Mountains Surrounding Jerusalem | A Biblical Overview of Jerusalem's location
The entire area of Jerusalem is biblically referred to as “the Land of Moriah” as described in Genesis 22:2, when God tested Father Abraham. He said to him, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
We find the word “Moriah” once again in 2-Chronicles 3:1, telling us that "… Solomon began to build the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite..."
The term “Moriah” in the Hebrew language, is a construct of two words. MORI = my teacher, and YA = the short version of the name Yahweh.
According to this view, the entire region is properly named “God is my teacher,” and we believe that God has much that He wants to teach His children as we study the region, its history, and the destiny of Jerusalem.
One of those timeless lessons is found in Psalm 125:1-2, which says, “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.”
Composed as one of Israel’s “songs of ascents,” this inspired psalm was sung repeatedly by ministering Levites and pilgrims ascending the steps up to God’s Temple on Temple Mount to worship Him and bring their offering.
You can actually climb those very steps today, just a few feet away from the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and you can still hear these very same words sung in worship meetings across the land. Surely, the Word of God is ALIVE.
Most great cities throughout the world became great because of their strategic locations or natural resources such as a convenient seaport, an abundant water source, mines of precious metals or stones, etc. Yet Jerusalem has none of those. Given its humble topography and lack of any such strategic advantages, Jerusalem should have been just another ordinary, obscure, Middle Eastern city.
Yet, Jerusalem is the most renowned and fascinating city in the world, at least among people of faith, and the question is why?
The only reasonable explanation is the one which the Bible reveals time and again, referring to this city as the one place on earth where the Lord God chose to place His name (Deut 12:11), revealing and executing His rescue mission for all humanity through the sacrifice of His Messiah, the Son of the Living God. According to the book of Revelation, Jerusalem is also the Capital City of God’s coming Kingdom of righteousness and peace.
Jerusalem is located roughly in the middle of a range of low mountains running north to south throughout central Israel between the Mediterranean and the Jordan Valley, stretching from the Jezreel Valley in the north all the way to Beer Sheva in the south. Topographically, Jerusalem is not built ON a mountain.
Rather, it is built IN the mountains, and the city is, in fact, surrounded by seven mountain peaks higher than itself. That’s right! This ancient psalm composed by a passionate and spiritually minded worship leader thousands of years ago, is actually a very accurate geographical description of the entire holy region.
Seven mountain peaks surround the ancient City of Jerusalem (which was then much smaller than modern day Jerusalem which has greatly expanded in recent generations). These peaks are (1) Mount Scopus, (2) Mount of Olives, (3) Mount of Corruption (all three are peaks of a ridge stretching east of the City itself), (4) Mount Ophel, (5) the original Mount Zion/Moriah (today’s Temple Mt.), (6) the New Mount Zion (where the traditional Upper Room is located), and (7) the peak upon which the Roman Antonia Fortress was built just north of the Temple.
These seven peaks surround the biblical city of Jerusalem from all sides.
Just as Jerusalem is situated amidst the seven mountain peaks higher than itself, the truth of the Word of God comes home to us through the timeless promise that “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people...” Take a look at any topographical map of the Jerusalem area, observe the mountains surrounding the city, and take faith in God who promised to be as real to you as these mountains are to Jerusalem.
This revelation is intended to strengthen and establish our hearts in faith and confidence in the God of Israel. Understanding the geography behind the poetry brings this revelation home!
When you travel to Israel with our Sar-El team, you will have an opportunity see these mountain peaks with your own eyes and learn this lesson first hand!
Blessings to you from Jerusalem.