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Mount of Olives


MOUNT OF OLIVES

The Mount of Olives is a hill about one and a half km east of Jerusalem. This mount produced plenty of olive oil that was used for anointing the kings, the prophets, and the priests of Israel. Jesus held these three positions. Since this mountain produced oil for the Temple and for the anointing of Israel’s kings and priests, it has another name, the Mount of Anointment.

Zechariah 14:4 mentions the Mount of Olives as the place where the Lord would appear to rescue Jerusalem from the enemy nations. Jesus’ last entry into the Temple was from this mountain. Bethphage, “the house of figs,” Bethany, “the house of dates,” and Gethsemane that stands for “the oil-press” were part of the Mount of Olives where olive trees were a plenty. Jesus used to go there for his prayer, for his night rest (Lk 21:37), and to be free from his adversaries and the crowd. The soldiers later arrested Jesus here while he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt 26:36-57).

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 Mount of Olives is a hill east of Jerusalem. It has high significance in the Bible.

1. Prophet Ezekiel foresaw that the glory of God would leave the Temple and rest “on the mountain east of the city” which is the Mount of Olives (Ezek 11:23).

2. 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).

3. 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).

4. 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).

5. He used to go to the Mount of Olives for night prayer and rest while he was in Jerusalem (Lk 22:39).

6. 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).

7. The intense prayer and agony of Jesus, when his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground, happened here (Lk 22:39-45).

8. Judas betrayed Jesus, and the soldiers arrested him here (Lk 22:39-54).

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

10. 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).

REFLECTION

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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