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Mount of Olives


The Mount of Olives is a hill east of Jerusalem. Zechariah 14:4 mentions it as the place where the Lord would appear to rescue Jerusalem from the enemy nations. Jesus used to go here, especially at the Garden of Gethsemane on this mountain, for prayer. Judas knew Jesus’ place of night prayer when he was in Jerusalem. So, he led the soldiers and Jewish leaders to this mount and identified Jesus to them. They arrested Jesus in the Garden and led him to the palace of Annas.

The Mount of Olives has different sections mentioned in the Bible. Bethphage, Bethany, and Gethsemane are on this mountain. Bethphage means “the house of figs” because people cultivated fig there. Similarly, Bethany means “the house of dates,” and Gethsemane stands for “the oil-press.”

The following Biblical events happened on the Mount of Olives:

1. This mountain produced oil for the Temple and for the anointing of Israel’s kings and priests. So, this mountain has another name, the Mount of Anointment.

2. Zachariah prophesied the coming of the Lord at the end times: “On that day God’s feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is opposite Jerusalem to the east. The Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west by a very deep valley, and half of the mountain will move to the north and half of it to the south… Then the LORD, my God, will come, and all his holy ones with him” (Zec 14:4-5).

3. When King David faced a threat from his son Absalom, “David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, he wept without ceasing. His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot. All those who were with him also had their heads covered and were weeping as they went” (2 Sam 15:30).

4. Towards the end of his reign, King Solomon built temples for idols at the Mount of Olives and worshipped the false gods that displeased the Lord (1 Kgs 11:6-9).

5. Jesus’ solemn entry to the Temple, while people who came to celebrate Passover welcomed him, started from the Mount of Olives (Lk 19:28-40).

6. Jesus explained to the disciples on the signs of the end while “he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple area” (Mk 13:3).

7. Jesus prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, followed by his arrest.

8. Jesus ascended into heaven at this mountain and his second coming will be from here (Acts 1:11-12).


The Mount of Olives was a place of distress and hope. King David and Jesus wept there. Solomon displeased God there by practicing idolatry. Judas betrayed his master there. Jesus ascended to heaven from this mountain. He will return there to judge the nations and to rule forever. Let us not misuse the God-given freedom to worship God in the holy places and live with the hope of the Lord’s return to reward us.


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