Copyright 1994 - 2020 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
February 19, 1998
Last Updated :
February 2, 2020
Jesus Loved High Mountains, My Personal Appreciation Of The Natural Creation, Pinpointing The Location Of Jesus' Return, Jesus Stands Upon Mount of Olives At His Return, Prophecy Of Job And Words Of The Two Angels, The Matthew 27:51-53 Debate, Jesus Returns In The Clouds, Zechariah's Prophecy Concerning Jesus' Return, Battle Of Armageddon, Mount Of Olives Splits In Two At Jesus' Return, Secret Rapture Doctrine, Fault Line Discovered On Summit Of Mount Of Olives, Jordan Rift Valley And Earthquake Danger Facing Israel, Interesting Facts About Mount Of Olives, King David And Jesus, Suggested Reading List
Before continuing our main discussion, I would like to share another interesting aspect regarding Jesus. As you may know, the Lord obviously very much enjoyed the peacefulness, the solitude, the privacy and the security of high mountains. As the following group of verses reveal, the Lord taught some of His most important sermons on the slopes of high mountains. Likewise, He often went to high mountains in order to pray to His Father, so that He could receive instructions regarding certain issues. Such was the case when His chose His primary Apostles. Likewise, we are informed that He and the Disciples climbed a high mountain where the Lord was then transfigured before them during His communion with Moses and Elijah:
"And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:"
Matthew 5:1, KJV
"When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him."
Matthew 8:1, KJV
"And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone."
Matthew 14:23, KJV
"And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there."
Matthew 15:29, KJV
"And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart . . . And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead."
Matthew 17:1, 9, KJV
"Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them . . . And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted."
Matthew 28:16-17, KJV
"And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him."
Mark 3:13, KJV
"And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray."
Mark 6:45-46, KJV
"And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them . . . And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead."
Mark 9:2, 9, KJV
"And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God."
Luke 6:12, KJV
"And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray . . . And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him."
Luke 9:28, 37, KJV
"And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples."
John 6:3, KJV
"When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone."
John 6:15, KJV
As one who has long enjoyed the beauty and solitude of God's natural creation, particularly at higher elevations when I've had the opportunity to visit such places in the past, I can most certainly understand Jesus' sentiment. When one is in such places, he knows without any doubt that he is truly in God's country. Just being in such a place inspires and lifts one's spirit. One gets the sense that he is in a truly sacred place which has yet to be defiled by human hands. In fact, as I have mentioned on a few previous occasions, it was exactly in just such a location that I personally felt a very strong calling from the Lord during my teenage years many years ago.
Continuing with our primary discussion, with the Scriptural information I have now provided here, particularly the words which were spoken by the two Angels in the Book of Acts, we have now pinpointed exactly how and where Jesus was prophesied to touch down upon He return to the Earth. According to these verses, Jesus appears in the clouds of heaven -- meaning the sky -- and then He lights upon the very same Mount of Olives from which He departed some two thousand years ago. This is in direct fulfillment of the words "shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
I suspect that this may be what the Patriarch Job meant when he said "he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth". In other words, the emphasis here is not just on the fact that Job is talking about the "latter day". It is also about the fact that Jesus stands "upon the earth". The reason why this point is so important, is because there is a long-held belief which is embraced by many Christians, which states that Jesus only returns in the clouds of heaven. In other words, He does not actually touch down on the Earth. However, Job is clearly stating that the Lord does stand upon the Earth. There is no denying this point. And as we have seen, the Angels said "in like manner." In my opinion, this means that Jesus must also descend to the Mount of Olives, just as He ascended from the same Mount of Olives.
Now, it can be weakly argued that Job was referring to when Jesus first walked the Earth in human flesh during the First Century. After all, He did stand upon the Earth at that time. However, upon closer examination of what Job actually said, this theory does not hold up. Why not? Because right after saying that, Job continues with "though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." So in my view, Job is making a direct connection between the Lord standing upon the Earth in the "latter day", and what seems to be the resurrection of the dead.
Now, let's be honest here. Any Bible-knowledgable Christian knows that a wholesale, worldwide resurrection of the dead did not occur during the thirty-three years or so that Jesus walked upon the Earth. If such an amazing event had really occurred, then surely it would have been included in one of the four Gospels, and it would have been very difficult to conceal, even for the unbelieving Jews who were very quick to try to cover up Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Thus, I hold to the view that Job must be referring to Christ's Return after His ascension to Heaven.
Now, for the sake of honesty and transparency, I do want to mention several verses which are included near the end of the Gospel of Matthew. As I mention in a few other articles, and as you can confirm for yourself, these three verses have caused much consternation, and have likewise resulted in a lot of debate amongst theologians for centuries. One of the primary reasons behind this dilemma is that these verses, and this event, are found nowhere else in the four Gospels, or even anywhere else in the pages of the New Testament. A lot of ideas have been put forth regarding the true origin of these particular verses, including the belief that they are spurious text which was not included in the autograph -- or original manuscript as written by Matthew -- and were added later in history by a certain unknown copyist. They state as follows:
"And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."
Matthew 27:51-53, KJV
One would think that if this resurrection of the Saints did occur following the Lord's own resurrection -- after all, He was the Firstfruits of the Resurrection and thus had to rise first -- then surely Mark or Luke would have mentioned it as well. Yet they do not. As you may possibly know, Matthew, Mark and Luke are referred to as the "Synoptic Gospels", due to the fact that many of the very same stories are included in each one of them, and these stories are often written in a very similar sequence and likewise include similar -- and sometimes even identical -- wording. So again, it begs the question why neither Mark nor Luke included this amazing event in their Gospels. It simply raises doubts regarding Matthew's account.
Myself, I am not sure what to believe, but I am doubtful that it is inspired text. On the other hand, if this event truly did occur as Matthew describes it, then the only way I can reconcile it with the rest of the New Testament, and with my current understanding of the Scriptures, is by proposing that maybe this event was actually the First Resurrection that is mentioned in the twentieth chapter of the Book of Revelation. I am referring to the following two verses:
"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."
Revelation 20:5-6, KJV
However, I am not fully convinced of this Gospel of Matthew and Book of Revelation connection. Likewise, if this event in the Gospel of Matthew is true, then I would suspect that this is when the Patriarch Job was possibly resurrected from the dead. Furthermore, I have considered that if this event did occur, then perhaps it was simply a local resurrection. In other words, it was not the "global resurrection" which is described by Jesus in Matthew 24 and elsewhere. My thinking -- or theory, really -- is that maybe the burst of spiritual energy that was released when Jesus rose from the dead also affected the deceased Saints who were buried in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Who knows.
That troublesome issue aside, the following Scriptures do indeed confirm Jesus' promise to His first century followers that He would once again appear in the clouds of Heaven at His Coming, exactly as those two Angels prophesied to the Apostles in the first chapter of the Book of Acts:
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Matthew 24:29-31, KJV
"Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
Matthew 26:64, KJV
"And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory."
Mark 13:26, KJV
"And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
Mark 14:62, KJV
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."
Revelation 1:7, KJV
The question then is this: Do the previous verses strictly mean that Christ remains in the sky, and that Believers in some manner rise up in the sky to meet Him, and then they are whisked off to Heaven, as we discussed in part one? Or do they mean that Christian Believers who witness this event meet Jesus in the air and then they settle back down to the ground? It would be rather easy to accept the first view -- which I believe happens to be the prevailing view of modern Christians -- except for the fact that Job clearly said that the Lord stands upon the Earth. But the problem does not end there. Why not? Well, you see, because in regards to Jesus standing upon the Mount of Olives at His Return, the Old Testament Prophet Zechariah said this very same thing in the following verses:
"For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south."
Zechariah 14:2-4, KJV
Notice very carefully that just like the Patriarch Job, the Prophet Zechariah very clearly writes "his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives." So there should be no doubt at all that they are in agreement regarding this issue. Standing on the Earth is simply not the same as remaining in the clouds of heaven. However, as you may already know, some modern Christians have apparently found a way around the "in the air" and "stand upon the Earth" dilemma by embracing a doctrine which is generally known as the "Secret Rapture". According to this doctrine, the gathering up or being caught up of the Saints to Heaven -- which is derived from the Koine Greek word "harpazo" -- and the Lord returning to the Earth for the Battle of Armageddon, are two distinct events.
In other words, according to the Secret Rapture belief, only Christian Believers see Jesus arrive in the clouds, at which point His Angels gather them together and carry them off to Heaven. Then, after a number of events which occur both in Heaven and on the Earth -- which I discuss in a number of my other articles -- Jesus Christ and the Saints return to the Earth for the Battle of Armageddon. According to the Secret Rapture doctrine, it is at this point when Jesus actually touches down on the Earth, as described by Job and Zechariah.
As I point out in other articles, the previous verses from the Book of Zechariah seem to be a description of the prelude to the terrible Battle of Armageddon. Notice that we are told that the Mount of Olives cracks and separates, resulting in one part moving towards the north, while the other part moves towards the south. It sounds like a typical earthquake where two tectonic plates slide against each other, which sometimes results in a gorge or deep crack forming at the boundary area between the two plates, doesn't it? The San Andreas fault comes to mind.
While I have never been to the nation state of Israel, I can report that several decades ago while conducting some online Bible research, I did discover that according to a number of different websites, in 1964 when now-deceased King Hussein of Jordan had the Intercontinental Hotel constructed on the summit of the Mount of Olives, his engineers discovered an east/west fissure -- or fault line -- running through their intended construction site. This fault line in fact passes just to the east of the Temple Mount, or Mount Moriah, as it was known in former days. As a result of this complication, they were forced to relocate the hotel site from the brow of this famous mountain, to a more stable area to the south. It has also been said that being as the Mount of Olives holds as many as 150,000 Jewish graves, hundreds of these graves were desecrated when the hotel -- which today is know as the Seven Arches Hotel -- was finally built.
As I have mentioned before, Israel is a seismically-active region due to the fact that it borders the Jordan Rift Valley, which is also known as the Syro-African Depression, or the Syrian-African Rift. This rift -- or tear -- in the Earth's crust runs the enter length of the border region which separates Israel and Jordan. The Jordan Rift Valley itself results from tectonic movements within the Dead Sea Transform fault system. The Dead Sea Transform forms the transform boundary between the African Plate to the west, and the Arabian Plate to the east. It is also referred to as the Dead Sea Rift. Furthermore, the Dead Sea Transform is part of the Great Rift Valley, which itself extends from northern Syria, all the way down to Mozambique in Africa.
To give you an idea of what kind of geological contrasts we are discussing here, consider that the lowest elevation point in the Jordan Rift Valley is in the Dead Sea, and stands at 2,590 feet below sea level. Furthermore, the actual shore of the Dead Sea is the lowest land on earth, standing at 1,300 feet below sea level. In contrast, both sides of the Jordan Rift Valley rise sharply to an elevation of just about three thousand feet. The main point to consider here is the fact that because of the geological nature of this region, Israel is riddled with fault lines. Not only that, but geologists in Israel recognize that the nation is long overdue for a major earthquake, and they are very worried about it. Why? Because for many years now, building construction codes in Israel have been substandard. Obviously, that is asking for trouble, and they fear that many thousands of people could die when the next big earthquake strikes that region.
Scripturally-speaking, there are also a number of interesting things to note regarding this situation. For example, when Jesus gave His followers His famous end-of-the-age sermon in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, both He and they were sitting upon the Mount of Olives. Furthermore, when Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, it is probable that He came in through the East Gate, being as He passed by the Mount of Olives to the East of Jerusalem. If we look to the Old Testament, we also discover that when King David was forced to flee from Jerusalem because of the evil machinations of his son Absalom, he also fled to the Mount of Olives where he wept before the Lord. Consider the following verses which confirm these various points:
"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"
Matthew 24:3, KJV
"And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest."
Luke 19:35-38, KJV
"And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up."
2 Samuel 15:30, KJV
What I also find interesting is that this account of King David -- of whom Jesus was a descendant -- and the prophecy of Zechariah, are the only two places in the entire Old Testament where the Mount of Olives is even mentioned. In other words, besides Jesus and His Disciples, King David appears to be the only one who is directly associated with it. If you are interesting in learning more about the deep connection between Jesus and King David, please consider reading my article entitled "Who is Moshiach ben David?".
At any rate, in the mouth of a variety of witnesses, we have confirmed that the Mount of Olives plays a very important part in prophetic events. If you perform a Scripture search of the Mount of Olives with your favorite Bible program, you will indeed discover that it was a very special place to the Lord, and that He visited it often with His Disciples. Not only that, but as we have seen, the Mount of Olives is the Lord's point of arrival.
Before concluding this article, let me remind you of one more thing. If you were paying attention, you will have noticed that in certain verses in this article, I placed in uppercase letters the phrases "in the last days", "it is the last time", "at the latter day", and "upon whom the ends of the age are come". As you may have guessed, I did this for a very specific reason. Having said that, let me encourage you again to read the seven-part series entitled "Jesus Christ's Return: Have We Been Deceived?".
With these thoughts I will bring this article to an end. I trust that it has been a blessing to you, and that you have learned something from it. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or with any other social network, I would really appreciate if you would take the time to click or tap on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thank you so very much! May God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this article, or which contain topics which are related to this article. All of these articles are likewise located on the Bill's Bible Basics website:
Abomination of Desolation: Explained!
Backsliding, Divine Chastisement and the Divine Agreement
Elijah: Where Are the True Prophets of God?
Fifty Days Which Changed the World
Humility in Our Understanding of God's Word
In the Ages to Come
Jesus Christ's Return: Have We Been Deceived?
Modern False Prophets and Worldly Ecumenism?
Sorry . . . Jesus Is Not Coming At Any Moment
The Misguided End of the World Predictions of Harold Camping
The Office of a Prophet
Tradition or Truth? Old Wine or New Wine?
When Was Satan Cast Out of Heaven?
Who Hindered the Antichrist?
Who is Moshiach ben David?