Discover the Sacred Sites of Mount Carmel
Mount Carmel is a mountain range located on the coast of northern Israel. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and the modern-day city of Haifa, Mount Carmel offers breathtaking views of Haifa Bay and the Western Galilee. Mount Carmel is famous for its fertile vegetation, as it is covered in forests and groves. In fact, Carmel means “garden” or “orchard” in Hebrew. In the Bible, Mount Carmel is referred to as a symbol of beauty and fertility.
Mount Carmel is popular with outdoor enthusiasts because of its moderate weather, diverse wildlife, beautiful scenery, and abundant campgrounds and trails. Mount Carmel National Park covers 21,000 acres and is dedicated to maintaining the Mediterranean habitats of Israel. In addition to natural attractions, Mount Carmel is home to some of the most famous Neanderthal sites in the Middle East. Numerous caves on Mount Carmel served as dwelling sites for early humans. The great Jewish prophet Elijah lived in a cave on Mount Carmel.
Who is Elijah?
In the New Testament, Elijah appears with Moses during the Transfiguration of Jesus. Furthermore, the New Testament repeatedly compares Jesus and John the Baptist with Elijah. According to the Book of Kings, Elijah was one of the most influential prophets in the Kingdom of Samaria when it was ruled by King Ahab.
Among the Carmelites, a Catholic religious order, Elijah is revered as a spiritual father. The first Carmelite hermits established themselves on Mount Carmel in the 12th century. Stella Maris, a Carmelite monastery and church located on the northwest corner of Mount Carmel, was supposedly built at the site of Elijah’s cave.
In the times of Elijah, many Jews strayed from their devotion to God and worshipped a pagan god known as Baal . Elijah warned King Ahab that there would be a catastrophic drought and famine as a judgment from God. The drought ended up lasting over three years.
Elijah challenged 450 prophets of Baal to a contest on Mount Carmel to determine whose deity was the true God. Crowds of Israelites gathered to see who would win. Two altars were built, with one dedicated to Baal and the other dedicated to God. Elijah told the prophets to pray to Baal for fire in order to light their sacrifice, but their prayers were unsuccessful. When Elijah prayed and asked God to accept his sacrifice, fire fell from the sky and ignited it. At that moment, Elijah ordered the death of the prophets and rain began to fall again, ending the long drought and famine. The Israelites proclaimed, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” There is a statue at Stella Maris commemorating Elijah’s victory over the prophets of Baal.
Gain a Deeper Understanding of the Bible by Visiting Mount Carmel with CHT
Christian Holyland Tours (CHT) offers uniquely programmed Christian travel packages in Israel. Join us for a tour of Mount Carmel, which played an important role in the Old Testament. For more information, please call 1.800.2.ISRAEL (or 1.800.247.7235)