The metaphorical meaning of mountains as symbols of God’s promises and blessings is based upon the words of Jacob in Genesis 49:26 where he said, as he blessed Joseph:
The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills.
Mountains, rivers, valleys, hills, coasts, wilderness, desert, are all part of the land that God promised to give Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob. Belief was required for the Israelites to enter the land of promise. [Heb. 3:19] Jacob discovered that the things that must be believed, promises of spiritual blessings, are represented by mountains and hills.
The promises he received were lofty and spiritual, and so were high like high mountains, and also durable, or eternal, so he compared them to the “everlasting hills.”
The table below lists many prophecies that refer to mountains, with brief explanatory notes.
Jack Kelley posted his comments on the meaning of Paul’s expression “the fullness of the Gentiles” in Romans 11:25 here. The following is a discussion.
Lyn Leahz posted an article on Idealists, Preterists, And Futurists written by dispensationalist Jack Kelley. In the article Kelley expressed his opinions on the comments by James in Acts 15:13-18 on a prophecy found in Amos 9:11, about the tabernacle of David. James applied the prophecy to the church.
The following is a lecture by Charles Henry H. Wright given at the University of Oxford, England in 1878, in which he presents a commentary on the prophecy of Zechariah 6:9-15. Wright applied the prophecy to Jesus Christ, who is described in the New Testament as both High Priest and King.
Many preachers who support dispensationalism try to discredit the idea that Jesus Christ is reigning in the present age, upon the throne of David. But if Jesus is not the promised king who reigns on the throne of David forever, how could Peter say he is the Messiah? If he is not the king of Israel, how can he be the Christ?
In their interpretations of Isaiah 2:2, the prophecy that the mountain of the Lord’s house will be established at the top of the mountains, above the hills, dispensationalist commentators and expositors are torn between their commitment to their mantra of literalism, and their devotion to the idea that ethnic Jews will dominate other nations in the Millennium. The literal view says the prophecy means that mount Zion and Jerusalem will be literally raised up, by tectonic means. Contrasting with this approach is the interpretation of mountains as nations, which leads to the concept of Jews becoming a kind of master-race.
Tony Garland is the author of a four-part series on Daniel and the Times of the Gentiles at the Bible Prophecy blog [part-1 part-2 part-3 part-4]. In part 1 he discussed the sayings of Jesus about the times of the Gentiles, in Luke 21:24, Matt. 24:15-16, and Mark 13:14. Garland asks why Jesus did not elaborate on what he meant. He suggests the reason is that Jesus expected believers to discover his meaning by studying the revelations previously given in the Old Testament. He wrote:
Where Jesus is teaching concepts which find their origin in the Old Testament, He expects His listeners to be familiar with the basis of His teachings (Mt. 21:24; 22:29; Mark 12:24; Luke 24:27; John 5:39). And so it is with this passage and its parallel passages in Matthew and Mark. In fact, both Matthew and Mark make mention of additional information provided by Jesus in the context of this same teaching which establish part of the Old Testament context for understanding all three passages in the synoptics:
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” (Mt. 24:15-16 cf. Mark 13:14)
Jesus likely alluded to Zechariah’s prophecies, when he said, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” [Luke 21:20]
He continued, “Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.”
In the table below two kinds of interpretation of Revelation 11 & 12 are compared. The column at the left identifies many of the symbols in these chapters. The middle column presents commonly held views based on a literal approach, and what is here considered the natural or human point of view, represented by the little horn in Daniel 7, with “eyes like the eyes of a man.” The column at the right contains a more mature, spiritual interpretation. Often, scholars will offer a mix of interpretations from either of the two columns.
The prophecy in Revelation 11:1-14 refers to two cities, one being the holy city, which is Jerusalem, and another one which is not named specifically, but is referred to in a cryptic way.
These two cities are contrasted, as the labels “holy city” (verse 2) and “Sodom and Egypt” (verse 8) are as opposite as can be imagined. But, many expositors have tried to equate these two cities and find only one city in the chapter, which they identify with the earthly Jerusalem!
In Revelation 11 & 12, there is a contrast between things of the earth, and things in heaven. In Revelation 11:2, the holy city is trampled by Gentiles for 42 months. This is not the earthly Jerusalem; rather, it is the one which Jesus called the city of the great King, [Matt. 5:35] which is established in the top of the mountains, and raised up above the hills. [Isa. 2:2] The heavenly city is the focus of prophecy, after the resurrection of Jesus; the earthly one was identified with Hagar the Egyptian bondwoman, who was cast out. [Gal. 4:25]
How prophetic mountains are perceived
Commentators have long claimed that mountains in prophecy represent nations or kingdoms, and it is true that God’s kingdom is often represented by a mountain. However, scripture supports a more fundamental interpretation of the mountains; they represent God’s blessings, and covenants, and promises.
Natural mountains may appear differently, when viewed from various directions, and prophecy is similar. Promises of blessing, and covenants, may be represented by mountains, which are prominent parts of the promised land. The kingdom of God is a prophecy, and a promise of blessing, and so it can be represented by a mountain.
Scripture refers to light metaphorically, to represent spiritual knowledge and understanding. Darkness represents misinformation, superstition, delusion, or ignorance. Belief in the gospel is light, and unbelief is darkness.
John said, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” [1 John 1:5] Knowing the truth corresponds to day, and ignorance to darkness or night. Christ “lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” [John 1:9] He said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16]
The antichrist spirit, and apostasy becoming dominant in the church, are described in Daniel’s prophecies. The reign of Antiochus IV, the Seleucid king of Syria in the 2nd century BC, was typical of events of a spiritual nature, not a repetition of events of the same kind. Because of his policies, the temple at Jerusalem was made desolate, and dedicated to Zeus, which was typical of the desolation of the true temple, which is the church. Daniel referred to this desolation as the abomination of desolation. In Daniel 7 it is represented by the little horn that emerged among the ten horns of the fourth beast. In chapter 8, a king of fierce countenance who “understands dark sentences” destroys many of the holy people.
Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. has discussed the dispensational interpretation of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy in a series of blog posts. In Dispensationalism’s difficulty with Daniel he points out that dispensational theology is dependent upon its position on the 70 weeks, which introduces uncertainty because Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy is notoriously difficult to interpret.
In his recent article at Bible Prophecy blog, on The Coming Kingdom (Part 6), Andy Woods discussed the dispensational idea that Christ’s kingdom was offered to Jews, but the offer was postponed when they rejected Christ as their king.
Woods views the kingdom as conditional upon whether or not ethnic Jews believe the gospel, a doctrine that paints Christ as rather powerless, and as a wanna-be potential king whose hopes were disappointed like the runner-up in an American election campaign. But this is not the Jesus the apostles knew. Woods wrote: “The dispensational premillennialist understands that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. However, the kingdom is not a present reality since first-century Israel never satisfied the condition of faith in Christ.”
In the second of his three posts on Zechariah 14, titled Zechariah 14:10-21 and the Nature of the Coming Kingdom, Mike Vlach focused upon the significance of verse 9, which says the Lord will be king over all the earth. He reasoned that because the prophecy described the nations coming to Jerusalem to keep the feast of tabernacles, the period to which the prophecy applies, when the Lord is king over the earth, must be during a future millennial age. He concluded:
In sum, this section reveals that the Lord will reign from Jerusalem over the nations. The nations must show their allegiance by observing the Feast of Booths. Those nations that do not obey the Lord will experience negative consequences, including the withholding of blessings.
In verses 6-7, the light is neither clear, nor dark. Any attempt to apply the prophecy of this chapter to a future millennial age is thwarted by what is said about light.
Paul explained in 2 Corinthians 1:20 that all the promises of God are made available to us through Christ; he wrote: “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” In the Old Testament, these promises were given to God’s people Israel, but the New Testament shows that those who believe in Christ share in them, as they have become part of the true Israel of God through faith. Some of these promises are listed in table below. The notes in the right hand column suggest how they are fulfilled by Christ and his church.