Jesus Rides into Jerusalem
A Narrative Using All Four Gospel Accounts
Matthew 21:1-11 ~ Mark 11:1-11 ~ Luke 19:28-40 ~ John 12:12-17
Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her, on which no one has sat. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”
All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, Not to fear. ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zech 9:9
His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, and then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.
The disciples went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street just as He had said to them, and they loosed it. As they were loosing the colt, some of those who stood there, the owners, said to them, “What are you doing, loosing the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of him,” just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go.
So they brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Also a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him. Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the multitudes who went before and those who followed began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen. They cried out, saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He, who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!”
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David, the King of Israel The King that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
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.” Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him! And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”
Quick Notes on the Triumphal Entry
Because the above narrative is taken from all four Gospel accounts, I will point out that Matthew’s account has the disciples bringing the donkey and the colt according to Jesus’ instructions. I don’t believe Jesus arranged this before hand by natural means. I believe because He is God, that He arranged it supernaturally putting it into the hearts of those who owned it to let it go for the Lord’s use.
This was a fulfillment of Zech 9:9. Some have said that the daughter of Zion is the Church. I don’t thing so. I think it is the Jewish people based primarily on the fact that the prophecy was fulfilled at that juncture. He was coming to the Jews. Zion refers to the hill or temple mount within the city of David, or the city of David itself. Basically the heart of Jerusalem. Interesting that the disciples were unaware of this prophecy at the time, thus concluding there was no manipulation on the part of the followers of Jesus to try to cause Messianic prophecies to happen based on there human efforts.
Of course when they obeyed the Lord they found the situation with the donkey’s colt just as He had told them.
We seem to forget when we celebrate what we call “Palm Sunday” that clothes were also put down in front of the King. This is a sign of homage. The palms were probably used in a joyous festival sense. The details mention that people were both following Him and coming out to meet Him from the city. This must have been quite a site.
The crowd’s hailing Jesus as the Son of David-no doubt a Messianic title and Hosanna, which means, “salvation now”. I am sure they thought He was going to take over at this point as King. Perhaps this let down of the Kingdom to start and the Roman rule to end, is partially the reason for the crowds to turn on Jesus and yell crucify, crucify only a few days later.
The crowds, which many I’m sure were true believers were praising Jesus for all of His wonderful works, namely, Lazarus being raised from the dead. Jesus was accepting the praises and worship of the people which in turn made the Pharisees furious. Note that they never denied His miracles.
Daniel’s Prophecy – The Coming Prince
In brief I want to point out how part of Daniel’s 70th week prophecy relates to Jesus Christ presenting Himself as King as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt the week preceding His crucifixion. Bye the way this is the only time Jesus presents Himself as the King of Israel and allows his disciples and the multitudes to hail Him as such. On this grand scale climax in response to His ministry and in particular the raising of Lazarus from the dead; Jesus receives praise and worship from the people as He enters Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. The Son of David was probably the most common title of the Messiah used by the Jews of Jesus’ day. The common people attributed it to Him on many occasions. What we know as the triumphal entry is no exception. This made the Jewish leaders furious and there response to this is found in Matt 21:15-16 Luke 19:38-40
Dan 9:20-27 is known as the 70th week prophecy. In Dan 9:26 there is an event that starts this timeline. It is when the command to restore Jerusalem is given. Ezra records three different decrees but these are not the one because they are decrees to rebuild the temple. Daniel specifically says it was to restore and build Jerusalem, the city. The commandment to restore and build Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes Longimanus on March 14, 445 B.C. The account is found in Neh 2:1-8. By doing the semi-complicated math you will discover that from the time of that command until Messiah the Prince there would be 173,880 days. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey on April 6, 32 A.D. exactly 173,880 days. To resolve the equation one has to account for things like a 360 day calendar the Jews used, leap years, a calendar year versus a solar year, 1 BC and 1 AD are the same year. Sir Robert Anderson and Dr. Harold Hoehner have both done extensive calculations on this and although having different ways in their determining the dates both conclude that the exact number of days has occurred from the command in Nehemiah until the triumphal entry by Jesus of Nazareth, just as the Word of God predicted.
A further value of the literal approach of Dr. Hoehner is that this prophecy provides an exact time in which Israel’s Messiah was predicted to show up in history. “And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. . . . because you did not recognize the time of your visitation’” Luke 19:41-42, 44. How was Israel to have known the time of their visitation? From a literal understanding of Daniel’s prophecy. In fact, this prophecy, along with Christ’s fulfillment of every other first coming Messianic prophecy proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was Israel’s Messiah. Many Jews have come to faith, over the years, as a result of being challenged by this prediction about the time of Messiah’s coming. It is clear that a literal interpretation of this passage is demanded by the text itself. [footnote 1]
Authenticating the Book of Daniel
The fact that Nebuchadnezzar pillaged lands which included Israel during his first year as king is re-corded on Babylonian tablets known as the Babylonian Chronicles.
According to the Bible in Dan 1:3-4, During the invasion of Jerusalem in 606 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon instructed Ashpenaz the Master of his eunuchs, to bring back some of the children of Israel to serve in the king’s palace and to teach them the language and literature of the Chaldeans. He picked Daniel along with his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Remarkably, the office of Master of the Eunuchs has been confirmed by Archaeology. Housed in the British museum is a clay tablet inscribed with the words “Rab-Saris.” In Aramaic, the word Rab interpreted means Master and Saris (-saw-reece’) means Eunuchs.
Another amazing fact about the book of Daniel is that in 1947 the first of the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered. They contained fragments of all the books of the Old Testament except the book of Esther. Among them is a copy of Daniel. Chapters 2:4 through chapters 7:28 are written in the ancient Aramaic language known as Chaldee (the language of Babylon), the same language used in documents of the 7th century B.C. This is another confirmation of the fact that the events spoken of in the book of Daniel were written down by Daniel during the time of his captivity in Babylon.
Dating the Book of Daniel
Consider the following facts relative to the prophet Daniel, and the book that bears his name.
(1) The internal testimony of the book is that it was authored by Daniel 7:2 8:1 9:2 12:4. That affirmation should not be rejected unless there is compelling evidence to do so.
(2) As an historical person, Daniel is mentioned in the book of Ezekiel 14:14-20 and those brief descriptions are consistent with the data in the book of Daniel 28:3.
(3) The ancient Jews believed that no books were added to the Old Testament after the time of the Persian ruler Artaxerxes (464-424 B.C.) (Josephus, Against Apion 1.8). They always accepted the book of Daniel as a part of the Scriptures. Hence they did not believe it was composed in the time of Antiochus, during the “Interbiblical” period. Other books, which were written during the Interbiblical age, were rejected from the divine canon. Why not Daniel as well – if it came from the same era?
(4) Material from Daniel is alluded to and considered as genuine history, in the Apocrypha (cf. 1 Maccabees 2:59-60).
(5) Christ referred to the prophecy regarding the destruction of Jerusalem Dan 9:27, and he declared that it “was spoken through the prophet Daniel” Matt 24:15. If the book of Daniel was a fraudulent production, Christ was either ignorant of the matter, or dishonest about the prophecy’s authorship. In either case, if he misstated the matter regarding Daniel, his claim of being the Son of God would be nullified.
(6) The testimony of Josephus is decidedly against the late date for Daniel. First, he mentions that Daniel’s prophecies regarding Alexander the Great were shown to the Greek general as he came toward Jerusalem in the 4th century B.C., and that the illustrious commander was so impressed that he spared the holy city (Antiquities Xl,VIII,3-5). Further, the Jewish historian states that the Hebrew nation suffered many things at the hand of Antiochus Epiphanes, which, he affirms, were “according to Daniel’s vision and what he wrote many years before they came to pass” (Antiquities X.Xl.7 – emp. added). He not only affirms the accuracy of Daniel’s testimony, but also adds his weight to the chronological antiquity of the document. This is powerful evidence.
(7) The precision of the details within the book relative to the city of Babylon argues that the writer was an eye-witness of that ancient culture, and not a citizen of Judea some three and a half centuries later. It is an indisputable fact that the farther an author is removed, both in time and in distance from the subject of his narration, the more indefinite he becomes with respect to societal classes, sects, customs, etc. The book of Daniel, however, is very specific with reference to matters pertaining to Babylon. [footnote 2]
The account of world history is so accurate in the book of Daniel that the critics insist it was written after the fact. It goes without saying, of course, that the critics of the Bible would reject the evidence of Daniel’s prophecies. Skeptics begin with the initial assumption that no such thing as divinely inspired “prophecy” exists; therefore, Daniel, in the 6th century B.C., simply could not have foretold the details that are a part of his book.
Thus Porphyry, a 3rd century AD. philosopher, argued that the book of Daniel was written by some unknown scribe who lived in Judea during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. He insisted that the events depicted in Daniel’s narrative correspond precisely with the facts of history up to the time of Antiochus, that the record must have been history, not prophecy. If it thus can be established that the book of Daniel actually dates significantly before the mid-second century B.C., Porphyry’s concession of the document’s accuracy becomes a powerful argument for the divine nature of the book of Daniel!
In order to make the Old Testament available to the average Jewish reader, a project was undertaken under the sponsorship of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.) to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. Seventy scholars were commissioned to complete this work and their result is known as the “Septuagint” translation. It is critical to realize that the Book of Daniel existed in documented form in the Septuagint almost three centuries before Christ was born.
Portions of the Daniel manuscript from the Dead Sea scrolls reveal, upon the basis of paleographic evidence (i.e., writing style), that the original document was composed several hundred years prior to the 2nd century B.C. (cf. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, I, 1988, p. 573).
footnote 1: The Seventy Weeks of Daniel Part VI by Thomas Ice
footnote 2: An Amazing Prophecy in the Book of Daniel By Wayne Jackson – http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/869-an-amazing-prophecy-in-the-book-of-daniel Other Sources: The Arrival of the King, John MacArthur Code 1293 sermon downloads, Grace to You Anderson, Robert, The Coming Prince, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1894. The classic work on the Seventy Weeks of Daniel. Chuck Missler Daniel’s 70 Weeks November 2004 Personal Update News Journal.