THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY
THEME: The triumphal entry of the son of David into the Holy City gave added witness of his messiahship and prefigured his future coming in glory
IMPORTANT TEACHINGS IN THIS LESSON
Jesus Enters Jerusalem As King Messiah Matt. 21:1-11;
Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19
Jesus Prophecies Destruction of Jerusalem Luke 19:41-44
Jesus Curseth a Barren Fig Tree Matt.. 21:18-22; Mark 11:12-14, 20-24
Jesus Cleanseth the Temple a Second Time Matt.. 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48
Jesus Confounds Jews on Question of Authority Matt.. 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8
We will go step by step from Bethany to the Mount of Olives to the City of Jerusalem, both then and now to get a feel of the city Jesus made His triumphal entry. Click here to take the tour now.
THE CITY OF JERUSALEM TODAY
Jesus came 'up' from Jericho to Jerusalem by route of the Wadi Kelt for what was the final week of his life. Jericho is below sea level about 1200 feet while Jerusalem is about 2520 above sea level. He really does go 'up to Jerusalem' since there is about a 3,000 foot elevation difference between the two cities. Since the time is April of the year, or Nissan by the Jewish calendar, there were also thousands of other people who were going to Jerusalem at this same time. A huge group of these people joined with Jesus and accompanyed Him on this journey. The route from Jericho to Jerusalem is about a 2 day walk. Today in a car it takes about an hour and a half. These disciples who were with Jesus were in very high spirits. They believed they had found the King of Kings and that when he went into Jerusalem it would mark the beginning of the end for the Roman domination. Little did they realize that He was not headed to Jerusalem to liberate the Jews from Roman bondage but rather to liberate all men from the bondage of sin.
Bethany lies just outside of Jerusalem about 2 or 3 miles. Jesus no doubt paused in Bethany at the home of Mary, Martha and His dear friend Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead a few months eariler. Lazarus had 'noised abroad' in all Judea the miracle that had happened in his life a few months earlier being dead and coming to life again. Lazarus story must have been most compelling and convincing. Many believed on Jesus becuase of Lazarus' testimony. The reputation of Jesus had widely spread and many who had gathered from far off places already in Jerusalem for the Passover had heard about Him and were very anxious to see Him, Hear him, and learn from Him.
Jesus set up a temporary residence in Bethany where He spent the last few days of his life. At the end of this week, Jesus was crucified and He knew this fact in advance. He was coming to lay down His life. His disciples, however, seemed totally unaware of His fate even though Jesus has foretold his death (Matthew 20:17-19).
JESUS PRESENTS HIMSELF IN THE TEMPLE AS THE LAMB OF GOD
When He arrived in Jerusalem on Sunday morning He made what the scriptures call His triumphal entry. This Sunday would have been the 10th of Nissan (see Exodus 12:3), or the day in which the pascal lambs to be sacrificed were presented before the priests of God for their approval making sure they conformed to the the Levitical requirements recorded in Exodus 12:4--
This 'Triumphal Entry' into Jerusalem for Jesus was a different entry than any other time in which He had come into the Holy City. Why? Becuase on other occasions, Jesus has avoided being celebrated as King and hailed in that manner, but on this day He not only fails to avoid being hailed as King, He actually arranges it. First, in fulfilment of prophecy, He sends His disciples to bring an ass and its fowl to Him so that he can ride it into the Holy City and fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."Talmudic tradition suggests that all the Kings of Israel should ride a donkey to show humility and to emulate the Messiah yet none but Jesus is remembered for actually doing it. The multitude, described in the scriptures as 'great', probably numbered in the thousands if not the tens of thousands. To show honor and respect they strawed palm branches and clothing before him so that his feet would not have to touch the ground. They praised Him by singing the 'hallel' recorded in Psalms 118. This psalm was sung only on holy days and was used to evoke priase for the Messiah of Israel. On this occasion they sang it to Jesus. When the Pharisees heard the crowds singing this praise to Jesus they were upset and told Him to quiet the people. Jesus replied that should He do that, the very stones would cry out.
And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. (Luke 19:40)As he came to the rim of the mount of olives overlooking the kidron valley towards the Temple Mount Jesus wept. Had they know that this was 'His day' they would not have had to be destroyed. But they were blind and not ready. (Luke 19:42 as foretold by Daniel the prophet see Daniel 9)
In spite of Jerusalem being the Holy City, the capital of the Jewish world, and the place of the Holy Temple, Jesus never based His ministry there. The scriptural record of His dealings in Jerusalem are generally associated with visits He makes during the times of the Feasts and observances of Israel. Had Jesus chosen to base His ministry there He would have likely been prematurely assinated since there were so many in Jerusalem who wished to put him to death. On many occasions Jesus was obliged to leave Jerusalem when His life was in jeopardy (see John 7:1,19, 25). Yet He knew that Jerusalem was his destiny with death. He remarked, 'it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem'(Luke 13:33).
Jesus' mission was predetermined from before the foundations of the world. His life conformed to fulfill the prophecies in every detail. There was an ordained hour for his birth and there was an ordained hour for his death. Central to the prophecies of his death was the literal fulfillment that He was to become the Lamb of God sacrificed for the sins of Israel. He would have to die at Passover.
On other occasions when His life was treatened He left knowing that His hour was not yet come. Yet on this final week of His life He makes a Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem for His day and hour had finally come. That day and hour had literally been foretold by the Prophet Daniel. Jesus even quotes Daniel the Prophet saying 'When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)' Matthew 24:15.
FOR MORE ON THE TEMPLE OF HEROD CLICK HERE
Daniel was a great prophet who foretold the coming of the Mesiah. He gave a literal 'timetables' of future events. His prophecies include the first coming of the Messiah as well as the events leading to the Second Coming of Jesus. The first prophecy, called by some bible scholars as the prophecy of the 70 weeks of Daniel, is recorded Daniel chapter 9. The prophet foretells the very day that the Messiah would be 'cut off' or crucified. In Daniel 9:1 he gives us the date when he made the prophecy;
IN the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:The first year of Darius was the year 538 b.c. Daniel was now an old man having been taken as a captive to Babylon in 608 b.c. Daniel was taken into captivity shortly before Lehi left Jerusalem in 600 b.c. A few years Later in 597 b.c. the second Babylonian invasion was completed by Nebucanessar and all the rest of the kingdom of Judah was deported to Babylon and Jerusalem was laid waste. Daniel states that for 490 years the people of Judah had not observed the sabbath year of 'rest' prescribed in 2 Chr. 36:21 when the land was to lay dorment. God therefore cursed Judah and removed them out of their land for 70 years as a punishment exacting one year in captivity for each year that was not observed. The entire nation was taken captive into Babylon while the land of Israel received its Sabbatical rest. During this time Jerusalem and the regions round about were 'made desolate'. The Kingdom of Judah paid the price for their folly.
At the end of 70 years Daniel offered a humble prayer
asking the Lord that the Jews be permitted to return to Jerusalem and rebuild
the temple. As an answer to his prayer, the Angel Gabriel appeared
to Daniel, called him 'greatly beloved' and told him that the decree to
return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple
and its walls was about
to be given (see Daniel 9:24). Then Gabriel revealed that 490 years
would pass away after the decree to return and rebuild and then the Messiah
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." (Daniel 9:24)Our English translation says seventy 'weeks' but the word that is being translated as 'weeks' in hebrew means 'sevenths'. Therefore the scripture literarly rendered would say 'seventy sevenths' or 'seventy sabbatical years'. A sabatical year occurs every 7. This yeilds an interval of 7 x 70 years or 490 years. In effect, the 'end of sins' brought about by the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the anointing of the most Holy Messiah would happen in 490 years. (For more on the 70 weeks of Daniel, click here).
The Babylonians were overthrown by the Persians in 538 b.c. by Darius, the Persians looked favorably at the idea of letting the Jews return to their homeland. Various decrees were made to that effect, by Cyrus, Ahsuerus, and Artaxerxes. One decree specificy permitted the Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem and its walls.
"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times." Daniel 9:25If we recon the time from the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 B.C. history will note that "in seven weeks" (that is 49 years time) the walls were rebuilt and then in another "sixty and two weeks" (that is 434 years time) the Messiah came. And in the midst of one week, that is after three years and a half, He was slain. [see J.M. Sjodahl, Jospeh Smith Scrapbook of Mormon Literature, Vol 1, p. 364]
If we recon time from the decreee of Artaxerexes Longimanus given on March 14, 445 b.c. when Ezra was commissioned by Darius to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls the interval becomes even more precise. Daniel's prophecy said the 490 year interval would start when the decree to restore the city and the walls was given.
Coincidentally Darius made this decree when he discovered in his records a previous decree by Cyrus that they Jews could return and rebuild the Temple (see Ezra Chapter 6). Thus, though belated 93 years from the day of Daniel's first mention of the prophecy of the decree, Ezra was permitted to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and finish the restoration of the Temple.
Some people wonder why the walls were such an issue. At that time an 'unwalled' city could not be protected from attach and therefore was not a significant, self ruling city. The wall was evidence of self determination.
Now using the date of this decree as the one Gabriel had in mind when he spoke to Daniel we see a most interesting date imerge relavant to the Triumphal Entry of Jesus Christ.
There is no doubt that Jesus knew the time table even if others did not. He knew when he would be required to lay down his life and He knows when it is that He will come again. These dates are boldy marked on the calendar of the Father. And as in the first coming, there will be relatively few who will recognize the signs of the Second coming. Instead, many people will explain away the signs of the Seond coming just as the did when Jesus came the first time.
More importantly, the Lord knows 'what time it is' right now for each of us personally in our lives. And what is that time? It is time for us to more fully embrace him and walk in His paths. It is time to recognize that He is the way the Truth and the Life. He is 'The Messiah Hanagid', the Prince of Peace. That peace comes only in following Him. May we be among those who do.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE 70 WEEKS OF DANIEL
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE 2300 YEARS PROPHECY OF DANIEL CLICK HERE
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
For our class discussion please read Matthew 21, Mark
11, Luke 19 and John 12. Ask yourself these questions; why did Jesus
curse the fig tree? What was the symbolism of the cleansing of the
Temple? What was the reaction of the Jewish leaders to the arrival
of Jesus and particularly their reaction to the cleansing of the temple
Matt. 23:1-22; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 11:43; 20:45-47 ? What is the
meaning of the Parable of the Marriage of the King's Son Matt. 22:1-14?
What provoked the Lord to respond, Render Unto God and Caesar Their Own
Matt. 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26 ? Why is hypocrisy Is
the crime of inner uncleanness and what do we do about that in our lives?
Matt. 23:25-28; Luke 11:37-41, 44
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