The events of Palm Sunday were ordered 1500 years before they happened, and forecast to the exact day 500 years before. The intent of this message is to help us stop a moment to see the forecasted underpinnings behind the momentous events of what the Ancient Church termed “Holy Week.” Those things which lead to the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
To begin we must set the stage with a brief instruction about the three Spring Feasts of Israel. These were given to Moses around 3500 years ago, and about 1500 years before they were fulfilled in every detailed by the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem on the day we call Palm Sunday. The Spring Feasts were in full force during the time Jesus entered the City, was later apprehended, condemned, crucified and resurrected.
Passover is the first of the three. It commemorates the event when the Lord God sent the defining event which forced the King of Egypt to release Israel from bondage and to send them away as their own Nation. This account makes a great read and is found in Exodus chapters 7 through 12. But for our purposes, let’s understand the Lord was very particular in His assuring we strictly commemorate the exact date:
- In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover – Leviticus 23:5
This day is also termed a “High Sabbath” – (see John 19:31) Simply stated, it was a holy convocation to be celebrated on the day it landed. And so like your own birthday, the weekday it landed on would move from year to year. The important take-away is that the Jews would cyclically have two Sabbaths the week of Passover – one on the 14th day of Nissan, and the second, the routinely observed Sabbath from Friday night to Saturday night. This factors heavily as Christ approaches Jerusalem on a donkey.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread followed the day after the Passover ended. Leaven is yeast. One of the principles of the Feast is to remember that Israel left Egypt in haste – there was no time to wait for the yeast to raise the loaf. One additional insight is that the purpose of yeast is to puff up – to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread then is to remember that we should not live puffed up with pride – that we need to rid ourselves of ourselves in surrender and obedience to God. However for our purposes here, the key point is that the feast was to last seven (7) days. This is vital because during this Feast, the third and last Feast is celebrated.
The Feast of First Fruits is celebrated during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This Feast of First Fruits celebrates the wheat harvest. During this observance, the Priest of God takes a sheaf of wheat and literally waves it before the Lord – to thank Him for His provision, for His caring for His people. It also is a demonstration of the heart of the People to wave and recognize the First Fruits of the harvest, placing God first in priority. Now the date for this observance strictly provided for. Note the First Fruits were recognize the day after the sabbath – that is Sunday.
- You shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it – Leviticus 23;10
Enter now into our discussion, the Prophet Daniel. Restart Church did a fifteen (15) week study through the Book of Daniel. And when we got to Chapter Nine (9) we found a very interesting thing indeed. The setting, you will remember, is that Daniel and Judah are in exile in Babylon – a direct result of God’s judgement on their National behavior (watch out America!). He writes a prophesy in the ninth Chapter detailing the specific time when the promised Messiah was to come. Now you and I must remember. The Promise of the Coming of the Anointed One was part of their National DNA. The Old Testament is chocked full of references to how God Himself would come to deliver Israel and elevate it to the single kingdom of the whole world! Here is a modest selection of verses pertaining to Messiah:
- And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise you on the head – Genesis 3:15
- The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the rulers staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples – Genesis 49:10
- I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever – 2 Samuel 7:12-13
- 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, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6
- In those days and at that time I will cause a Righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth – Jeremiah 33:15
- 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 – Zechariah 9:9
Point is, when Daniel says Messiah is coming on a specific date – the people understood what that meant. Here’s what he wrote:
- So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks… – Daniel 9:25
The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was issued by Artaxerxes Longimanus in (converting to our Gregorian Calendar – March 14, 445 B.C. You can read about it in Nehemiah 2. That is our starting point. The bit about the weeks is not difficult. There can be no question that Daniel did not mean 69 weeks or 1.32 years – that is nonsense. However a week is a group of seven days. Let’s look at a week as being seven years. Doing the math:
- One week represents seven (7) years
- One year is 360 days – following the Hebrew custom
- 69 weeks x 7 x 360 = 173,880 days
- March 14, 445 B.C + 173,800 days = April 6, 32 A.D.
Although your internet searches will often show April 6 32 A.D. as a Wednesday – by the reckoning of Jewish scholars it fell on a Sunday, four days before Passover. Don’t get wigged out by what you find on the internet. Millions believe the earth is millions and millions of years old – as of this writing the Hebrew reckoning is the earth is 5779 years old. This is nothing to start a new religious movement over – but we are foolish to forget the Deceiver would have every reason to keep the Truth away from you and I
In any event, the date Daniel predicts is a Sunday in April, four days before Passover. Here then enters a critical intersection with God’s instructions about the Spring Feasts. This has to do with the Passover, and specifically about the lamb that is to be sacrificed. The Hebrews were told that they were to take the lamb into their homes four days before the Passover (remember the Passover is on the 14th) Check it out:
- On the tenth of the month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household – Exodus 12:3
The Passover Lamb comes to live within the home of each Believer, four days before the Passover is commemorated. And what’s going to happen to the family living with a cute, cuddly, unblemished lamb for four days? I’ll tell you what, it becomes a pet. This makes the following instruction all the more telling.
- You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight – Exodus 12:6
But why that? Because the Lord God wanted to leave a taste of the love and affection He felt when He offered His Own Passover Lamb as sacrifice for the sins of the world.
Now here is where our instruction takes shape. On the tenth of Nissan (on the very day we call Palm Sunday) in accordance with the provisions of the Law, the High Priest was presenting the National lamb before the Lord God Almighty in the Temple – to live there four days until it was to be sacrificed at twilight on the 14th. At the same time as the High Priest of Israel was doing this, Jesus – the High Priest of Heaven – presented Himself to Jerusalem, the Temple, and to all the People as the Sacrificial Lamb for the entire World – riding into Jerusalem on a donkey: humble, gentle, and spotless.
Let’s note now the progression of events along the Mosaic Feast prescription that happened to the Lord Jesus. He rides into Jerusalem on Sunday. He is crucified on Passover, Wednesday. As He Himself proclaims:
- For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth – Matthew 12:40
He lies in the earth three days. He comes back to walk the earth after the Saturday Sabbath is completed. And then, on Sunday – the very day prescribed in the Law – the very day when the High Priest is waving the sheaf of the First Fruits of the harvest before the Lord God Almighty – Jesus becomes the First Fruits of the Resurrection!
- He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything – Colossians 1:18
- But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep – 1 Corinthians 15:12
I hope the Chart below helps you to see this clearly:
- Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill – Matthew 5:17
- For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly – Romans 5:6But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us – Romans 5:8
- He canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross – Colossians 2:14
- Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. – Romans 6:4
- But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you – Romans 8:11
What are we to do with all this? We are to stop to consider is what we are to do. We cannot chalk this up to the arm-waving of some crazy Pastor. This is something prescribed 1500 years before it happened. Something forecasted to the exact day 500 years before it happened. Something that is real and powerful and most importantly – available to you and I. It spells the deliverance from the bondage from sin – from our own Egypt where we were held captive. It spells deliverance from the punishment we deserve for our willful disobedience and self rebellion – as that punishment was borne by the Lamb of God, whose Blood takes away the sin of the world. It spells a revitalized nature for you and I as we are born again into a new life – to walk companioned by the Son of God. If this is something you are just reading but are not living yourself – then I urge you to call me directly – 406.351.0809. We can talk about the freedoms awaiting you in Christ. May the Lord Bless You as you Go.