The mountain which is physically referred to here is called Horeb. (see Ex.3:1) Many bible scholars believe that Mount Horeb and Mount Sinai are synonymous. Yet there is no consensus of opinion on the matter since some are convinced that the scripture has reference to two individual mountains. In support of the notion that the two names are referring to the same outcropping of rock we find that the account of the giving of the law found in Deuteronomy (see Deut.5:2; 29:1) refers to the mount upon which it was given as Horeb; while the account in Exodus calls it Sinai (see Ex.19:20; 24:13-16).
In any event we know that both Horeb and Sinai refer to a specific region; yet we are uncertain as to exactly where that is. It does seem that there is, at least, a great overlap as far as the particular area(s) which are described in the scriptures. The lesson which can be drawn from this ambiguity is the fact that GOD has no particular dwelling place in the Earth whose latitude and longitude can be defined by men. A Holy place is where GOD is, not where HE was at one time.
HE illustrated this point to the prophet Isaiah when HE said, “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (Isa 66:1) “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place,.” (Isa 57:15) Then HE goes on to say where HE is pleased to dwell with men. It is not a place which men can find on a map nor is it a destination which they can arrive at through an action of their own free will, since HE says HE will dwell “with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” (Isa 57:15b)
This is exactly what HE told the woman at the well in Samaria when she enquired of HIM, (as the religious do) which religious tradition is the right one, “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” (John 4:20) HIS answer was quite startling to her as HE laid the axe to the root of her pride in her religious affiliations. “Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:21-24)
The true “Mount of GOD” is not a rock formation in the Sinai Peninsula, but rather it is any “place” where GOD is pleased to meet with men according to HIS own appointment and purpose. Men cannot take hold of GOD in any fashion to bring HIM to where they are nor design some religious tradition which will insure HIS continued presence in their midst, regardless of their sincerity or scriptural adherence “But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)” (Rom 10:6) We must wait upon HIM, HE does not wait upon us, but is pleased to visit HIS people and dwell with them on HIS terms and in HIS time for their benefit.
This is the glorious truth of the gospel which is sent to lighten the minds of those who are awakened and yet find themselves abiding in the darkness, declaring the wonders of HIS redeeming love of unworthy sinners and HIS determined purpose to meet with them and nurture them according to the riches of HIS amazing grace. Is this not the “mountain of the LORD’s house” of which Isaiah speaks? “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” (Isa 2:2)
Is it not here that the LORD is pleased to bring HIS sheep which have been scattered far and wide upon the crags and rocks of this world? “Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” (Isa 56:7) This is indeed that of which HE speaks to HIS disciples when HE said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mat 18:20) “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:14-16)
There are many “mounts” spoken of in the scriptures which denote the determined purpose of the LORD to dwell with the people of HIS choosing.
Mount Ararat, where the Ark of Noah’s salvation came to rest and from which he saw the “bow of promise” signifying the grace and mercy of GOD to unworthy sinners.
Mount Moriah where Abraham was sent to sacrifice his son, Isaac. It was here that the LORD did, “provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:” (Gen 22:8) “And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: ----- In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.”(Gen 22:14)
Mount Horeb where the LORD was pleased to meet with Moses in the burning bush and he first became acquainted with the absolute Holiness of GOD.
Mount Sinai, where the LORD was pleased to give to Moses the coded law. Though this law was manifested in the awe and terror which surrounded that fiery mount, yet the mercy of GOD is displayed in the giving of that law since it served as a “schoolmaster” to bring HIS people unto CHRIST. As Paul said, “I had not known sin, but by the law.” (Rom 7:7)
Mount Hor, where Aaron died and was buried, demonstrating the insufficiency of the Aaronic priesthood to bring us GOD, and the necessity of having a HIGH PRIEST with an endless life.
Mount Pisgah, where Moses surveyed the land of promise as a place he could not enter, thus signifying the weakness of the law and its limited purpose.
Mount Carmel, where the LORD demonstrated the authority of HIS PROPHET who would scatter HIS enemies and triumph utterly over them all.
Mount Zion, where King David brought the Ark of the Covenant, and is synonymous with the Kingdom of GOD. “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” (Psa 2:6)
The Mount of Olives. It is here that the LORD taught HIS disciples and often consorted with them. It is here that the LORD prayed and sweat as it were great drops of blood as HE entered the anteroom of hell and did pour out HIS soul unto death for those HE loved from before the foundation of the world. It is here that HE ascended back to heaven to appear as our INTERCESSOR and it is here that HE comes again at the last trump to receive HIS purchased possession.
Mount Calvary. The most glorious mount in all of the scriptures. That which took place here is that which we are commanded to remember till HE comes again. That of which Paul says, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Gal 6:14) “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD,” (Psa 121:1-2)mam