The Bible has much to say about the ‘East.’
It began when God planted a garden eastward in Eden where He subsequently placed Adam. Then as part of the curse for Adam and Eve’s disobedience, God sent them out of the garden to the east.
“So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden…” Genesis 3:24
Therefore, the only way to be returned to God’s presence was to reenter from the east.
And then recall God’s instructions to Abraham two thousand years later.
Abraham was to leave his home on the east of the Euphrates River and travel westward to a new land that God would show him. Abraham and his family had worshipped pagan gods east of the river.
Now fast forward to the time of King Solomon. Solomon built a magnificent temple for God per God’s instructions. However, Solomon loved many foreign women from the east who worshipped foreign gods. God had forewarned Solomon that such women would turn his heart after their gods, but Solomon clung to his foreign wives.
The result was that God left that majestic temple.
“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
Therefore, the presence of God departed from Solomon’s temple and stood on the Mount of Olives just before returning to heaven. The timing was approximately 931 BC.
Immediately east of the Mount of Olives is the little village of Bethany. It was here that Jesus presented Himself as Messiah in the triumphal entry.
“And it came to pass, when He drew near to …Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples…into the village…to find a colt…” Luke 19:29-30
Then forty days after Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, He ascended to be at the right hand of His Father.
This would be the last minutes Jesus spent with His disciples.
“And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.” Luke 24:50-51
Thus Luke recorded Jesus’ ascension from the Mount of Olives at Bethany.
Approximately 530 years before Christ ascended into heaven, the prophet Zechariah had foretold of Jesus returning to the same Mount of Olives.
“Behold, the day of the LORD is coming…And in that day His (Messiah’s) 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…” Zechariah 14:1a, 4
A more detailed historical account of Jesus departing from the Mount of Olives, confirming His return to the Mount, is recorded in the Book of Acts.
“…while they watched, He was taken up…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.’” Acts 1:9-1
Then the narrative states that the disciples returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet.
But that is not the end of the story.
In 573 BC, an angel of the LORD provided the prophet Ezekiel with explicit details of the temple to be erected in Jerusalem during the millennial kingdom from which Jesus would rule the nations.
The angel also explained that Jesus would arrive from the east to enter His temple.
“And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east…and He said to me, ‘Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever.’” Ezekiel 43:4, 7
The LORD will arrive with the rising of the sun and enter the millennial temple through the east gate.