Mountains dominate the landscape that surrounds them, they are visible for miles to all who pass by. The mountains of Israel are used by Yahweh as a stage upon which to reveal Himself and His plan to mankind. Mount Carmel, Mount Sinai, Mount Ebal, Mount Gerizim, and Mount Zion all come to mind. Mount Zion above all others is synonymous with the hope of Israel. Isaac was to have been offered on what became known as Mount Zion; there the promises were given to David, and Christ is to rule the kingdom from that location. This hope should have dominated the minds of the believers of Israel, as the mountains dominated the landscape. These mountains of Israel are used throughout the prophecy of Ezekiel.
In the prophecy of Ezekiel the judgments that come on Israel and the nations are done for all the world to see, to the end that “they shall all know that I am the LORD.” What better place for these judgments to take place, than on the mountains of Israel?
Iniquity on the mountains
In Ezekiel’s time, the ways of the flesh were being elevated on the mountains of Israel, and Yahweh was forgotten. High above the fertile valleys, the people were showing the whole world they did not believe in Him and the promises He had made to them. The high places were filled with idols and false gods.
This idolatrous condition was about to change. Yahweh was going to use the setting of the mountains of Israel to show Israel and the whole world that the idols and false gods of Israel were powerless. In Ezekiel 6 the mountains of Israel are addressed:
“Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain men before your idols. And I will lay the dead carcasses of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars” (Ezk. 6:3-5).
Glory departs from a mountain
The mountains of Israel were no longer a fertile location for the word of God to grow. For this reason the “Glory of Yahweh” was going to leave the city of Jerusalem. It did so from the Mount of Olives (Ezk. 11:23). This was the same place from which Christ would later depart to heaven to prepare for the time he would return and set up the kingdom on earth. The ascension of Christ was followed by the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome in AD 70, in the same way that Jerusalem was completely destroyed by the Babylonians in Ezekiel’s time after the glory of Yahweh had departed. Both departures pointed forward to a day when the glory would return to Israel. This event once again will take place for all the world to see when Christ’s feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4).
Even upon Mount Zion, the city in which Yahweh had chosen to put His name, Israel rejected the ways of the Truth, turning their backs on Him. Ezekiel saw “them with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east” (Ezk. 8:16).
The desolation of the mountains of Israel, prophesied by Ezekiel, came upon the people as Yahweh said it would. The Babylonians destroyed the city of Jerusalem, captured the king and scattered the people. With this event, the prophesies of Ezekiel changed focus to give hope to those who were in captivity. They were shown that the mountains of Israel were to be the setting for the fulfillment of the promises, and the revelation of Yahweh’s power in the true kingdom of Israel, a kingdom that would not be displaced.
Gog destroyed on the mountains
Ezekiel 38 and 39 tell us that the great Gogian confederacy will be destroyed on the mountains of Israel. This will be an event that will be visible for all the world to see. It will dominate the political landscape and restore the kingdom to Israel.
“I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: and I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured” (Ezk. 39:1-5).
It is very appropriate that the destruction of Gog takes place on the mountains of Israel when we consider the image of Daniel 2. The image is destroyed by a stone cut out of the mountain (of humanity) without hands (the virgin birth) which clearly represents Christ destroying the nations that come up against Israel. Daniel said, “the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Dan. 2:35). This mountain is the kingdom, which will have dominion over the whole earth. In that day the mountains of Israel will be fully restored.
Kingdom blessings on the mountains
The mountains, which once saw the desolation of Israel, will then see its full restoration as we see in Ezekiel 34: “And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel” (Ezk. 34:13-14).
In Ezekiel 36, once again the mountains of Israel bear witness to Yahweh in a manner which is visible to the world: “O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: and I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: and I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezk. 36:8-11).
Ultimately the whole world will see the temple shown to Ezekiel, built upon Mount Zion, and the city of Jerusalem elevated “upon a very high mountain.” The whole world will know Yahweh, “and the name of the city from that day shall be, Yahweh is there” (Ezk. 48:35).