Mount Tabor/Church of the Transfiguration
This mountain dome rises almost 1,400 feet over the Jezreel Plain has both Old and New Testament significance.
In the Old Testament, there are many heroes of the faith associated with it: Gideon, Elisha, Jethro, and Josiah to name a few, but there is only one account that features the heroics of two women.
It was here that Deborah, the Judge of Israel, camped and fought against Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s idolatrous army with 900 chariots in 1125 B.C. The Israelites had no chariots, but they had God, and His rains soaked the plain (an otherwise ideal spot for chariots) and the Kishron River flooded, making the chariots useless. After his shocking defeat from Barak’s men, Jabin fled in fear, ultimately hiding in a woman’s tent, and his life ended here according to Judges 4:21,
One of the main New Testament occurrences here was the site of Jesus’ Transfiguration. There are two churches to commemorate the event, a Greek Orthodox and a Roman Catholic. Despite these two beautiful structures, scholars disagree on the actual site.
Three spots vie for the Transfiguration moment. The other two include Mount Hermon and the Mount of Olives. Eusebius and the Pilgrim of Bordeaux couldn’t agree on where it happened. In 348, Cyril of Jerusalem decided on Tabor, and with Epiphanius and Jerome in agreement, it was settled.
Whether or not it is the right spot, no one debates the stunning views of the Jezreel Valley below. The sight is well worth the hairpin turns up the mountain. It is also where two different resurrection miracles took place, either on or very near Mount Tabor. The first is with Elisha, as recorded in 2 Kings 4:32-35:
The second event takes place in Nain, just two miles from Mount Tabor, as Luke records it in 7:11-15,
Today you can see Crusader ruins from the 13th century on the summit, Roman structures, and the walls of an ancient city. Saladin destroyed the Christian buildings here in 1183 A.D. and although rebuilt, they were decimated again in 1263 A.D. , In the future it will be a witness again to the Book of Revelation’s final battle, as it sits on the eastern edge of the Jezreel Valley…also known as the Plain of Megiddo—the location of the battle of Armageddon.
FROM THE SCRIPTURES
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only (Matthew 17:1-8 ESV).
And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only (Mark 9:1-8 ESV).
Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen (Luke 9:28-36 ESV).