By Graham Keelan-
God has always spoken to His people from the mountains. As you drive through and upon the yellow and grey mountains of this land, mountains both verdant and barren, from the north to the south, the east to the west, from the heights of the Golan and the Galilee to the depths of the desert wilderness of Judea and Samaria, through the luxurious vineyards, orchards and forests of Carmel and the Great Sea to the tranquil waters and wastes of Masada and the Dead Sea, you notice that these are mountains replete with the remains of bygone civilizations and the detritus of war. And yet, these are the only mountains upon which God has placed his name, upon which God has placed his feet. These are the mountains which the prophets declared would flow with honey and drip sweet wine – the mountains of Israel, the mountains of God.
But of all the mountains of Israel, from Shiloh to Gerizim, those upon which Jerusalem is built are perhaps the most significant of all. This place is not only the conjunction of East and West, North and South, but also of time: the past, the present and the future. These are the mountains and this is the city from which God has commanded the destiny of mankind, and from which He will command the kingdom of the coming ages. Here, approximately 4,000 years ago, Melchizedec, the first priest-king of the city (king of Salem and priest of El Elyon) walked out the gates to meet and break the covenant bread with another man who had left his home in Mesopotamia to wander the mountains and valleys of Canaan in search of a city whose “builder and maker is God”. That same man, the patriarch Abraham, also chose to offer up his son in covenant sacrifice here. Thereafter, this city on the hill passes into the recesses of the Jewish imagination for roughly 1,000 years until God anoints and raises another royal house appointed under the aegis of the shepherd-king, David. About 1,000 years after this, another Shepherd-King, Priest-King and Warrior-King of Israel would descend the Mount of Olives riding a donkey.
When we look at the Hebrew name of God, YHVH, a fascinating message emerges:
The Hebrew letter “Yud” denotes “Yerushalayim” (Jerusalem), the city of God. The next letter, “Hey”, denotes a “mountain” (as in Har Megiddo). And yet in God’s name we see that there are two letter “Heys”, or two mountains, very close together. These correspond to the mounts of blessing and cursing (Gerizim and Ebal). Furthermore, Jerusalem is also built on two distinct mountains: Mount Zion and Mount Moriah. In between those two “Heys” is the letter, “Vav”. This particular letter denotes a “rose”. As we know, the rose bears the flower and the thorn on the same stem. Throughout Scripture the thorn represents the curse that has come upon all mankind. Thus, this Holy City wherein God has placed His name is both the city of sweet perfume and piercing pain, the city of blessing and cursing. And at a place between these two mountains, Yeshua, the Son of God, became the trampled rose that bore this curse for us, while His life and death released a sweet scent that ascended to His Father in Heaven.
We must not think that whatever the enemy has sought to do on these mountains in past times that God has been absent, for Yeshua is currently “sitting down” at the right hand of the Majesty on High waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool. That “sitting down” connotes a place of rest, authority, and judgment, just as the king in the ancient world would sit at the gate of the city to pronounce justice and mercy. Foreshadowing this, Yeshua sat down on the Mount of Beatitudes to pronounce the blessings of the kingdom upon those who would choose to follow Him.
On these mountains of Jerusalem, Yeshua wept for the city. He knew that without a home the Jews would become vulnerable to the bilious hatred of Gentile nations. And yet He also knew that His own people would shortly reject Him. So, on the Mount of Olives, just a few days before His death, He assumed His kingly posture and sat down, there to pronounce the judgment of the nations and the future of mankind.
O, mountains of Israel!
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