The Mount of Olives - An introduction (520BC-85AD)
This brief essay is about thinking differently about Olives as well as the Mount of Olives – its history, and other things, too.
The Mount of Olives is actually a series of four hills, two of them being situated directly east of the Temple Mount (a “sabbath day’s journey” – the distance of no more than 1/2 to 3/5ths of a mile) rising up from the Kidron Valley. The sacred Temple Mount (Mount Moriah) is where Abraham took Isaac as the LORD God directed him, testing his faith in action. Here Abraham professed to his servants that he and his son would “go yonder and worship, and [they would] come again to [them]”. In Genesis 22, we learn that instead of offering his only son, GOD commanded Abraham to stay his hand declaring, “Now, I know that you fear GOD and will withhold nothing from Me” and provided a ram caught in the nearby thicket.
Located between the Temple Mount and Mount of Olives is an piece of real estate that includes both the Kidron Valley where King David fled from his son Absolom and the Garden of Geth-semane – significant places not only in past Biblical history, but also a future location of momentous events.
Throughout the Scripture, we learn the Olive represents peace and prosperity from the LORD (Psalms 52, Jeremiah 11, Hosea 14). It’s oil provided fuel for the Lampstands of the ancient Temple. In Romans, we read of the wild Olive branch engrafted on to the people of God for His purposes. In the Book of Revelations, the two Olive trees will give witness to God in the last days of history as we understand it.
When usually still green, Olives are harvested in September or October by shaking or striking the tree branches with long poles. When crushed by treading or pressed between two stones, a precious oil is produced – used in the daily activity of cooking to the ceremonial activities from anointing kings to anointing the sick.