God’s Holy Mountain
The concept of God living on a holy mountain is a significant theme in the Old Testament. However, this same theme frames the entire Bible. It begins with the garden of Eden in Genesis and ends with New Jerusalem in Revelation. In Genesis the elevated location of the garden of Eden is indicated by the fact that a single river flows out of Eden, before dividing to become four rivers. Genesis 2:10–14 provides a short and enigmatic description of these rivers.
While there is some uncertainty about the identity of all four rivers, the description implies that the garden of Eden occupies a raised position in the middle of the world. In keeping with this picture, the prophet Ezekiel designates Eden as both “the garden of God” and “the holy mountain of God” (Ezek. 28:13–16).
A New City
Leaping to the New Testament, the concept of a holy mountain city is linked to New Jerusalem. The author of Hebrews passionately exhorts his readers to remain faithful to the new covenant inaugurated by Jesus Christ, rather than returning to the older covenant associated with Mount Sinai. In doing so he makes a brief but noteworthy comment: “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22).
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