By Dr. Randall Smith
Courtesy of Christian Travel Study Programs, Ltd.
Travelers passing through the lower Galilee can?t help but be impressed by the splendor of a dome-shaped mountain that towers above the road. Great stories of the Bible are restored here, like the battle with the king of Hazor recorded in Judges 4 &5. Deborah gazed out at the approaching chariots of the Canaanite army led by Sisera, and called Barak, to gather the tribes and carry out a pincer movement, surrounding and destroying the Canaanite army.
“Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, followed by ten thousand men” [Judges 4:14].
The mountain was natural as a stronghold place, a place of beauty and abundance (Ps. 89).
Although Mt. Tabor is not mentioned specifically in the New Testament, the miracle of the Transfiguration of Jesus has been recalled there since Crusaders times.
“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light” [Matthew 17: 1-13].
One of Israel?s most exquisite churches is found on the heights of Mt. Tabor. A Franciscan sanctuary built in the 1920?s, the Church of the Transfiguration was erected over ruins of a Byzantine chapel. Here, prolific architect Antonio Barluzzi utilized a 4th-7th century style that imparts to this church a special flavor. The theme of the artwork in the church is metamorphous ? things that change or highlight the glorified Jesus.
© Christian Travel Study Programs, Ltd.