Palm Sunday

Jesus’ Untriumphal / Tearful Entry

Palm Sunday is recognized as the day that Jesus publicly announced to the Jews that their Savior and King had arrived. It was a day in which He publicly said why He had come, which ultimately was to serve them by going to the Cross. At the same time this was the day that prophecy foretold to be the day when the Messiah would come and consequently be “cut off”, that is, rejected by the people. Compare Zechariah 9:9; Isaiah 62:11; Psalm 118:26-27 with Daniel 9:24-25.

Zech 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

The prophecy of the rejection of the Messiah is found in Daniel 9:24-25.

In Daniel 9:24-27 we have a three fold prophecy telling of; 1) the time frame that Israel would be in captivity, 2) the First Advent of our Lord when he would be “cutoff”, and 3) the duration of the Tribulation with the revealing of the Antichrist in the middle of the Tribulation.

Comparing that prophecy with the accounts of Nehemiah 2:4-8, we have the beginning of the counting for the time of “Messiah to be cutoff”, (rejected), as prophesized by Daniel.

The overall Prophecy in Dan 9:24-27 includes 70 weeks, verse 24. As is common in prophecy one day is equivalent to one year. See dispensation Chart

Therefore, when each day in a week equals a year we have a total of seven prophetic years in one week of this prophecy. Next we take seven prophetic years and multiply that by seventy weeks to gain a total of four hundred and ninety prophetic years in this prophecy. (7 days in a week = 7 years x 70 weeks = 490 years in total.)

Now this overall prophecy is broken down into 2 parts with three time frames.

1) From the decree to rebuild until Messiah, verse 25, there is:

a) 7 weeks, and

b) 62 weeks after which Messiah is cut off.

2) The “prince”, (i.e., the Antichrist) makes a covenant with Israel for 1 week.

So we have:

7 weeks = 49 years

62 weeks = 434 years

69 weeks = 483 years

 

69 weeks = 483 years

1 week = 7 years

70 weeks = 490 years

From the time of the prophecy beginning according to Neh 2:4-8, to the time of our Lord’s processional entrance into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) is 483 years.

490 – 483 = 7 years left which is the time frame for the Tribulation, the last week of the Age of Israel.

We have an exact prediction in Scripture of the First Advent of our Lord when He was to be rejected “cut off” by His people.

The fulfillment of this prophecy is recorded in each of the gospels. They each depict the story of this procession into Jerusalem while riding of the back of a colt. We can read about it in Mat 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-50.

Remember that each of the Gospels has a specific emphasis in its message. That is why we have different pieces of the full account recorded in each Gospel. As such:

The book of Matthew emphasizes His Kingship, and was first written for the Jews proclaiming Christ as the King.

The book of Mark emphasizes His Servant hood, and was first written for the Romans or the Gentles proclaiming Christ as the Savior.

The book of Luke emphasizes Jesus as the Son of Man, and was first written for the unbelieving Gentiles proclaiming His substitutionary sacrifice for man.

The book of John emphasizes Christ as the Son of God, and was first written for Christians proclaiming His Hypostatic Union.

Christ’s procession was a type of victor’s procession. It was a procession indicating the victory to come. Typically a victor’s procession comes after the victory is won. This was the way the Romans hailed their victors in battle. Yet, because God lives in eternity, even though in time the victory had not occurred, in God’s eyes it was completed billions of years ago. So Christ allowed this procession to occur telling the people that their King and Savior had come.

This message was ultimately a sign for the Jews and the world that their Savior King had come. It was also clearly prophesied in Zech 9:9; with Isaiah 62:11 and Psa 118:26. So this procession was one of over 300 Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah that was fulfilled by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Zech 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Donkeys have a specific role in the assistance to man. They were not normally used by military personnel, cf. Num 22:21; 1 Sam 25:20. Yet, in contrast to earthly kings who used horses, chariots, and other symbols of war to show their might, cf. Zech 4:6; Ex 15:1; Psa 20:7; Isa 31:1-3, this King distinguished himself by riding upon a donkey, a simple beast of the common person, often used for transportation and carrying loads during times of peace. It was known as the “beast of burden”, Mat 21:5. Therefore, Jesus’ use of the donkey is consistent with His first coming as the “Prince of Peace”, Isa 9:6.

Isa 9:6, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

The phrase in Zech 9:9, “and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey” certainly does allude to the royal blessing in Gen 49:8-12. Gen 49:11, “He ties his foal to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine; he washes his garments in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes,” and it should be translated “riding on a donkey-a purebred jackass.” Cf. Rev 5:5.

The phrase, “a colt, the foal of a donkey” is also used in the Mari texts, (an ancient civilization North West of Babylon in what is Iraq today), to designate the animal which the Amorites preferred for slaughtering in treaty/covenant ratification ceremonies. Thus the phrase was used in covenant contexts to stress the ritual purity of the sacrificial animal. However, the emphasis both in Zech 9 and in the Gospels is not so much on the covenant terminology as much as it is on the royal symbolism. That is, Jesus the Lion from the tribe of Judah is Israel’s king, he is the Royal Messiah.

Around the Time of the Passover as Israelites came from all over the world there was a tradition they had. They would go up the hill opposite to where Jesus would one day enter into Jerusalem and would often sing Psalm 24 with emphasis on verses 3-6. This was followed in verses 7-10. On the day of our Lord’s entry, the people singing these words could look across the valley and see Jesus coming and make the connection with Zech 9:9, “Behold, your King comes.” Jesus intended for them to make that connection.

The prophecy of Zech 9:9 is compared with and fulfilled in the gospel accounts found in Mat 21:5; Mark 11:10; John 12:14

Notice that the Old Testament prophecies are not just proclaiming the coming King. They also indicate His saving work! When the Israelites would read Zech 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”, they understood that the coming King is righteous and victorious in the accomplishment of salvation for his people, this is Messiah’s glory, yet, He is also afflicted and He comes riding on the covenant donkey; this is Messiah’s suffering.

Therefore, when Jesus rode in on a donkey it signified more than his humility. It tells us that He came to shed His blood of the covenant to bring peace between God and man.

Zech 9:10-12 then speaks symbolically of Christ’s work on the Cross.

Zech 9:10, “I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; and the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; and His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. 11As for you also, because of the blood of My covenant with you, I have set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. 12Return to the stronghold, O prisoners who have the hope; this very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you.”

But just as Satan influenced the woman in the Garden of Eden to confound and confuse God’s Word in the mentality of her soul in Gen 3:1-3, he did so with the Jews of Jesus’ time. Satan had parlayed the Hebrew’s lack of concentration and faithfulness towards the Word of God and Occupation with the person of Christ with their negative volition so that when the Messiah had arrived and publicly displayed Himself in complete fulfillment of prophecy they were completely confounded as to who He was and in emotional revolt of the soul praised Him as the one who would solve their problem of Roman occupation. They only remembered the first part of prophecy regarding Jesus as their King and in their arrogance completely forgot about their need for a savior to free them from the slave market of sin.

Psa 118:22-29, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. 23This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25O LORD, do save, we beseech You; O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity! 26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD; we have blessed you from the house of the LORD. 27The LORD is God, and He has given us light; bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. 28You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You. 29Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

This is compared with Jesus’ processional account in Mat 21:9; Mark 11:9: Luke 19:38; John 12:13.

We see that they had missed the message completely. Note that John adds to the story what was truly going on in the hearts of the people of Jerusalem.

John 12:16, “These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.”

Notice that the Cross is not in view yet in John’s accounts. So when John says, “they had done these things to Him”, which carries a negative connotation to it, he is referring to the false motivations in the hearts of the Jews at this time.

The people were saying all the right things, but what was truly in their heart was all wrong as told in John 12:9-11, 18, 34, 37, 42-43.

They wanted to be freed from the tyranny of Rome. They did not want a martyr.

They wanted their kingdom but did not recognize that their sins kept them excluded from the kingdom.

They wanted physical salvation and not soul salvation.

That is why Jesus wept when approaching the city, Luke 19:41,

Nevertheless, Jesus publicly presented Himself demonstrating His service to them even though they would reject it.

Palm Sunday is about a crowd who gathered together for political expediency, not spiritual recognition. They wanted the crown right there and then, just as present day celebrations of Palm Sunday connote the very same thing. The majority of Christians today do not understand the order of things. They do not understand dispensationalism and in their blind excitement they are trying to establish “the earthly worship of the King, Jesus Christ”…Now!!

Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal, and other such Christian religions believe in Amillennialism; (that is, that we are either in the millennium already or that we are to usher in the millennium with our good works). They along with other denominations such as Pentecostals and some Baptists do not believe in salvation by faith alone in Christ’s work on the Cross alone. They believe that you must be a good person in order to get to heaven. These are the same deceptions that Satan parlayed on the Jews 2,000 year ago when Christ presented Himself as their Savior/King. And as we have seen they rejected Him because they believed in themselves and their good works and their human righteousness for salvation. They did not need a savior for the forgiveness of their sins. That is the same mentality in most Christian denominations today who are waving palms around worshipping the King. They have taken it upon themselves to try and fulfill the O.T. prophecies of the Messianic kingdom on earth as they wave their palms in praise of the King instead of accepting Him as the only means of their salvation. They did this in John 12:13 and continue to do it right up to this very day!

John 12:13, “Took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.””

They celebrate a Second Advent reality, but we are still in the First Advent age which is to celebrate the Cross of Jesus Christ, a commanded in 1 Cor 11:23-26.

Understanding the Cross and its accomplishments is POWER to the believer, but foolishness to the unbeliever. The Cross was Christ being obedient so we could be conformed to the image of God, Heb 5:8; Rom 8:29; John 3:21. The cross is TLJC’s triumph over sin and death and the bondage of Satan! The cross must come before the crown. To expect otherwise is blasphemous!

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