Only days before His crucifixion, there is Jesus Christ, watching from the top of the Mount of Olives, staring intently at Jerusalem and Mount Moriah, the site of the holy temple. For He knew of His destiny and its association with that most contested place. Their ahead lay the place of His earthly throne, well at least where nations would come to Him. But first, before He would ascend that height, He knew that He must obey the work of His Father and make a way for His children to come back home, while defeating the power of sin and death, and humiliating Satan and his demonic powers. That recent victorious ride upon the donkey into the city will become only a shadow, as He sees in a matter of days many of the same people who stood watching, even cheering the procession, turn their backs on Him and begging for His death – which did follow. Yes, the Mount of Olives was a place of miracles, celebration, ascension, drama, and tears, but most of all His favourite watch. A special place in and outside of time and history.
While at His death many would have celebrated and thought that this troublemaker would no longer make His journeys into the holy city from this mount, in fact they were blind to the fact He had just sown the seen for the ultimate triumphant return. And in some irony, when this occurs, it is He that will deliver the occupants of the city from certain death as nations surround them, many of whom were descendants of those who betrayed Him during His first coming. Their Saviour will come, not riding down the slopes of the mountain on a donkey through the valley of death, rather alighting from His white horse Jesus will stand upon the Mount of Olives again, watching over Jerusalem. As His feet strike the ground in the fullness of the Triumphant King, He will create a valley through which escape is made for His people, while He takes up His sword to defeat all who come against Him and His servants.
From here He will ascend the mountain of the Lord on earth (as symbolised by Jerusalem), and His brightness will cause even the sun to diminish, as He fulfills the prophetic word that He watched over thousands of years before. While in the past He wept over the city of Jerusalem and considered the price He would pay for our sins, now the Lord watches as nations stream to Him and the city truly become a place of Peace. The Lord watching not just over a city, but most importantly, for His Bride to mature into her fullness. Looking to the future when all things will be made new.
At advent then, let us respond to that call to watch with and for Him on our Mount of Olives. Whether in Jerusalem, or other places scattered across the four corners of the world that carry the same calling, let us ascend with Him and wait, knowing He will meet us there in the Holy Spirit, and in the new millennium, even in His glory.
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:29-33)
Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. 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. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with You. It shall come to pass in that day that there will be no light; The lights will diminish. It shall be one day which is known to the Lord— neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen that it will be light. And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur. And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be— “The Lord is one,” and His name one. (Zechariah 14:1-9)
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. (Ezekiel 11:23)
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 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.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. (Acts 1:9-12)