Mark 11:23, Throwing the Mountain into the Sea

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

//Have you ever wondered what mountain Jesus was pointing to as he said this?

If you read my book about Revelation, you may have noticed a mountain being “thrown into the sea” … the volcano Vesuvius. When it erupted in 79 CE, the top of the mountain blew southwest into the sea, polluting the waters. Could that be the mountain Jesus meant? I doubt it … too far away.

How about the hated Samaritan mountain? Samaritans refused to worship in Jerusalem, instead preferring their own Mount Gerizim, the original location of their own temple. They had, in fact, condensed the original ten commandments into nine to make room for their own tenth, stating the absolute sanctity of Mount Gerizim. Ecclesiasticus 50:25-26 portrays the Jews’ dislike for Samaritans:

Two nations my soul detests, and the third is not even a people: those who live [on the mountain of Samaria], and the Philistines, and that foolish people that live in Shechem.

Gerizim seems a plausible answer, except that Jesus felt no animosity toward Samaritans. Instead, perhaps we should read today’s verse in context. A few verses earlier we find Jesus staging an attack upon the Jerusalem Temple:

And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” (Mark 11:17)

The next morning as Jesus walked outside the city with his disciples, he pointed up to the Temple Mount, with the glorious Temple walls reaching high above the city walls, and spoke these words: If you have even a little faith, you can ask God to destroy this Temple and He will do it for you.

He did.


  1. Another option is the Mount of Olives—-Zechariah 14:4. See my post:

  2. Hmmm, I missed that post, James! Apocalypticists will no doubt find that explanation better than mine, thanks for pointing that out!

  3. I kind of like the Vesuvius option. It brings to mind a picture of naive yet ardent believer who has so much faith that he can barely contain it as it spills all over the place wreaking havoc. Kind of like Mickey Mouse in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

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