The Peaceful King Arrives
Matthew Lesson #122
June 5, 2016
“Father, You have revealed Your Word to us. We dare not take this lightly. Again and again throughout the Scriptures, we are reminded that this is Your Word. It is not the Word of man. It is not the opinion of the prophets or the apostles. You breathed this out through them through the inspiration process guided and directed by God the Holy Spirit.
Father, Your Word to us has eternal value. Your Word will never be destroyed. And for eternity we will learn of You through studying Your Word, as well as much more.
Now Father, as we continue our study, especially of this last week of our Lord Jesus Christ in His mortal body before the crucifixion, we pray that You will help us to understand these things, that God the Holy Spirit will make clear to each of us how we should apply these things in our own lives.
We pray this is Christ’s name. Amen.”
Open your Bibles with me this morning. Let’s start at Psalm 118. We wrapped this up for the most part last week. I didn’t quite get to the last couple of verses, but I want to cover that briefly in way of review before we lock ourselves into what‘s going on in Matthew 21—there’s a lot going on here.
Matthew 21:1–9 is the description of Jesus’—what is sometimes called His— triumphal entry. This is not a triumphal entry. This is not the entry of a king who has conquered. This is the peaceful entry of a King who is presenting himself for acceptance to His people.
When He does this, there is a response from the crowd that is with Him and that is greeting Him as He comes into Jerusalem. That crowd quotes from Psalm 118:26.
In Psalm 118:26 we see historically—and this is what we looked at in the last three lessons—we looked at this as a Psalm. A praise psalm, a descriptive praise song written by the leader of Israel at the time. Maybe a king, maybe a priest who is bringing them in triumphal procession to the temple in order to praise God for the fact that the temple has been built.
They have been restored from captivity, and God is going to use them like the stone that has been rejected. They are now going to be the chief cornerstone—the head of the corner as it states literally—that will be the centerpiece for His plan for the salvific redemption of the world.
But also the ultimate redemption which comes when the Messiah returns and establishes His kingdom. So the Psalm itself definitely has a Messianic overtone and a Messianic application, even though it is directed toward an historical event.
As I pointed out last time, when we looked at verse 24—a verse that is often misquoted, taken and yanked out of context and used to relate to any nice day that people are excited about—that’s not what this is talking about.
In fact, when I read to you from Luke 19, Jesus, there at the end, stops as He comes off of the top of the Mount of Olives. The text says in Luke 19 that it’s before He begins the descent from the Mount of Olives. So He’s up there, and that’s where the people begin to spread the palm branches and begin to sing from Psalm 118 before He makes the descent. Then He comes down and part of the way down, He stops and He weeps over Jerusalem. That’s the flow of events. He weeps over Jerusalem, and He says, “Because in this day of your revelation.”
See, what is being connected here in these dots, is that in the historical context of Psalm 118 when they say, “This is the day that the Lord has made,” they’re talking about God re-establishing the nation to fulfill His redemptive plan.
They’re not talking about it’s a beautiful, wonderful day in the neighborhood, so let’s all sing, “This is the day that the Lord has made!” We trivialize too much in our evangelical churches today because we don’t take the time to truly study the Word.
When Jesus makes this statement “in this day of your revelation,” He’s making an application from Psalm 118, as He’s presenting Himself as the King. He presented Himself—offered the Kingdom—earlier. That got rejected; the offer is being withdrawn, but He is coming as their King.
The ultimate fulfillment of this prophetic type—this pattern—comes when the Lord returns in the Day of the Lord at the end of the Tribulation period when He establishes His Kingdom. This concept of “this day” is a profound concept related to the salvation plan of God.
Psalm 118 then—the response from the people—is that they are singing this because they understand what’s going on. They understand that the Messiah has come. He’s the king; they recognize it—they call Him the “Son of David”—and that He is the One who’s coming in the name of the Lord.
When they say, “Save now,” Psalm 118:25, it’s the Hebrew hoshiy’a na, which means “to save or deliver”. They’ve been redeemed in Psalm 118:25; they have been delivered from the exile and the conquest of the Babylonians. They’re not going to disappear on the ash heap of history like the Philistines and the people of Tyre and Sidon and so many others that were defeated by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar.
God has delivered them in time, but they’re calling upon Him to carry it through to the end—to soteriologically save them—and establish the Kingdom. So this has great significance when the crowds are singing this as Jesus is coming in.
I closed last time with this comparison between Psalm 118 and Matthew 21:
- First of all, at the time of Psalm 118, the nation has been partially restored from divine discipline. So they are rejoicing in their restoration.
- In Matthew 21 the nation—because of their rejection of the King—is on the edge of another divine discipline that will come in AD 70.
- In Psalm 118 the solution to their judgment is that God has restored them. They’ve rebuilt the temple that’s known as the second temple, and they are looking to the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Historically, that’s related to the people following their leader into the temple to praise God.
- The solution in Matthew 21 is to welcome the One who comes in the name of the Lord, who is a representative of God’s character.
“Name” in Scripture means more than just its tag or nomenclature. It relates to the character or the attributes of the thing, the person. So it’s saying the One who comes and represents the character of the Lord, and that, of course, is the Messiah who is fully divine Himself.
- Fifth point of comparison: in Psalm 118 God alone delivered the nation from the plans of the nations.
It is God alone that they trust. They are to take refuge only in Him and not trust in princes, not trust in politics, not trust in human methodologies.
- Sixth, when the Coming One comes in the Psalm, He comes to deliver the nation. That anticipates. We see that also in Psalm 2 and in Revelation 19.
- In Matthew 22 that solution is rejected by the religious leaders and the promise of a future recovery is going to be indicated by the Lord Jesus Christ at the end of Matthew 23:39—that He will return when they say “Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.”
- So the application we saw is that the solution for every believer is to trust in God rather than a human solution which is based in government, politics, human methods, education, social justice—whatever is popular—in whatever generation. It’s always based on human works and human effort.
Psalm 118:27 states, “God is the Lord.” It is a praise to God. He returns back to praising Yahweh for what He has done. “God is the Lord, and He has given us light”—He has illuminated us.
Then we have this statement that in response to what God has given in terms of illumination, we need to praise Him with a thanksgiving offering. We’re to “bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.”
Now it’s interesting—in the description of sacrifices in Leviticus—it never mentions tying the sacrifice down. It makes sense when you look at how large these animals were, and when you see the altars that we find archeologically. The description they have these horns that come out this far [about one foot]—on an altar about the size of this pulpit—the horns will come out about this far. That was the part of their function was to tie down the sacrifice.
When this was sung at the end of the Seder meal that the Lord observed with His disciples, they are singing about what is about to transpire: He, as the sacrifice, is going to be bound at the altar as He is nailed to the cross on Golgotha.
Then we have the closing praise in Psalm 118:28–29, “You are my God, and I will praise You”—a statement of praise—“You are my God, I will exalt You.” This builds to the repetition of the initial exaltation to the congregation, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!”
The whole Psalm is about the goodness of God in restoring the nation to its place in God’s plan. And concluding, “For His mercy”—that is His faithful love to His covenant—“endures forever.”
Now with that background, let’s look at what is taking place in Matthew 21.
Now to give us a little background, I want to remind you that Jesus started to come up from the Jordan. He stopped in Jericho where He healed two blind men. We saw that at the end of Matthew 20.
In Matthew 20:29, we’re given a description that “as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him.” He has quite an entourage, an enormous group of people are following Him.
This transpires—we’re not sure, there’s a lot of debate—traditionally, it’s called Palm Sunday. Now if it occurred on Sunday, then the crucifixion would have to occur on Thursday. I’m inclined to that view. If you’re going to go with the traditional view, that the crucifixion occurred on Friday, then this had to occur on Monday.
The reason is that this had begun in the morning, and they are going to make their ascent to Jerusalem. The picture in slide 8 is an aerial photograph. The settlement—the town in the foreground a little bit to the left of center—is Jericho. That’s new Jericho; old Jericho and the ruins there are a little bit south of dead-center of the photograph. I see the Tel there—it’s kind of a little white circle—that’s the old city.
We talked about that when we covered the passage. Jesus would have gone from one to the other. There are actually two areas of the new Jericho. There was the suburbs; then there was the new city that Herod was building because he had a palace there.
This is a highway here going up; it makes this ascent, called the Ascent of Adummim. It goes up this way and rises through these hills and up towards this ridge in the distance, which is the Mount of Olives.
This is the path that Jesus is taking, starting off at Jericho—about 950 feet below sea level—and the height of the Mount of Olives is about 3,000 feet above sea level. This is quite a climb of about 4,000 feet. It covers about 10–12 miles—it’s really not that far—that’s the distance.
I want you to kind of get an idea what is going on here. This multitude is following Him; they’ve got a good trek. They’re headed up—as Luke comments—they go up to Jerusalem. The reason you always hear going down to Jericho or up to Jerusalem: it’s not going north or south. We use up and down: north is up, south is always down. But in Israel up and down relate to elevations. You always go up to Jerusalem, and, of course, here you’re really going up to Jerusalem.
Then in Matthew 21:1 we read, “Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples.”
Jesus is approaching Jerusalem. He is coming between—we’ll look at the geography here in just a minute—but this is a picture that is from the east side of the Mount of Olives.
Jerusalem is on the other side of the ridge. The steeple there is the Russian Orthodox Church of the Ascension. I’m pointing that out because I’ve got a couple of pictures that were taken from the top of that tower looking back toward where we’d be standing in this picture.
I have a number of pictures that I’m going to show you this morning that are black and whites. These were all taken in the early part of the 20th century, and are part of a collection called the “The American Colony Collection.”
The American Colony was established by Horatio Spafford and his wife Anna Spafford who wrote the hymn “It is Well with My Soul”. He wrote it after the death of their daughters in a shipwreck—you all know the story.
This is quite an interesting collection, but today this is all covered with an Arab village. Everything is, and you don’t get a sense of what it must have been like at the time of Jesus. So these older photographs from the early 20th century show what a small village Bethphage was.
But it’s still not very accurate because Bethphage, which is the Hebrew pronunciation, means “the house of figs.” I’m wondering if our word “fig” is somehow etymologically related to phage, but anyway it’s the house of figs.
This was an area that was fairly well irrigated because they could grow fig trees and fig trees call for a lot of water. The hillside here was covered with fig trees—this will play into the passage a little later on in verses 19–21.
Under the Ottoman Empire, there was further judgment on Israel because the Ottomans had an egregious tax for every tree that you had on your property. The way to reduce your property taxes was to cut down all the trees. So they deforested all of the area that was in Philistia at that time, which was a region—an administrative region—of the Ottoman Empire.
That’s why when you go to so many places in Israel today, they’re reforesting—they’re planting trees. You’ve seen commercials on TV since the 60s—send money to Israel and plant a tree. That’s because they’ve been rebuilding the forests that were there. This is the bare ground but it would have all been covered with fig trees.
Slides 10 and 11
Now this is another aerial—this is modern Jerusalem today. You see why I wanted that contrast. This is the Dome of the Rock, this is Bethphage here. The Russian Orthodox Church of the Ascension is located right here, which you saw in the other photograph. This is Bethany, where Lazarus and his sisters lived.
This road coming up is the old Jericho Road. Jesus and His followers would come up this road, would make this left turn here [near Bethany], and then come back this way. They would have departed and gone through Bethany, and then taken the road toward Bethphage.
This is another aerial. This photograph was taken by a British military expedition in 1917 that was taking aerial photographs over Israel. We see this same layout.
Here’s the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives. Here’s that left turn in that road that I pointed out a minute ago; here’s Bethany. They would have gone to Bethphage, then gone over and descended the Mount of Olives into the Kidron Valley.
It would have looked something like this. For those of you who’ve been to Israel, the cemetery that is there on the Mount of Olives is located along here. The overlook where we go is located somewhere right about where I’ve placed the arrow here.
As we drive up, we would have gone somewhere near this road and not too far from Bethphage, maybe a few blocks or a quarter of a mile from where that was located.
Here’s another map showing the route that Jesus has taken.
Slides 15 and 16
Here are some early 20th century pictures of what Bethphage looked like at that time.
Here, looking back at it from the tower at the Russian Church of the Ascension. Bethphage would have been located just on the other side of this rise, and then Bethany was located right over here.
Here’s Bethany; Bethphage here: that gives you a little bit of the perspective.
In Matthew 21:2, we get the instruction of what Jesus tells the disciples. He says to two of them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to me.”
So He directs the two to go into the village, says that “you’re going to find an unbroken colt standing with its mother. Untie them, and then bring them to Me.” He told them exactly where the colt would be found. He’s to bring the colt. But if you’ve ever been around animals, you start taking the colt away from its mother, what’s the mother going to do? She’s going to follow right along with the colt, so both go along.
Then He tells them what to say if anyone questions what they’re doing. In Matthew 21:3, He says, “And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”
In other words, the people who own the two animals are probably believers, and as soon as he says “the Lord has need of them,” they immediately acquiesce and say, “Well, take them and go.” They do that, and then they take them to the Lord.
At this point, we’re introduced to another prophecy. I talked about the Psalm 118:25 quotation that will come up in a few minutes, but we have to do another background check here on this prophecy from Zechariah 9:9.
Actually this passage involves three prophecies: the prophecy from Zechariah 9:9, the prophecy from Psalm 118, and then an unmentioned prophecy—it’s not mentioned in the text, but it is the fulfillment of a prophecy—which we will see before we’re done this morning.
In Matthew 21:4–5 we read, “All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold your king is coming to you, lowly and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”
This is a quotation that comes from Zechariah 9:9 and we need to take just a little bit of time to talk about what is said. If you’re interested, hold your place here and turn to Zechariah 9:9. If not, you can just follow along with me as I talk about this.
Zechariah 9:9–10 is the prophecy in question. We read, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.”
As we look at Zechariah 9:10, it’s pretty obvious this is talking about final conquest because it’s talking about “cutting off the chariot from Ephraim;” that is, those who are invading.
Ephraim is one of the sons of Joseph and is often used as a term for Israel. “And the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations.” This is what happens when the Messiah comes and defeats the “kings of the earth”—that’s in Psalm 2—establishes His rule with a rod and establishes His dominion.
This is obviously a Second Coming verse, but Matthew quotes Zechariah 9:9 as being fulfilled at the First Advent. This is not uncommon. In the Old Testament we often find passages or prophecies related to the Messiah that are fulfilled in the First Coming. We find some that are fulfilled only at the Second Coming.
But there are a few where there’s a split fulfillment. What do I mean by a split fulfillment? The first part of the verse or the first part of the prophecy is fulfilled with the First Coming, and the second part is fulfilled at the Second Coming. We have a well-known example of this in Isaiah 61:1–2.
In Luke 4, the Lord Jesus Christ stands up to read from the daily reading, the Parisha of the Torah, in the synagogue in Nazareth. He picks up the scroll and reads from Isaiah 61:1 and only half-way through verse 2, and then He stops. That’s because that first verse and a half is fulfilled in the First Advent, but the rest of verse 2, “the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn,” is fulfilled at the Second Coming.
Jesus doesn’t read of all of verse 2; He only read part of verse 2. That is another example of where a prophecy is split; first part fulfilled at the First Coming; second part fulfilled, Second Coming.
Now when we compare Zechariah 9:9 with Matthew 21:5, we notice that there are some differences and some similarities.
Matthew is primarily quoting from the Septuagint version, which accounts for a little bit of the difference. We have the phrase, “Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem,” which I should have underlined. That is repeated in Matthew 21:5, “Tell the daughter of Zion.”
“Behold your king is coming,” or rather, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!” It’s sort of conflated to one statement here in the Septuagint.
It’s quoted in Matthew 21:5: “Behold your king is coming to you,” but he skips over the next line, “He is just and having salvation.” Why would he skip that? Because he knows he’s going to be rejected.
The “salvation” in the context is deliverance from the enemies of Israel and the establishment of His rule. That’s not going to happen as Jesus enters into Jerusalem. That part is not relevant. What’s important is that the king is presenting Himself. He’s “Lowly”—He’s humble—“riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
When we look at how Zechariah 9:9 is set up—the context, if you’re looking at it—the first eight verses are really fulfilled historically already. The first eight verses are fulfilled by the invasion of a foreign king who comes from the north. This would have been fulfilled by Alexander the Great.
In verses 9 and 10, as Zechariah shifts ahead, he’s pointing out that ultimately Israel is going to be delivered by her own king. You have these two verses: one related to the First Coming, one related to the Second Coming.
Because in the Old Testament they didn’t understand that there would be these two comings. They had prophecies related to a suffering Messiah, and they had prophecies related to a ruling Messiah.
In the Judaism of the late Second Temple period, they tended to ignore the suffering Messiah passages and emphasized only the glory passages. The problem was they thought they could have the crown before the cross. But the reality is, the cross had to come first so that the crown could be established.
There were some different rabbinic interpretations that were set forth by the first century. Rabbi Hillel who is a very famous rabbi—I’ve mentioned him before—is recorded in the Talmud as having said, “Israel can expect no Messiah.” See this was one view; there’s not going to be a Messiah because they’re so unrighteous. “Israel can expect no Messiah because they consumed Him in the days of Hezekiah.”
The retort: “When did Hezekiah live? Was is not in the days of the First Temple? Yet Zechariah during the time of the Second Temple prophesied and said …” This is where they see a little bit of a contradiction in the Old Testament.
In Piska 53, the Talmud says, “This refers to Messiah. He is called “anee”. That’s a Hebrew word, usually transcribed ani, which means humble or lowly. He’s called that “because He was oppressed all these years in prison, and the sinners of Israel denied Him … for the merits of the Messiah, the Holy One, blessed be He, will protect and redeem you.”
They did clearly understand in both of these quotes that Zechariah 9:9 was a Messianic passage, but by the time of the Second Temple period, they had decided there were two Messiahs. There was one that would be the Son of David, and there was one who’s the Son of Joseph. So instead of seeing two comings, they saw two Messiahs.
This is stated in the Sanhedrin 98a from the Talmud. Rabbi Joseph the son of Levi objects that it is written in one place, “Behold one like the son of man comes with the clouds of heaven.”—that’s also in Zechariah—but in another place it is written “lowly and riding upon an ass.” They say OK, “one place He comes with the clouds of Heaven, another place He’s riding upon a donkey. The solution is, if they be righteous He shall come with the clouds of Heaven, but if they not be righteous He shall come lowly riding upon as ass.”
Those three quotes are simply to show that they understood that there is a Messiah—that these passages had a Messianic implication—but they didn’t understand how it’s going to be applied. They come up with different solutions.
If you look at this section of Zechariah, there are a number of different things that are said related to the Messiah, related to His coming, establishes His kingdom. One of the prophecies comes a little later on in Zechariah 13:7. We’re told that in the middle part of the verse, “Strike the Shepherd”—and this was what was about to happen in Jerusalem—“Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.”
That is the scattering that takes place that we read about in Luke as the famine came about two or three years after the crucifixion: the church begins to be scattered to Judea and Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth.
So the prophecy in Zechariah is clearly Messianic, clearly talking about what is happening, and Jesus is fulfilling this, showing that He is the rightful King.
In Matthew 21:7 we’re told that when the disciples came, “They brought the donkey and colt, laid their clothes on them and set Him on them.” Not on the two—He’s not trying to ride a colt and a donkey together. “Setting on them” is setting on the clothes. Although there have been some people who have suggested that Matthew’s really confused, and he’s trying to get Jesus to ride two animals at the same time.
Matthew 21:8, “And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.”
Matthew 21:9, “Then the multitude who went before and those who followed cried out saying: ‘Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! —this is Psalm 118:25—Hosanna in the highest!’ ”
Let’s talk a little bit about what’s going here. The fact that they brought palm leaves has caused some people—usually liberals who don’t trust the text—to say that this is an event that really occurred at the Feast of Tabernacles where they would spread palm leaves and build little huts to live in temporarily. That occurs in the fall, usually in October. Some people say that Matthew’s taking this event out of context and putting it at the beginning of the Feast of Passover or Pesach.
This is not a very compelling argument at all because this was a standard operating procedure that we find from the time of the return from the exile. It’s mentioned in the Book of Maccabees of kings who would enter into a city. It was standard operating procedure to put palm branches down on the road in way of honoring the king as he entered into the town.
The fact that Jesus is going to ride this unbroken colt demonstrates that He is in control, and He is in authority over His creation. All authority has been given to Him. He is, as the Son of Man, showing His control over creation, Psalm 8:4–8.
Now it’s a little difficult to ride an unbroken donkey. I can attest to this. When I was about 16 or 17 years old, I was a wrangler at Camp Peniel. We had this almost-2-year-old colt, donkey, and it was rodeo time. Once a week we would have a rodeo for the campers.
I was going to get on this donkey and break the donkey. As soon as I got on that donkey bareback—that donkey was very small—my feet almost touched the ground getting on that colt. He reared up, and after about three bucks, I went flying straight over her head. And by the grace of God, my head collided head-on with a tree—a dead tree—that just immediately knocked down and gave way. Otherwise, I probably would have had a severe concussion.
But you just don’t get on an unbroken colt. They react violently to it. This demonstrates that Jesus is in control of His creation, and the colt allows Him to ride him into the city.
As He goes into the city, the people’s response is typical of welcoming a king— welcoming him in peace—not in conquest. We can go back to the time of David: that kings entered into Jerusalem riding on a mule, riding on a donkey in order to demonstrate that they were peaceful and demonstrating the quality of their rank.
Riding on a horse is a sign of conquest, so Jesus is not riding on a horse, He’s riding on a colt. This is clearly a fulfillment of the Zechariah 9 passage, which was understood as Messianic at the time. He is basically forcing the religious leaders of Jerusalem at this point to make a decision: to either accept Him as the King or not.
As we’ll see in the coming chapter, they immediately seek to do something about it, but they are fearful of the reaction of the crowds. They repeat this verse from Psalm 118 again. They’ll say because they are singing “Hosanna to God in the highest,” that that is their reason; they are fearful of the crowds. But they have already determined that they’re going to put Jesus to death.
Jesus rides in on the donkey. It’s indicating that He’s coming in peace: that He is going to have a peaceful administration. There were also some of the judges that rode on donkeys, so this is clearly a picture of peace and of harmony, that He is coming in. What will happen, though, is that He’ll be killed, His followers will be scattered.
I want to go to Luke 19 at this point. In Luke 19:39 we read, “And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, ‘Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.’ ” They don’t like what the crowds are doing.
This was a huge crowd. As you look at this picture here—this is from a modern Palm Sunday procession reenactment—there’s a lot of people there.
There were a lot of people at this time in Jerusalem. According to Charles Ellicott who quotes from Josephus—Josephus is the ultimate source, but Ellicott makes this statement as well, affirming Josephus—that the number of lambs that were sacrificed in the first century was around 260,000–270,000 lambs in Jerusalem at the time of Passover.
One lamb would be sacrificed for one family. So if you have an average size family of 10 people, that would indicate 2.7 million people in Jerusalem for Passover. That is a huge crowd when the average population of Jerusalem at this time was well under 100,000.
People would already be arriving; they would be camping out all along the sides of the Mount of Olives, all up and down the Kidron Valley, all around Jerusalem. The hillsides would have been covered by the tents of the pilgrims who were coming to Jerusalem for Pesach. So there would have been a huge number of people to greet the Lord as He came in.
Another thing that people mention is, “well, these people are awfully fickle because you have a number of people who are welcoming Jesus and saying He’s the King, and then within four or five days, they’re going to be shouting for Barabbas, rejecting Jesus and calling upon Pilate to crucify Jesus.”
That’s assuming they’re the same people: that’s a major mistake. Remember, there was a multitude of people who were traveling with Jesus from Jericho up to the Mount of Olives. It is those people who are primarily the ones who are spreading the palm branches and singing and welcoming Him into Jerusalem.
Many of the others that were there, that were camped along the Mount of Olives, would have come up and said, “Well, who is this?” That’s the response at the end of the verse the multitudes who went before, those who followed crying.
Then we read in Matthew 21:10–11, “And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved saying, ‘Who is this?’ So the multitudes said, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.’ ”
It’s interesting: he uses the same word “multitude” there, that’s used at the end of chapter 20, indicating those who were following Jesus. That is the group that is saying, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”
As Jesus is descending the Mount of Olives, we read in Luke 19:41–44, “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day’ ”. Now remember “this your day” means a special time. It reminds us of “this is the day that the Lord has made” in Psalm 118. “ ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.’ ” Because of their negative volition, they have rejected His Messianic claims.
Then He warns them of what will happen in terms of future judgment—He says, “ ‘For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.’ ”
He is clearly making the claim that He’s the Messiah. Liberals come along and say, “Well, Jesus never claimed to be God. Yes, He did—that’s what He was crucified for—because He claimed to be the Son of God.
The third prophecy that’s significant for understanding this is the prophecy that’s not mentioned in any of the Gospels. But it is the fulfillment of a prophecy that is one of the most remarkable prophecies that we find in the Old Testament—and that’s the prophecy of Daniel’s 70 weeks in Daniel 9.
What is the last statement that Jesus makes here in Luke 19:44? He says, “Because you did not know the time of your visitation.” The assumption there is they should know the time of the visitation. They’ve been given the information so that they can figure out the chronology.
Remember, when Jesus was born there were two individuals who met His parents in the temple when they brought Him in to dedicate Him. There was Simeon, and there was Anna because they understood the time. How would they understand it? Because they understood the prophecy in Daniel 9:24–27.
I’m not going to go through this in detail—we’ve done it in the past—but I did want to just make a brief reference to it. If you want to look at Daniel 9:24 with me, you may turn there; may make a little more sense to you.
What we have is a decree that is a time frame for Israel. “Seventy weeks,” verse 24, “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city.”
The angel is speaking to Daniel, and the angel says it is “for your people.” Gabriel is speaking to Daniel. “Your people” are the people of Israel. “Your holy city” is Jerusalem. Then he lists six things that are going to be fulfilled at that particular time.
In Daniel 9:25 he says, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem.”
We know that command was Artaxerxes’ decree that’s mentioned in Nehemiah 2:1–8: a decree for Nehemiah to go out and finish building the walls of Jerusalem. That would complete it. The temple’s been built, other things have been built, but the wall—the defensive wall—has not been built. So Artaxerxes tells Nehemiah to go back and complete it.
From that point, which we can date to March 5, 444 BC, we count forward the sixty-nine weeks—sixty-nine times seven—because it literally says sixty-nine periods of seven. When you multiply sixty-nine times seven, then you multiply that by 360—which is the number of days in a prophetic year—you come up with 173,880 days.
Then you add 173,880 days to March 5, 444 BC and you take out for the year zero because there’s no zero the way we count from 1 BC to AD 1. Then the 173,880th day is March 30, AD 33. This is the date of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. This fulfills that time. It is after this that the Messiah will be cut off.
Daniel 9:24 lays out the entire 490 years.
Daniel 9:25 talks about the first 69 weeks, which is 483 years or 173,880 days
Then in Daniel 9:26, we see that there’s a clear gap after the 62 weeks. After March 30—that day when He enters into Jerusalem—after that day the Messiah will be cut off. That was some five or six days later.
Then we’re told that something else occurs in that gap between the 69th and 70th year: the city and the sanctuary will be destroyed, and there will be desolations until the end. Then there will be the last week, which is 70th year.
The completion of the 69 weeks occurred on March 30, AD 33, according to calculations. A number of people have worked on this and worked this out.
So the decree is Artaxerxes’ decree in Nehemiah, March 5, 444 BC. It is fulfilled when the Messiah enters in the entry in Luke 19:28–40. If we multiply it out, we come out with this conclusion: 173,880 days.
Question then is: what happens to the other 70 years if there are 490 years?
That last year is the 70th week, which is yet to be fulfilled sometime in the future, which is the Tribulation period.
After the entry, when the clock stops, then the prince is cut off, then there’s judgment on the city, then there is an undetermined time, which is the Church Age before the anti-Christ appears, and then seven years later, the Messiah returns. That gives us the overview.
That’s one of the great prophecies of Scripture where we can say that we know when the Messiah was going to come. It’s laid out in Daniel 9.
If you ask a rabbi or a Jewish person this, they don’t know anything about this. Rabbis say, “Well, we don’t ever study that. We’re not supposed to study that.” They avoid this; the technical passages are avoided.
But this gives the time frame. That’s why Jesus could say, “This is your time, but you didn’t recognize it.”
The issue for us is to understand that what Jesus did wasn’t happenstance. It was planned out by God. The chronology works down to the details, and when He enters into Jerusalem, it is an event that has been predetermined from eternity past, and He is presenting Himself as the King.
What we’ll see in the coming chapters is the opposition to the King as He is tried. Because the day that He enters in is on the 10th of Nissan. The 10th of Nissan is the day that the Passover lamb for the families in Jerusalem would be selected. They are to select the lamb, then examine and evaluate the lamb to make sure it was without spot or blemish.
Then on the 14th, the lamb is sacrificed. That is eaten at the Passover meal. So Jesus fulfills the chronological typology. He enters—He offers Himself—on the 10th and then He will be sacrificed on the 14th.
“Father, we thank You for this opportunity to study these things today, to be reminded that Your Word is true, that there are so many prophecies that relate to the First Coming, others that relate to the Second Coming.
But because we know these First Coming prophecies were fulfilled literally, we know the other prophecies will also be fulfilled literally. And that there will be a time of judgment, a time of evaluation for every single individual.
Those who trust in Christ will have eternal life, they will be taken out of this world at the Rapture, and they will be evaluated for their eternal rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Those who have not accepted Christ: they will be judged eternally, the Scripture says. They will be resurrected at the time of the Great White Throne Judgment, where they will be evaluated according to their works, which will be found wanting, and then they will be sentenced and sent to the Lake of Fire.
Father, we pray that anyone listening to this message who is unsure of their salvation or uncertain of their eternal destiny will take this opportunity to make that sure and certain, that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins. They’re paid in full. The only issue is for you to trust in Him and Him alone for eternal salvation.
Father we pray that each of us will be challenged by what we’ve studied to a greater focus upon Your Word. We realize even more the importance of our spiritual life, that we have been bought with the price, and therefore, we’re to live to glorify You.
And we pray that You would strengthen and encourage us in our faith. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.”