The Mount of Olives

Sunday, February 19, 2012

“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 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” (Acts 1:9-12 KJV).

The Bible makes 13 references to the Mount of Olives (or Mount Olivet). We read, for instance, that David wept while ascending Olivet (2 Samuel 15:30). Several times during His earthly ministry Jesus Christ stood near Olivet (Matthew 21:1; Mark 11:1; Luke 19:29,37). As today’s Scripture indicates, He ascended into heaven from Olivet. Furthermore, according to today’s Scripture, Olivet holds an even grander purpose.

Jesus gave His great “end times discourse” while sitting on Olivet (Matthew 24:3; Mark 13:3). After teaching in the temple, Jesus slept one night on Olivet (Luke 21:37; John 8:1). Shortly after the “Last Supper,” Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn and went to the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26; Luke 22:39).

Olivet is actually three peaks, and today’s Scripture says that they are a “sabbath day’s journey from Jerusalem” (about 0.56 mile/0.9 km to the east). In Jesus’ day, the Mount of Olives was famous for its olive trees (today, the olive groves are gone because Roman general Titus destroyed them when he overran Jerusalem in A.D. 70).

In today’s Scripture, the men in white apparel (angels) tell the apostles that Jesus will “come in like manner” as they saw him go into heaven. How? According to Zechariah 14:4, the first place where Jesus’ literal feet will stand at His Second Coming is Olivet, the last place He stood on earth before He ascended into heaven 2,000 years ago!

Olivet is still awaiting that glorious day when the King of kings and Lord of lords returns!