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Bible Trek

Looking to the Mount of Olives | Bible Trek – Jerusalem in the New Testament Series – 05

The Mount of Olives, just outside Jerusalem, is a significant location. On Palm Sunday Jesus came to this place and the crowds waved palm branches and worshipped him as king. It was from here that Jesus ascended to heaven after his resurrection, promising that he would return in the future, to this very spot.

Quick read

Acts 1.9–12

In a nutshell

Then the dazzling light left the city and moved to the mountain east of it. Ezekiel 11.23


Centuries before Jesus walked the earth, the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel had identified the Mount of Olives as the place where God’s glorious presence would be revealed. Zechariah, a later prophet, confirmed: ‘At that time [the LORD] will stand on the Mount of Olives, to the east of Jerusalem’ (Zechariah 14.4). Countless Jews have been buried there, in response to those prophecies. 

The ‘mount’ is actually a ridge, just east of Old Jerusalem. Church tradition maintains that it was from there that Jesus ascended to heaven – an event which Christians remember today as they visit the Chapel of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives.

Jesus being taken up to heaven formed part of the unfolding of Ezekiel’s vision. He was God, present in human form. But that is not all. In the Book of Acts, the disciples witnessing the ascension are told that Jesus will return at the end of time. Combine that promise with Zechariah’s prophecy, and the Mount of Olives may just be the spot.  

Where do you find inspiration? To be inspired often means looking to something bigger than yourself. Emerging athletes look at the gold medal or the coveted silver trophy. Aspiring entrepreneurs look to the city skyline. Others look to the dream house in the dream street. 

The Mount of Olives may not look like much at first, but that is where Jesus was taken up into heaven and it is where people believe ‘he will come back in the same way’. Looking to the mountain should remind us that when Jesus returns he ‘will come as certainly – and mysteriously – as he left’ (The Message). 

You may feel tired and worn out. You may be feeling isolated and fearful. At the foot of the Mount of Olives, take a moment to be inspired. Jesus will come back; the King will return. This is certain! With such hope, what could there possibly be to lose today? What could people possibly do to you now?

Read on, to find out more about the return of the Messiah

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