H. A. C. Hävernick on the mountains of Israel
In his commentary on Ezekiel, H. A. C. Hävernick (1810-1845) interpreted the mountains of Israel in chapters 35 and 36 as symbolic, representing God’s promises to Israel. He supported this interpretation from Genesis 49:26, which is the account of Jacob blessing his son Joseph.  Near the end of his life, Jacob said that his blessings extended “unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills,” alluding to the hills and mountains as being both high, and everlasting. Thus the mountains became symbols of lofty spiritual promises from God, such as the promise of eternal life, and they are witnesses to God’s faithfulness and mercy to Israel. Ezekiel’s prophecy showed that the attempts by others to touch them, or overthrow them, were vain and futile.
Hävernick also mentioned Deuteronomy 33:15 and Habakkuk 3:6 in support of his interpretation of the symbolic mountains of Israel in Ezekiel’s prophecies. In the passage in Deuteronomy, Moses blesses the tribe of Joseph with a blessing similar to that of Jacob.
And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,
And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,
And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.
What are “the chief things of the ancient mountains,” and “the precious things of the lasting hills,” if not the promises of God to Israel?
The prophet Habakkuk also spoke of mountains as “everlasting.” They represent eternal, spiritual promises. Unless the mountains were symbolic in his prophecy, their being scattered would seem to contradict the idea that they are everlasting.
He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting.
In the Gospel, the promises of Israel have become available to Gentiles, who are made nigh to “the commonwealth of Israel, and the covenants of promise” through faith in Christ and his shed blood. [Ephesians 2:12-13]
Many Bible scholars misinterpret the mountains of Ezekiel’s prophecy, and ignore Hävernick’s suggested explanation. When Israel’s promises are misinterpreted, the “everlasting mountains” are figuratively displaced from their positions, [Zechariah 14:4] or concealed by a cloud. [Ezekiel 38:9] The promises to Israel have been inherited by Jesus Christ; Paul said, “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” [2 Corinthians 1:20]
In Revelation 6:14, at the opening of the sixth seal, “every mountain and island were moved out of their places” means prophecies are misinterpreted, and the promises of God misunderstood. They are applied to the wrong people, at the wrong time. Ezekiel 36 shows that this will change, and the mountains will be possessed by Israel, meaning that the saints will possess the promises intended for them.
1. Heinrich Andreas Christoph Hävernick. Commentar über den Propheten Ezechiel. Erlangen: C. Heyder. 1843. p. 569.
- The land that eats its inhabitants: Ezekiel 36:13 (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
- Hävernick’s introductory comments on Ezekiel (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
- Mountains and the Gospel (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
- Isaiah’s threshing sledge