The Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives is 2,650 feet above sea level. The ridge is two miles long. Beyond the Mount of Olives is the Judea Wilderness. The Old Testament predicted that the Messiah would come from the east through the wilderness and would enter Jerusalem. Jesus took this route in his triumphal entry. The Mount of Olives may be the location for his return as well.’ The cemetery on the western slope is an ancient one, though itis still used for Jewish burials. Some of the tombs along the bottom of the ridge were already old in Jesus’ time. Part of the reason Jewish people are buried here is the belief that the valley in the foreground, the Kidron, is also the Valley of Jehosophat (Joel 3:2, 12), where the final judgment before the Lord will take place. The olive grove on the left is part of the traditional Garden of Gethsemane. Whether this or some other place was the actual location of Gethsemane and the garden (the Bible mentions “Gethsemane” and “the garden,” but not’ “the Garden of Gethsemane”), the location was definitely on the slope of this mountain. Probably the entire ridge was covered with olives in the first century. The small dome of the Dominus Flevit (“Lord Wept”) Church can be seen in this photograph. To the right of it is a walled road. Tradition holds that Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem happened on this road. When he reached the area of the church, he stopped to weep over the city. The exact location of this event is not given in the Scriptures, but this road does portray what the actual path looked like, and the church is in a location where the view of Jerusalem is spectacular. If not here, wherever Jesus did stop to weep, the location must have been similar.
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