Holy Land Tour stop: The Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives, a highly recommended stop for your Minneapolis Holy Land tour, is one of three hills on a long ridge to the east of Jerusalem and the location of many biblical events. It is separated from the eastern Wall of the Temple Mount by the Kidron Valley. Rising to more than 2,500 feet, it offers an unrivalled vista of the Old City and its environs.

Holy Land Tour Stop: Mount of Olives
Holy Land Tour Stop: Mount of Olives

The hill, also called Mount Olivet, takes its name from the fact that it was once covered with olive trees.

 

the mount of olives in the old testament

Some well-known Old Testament instances involving the Mount of Olives include:

  • King David fled over the Mount of Olives to escape when his son Absalom rebelled (2 Samuel 15:30).
  • After King Solomon turned away from God, he built pagan temples there for the gods of his foreign wives (1 Kings 11:7-8).
  • Ezekiel had a vision of “the glory of the Lord” ascending from the city and stopping on the Mount of Olives (Ezekiel 11:23).
  • Zechariah prophesied that in the final victory of the forces of good over the forces of evil, the Lord of hosts would “stand on the Mount of Olives” and the mount would be “split in two from east to west” (Zechariah 14:3-4).

 

the mount of olives in the new testament

In the New Testament, Jesus often travelled over the Mount of Olives on the 40-minute walk from the Temple to Bethany, the little village on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives about 2 miles from Jerusalem. Bethany was a favorite place of rest and refuge for Jesus.

You can find the Mount of Olives in the following stories from the New Testament: 

  • Jesus went down the mount on his triumphal entry to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, on the way weeping over the city’s future destruction (Luke 19:29-44).
  • In a major address to his disciples on the mount, he foretold his Second Coming (Matthew 24:27-31).
  •  He prayed there with his disciples the night before he was arrested (Matthew 26:30-56). And he ascended into heaven from there (Acts 1:1-12).

 

a place for pilgrims to sleep

Jewish Cemetery on the Mount of Olives
Jewish Cemetery on the Mount of Olives

Until the destruction of the Temple, the Mount of Olives was a place where many Jews would sleep out, under the olive trees, during times of pilgrimage. 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.

In Jewish tradition, the Messiah will descend the Mount of Olives on Judgement Day and enter Jerusalem through the Golden Gate (the blocked-up double gate in the center of the eastern wall of the Temple Mount, also known as the Gate of Mercy, or the Beautiful Gate).

For this reason, Jews have always sought to be buried on the slopes of the mount. The area serves as one of Jerusalem’s main cemeteries, with an estimated 150,000 graves. Among them is a complex of catacombs called the Tombs of the Prophets. It is said to contain the graves of the prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, who lived in the 6th and 5th centuries BC.

The Mount of Olives is the ideal stop for any Holy land tour. Here at Faith Travel Experts, we can work with your group to custom design a tour that your group will love.