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Mount Tabor

    "The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulon and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I will lure Sisera, the commander of Yavin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’" (Judges 4:6-7).

    "‘As I live,’ declares the King Whose name is the Lord of hosts, ‘Surely one shall come who looms up like Tabor among the mountains, Or like Carmel by the sea.’" (cf. Ps 89:12)

Mount Tabor, known as Har Tavor in Hebrew, is a gently sloping mountain 6 miles southeast of Nazareth and 11 miles west of the Sea of Galilee. It rises some 1800 feet high, sitting like an upside down teacup in the verdant Jezreel Valley. Scripture often equate Mount Tabor with majesty. During the life of Jesus, Mount Tabor was a one day’s journey from Capernaum. The mountain is important to both the old testament and new testament alike and attracts many pilgrims.

Story of Devorah the Prophetess
In Judges, Chapters 4 and 5, we read about Devorah who goes into battle with Barak against the mighty Sisera and the Canaanites. Sisera came equipped with 900 state-of-the-art chariots fitted with iron wheels, while the Israelites simply gathered 10,000 men. They meet on Mount Tabor and the Lord intervenes, sending a rainstorm that traps Sisera’s chariots in thick mud. Sisera’s army flees on foot and Sisera is killed by Yael – all as predicted by Devorah the prophetess.

Christ and the Transfiguration
And in Christianity, some of the early church fathers, including Epiphanius and Jerome, believed that Jesus was recognized as Son of God upon Mount Tabor. According to the bible, Christ was with Moses, Elijah and three disciples, Peter, James and John, when the Transfiguration occurred.

However, the location is debated, many thinking that it occurred on Mount Hermon. Bible scholars feel that Mount Tabor is not isolated enough for such a momentous event to occur. In fact, during the life of Jesus, a military fort stood atop Mount Tabor.

Nonetheless, churches were built on this spot to commemorate the Transfiguration. According to the Anonymous Pilgrim, three basilicas stood atop Mount Tabor in 570 CE. And Willibaldus mentioned in 723 CE that a single church, dedicated to Jesus, Moses and Elijah, stood here.

Church of the Transfiguration
The current Church of the Transfiguration, built in 1924 by the Franciscans, sits atop the ruins of a sixth-century church. And although the mountain is gently sloped, 16 hairpin turns snake up, taking one through a stone crusader gateway and on to the church at the summit. Designed by Antonio Barluzzi, architect of the splendid church on Mount of Beatitudes, the Church of the Transfiguration features vaulted arches and gold and white tiles showing the Transfiguration of Christ. A stairwell leads to a roof where one has majestic views of Mount Carmel, Mount Gilboa and the Nazareth Ridge.

Jesus of Nazareth Mary Magdalene: Mariamne Early Christianity
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