Mountains and rivers of peace

May 11, 2012

The scriptures say that God is around his people like the mountains around Jerusalem, and like broad rivers and streams.

Psalm 125:2
As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever
Isaiah 33:21
But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby.

In many other scriptures, like the above example, mountains and rivers of a spiritual nature are related.

A mountain and a river are both associated with the temple. The temple is sometimes called mount Zion; Psalm 125:1 says that mount Zion cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.  Ezekiel 47:1 describes the river that flows from the threshold of the temple.

Similarly a mountain and rivers are associated with Jerusalem. In Isaiah 2:2, Jerusalem is exulted to the top of the mountains; in Zechariah 14:8, rivers of living water flow from Jerusalem.

Another parallel is the mountains of Israel becoming desolate, and the waters and fountains polluted. In Ezekiel 36:4 the mountains of Israel are made desolate, and a prey and a derision to the heathen. In Ezekiel 34:18, the waters where the sheep come to drink are fouled by feet of other animals. In Revelation 8:11, fountains of waters are turned to wormwood and made bitter.

In the mountains, men hide in caves and dens in the rocks, which may be compared to the miry places in the river described by Ezekiel, that are not healed.

Luke 23:30
Jesus said, “Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.”

Revelation 6:15
men hide in the dens and caves of the mountains
Ezekiel 47:11
the miry places in the course of the river are not healed

The saints are encouraged to go up to the high mountain, in Isaiah 40:9; and 52:7. Jesus said, flee to the mountains; Mark 13:14. In John 7:38, he promised that rivers of living water will flow from the belly of whoever believes in him.

Both mountains and rivers are a way for God’s people. Isaiah 49:11 says the mountains will become a way for the saints; the sermon on the mount also defines a way. Jesus said “narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” [Matthew 7:14]. David said, “he leadeth me beside the still waters.” [Psalm 23:2] In Jeremiah 31:9, Israel is led by the rivers in a straight way; in Revelation 22:1-3, a river of the water of life flows in the street of the holy city.

On the mountains of Israel, God’s sheep will find pasture, by the rivers.  [Ezekiel 34:13]

Mountains and rivers are both mentioned as places for prayer. [Matthew 14:23; Acts 16:13]

In the gospels, a mountain was the place of Jesus’ transfiguration, [Matthew 17:2] and the Jordan river was the place where the Spirit descended upon him like a dove.

Joy is connected with both mountains and with a river. Mount Zion is “the joy of the whole earth,” [Psalm 48:2] where God will make a feast for all people; [Isaiah 25:6] in Isaiah 44:23 the mountains break forth into singing; Psalm 46:4 says “there is a river that makes glad the city of God.”

Peace is connected with both mountains and rivers. Psalm 72:3 says “The mountains shall bring peace to the people.” Isaiah 66:12 says “I will extend peace to her like a river.”

Mountains and rivers are each associated with the other;  Joel 3:18 says mountains will drop wine, hills will flow with milk; in Isaiah 30:25 and 41:18, God will make rivers in high places.