Mount Tabor located in lower Galilee and sitting at the eastern end of the Jazreel Valley is a holy land destination famous with Christians as the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Rising 1,843 feet high it is referred in the Scriptures as a symbol of majesty and greatness. Jeremiah 46:18-19 “one will come who is like Tabor among the mountains.”
Early Christianity and tradition believed that the Transfiguration took place on Mount Tabor. Among believers this included Cyril of Jerusalem, Epiphanius, and Saint Jerome. Others were uncertain of the location due to different interpretations of the scripture Matthew 17:1, “After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.” instead being misinterpreted as “by itself.”
The Transfiguration of Jesus is mentioned in the New Testament in which Jesus is transfigured and becomes radiant in glory upon a mountain. The Gospels (Matthew 17:1–9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28–36) describe it, and 2 Peter 1:16–18 refers to it.
In these accounts, Jesus and three of his apostles, Peter, James and John, go to the Mount of Transfiguration. On the mountain, Jesus begins to shine with bright rays of light. Then the prophets Moses and Elijah appear next to him and he speaks with them. Jesus is then called by the voice of God from the sky, "Son" as he also referred to him as son in the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. In Christian teachings, the Transfiguration is a pivotal moment, and the setting on the mountain is presented as the meeting place for the temporal and the eternal, with Jesus himself as the connecting point, acting as the bridge between heaven and earth.
Mount Tabor is also the location where the Israelite tribes battle on Mount Tabor in the days of Deborah (Judges 4-6) with the Lord’s intervention on behalf of the Israelites in a form of rainstorm. Led by Barak the Israelites charged with 10,000 men against the army of Jabin commanded by Sisera in the mid 12th century BCE.
Today you’ll find the Basilica of Transfiguration, part of a Franciscan monastery complex completed in 1924 among the three chapels atop of Mount Tabor commemorating the Transfiguration. While it’s not a normal tour visit during an Israel tour, many Christian pilgrims traveling to Israel find their way up the Mountain on private tours to the Holy Land. Instead on regular tours you’ll view and admire Mount Tabor during a scenic drive through the valley, and you can count on your Israel tour guide to point out Mount Tabor during your trip