MOUNT OF OLIVES TELL HIS STORY
Before telling you about my interesting history, I need to show you some of the sites that will be telling their stories.
The chappel commemorating the events of Palm Sunday. It was from here at Bethphage that Jesus started His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
The Chapel of Ascention reminds one of the day when Jesus met with His disciples for the last time before ascending to heaven.
Bethany is located on my eastern side. Here we have the tomb of Lazarus and the story of him and his two sisters, Mary Magdalene and Martha.
The tombs of the prophets can also be visited on my upper level.
A little lower is Dominus Flevit which commemorates the tears which Jesus shed over Jerusalem who rejected Him.
At down below is the Garden of Getshemane with its ancient trees.
A little distance from here you can visit the cave where Jesus and His disciples used to sleep when visiting the city.
It was also on my eastern slope that Jesus answered the questions of the disciples concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the earth.
Listen how Matthew describes this event:
Mat 24:1 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple.
Mat 24:2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
Mat 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.
One of places tourists visit is called Pater Noster, Latin for “The Lord’s prayer.” Matthew 6:9-13
Mat 6:9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Mat 6:10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
Mat 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.
Mat 6:12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
Mat 6:13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
During the Siege of Jerusalem which led to the destruction of the city in AD 70, Roman soldiers from the 10th Legion camped on the mount.
DARKEST DAY IN DAVID’S LIFE WAS THE TIME HE WAS MOST PRECIOUS IN THE EYES OF GOD
Let us have a closer look at what happened here on me.
Poor King David had to flee over me to escape when his son Absalom rebelled and wanted to kill his father. Imagine this happened to you.
Let’s read the account in the Bible:
2 Samuel 15:30 So David went up by the Ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered and went barefoot. And all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went up.
Can you imagine this tragic moment in the King’s life when he and his supporters ascended to my summit?
How did the once mighty David behave?
This chapter in his experience, when, under cruellest wrong and insult, he shows himself to be humble, unselfish, generous, and submissive, is one of the noblest in his whole experience. Never was the ruler of Israel more truly great in the sight of heaven than at this hour of his deepest outward humiliation.
What comfort for moderns David’s who also lost the respect of their former friends and family.
The Bible says we become truly great in the eyes of God when we confess our sins and suffer the terrible consequences.
What a loving God. If you are like the repentant David at this very moment fleeing in shame, you are still great in the eyes of God.
You may never enjoy your previous respect of loved ones and friends, but God thinks you are truly great in His eyes.
His son Solomon also engaged with me, but in a very shameful degrading manner. Let’s read what the Bible says:
1 Kings 11:7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon.
8 And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
“On a hill east of Jerusalem, (that is me, Mount of Olives) Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites” (1 Kings 11:7).
On my southern eminence (Mount of Olives), opposite the beautiful temple of God, Solomon erected an imposing pile of buildings to be used as idolatrous shrines.
To please his wives, he placed huge idols, unshapely images of wood and stone, amidst the groves of myrtle and olive. There, before the altars of heathen deities, were practiced the most degrading rites of heathenism.
Solomon’s course brought its sure penalty. His separation from God through communication with idolaters was his ruin. As he cast off his allegiance to God, he lost the mastery of himself. His moral efficiency was gone. His fine sensibilities became blunted, his conscience seared. He who in his early reign had displayed so much wisdom and sympathy in restoring a helpless babe to its unfortunate mother (see 1 Kings 3:16-28), fell so low as to consent to the erection of an idol to whom living children were offered as sacrifices.
I watched Solomon as he grew up. I watched him when he became king. I watched him when he built the most beautiful temple on earth.
But then I watched him when participating in sacrificing infants with his heathen wives on my soil.
God can do little for men who lose their sense of dependence upon Him.
Let me tell you about one of the most sacred moment of my life. This experience will remain with me forever.
In one of Ezekiel’s visions, the prophet sees the glory of the Lord depart from Jerusalem and come to rest “above the mountain east of it”
Ezekiel 11:22,23 So the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel was high above them.
And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain, which is on the east side of the city.
This was a very solemn moment just before the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. It was also a heart breaking moment. God’s glory departed from the city, lingered a little while on me, and left.
At the same place where the holy Shekinah lingered after departing from the first temple, so Christ also lingered on me when He wept over the future destruction of the wicked city.
Someone put it this way:
The holy Shekinah, in departing from the first temple, had stood upon the eastern mountain, as if loath to forsake the chosen city; so Christ stood upon Olivet, with yearning heart. overlooking Jerusalem.
The ascention of Jesus at the end of His sojourn on Palestine soil was a very great event.
To think that He choose to leave this tear drenched, blood drenched planet from my summit.
I shall never forget the events of that day.
As the place of His ascension, Jesus chose the spot so often hallowed by His presence while He dwelt among men. I was so happy about His choice because it involves me.
Not Mount Zion, the place of David’s city, not Mount Moriah, the temple site, was to be thus honored.
There Christ had been mocked and rejected. There the waves of mercy, still returning in a stronger tide of love, had been beaten back by hearts as hard as rock.
Thence Jesus, weary and heart-burdened, had gone forth to find rest in me, the Mount of Olives.
The holy Shekinah, in departing from the first temple, had stood upon the eastern side of me (Mount of Olives), as if loath to forsake the chosen city; so Christ stood upon me, with yearning heart overlooking Jerusalem.
The groves and glens on me had been consecrated by His prayers and tears.
I often saw Him sobbing over the lost of Jerusalem. At time He agonized on me for an entire night.
My steeps had echoed the triumphant shouts of the multitude that proclaimed Him king. On its sloping descent He had found a home with Lazarus at Bethany.
This is where He felt safe and enjoyed the hospitality of people who appreciated Him
In my garden of Gethsemane He had prayed and agonized alone.
He ascended from me to heaven. Upon mys summit His feet will rest when He shall come again.
Not as a man of sorrows, but as a glorious and triumphant king He will stand upon me, while Hebrew hallelujahs mingle with Gentile hosannas, and the voices of the redeemed as a mighty host shall swell the acclamation, Crown Him Lord of all!
I can still Him with the eleven disciples making His way toward me. As they passed through the gate of Jerusalem, many wondering eyes looked upon the little company, led by One whom a few weeks before the rulers had condemned and crucified.
The disciples knew not that this was to be their last interview with their Master. Jesus spent the time in conversation with them, repeating His former instruction.
As they approached Gethsemane, He paused, that they might call to mind the lessons He had given them on the night of His great agony.
Again He looked upon the vine by which He had then represented the union of His church with Himself and His Father; again He repeated the truths He had then unfolded.
All around Him were reminders of His unrequited love. Even the disciples who were so dear to His heart, had, in the hour of His humiliation, reproached and forsaken Him.
Christ had sojourned in the world for thirty-three years; He had endured its scorn, insult, and mockery; He had been rejected and crucified.
Now, when about to ascend to His throne of glory,–as He reviews the ingratitude of the people He came to save,–will He not withdraw from them His sympathy and love?
Will not His affections be centered upon that realm where He is appreciated, and where sinless angels wait to do His bidding? No; His promise to those loved ones whom He leaves on earth is, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20.
Upon reaching my summit, Jesus led the way to the vicinity of Bethany. Here He paused, and the disciples gathered about Him.
At that moment I saw beams of light that seemed to radiate from His countenance as He looked lovingly upon them.
He upbraided them not for their faults and failures; words of the deepest tenderness were the last that fell upon their ears from the lips of their Lord.
With hands outstretched in blessing, and as if in assurance of His protecting care, He slowly ascended from among them, drawn heavenward by a power stronger than any earthly attraction.
As He passed upward, the awe-stricken disciples looked with straining eyes for the last glimpse of their ascending Lord.
A cloud of glory hid Him from their sight; and the words came back to them as the cloudy chariot of angels received Him, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
At the same time there floated down to them the sweetest and most joyous music from the angel choir. This was the first time this old mountain listened to the voices of angels singing.
While the disciples were still gazing upward, voices addressed them which sounded like richest music. They turned, and saw two angels in the form of men, who spoke to them.
Listen how Luke described this solemn moment:
Acts 1:10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,
11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
You should have seen their tears of sadness change into tears of gladness.
Could you hear the voice of Peter: “Colleges His coming back. Did you hear the good news. I hope it will still be in our day.”
These angels were of the company that had been waiting in a shining cloud to escort Jesus to His heavenly home. The most exalted of the angel throng, they were the two who had come to the tomb at Christ’s resurrection, and they had been with Him throughout His life on earth.
With eager desire all heaven had waited for the end of His tarrying in a world marred by the curse of sin. The time had now come for the heavenly universe to receive their King.
Did not the two angels long to join the throng that welcomed Jesus? But in sympathy and love for those whom He had left, they waited to give them comfort. “
When the disciples ascended me, the people looked upon them with amazement. After the trial and crucifixion of Christ, it had been thought that they would appear downcast and ashamed.
Their enemies expected to see upon their faces an expression of sorrow and defeat. Instead of this there was only gladness and triumph. Their faces were aglow with a happiness not born of earth.
They did not mourn over disappointed hopes, but were full of praise and thanksgiving to God. With rejoicing they told the wonderful story of Christ’s resurrection and His ascension to heaven, and their testimony was received by many.
END OF THE MILLENNIUM
At this stage I am looking down to the old city of Jerusalem. I dont think there ever was a city that shed tears like it.
Here in the 21st Century the conflict between different religions continue unabated.
But let me tell you about a glorious climax that awaits me. I can hardly wait for that great historical event.
One of the disciples who often visited me with Jesus, called John, wrote the following:
Revelation 21:10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
Would you like to know on which spot on earth will He settle?
Zachariah 14:3 Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle.
4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.
I cannot wait for that day to come.
At the close of the thousand years, Christ again returns to the earth. During His second coming he will come to take His faithful children to heaven. The wicked will be consumed by the brightness of His divinity.
For a thousand years they will enjoy the company of the saved ones, the angels, Jesus and God the Father.zens
They will be allowed to look at the judgment of the good and the bad. God will be on trial and we will discover that He is a rigthteous loving God.
We will see why certain people would not be allowed to be citizens of heaven.
He is accompanied by the host of the redeemed, and attended by a retinue of angels. As He descends in terrific majesty, He bids the wicked dead arise to receive their doom. They come forth, a mighty host, numberless as the sands of the sea. What a contrast to those who were raised at the first resurrection!
The righteous were clothed with immortal youth and beauty. The wicked bear the traces of disease and death.
The devil will mobilise the wicked who would be resurrected to surround the New Jerusalem and conquer it.
A panoramic view of the great controversy between Christ and Satan will be seen. The entire wicked host as well as Satan and his angels will fall down and worship God acknowleging His saving love.
Once this has happened fire destroys the wicked. Because God is a fair and loving God the punishment will be according to willful sins of the wicked.
Listen to the following words of John:
Opn 21:1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.
Opn 21:2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Opn 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
Opn 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Opn 21:5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
I want to be part of the new earth and the new heavens. I want to be part of eternal bliss.
If there is something you have to confess, do it in haste. Receive God’s forgiveness and enjoy an eternity of bliss.