Mount Olives holds a religious significance for the Jews and Christians. It is a mountain hill overlooking the City of Jerusalem, appearing several times in the New Testament and twice in the Old Testament.
Mount Olives is named after the olive groves lined the hillside like its name. There is a 2,000 years-old olive tree located on the mountain peak to this day. The famous mountain is also referred to as the “Mountain of Anointment.” The moniker comes from pressing olives to produce oil in anointing kings.
Biblical references of the mountain mostly appear during the ministry of Jesus. It is only mentioned twice in the Old Testament. It happened when King David was rejected as king by his son, Absalom. He retreated to Mount Olives to mourn his grief for betrayal. And the second is Zechariah’s prophecy about the second coming of Jesus Christ (Zechariah 14:3-4).
Indeed, it is a place of fulfilled prophecies. The many Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament usually happened in the groves of olives. Just like David, Jesus’ abandonment and betrayal occurred there. He got arrested after praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, located in Mount Olives.
And after His death and resurrection, the disciples witnessed His ascension in the mountain. They were left with a promise of His second coming and a commission to go and make disciples.
Today, millions of tourists visit the mountainside every year. Jews believe that when the Messiah comes, He will appear on Mount Olives as prophesied by Zechariah. So, they have requested to be buried on the mountain site throughout history. They wanted to have a front-row seat to welcome the Messiah. To this day, we don’t only see the olive trees but also graveyards lining the hillside.
Mount Olives is a place of hope. The historical site reminds us of the hope we have in Jesus Christ. In Him, we know that His death redeems us, and we are made alive in His resurrection.