Jesus, of course, was fully aware of the ongoing war for his holy mountain. For him, the war was personal.
Let’s bring our timeline of history into focus: The Bible tells us that Abraham arrived in Canaan 430 years before the Exodus. With the Exodus at 1446 B.C., that puts Abraham in Canaan in 1876 B.C., just as the fog over the political situation in Mesopotamia lifted with Amorites in control.
In a previous article in this series, we mentioned an odd comment that God made when He gave Abraham a glimpse at the future:
As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.“
Genesis 15:7-16 (ESV), emphasis added
By the time Moses arrived on the scene, around 1500 B.C., the Hebrews had been in Egypt for more than a hundred years. The days of Joseph serving as vizier to the pharaoh were long gone. The Hebrews had grown from an extended family of about six dozen to a couple million, but they were suffering under the rule of a nation that no longer valued their presence except as forced labor.
Let’s fast forward about 1,000 years from Babel. After the tower was abandoned, it appears that a group of Sumerians traveled by sea around the Arabian peninsula, and then overland across the wadis extending west from the Red Sea to found the 1st dynasty of Egypt.
Not all the holy mountains in the history of the world are natural, formed by the shifting of tectonic plates or the sudden, catastrophic opening of “the fountains of the great deep.” The Tower of Babel was one such artificial mountain. Babel was humanity’s attempt to force its way back into the divine council.
At Babel, mankind tried to storm the castle of God.
Life after Eden must have been a crushing disappointment for early humans, especially the First Couple. Forget about the burden of living under the curse—toiling to coax enough food from the ground to survive, the pain of bringing new life into the world, and all the rest. The realization that they had disappointed their Creator and condemned their children and their children’s children until the end of time to lives apart from Yahweh must have been nearly unbearable.
While the early Sumerians were figuring out how to grow crops without rain, interesting things—historic things—were happening far to the northwest. The second peak in the chronological list of spiritually strategic holy mountains is Mount Hermon.
Hermon is the highest, most majestic peak in the Levant. At 9,200 feet above sea level, it dominates the Golan Heights on the border between Israel and Syria, anchoring the southern end of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. It has been considered sacred for most of human history.
The long war between God and the lesser gods who rebelled began on a mountain, and it will end on a mountain.
First things first: The rebel gods are real. That’s not something you’re likely to hear in church. Not only have we been taught that the pagan deities of the ancient world were imaginary, most American Christians today don’t even believe in Satan or the Holy Spirit.