the gospel is represented by mountains. The mysteries of the gospel will become plain and crystal clear to everyone.

Zechariah 4:7
Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with soutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

A puzzle or mystery that is solved is no longer a "mountain," but a "plain"!

Isaiah admonished those who bring good tidings to go into the mountains.

Isaiah 40:9
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

This "high mountain" is not a human government! But Isaiah may be telling us to look into prophecy, which can give us insight.

Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

What mountains? Not rich folk, corporations, or governments! Again, Isaiah refers to mountains that represent the promises of God, and the gospel.

Isaiah 55:12
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

It is the prophecies in the Bible, represented by mountains and hills, that are turned into songs, as in Handel's famous 'Messiah' oratorio. Who are the trees who clap their hands?

Jeremiah 17:7-9
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

They are the ones who trust in God!

Psalm 72:3
The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.

These mountains and hills are the promises of God to his people! The prophecies of scripture bring peace to those who understand them!

Copyright 2001 by Douglas E. Cox
All Rights Reserved.