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The Mount of Beatitudes

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The Actual Site of the Sermon on the Mount

This site is always part of our live Octagon Tour.

Location - Galilee North Shore

Map Coordinates - 32.873525, 35.551655

Merged Gospels stories - 54-79


Two places commemorate the Sermon on the Mount. There is a church farther uphill, and then there is this place. This is the actual site where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.


The Eremos Cave.


The Eremos Cave.

The night before Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, the Gospel of Luke says that He prayed all night long (Luke 6:12). It is believed that the place where He prayed was called the Eremos Cave.

As you can see, it’s not very large, but it was enough to provide shelter for Jesus during His all-night prayer vigil. Early Byzantine Christians also believed that this was the spot where Jesus prayed. We know this by reading the memoirs of the late fourth-century Spanish Lady Pilgrim, Egeria.

After His night of prayer, when morning came, Jesus walked a little farther up the hill. It is very likely that today’s pilgrims actually travel the same path on which Jesus walked.

As you can imagine, our live Octagon Tour groups love to pray inside this cave, since it is believed that this is the very same cave that Jesus prayed in!


Is there a contradiction between Matthew and Luke?


Most scholars believe that Jesus’ sermon in Matthew, chapters 5 through 7, and His sermon in the sixth chapter of Luke, are excerpts from the same sermon. However, there appears to be a difference in the geography between the two accounts. Matthew describes this sermon as one where Jesus had to climb a hill to preach (Matthew 5:1). Luke describes this same sermon as one where Jesus had to descend to a level place to preach (Luke 6:11). Fortunately, both versions are correct. Jesus first arrived at this spot, but He didn’t linger there, because His goal was to go even farther to a place that you can see near the summit of this hill.


Jesus preaching the Sermon on the Mount.

The Eremos Highlands.

Map Coordinates - 32.874564, 35.551103

Merged Gospels story - 53

Many of Jesus’ disciples followed Him as He made this ascent, and it was somewhere near the ridge of this hill where Jesus appointed His twelve Apostles (Luke 6:13). The word Apostle means, “One who is sent”. In the Gospels, whenever you read the list of names of the Apostles that He chose, this is the place where that happened.

Jesus choosing His Apostles at the Eremos Highlands

The Eremos Highlands today.

The Biblical Story.

From that high vantage point Jesus could see quite a distance as He looked out over the lake, and it was from that spot where He saw a large group of people coming to Him (Matthew 5:1). The Gospel of Luke indicates that some of those in that approaching crowd had walked for two or three days to get there (Luke 6:17).


Knowing that it would be difficult to preach to them on that slope, Jesus came down to this level place, which is a spur on the side of the hill.

This means that the geographic descriptions of this place given to us by Matthew and Luke are both true. It is a spot to which Jesus both ascended and descended on the same day.

The first thing that Jesus did when He got down here was to heal people of their physical ailments (Luke 6:17-19). And then He preached the Sermon on the Mount.


Jesus healed people before He preached the Sermon on the Mount.

The Circle of Stones.


The Byzantine Christians believed that this was the location of Jesus’ famous sermon, and in the fourth century they built a small church here that was used for almost 200 years. The circle of black basalt stones around this tree are the ruins of that ancient church.


The circle of stones around the tree.

An artist’s rendition of the Byzantine church.

The Tree Behind the White Stone Cube.


The tree just behind the white cube is called the Jujube tree. Its Latin name is Ziziphus spina-christi. In that name you hear two words you probably recognize - spine and Christ. These trees grow all over the land of Israel, and it is from this type of tree that Jesus’s crown of thorns was made (The Merged Gospels, story 276). If you come close, you can see spines on every twig – thorns that must have torn the flesh of Jesus’ brow as He was mocked by the Roman soldiers.


Spined twigs from the Jujube tree, from which Jesus’ crown of thorns was made.

The Great Commission Stone.

The Great Commission Stone, inscribed with the Scripture verse Matthew 28:16-20 - “Go teach all nations”.

According to Matthew 28:16, when the resurrected Christ appeared to His Apostles in the Upper Room, He told them to go before Him to a certain unidentified mountain in Galilee. It was on this unnamed mountain where He gave them a new commandment, called The Great Commission. In this Commission, He told His followers to go and make disciples of all nations (The Merged Gospels, Story 296)). The word disciple means student. Could it be that this mountain where He first called them “Apostles”, and the mountain where He delivered The Great Commission, are one and the same? Remember that the word Apostle means “one who is sent”.

Wouldn’t it be an interesting coincidence if the mountain of The Great Commission, where they were ultimately sent from to preach, is the same mountain where, two years earlier, they were called Apostles - “the ones who are sent”? Did Jesus come full circle by deliberately sending them back to this same mountain where He chose them? There are some people today who are so convinced that this is also the site of The Great Commission, that they put this stone monument right here.

Inscribed on this monolith is the Scripture reference of The Great Commission, Matthew 28:16-20, with the Latin words, “Go teach all nations.”  Because the Greek word for disciple means student, Jesus was instructing His followers not just to lead people to make decisions for Christ, but to enroll students of Christ – not just to believe the Gospel, but to behave the Gospel, and to obey all that He commanded.

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