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Mount of Olives

And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (Zechariah, Ch 1:4)

And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives. (Luke, Ch 21:37)

The Mount of Olives, also known as Har ha Zeitim, Jebet et-Tur and Mt. Olivet lies to the east of Jerusalem. It is separated from the Temple Mount by the Kidron Valley. This 2900-foot-high hill has a tower on each of its three summits with spectacular views of sparkling Jerusalem below. Atop is a two-mile-long ridge. Once covered with deep green olive trees, it is now dotted with churches, all commemorating special events from the life of Jesus.

Millennia before the birth of Christ, Mount of Olives played an important role. This has been an important burial ground since the third millennium BC. In the Old Testament, we learn that King David ran here to hide from his son Absalom (2 Samuel, 15:30).

And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up. (2 Samuel. Ch 15: 30)

King Solomon built pagan altars here for his foreign wives and this was the place for the scapegoat. Since the days of The First Temple, Jews have yearned to be buried on Mount of Olives. For here, they believe, the Messiah will appear, descending the mountain and entering the Holy City through the Gate of Mercy. They believe that the people who are buried here will be the first resurrected souls to enter Jerusalem.

During the life of Jesus, Mount of Olives played a special role. Christ traveled all over the mountain en route to visits with Lazarus, Martha, Mary and Simon the leper in nearby Bethany. Scripture tells us that he used to sit here with his disciples, sharing with them the events to come, warning them of future suffering and persecution.

And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (Matthew Ch 24:3)

After a long, hard day, Christ would come here to meditate and pray. Here he sat and shared the parables of 10 virgins and five talents. And after the crucifixion, Jesus Christ led his disciples here before ascending to Heaven.

Christian pilgrims come here to revere the last walk of Jesus. Most visitors start their visit at the top of Mount of Olives and walk down the winding road past beautiful places of worship, all commemorating the remarkable life of Jesus. Below is the Chapel of Christís Ascension, the Sanctuary of Dominus Flevit, the Russian Church of Mary Magdalene and the Church of All Nations with its lovely Garden of Gethsemane and Church of the Paternoster .

Jesus of Nazareth Mary Magdalene: Mariamne Early Christianity
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