East of Jerusalem’s Old City, separating it from the Judean Desert, sits the Mount of Olives.
The Mount of Olives is one of the most important sites in the space around Jerusalem that’s mentioned in the Scriptures.
Mount of Olives first appears when it is mentioned as the escape route King David took during his son Absalom’s rebellion. It’s referred to often in the New Testament because it is the route from Jerusalem to Bethany. It was Jesus’s favorite spot for teaching. It is in this spot that the Dominum Flevit church was built by the Franciscan order in 1954. This Byzantine church is shaped like a tear.
Across from the Church of All Nations, located at the foot of the mountain, is the Gardens of Gethsemane. Next to this are the churches adjacent to Mount Scopus, including the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the convent of Pater Noster.
It is in this spot that Jesus is believed to redeem the dead when the Messiah comes. Because of this, many Jews have tried to be buried here. The most famous graves in this site lie at the foot of the mountain against the city walls. Some examples of what visitors could find here include the Tomb of Zerchariah and the tombs of the sons of Yad Absalom and Hezir.
Visitors can find about 150,000 graves in the Jewish cemetery. This acts as the final resting place for a lot of Jewish people, including the philosopher Nahmanides, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda – a reviver of the Hebrew language – former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Chief Rabbis Shlomo Goren and Avraham Isaac kook and the media mogul Robert Maxwell.
The Jerusalem Municipality is currently in conjunction with the Prime Minister’s Office in order to try to embark on a renewal and development project for the site. The proposed project would cost 100 million shekel but would renovate the thousands of graves destroyed during the Jordanian rule. It would also help develop and maintain roads, fences and the tourist information center. The timeline for the project is five years because of the religious sensitivity of the area.
Jerusalem’s highest peak is at Mount of Olives, measuring 820 meters.
Mount of Olives is referenced several places in the Scripture:
In 1 Kings 11:7-8, King Solomon built pagan temples at Mount Olive after turning from God.
In Ezekiel 11:23, Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord ascending from the city.
In Zechariah 14:3-4, Zechariah prophesied that the final victory of the good over evil would happen while Jesus stood upon the Mount of Olives.
In 2 Samuel 15:30, King David flees to Mount of Olives.
In Luke 19:29-44, Jesus enters Jerusalem.
In Matthew 24:27-31, Jesus foretells his Second Coming.
In Matthew 26:30-56, Jesus prays before his arrest.
In Acts 1:1-12, Jesus ascends in Heaven.
The Mount of Olives also hosts several sites for pilgrims, including the Church of All Nations, Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Church of Dominus Flevit, Church of Pater Noster, Dome of the Ascension, Garden of Gethseman, and the Tomb of Mary.
If you already in jerusalem… what about the Via Dolorosa?