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Mount of Olives

Mount of Olives is the hill facing the old city of Jerusalem, on the eastern side of Kidron valley. Its name came from the olive trees that once grew on its hillside from ancient times. According to Jewish tradition, the Messiah will appear here and bring the dead back to life. Therefore, the hillside became the holiest cemetery and is covered by thousands of grave stones.

The hill is first referred in the Bible when King David flees the city (2 Samuel 15: 30, see references). King Solomon erected altars on the hill dedicated to false alien gods. They were later destroyed by King Josiah who "filled it with bones" to prevent future worships. Prophet Zechariah talks about the Day of Judgment, with Mount of Olives its epicenter of God's fiery fight against the enemies of Jerusalem.

The Mount of Olives is frequently mentioned in the New Testament (Matthew 21:1; 26:30, etc.) as the route from Jerusalem to Bethany and the place where Jesus stood when he wept over Jerusalem. Jesus is said to have spent time on the mount, teaching and prophesying to his disciples (Matthew 24-25), including the Olivet discourse, returning after each day to rest (Luke 21:37), and also coming there on the night of his betrayal (Matthew 26:39). At the foot of the Mount of Olives lies the Garden of Gethsemane. The New Testament, tells how Jesus and his friends sang together - "When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives" Gospel of Matthew 26:30. Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mt of Olives as recorded in the book of Acts 1:9-12.


Although the Mount of Olives is close to Jerusalem, there are surprisingly few references to this range of hills in the Old Testament. As David fled from Jerusalem during the rebellion by his son Absalom, he apparently crossed the shoulder of the hill: "So David went up by the ascent of the Mount of Olives".

Acts 1:11-12
"...which also said, ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath day's journey..."

2 Sam 15:24-30
"...And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city.
And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and show me both it, and his habitation:
But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.
The king said also unto Zadok the priest, Art not thou a seer? Return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me.
Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried there.
And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up..."

The Mount of Olives is also mentioned in a reference by the prophet Zechariah to the future Day of the Lord: "In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south".

Zech 14:4
"...And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south..."

In the New Testament the Mount of Olives played a prominent part in the last week of our Lord's ministry. Jesus approached Jerusalem from the east, by way of Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives .

Mark 11:1
"...and when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples..."

As He drew near the descent of the Mount of Olives , the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them before Him. They began to praise God and shout, "Hosanna to the Son of David!"

Luke 19:35-38
"...and they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest..."

Matt. 21:9>. When Jesus drew near Jerusalem, perhaps as He arrived at the top of the Mount of Olives, He saw the city and wept over it .

Luke 19:41-44
"...and when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes.
For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation..."

Jesus then went into Jerusalem and cleansed the Temple of the moneychangers; He delivered parables to the crowd and silenced the scribes and Pharisees with His wisdom. Later, as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, and He delivered what is known as "the OLIVET DISCOURSE," a long sermon that speaks of the signs of the times and the end of the age, the Great Tribulation, and the coming of the Son of Man.

Matt 24:3-5
"...and as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many..."

After Jesus had instituted the Lord's Supper on the night of His betrayal, He and His disciples sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives, to the Garden of Gethsemane. In this garden, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, Jesus was betrayed by Judas and delivered into the hands of His enemies.

Matt 26:29-32
"...but I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives.
Then saith Jesus unto them, all ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee..."

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