Church of the Ascension

Church of the Ascension

Church of the Ascension Jerusalem

Church and Chapel of the Ascension, Mount of Olives

Atop the Mount of Olives opposite Jerusalem are the rival Church of the Ascension and the Chapel of the Ascension, both claiming to be the spot from where Jesus ascended to heaven. The rivalry includes the number of translations of their names; above is the Chapel of the Ascension's self-introduction in seven languages.

Which is the true spot: Chapel of the Ascension or Church of the Ascension?

Chapel of the Ascension is actually a mosque run by Muslims. Atop this "chapel" is the Islamic crescent moon (below).

Church of the Ascension Jerusalem

Do Muslims even believe in Jesus' ascension?

They blaspheme that Jesus is neither God nor died nor rose from the dead, but that He ascended to heaven directly from Golgotha, which is on the other side of Kidron Valley.

Then why is their "Chapel" of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives?

Church of the Ascension JerusalemThe Bible says that after rising from the dead, Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives, so that's where Christians go. So the Muslims made up a tale about finding on the Mount of Olives two footprints, which they said were made when Jesus pressed into the earth before leaping into the air, and built a mosque over it.

Today, burly Muslim men (including the one wearing sunglasses in the photo), who concede that they are Muslim only when directly asked, charge an entrance fee to unsuspecting Christians under a sign that labels their mosque, "CHAPEL OF THE ASCENSION" (photo).

What about the "Church of the Ascension"?

Church of the Ascension Mount of OlivesThe Church of the Ascension is a Russian Orthodox convent (photo) with a 210 feet (60 meters) tall bell tower located about 200 yards north of the "Chapel" of the Ascension. The Church of the Ascension was built in the 19th century at what the Russian Orthodox Church chose as the spot from which Jesus ascended to heaven. "Our tradition" is offered as the evidence for this belated claim.

What does the Bible say about the spot from which Jesus ascended to heaven?

The Bible doesn't name a spot and simply says that it was on the "mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey," which isn't the distance to be covered by walking for a day, but rather a specific distance of 2,000 cubits, equal to 3,000 feet or 1,000 yards. So the location of Jesus' ascension could be anywhere on the Mount of Olives, which is a mountain ridge that runs about 1,000 yards east of Jerusalem.