The Palm Sunday Mysteries: The Mystery of the Day
Why did Jesus ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday?
Part 1 of this series is here -> "The Triumphal Entry: A Living Parable"
Editor's note: Updates were added to this article on 5/13/2021
Why did Jesus choose Palm Sunday for His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem? Why was it that particular day? Could He have chosen a different day? The answer is, No! The Triumphal Entry HAD to occur on that exact day. The fact that Jesus DID present himself to Israel as their Messiah on that day, is just another amazing historical event that proves that God alone is the author of the scriptures and that Jesus is the only historical figure who could be the promised King of Israel and the world's "Prince of Peace".
Key Study Principle (Read); Matthew 5:17-18
The Bible (as originally written) is precise and reliable. Jesus never violated the spirit or predictions of the "Law". He actually had to fulfill every Old Testament prediction about the King who would come and bring salvation to Israel and the Gentiles (all other nations).
Jesus Came To "Fulfill" The Law And The Prophets
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot (smallest letter) or one tittle (smallest mark in Hebrew) will by no means pass from the law." -Matthew 5:17-18 (NKJV)
There are literally hundreds of predictions in the Old Testament about what the Messiah would do when the time was right. Jesus had to fulfill ALL of these prophecies to "prove" that He indeed was the promised deliverer of Israel.
When Jesus presents himself to be baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:14-16), we learn that Jesus was focused on fulfilling the Law when He said,
"for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness”.
Jesus ministered for three and one-half years, fulfilling prophecies concerning the Messiah and preparing Himself for "Palm Sunday" and the events of "Passion Week". The people saw Him perform miracles and wanted to take Him by force to make Him their king (e.g. John 6:15), but He would not allow this because the "Day of Messiah" had not yet arrived!
Fulfilling The Law
Search the scriptures (the Law and the Prophets); for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. -John 5:39
The word '"fulfill" used above in Matthew 6:17 is the Greek word, πληρόω (pronounced play-ro'-o), which means to satisfy or finish a period or task (see Stromg's reference G4137). Jesus' mission was to do everything the Law and the Prophets declared that He would do! As we study the scriptures, we understand more and more what Jesus did and why!
The Day Of The Triumphal Entry Was Predicted
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on April 6, 32 A.D. because the date of "The Triumphal Entry" was predicted in the Old Testament. if Jesus had presented himself to Israel on any other day, the scripture would have been broken and we would be lost!
Daniel Predicts The Date Of The Triumphal Entry
“Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times. -dANIEL 9:25 (nkjv)
This is the prophecy which pinpoints when the Messiah will present himself to Israel! This prediction specifies that there will be exactly 69 weeks or 173,880 days (69 * 7 * 360) from the decree to restore and build Jerusalem to the appearance of the "Prince"!
This calculation will bring us to April 6, 32 A.D. (the image above this article depicts this timeline).
Daniel Predicts The Death Of The Messiah
The prophet Daniel not only predicts the day that the "Anointed Prince" will present himself to Israel as their King, but he also predicts that this Prince (Jesus) will be killed at the end of the 7 weeks plus 62 week period (69 weeks of years)!
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: -Daniel 9:26a
The prophet Daniel not only predicts the death of Israel's Messiah, but he also predicts the destruction of Jerusalem and Israel's sanctuary (the temple).
...and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. -Daniel 9:26b
Jesus confirmed this prophecy during His Triumphal Entry into the city. He also declared that the reason for the coming destruction was that Israel did not recognize that the TIME had come for Messiah's visit (the time of their visitation)!
For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemys shall cast a trench about thee and compass thee and keep thee in on every side,
And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. -Luke 19:42-44
The destruction of the city and Temple was completed 38 years later when Roman armies, led by Titus destroyed Jerusalem.
Nobody But Jesus!
Jesus is the only historical figure that presented himself to Israel and fulfilled prophecies pertaining to the Messiah in this tine frame! Think about that for a minute. No other individual could be the promised "Prince of Peace' without violating the "Law and the Prophets" (the Bible)! This is absolutely amazing and is exactly what God said He would do to prove that He alone is the one true God!
Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure; -Isiah 46:9-10
Signs That Israel Could Not See
The Lord, through Daniel, gave Israel (and us) a timetable for the coming of "Messiah The Prince" (which literally means "The Anointed Ruler"). The majority of Israel, including their priests, lawyers and scribes, did not decipher Daniel's prophecy. This is the reason that Jesus wept as He rode into Jerusalem. Note His words to the religious leaders who were angry that Jesus presented Himself as King:
"You know how to discern the face of the sky, But you cannot discern the signs of the times" -Matthew 16:1-3
Understanding The Biblical Calendar
Many "scholars" have attempted to calculate the date we identified above. Some make the mistake of using our 365 day calendar, but the Bible uses the lunar (360 day) calendar in its prophecies. See the excellent article below entitled, "The Biblical Year", to understand how and where the lunar calendar is used in scripture. Now, we just need to verify WHEN Daniel's countdown began and how to convert the calculation to our calendar.
The Coming Prince
Fortunately, this work has been done for us. Around the turn of the century, Sir Robert Anderson (1841-1918), Head of Scotland Yard's Criminal Investigation Division, turned his investigative skills to the book of Daniel and published a book that details the timeline. The book, "The Coming Prince", is available on Amazon. This is one of the most scholarly and revered works on the subject and would be a great addition to any library. It is also available for Kindle. I have posted a video review of this book in the "More Links" area below this article.
When Did The Clock Start Ticking?
Modern archeology via the Royal Observatory in Grenich, England, has confirmed that on March 14, 445 BC, King Artexerxes I of Persia issued the command to rebuild Jerusalem (see Nehemiah 2:2-9). When 173,880 days are added to this date (accounting for leap years), we arrive at April 6, 32 A.D., the date of the Triumphal Entry.
The Cost Of Not Considering God's Word, Works and Wonders
Israel should have known when their Messiah was coming. They should have also known how He was coming. Why didn't they know? Tragically, Israel repeated an old pattern of behaviour found in Psalms 78 (read it carefully). They did not carefully consider God's word or the wonders that God performed for them! This resulted in a spiritual blindness that led to the rejection and crucifixion of their promised King.
More Treasure From The Triumphal Entry
Be sure to watch the video entitled "The 69 Weeks" in the MORE LINKS section below. You will find more amazing facts about the Day of Messiah! There are also several research links listed. Feel free to comment or ask questions in the COMMENTS section.
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Larry Shepard committed his life to Jesus Christ over 40 years ago. During those years, he worked in evangelistic radio and publishing ministries. He has served as an Education Director, Special Ministries Director, Associate Pastor and as a Senior Pastor. Larry has studied and taught at Cornerstone Theological Seminary. He also developed and taught classes at The Texas Institute of Biblical Studies. Larry worked in Corporate America as an IT professional and developed software for numerous small businesses. He lives in Houston, Texas, and is married and has two children and two grandchildren.
Other posts by Larry Shepard
Larry is the founder and visionary of the Parable Power Network. His mission is to ignite a passion for God's word and to see the Power in the Parable elevate people to exemplary living.. Larry has served in various Christian ministries for over 40 years; including teaching in Bible Schools and as a Senior Pastor.