Head for the Hills: The Principal Theme of Scripture

The principal theme of Scripture, for both Israel’s Bible and the New Testament, is mankind dwelling in the divine and holy presence of the triune God. Scripture begins with this theme and ends with the same. John Milton was right; paradise was lost and then paradise was found. The common theme is Paradise.


But the principal theme is always accompanied by a pattern. The pattern of approaching God’s presence, whether in Israel’s Scripture or the New Testament, is always the same. God is approached through water—a water barrier of some sort. God is approached by mankind through a water barrier to a mountain. God dwells on a mountain, a holy mountain. Once mankind reaches that holy mountain, he/she enjoys the privilege of worshiping God, enjoying the abundant life in God’s glorious presence. That is the goal of the journey.

The oldest name for God is El Shaddai, meaning, “El, the One on the Mountain,” “the God of the Mountain,” or “Mountain dweller,” and even “the Breasted One.”[1] (1 Kings 20:28; Psalm 48)

The question that the Scripture asks and answers is,

LORD, who may abide in your tabernacle?

Who may dwell in your holy hill? Psalm 15


Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?

Who may stand in his holy place? Psalm 24

The pattern of approaching God through water to a mountain[2] begins in Genesis 1-2. Adam, taken from the soil which once was submerged under water, is placed by the LORD God on Mount Eden. The LORD God placed him on the mountain to worship and obey Him.

But after expulsion from Eden Mountain, from the Garden Paradise, men and women are separated from God, barred from the tree of life and God’s presence.

The rest of Scripture tracks God’s program of putting mankind back onto the mountain, bringing men and women back into his holy presence. That program follows a predictable pattern: through a water barrier to a mountain where they enjoy fellowship with God. Men and women head for the hills. But they need to find the right mountain and the right person to lead them there successfully.

This is why mountains play such a key role in Israel’s Scripture, the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles. Locate the mountains and you’ll trace the predictable pattern.

Come join us as we trace the pattern of water barriers and the mountains back into God’s presence for fellowship with Him and the abundant life we have in His Son Jesus. 




[1] The physical anatomy of females is a testament to this same pattern. But this is not the place to unpack how the birth of a child and its relationship to the female body is a living lesson of the Bible’s major theme. But it is another example of the creation speaking silent truth of salvation to human beings.

[2] The Hebrew word sur (“rock”) is sometimes used in place of the mountain and also as a name for God; 2 Samuel 22:47; Psalm 18:3