The Mountain of the Lord

by Lois Tverberg

Now it will come about that in the last days, the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations (or, Gentiles) will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’ For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. – Isaiah 2:2-3

The words above are from a prophecy of what would happen in the last days, in the Messianic age. Because the Messiah has come, we are in that age, and it is fascinating to see how these words are finally coming true right before our eyes.

Specifically, it says that the nations (goyim, also Gentiles) will come to the land God has given his people, in order to study, to learn more about the Lord and how to follow him. In the past 50 years since the nation of Israel has been established, an enormous wealth of information has been uncovered to enrich our study of the Bible. Most of us are hardly aware of how important that has been for Christianity.


This welcoming sign greets everyone arriving at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered the year Israel was established, have been some of the most important finds. They have shown the reliability and antiquity of the Scriptures, because they are over 1000 years older than other manuscripts. They date from Jesus’ time and give us much insight into the Essenes, an important part of the culture that Jesus was addressing. Every new discovery in archaeology gives another piece of the puzzle, making the text a little clearer. Some of the most important finds in Israel have been made in just the past 10 years! We can be optimistic about what is just around the corner.

Few may also know of a remarkable wave of scholarship that is developing as Christians and Jews are studying Jesus together in Israel. In former times, Christians have tended to miss the importance of Jesus’ Jewish context for understanding his message. But as they have traveled to Israel to study the land and manuscripts, the Jews there have worked together with them to yield great insights on Jesus’ life in its context. A pioneering group of scholars called the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research is part of this development, and has had fascinating insights on Jesus’ words in the light of his Jewish culture (1).

While Christians may not know of some of the amazing things that are going on in the land of Israel, they are starting to discover how powerful it is to personally experience the Promised Land. Many find that the text takes on brilliant color and new depth once they’ve walked the land.

It has taken thousands of years for a window to open, to enable the Gentiles to come from the ends of the earth to the mountain of the Lord. And only now have we had the tools to uncover evidence that God preserved below the surface of the land. How amazing of God, that he allows even us to be a part of the Scriptures, because we now are the fulfillment of his words in Isaiah 2 long ago.

En-Gedi Hiking

The God of the City

by Lois Tverberg

“Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations;
and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.”
Isaiah 61:4

The first impression that I had after arriving in Israel, when we were traveling from the Tel Aviv airport toward Jerusalem, was the enormous amount of development that has occured in the three years since we last visited. Hills that were bare before are now full of houses. We saw it even in the West Bank, around Bethlehem, where many more villages and farms had established by the Palestinians. Considering how difficult the economy has been with the lack of tourism, it is surprising that people have been able to expand and develop as much they have.

I have to admit that my initial reaction to the new apartments and houses outside of Jerusalem was a sense of disappointment that the land is being covered in bricks and mortar.

jerusalem construction

But as I thought about it, I wondered if God might have a different reaction. The city of Jerusalem is where God’s temple once stood, and Jesus mourned the fact that God would let the city be destroyed. In the Messianic era, when God would restore things to the way they should be, God promised that the ancient ruins would be rebuilt, as it says in today’s verse. We should take joy in God’s faithfulness that he is fulfilling his promise and rebuilding his land, as he said he would long ago.

jerusalem construction

As much as I like grass and trees, and fancy that the Holy Land should be an unspoiled garden, I think that God may not share that sentiment. We can see God’s intentions by comparing the beginning of the Bible with its end. Originally, Eden is a paradise that had only two human beings in it. But in Revelation, when we again read about paradise, it has one big difference – it is a great city, thronging with people, where God dwells among them. It reminds us that God’s greatest glory will be when his children from every tribe and nation all come to live with him forever.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

… Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. (Revelation 21:3-5, 9-10)