There are some Biblically significant places in the history of the world. As a Christian, some of the most exciting landmarks and locations are those mentioned in Scripture. Mount Sinai is arguably one of the most valuable places mentioned in the Bible.
Where Is Mount Sinai Located?
When you look at a map, Mount Sinai is located between the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba in the Sinai Desert. However, Amanda Idleman from Crosswalk shares, "There is no firm consensus on where exactly Mount Sinai is located. Some believe it is located in Saudi Arabia because Moses fled in that direction during his exile. Modern archaeologist, Emmanuel Anatim, is convinced that he has found the Biblical Mount Sinai at Har Karkom because he feels that some rock art at this location has biblical motifs. This is a 2,700-foot ridge in the southern Negev. Even with these modern findings, the exact location of the biblical Mount Sinai is still up for debate.” In other words, a safe answer is somewhere near or in Egypt.
What Happens on Mount Sinai in the Bible?
We first read of Mount Sinai in Exodus 19. The Israelites had been out of Egypt for three months and came to the desert Sinai. The people camped by the mountain and God spoke to Moses. The people washed their clothes and were consecrated and on the third day the Lord came down on the mountain. God is so holy that if anyone even touched the bottom of the mountain, that person would be put to death. On the third day, there was thunder and lightning, a cloud over Mount Sinai, and a loud trumpet. The mountain was hidden with smoke because God came down in fire. Moses heard God call him up. He was given guidelines for the people and the priests. Moses then brought Aaron up with him.
In Exodus 20, Moses goes to get the 10 Commandments from God Himself on the mountain. The Lord spoke the commands to Moses, and he wrote them down. Chapter after chapter we see instruction and order being given from God. Once we get to Exodus 32, we read about the golden calf idol with Aaron. The Israelites got tired of waiting and took matters into their own hands. They thought they could create a God. Moses was furious and threw the tablets on the ground (Exodus 32:19). When he went back up the mountain he pleaded on their behalf. He cleared the stones which were rewritten by God (Exodus 34:1).
A food offering was presented at Mount Sinai (Numbers 28:6). Another amazing fact is that Moses was familiar with the area since an angel appeared to him in a burning bush near Mount Sinai (Acts 7:30). This landmark was significant to the communication between God and Moses, as well as the place of intimacy. Mount Sinai itself is not holy, however, the Lord dwelling on top of that mountain made it holy.
Galatians 4:21-31 goes into detail about Hagar and Sarah regarding the law. Galatians 4:24 says, “Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.”
Hagar represents Mount Sinai in being slaves to the law. God’s law was perfect; it helped the people of the Lord know how to live for Him. However, in the same way, it also revealed their sins. Sarah represents the “Jerusalem from above” (Galatians 4:26). Those who accept Jesus are freed by His blood. Essentially, Mount Sinai is a symbol of our sin and a reminder of our need for a Savior. The people could not even touch the ground of the mountain because of the holiness of God and their unholiness in their sin. We are reminded at Mount Sinai of the seriousness of our sins and the division that they cause between us and our Heavenly Father. We are also given newfound gratitude that we no longer live under the law of sin, but the law of liberty through Christ Jesus.
Mount Sinai is still applicable to the believer today because when we love God, we delight in obeying Him. We know that His ways are ultimately what are best for us and will bless us in the end. James 1:25 says, “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
What Are Some Other Important Mountains in the Bible?
Mount of Olives: Significant in the life of King David and Jesus. This is where Jesus ascended into Heaven after His resurrection (Acts 1:10-11). This is where Jesus is believed to be returning (Zephaniah 14:4).
Mount Zion: Known as the “City of David” (2 Samuel 5:7, 1 Kings 8:1) Glory Dy from Christianity.com shares, “The first and obvious significance of Zion is that it is a city, which is physically located on top of a hill outside Jerusalem’s wall. It is also associated with the Temple of the Mount and also the Western Hill. Moreover, Israel is also referred to as Mount Zion.”
Mount Carmel: Where Elijah called out fire from heaven against the prophets of Baal and proved who was the One true God (1 Kings 18).
Interesting Facts about Mount Sinai
There are only a few covenants in the Bible made by God with man. One of these is the Mosaic covenant which occurred at Mount Sinai. This mountain is a symbol of covenant and a reminder that the Lord meets with us.
According to Beautiful World, Mount Sinai is also called “Mount Moses or Mount Horeb.”
Mount Sinai is a unique place where a few were able to see God. Lori Hatcher from Crosswalk teaches, “Along with brother Aaron, nephews Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel, Moses saw God on Mt. Sinai”(Exodus 24:9-11). Can you imagine the glory and splendor of seeing the Lord? Not only that, but we would think that our God would meet with kings in palaces or in more beautiful places. However, He met Moses and the leaders in the middle of the desert on this mountain. This is a great reminder that our Lord works in obscure places, and He meets with us in our “deserts” too.
Britannica says, “The mountain rises to 7,497 feet (2,285 metres) above sea level.” To give you an idea, that is about the height of Mount Mitchell in North Carolina or the Olympic Mountains in Washington.
Mount Sinai is one of the most valuable places mentioned in Scripture because it is a place where God met man, the location of the Mosaic Covenant, and the Mountain of great mercy on behalf of the Lord. He could have not given the 10 Commandments a second time, but as we think about the breaking of the tablets over the idolatry of the people, we remember the sins of Adam and Eve breaking the union with God. As we ponder Moses going back to God on behalf of the people who could not even touch the mountain due to its holiness, we remember the foreshadowing of Jesus Himself going up to the cross on our behalf. As we think on the second time God wrote the commandments on the tablets, we remember the covenant that would come through Christ.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/boygovideo
Emma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, inspiring young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew and they have been married for over a year. Drew and Emma serve with Upstate CRU college ministry in South Carolina. Emma is an avid writer for Salem Web Network and provides articles on the Bible, life questions, and on the Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 viewed article on Crosswalk for the year 2021. All the glory to the Lord! She has the joy of being the host of Her Many Hats podcast where she explores the many roles that women play while serving One God.
Emma enjoys singing/songwriting, fitness classes, trying new recipes, home makeover shows, and drinking tea! During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first published book on singleness. Emma also had the privilege of being a national spokesperson for Mukti Mission based out of India. Mukti has been working to restore shattered lives in India for over 120 years. You can view her articles through her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com