In Biblical symbolism mountains can represent kingdoms or ruling governments. (Dan. 2:35, 44, 45; compare Isaiah 41:15; Revelation 17:9-11, 18.) Babylon, by her military conquests, brought other lands to ruin and is, therefore, called a “ruinous mountain.” (Jer. 51:24, 25) A psalm relating Jehovah’s activities against warring men depicts him as being “enveloped with light, more majestic than the mountains of prey.” (Ps. 76:4) The “mountains of prey” may represent aggressive kingdoms. (Compare Nahum 2:11-13.) Regarding Jehovah, David said: “You have made my mountain to stand in strength,” probably meaning that Jehovah had exalted David’s kingdom and firmly established it. (Ps. 30:7; compare 2 Samuel 5:12.) The fact that mountains may represent kingdoms aids in understanding the significance of what is described at Revelation 8:8 as “something like a great mountain burning with fire.” Its resemblance to a burning mountain would suggest that it is associated with a form of rulership having a violent nature like fire.
The prophecy of Daniel indicated that God’s kingdom, after crushing all other kingdoms, would become a large mountain and fill the whole earth. (Dan. 2:34, 35, 44, 45) This meant that it would extend its blessed rule over the entire earth. Wrote the psalmist: “Let the mountains carry peace to the people, also the hills, through righteousness.” (Ps. 72:3) In harmony with this psalm, the blessings that are spoken of in connection with God’s mountain, such as Jehovah’s banquet for all the peoples, would be experienced on earth.—Isa. 25:6; see also Isaiah 11:9; 65:25.
Associated with worship
Mount Zion became a holy mountain when David brought the sacred Ark to the tent that he had pitched there. (2 Sam. 6:12, 17) As the Ark represented Jehovah’s presence and David had evidently acted at divine direction (Deut. 12:5), this meant that Jehovah had chosen Mount Zion as his place of dwelling. With reference to this choosing, David wrote: “The mountainous region of Bashan is a mountain of God [that is, created by God]; the mountainous region of Bashan is a mountain of peaks. Why do you, O you mountains of peaks, keep watching enviously the mountain that God has desired for himself to dwell in? Even Jehovah himself will reside there forever. . . . Jehovah himself has come from Sinai [where he first revealed his presence to the entire nation of Israel] into the holy place.” (Ps. 68:15-17) The mountainous region of Bashan may be said to reach its crest in Mount Hermon and, therefore, this mountain may be meant by the words the “mountain of God” and the “mountain of peaks.” Although Mount Hermon towers far above Mount Zion, Jehovah chose the less conspicuous location for his place of dwelling.
After the temple was built on Mount Moriah, the term “Zion” came to include the temple site and therefore Zion remained God’s holy mountain. (Isa. 8:18; 18:7; 24:23; Joel 3:17) Since Jehovah’s temple was located at Jerusalem, the city itself was also called his “holy mountain.” (Isa. 66:20; Dan. 9:16, 20) It may be with reference to facing the mountains of Jerusalem when praying that the psalmist said: “I shall raise my eyes to the mountains. From where will my help come? My help is from Jehovah.”—Ps. 121:1, 2; compare Psalm 3:4; 1 Ki. 8:30, 44, 45; Daniel 6:10.
The prophecy of Isaiah (2:2, 3) and that of Micah (4:1, 2) pointed to the time when the “mountain of the house of Jehovah” would “become firmly established above the top of the mountains” and be “lifted up above the hills,” with people of many nations streaming to it. There is no evidence that such a thing ever took place in connection with the literal temple at Jerusalem. But there is evidence of a fulfillment upon the Christian congregation of spiritual Israel, which is associated with the spiritual temple of Jehovah God. The invitation to become part of spiritual Israel began to be extended to non-Jews in the year 36 C.E. (Acts 10:34, 35; compare 1 Peter 2:9, 10.) Those who accepted that invitation “approached a Mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem.” (Heb. 12:22) Therefore the “mountain of the house of Jehovah” must be heavenly Mount Zion, the location for God’s spiritual temple. (Compare 1 Peter 2:4-10.) The fact that the “mountain of the house of Jehovah” was to be above mountains and hills would point to the exalted position of true worship, for mountains and hills anciently served as sites for idolatrous worship and for sanctuaries of false deities.—Deut. 12:2; Jer. 3:6; Ezek. 18:6, 11, 15; Hos. 4:13.
At times mountains represent obstacles. For example, the obstacles that stood in the way of Israel’s returning from Babylonian exile and those that later prevented progress in the temple rebuilding work were compared to mountains. (Isa. 40:1-4; Zech. 4:7) Faith can move similar mountainous obstacles and, if it be God’s will, even literal mountains.—Matt. 17:20; 21:21; Mark 11:23; 1 Cor. 13:2.
Stability, permanence or loftiness
Stability and permanence are ascribed to the mountains. (Isa. 54:10; Hab. 3:6; compare Psalm 46:2.) Therefore, when the psalmist spoke of Jehovah’s righteousness as being like “mountains of God” (Ps. 36:6) he may have meant that Jehovah’s righteousness is immovable. Or, since mountains are lofty, this may point to the fact that God’s righteousness by far transcends that of man. (Compare Isaiah 55:8, 9.) In connection with the outpouring of the seventh bowl of God’s anger, Revelation 16:20 says: “Mountains were not found.” This suggests that not even things as lofty as mountains would escape the outpouring of God’s anger.—Compare Jeremiah 4:23-26.
Mountains rejoice and praise Jehovah
When Jehovah turns his favorable attention to his people, this has a good effect upon the land. Cultivated and cared for, mountain slopes cease to have an unkept appearance, as if mourning in a state of desolation or plague. Therefore, figuratively, the mountains “cry out joyfully” and their beauty and productivity praise Jehovah.—Ps. 98:8; 148:7-9; compare Isaiah 44:23; 49:13; 55:12, 13; Ezekiel 36:1-12.
MOUNTAIN OF MEETING
An expression appearing at Isaiah 14:13, where the king of Babylon is depicted as saying in his heart: “Above the stars of God I shall lift up my throne, and I shall sit down upon the mountain of meeting, in the remotest parts of the north.”
Some scholars hold that this “mountain of meeting” was some distant northerly eminence that the Babylonians regarded as the dwelling place of their gods. However, rather than being prophetic of an actual statement the king of Babylon would make, the words of Isaiah 14:13 reflect what his ambition and attitude would be. (Compare Isaiah 47:10.) They are part of a proverbial utterance to be lifted up against the king of Babylon by restored Israelites. (Isa. 14:1-4) It therefore logically follows that the “mountain of meeting” must be identified in the light of Scripture and not on the basis of what may have been the pagan religious conception held by Babylon’s king. Certainly the king of Babylon would have no desire to lift up his throne above the stars of a god whom he worshiped. Also, Isaiah 14:14 clearly shows that the reference is not to one of the Babylonian gods, but to the Most High. Hence the “mountain of meeting” must be associated with the Most High God.
In Isaiah’s time there was only one mountain, Mount Zion (which name evidently came to include the temple site on Mount Moriah), where God representatively met with his people. (Compare Isaiah 8:18; 18:7; 24:23; Joel 3:17.) It could appropriately be