Monday, April 18, 2011

Palm Sunday - Triumphant Entry

Palm Sunday - Triumphant Entry

We finished Isaiah class last week led by Leong Tien Fook. Next year, same time, LTF will lead another class on Old Testament for those with zero knowledge. That will put in somewhat in that category.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday. Last week's Isaiah class gave me a new meaning to Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem also called Palm Sunday. I want to share with you some calculations that predicted the coming of Jesus. In fact, during the time of Jesus, many Jews knew of the prophecy of Daniel and expected a Messiah to come but of course, they expected a grand King instead that will rescue them from the clutches of the Roman Empire.

Here is the prophecy from Daniel concerning the coming of the Messiah:

Daniel 9:25-26
 25 “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.

The "seven" here denotes week of years.
Therefore 1 week = 7 years

From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, there will be 7 weeks and 62 week (7 + 62 = 69 weeks) until the Anointed One, the ruler (Jesus) comes.

69 weeks x 7 years = 483 years

The start time of when the word went forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem can be found in the decree from Artaxerxes to Ezra in 457 BC (see Ezra 7:11-16 and Ezra 9:9).

457 BC + 483 years = 26 AD

Since there is no such thing as "0" year, you need to add "1"

26 AD + 1 year = 27 AD which is the exact year of the beginning of Jesus' ministry when he was anointed by the Holy Spirit.

There are also other possible calculations. So, I asked LTF how would we know we are not just trying to fit in a date. He said whatever, the calculations, it all points to around the time that Jesus came. It is pulling in all the information eg the fact that only Jesus' death and resurrection ties in to the minutest details of Isaiah 53. Also, it was also prophesied Jesus would come "... See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9). He would be born as a child and be called Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6,7) etc.

Even in Isaiah's time (700 years before Jesus came), God talked about the former things and new things.

The former things refer to the Jews' exile to Babylon and Isaiah also prophesied they would return back to Jerusalem after 70 years (Cyrus' time). All these former things were foretold 160 years before the actual fulfillment.

Isaiah 48

 1 “Listen to this, you descendants of Jacob, 
   you who are called by the name of Israel 
   and come from the line of Judah, .....
3 I foretold the former things long ago, 
   my mouth announced them and I made them known; 
   then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. 
4 For I knew how stubborn you were; 
   your neck muscles were iron, 
   your forehead was bronze. 
5 Therefore I told you these things long ago; 
   before they happened I announced them to you 
so that you could not say, 
   ‘My images brought them about; 
   my wooden image and metal god ordained them.’ 
6 You have heard these things; look at them all. 
   Will you not admit them?

God called the Jews treacherous yet He loved them so and even told them of new things to come, to give them another chance.

Isaiah 6 cont'd

   “From now on I will tell you of new things, 
   of hidden things unknown to you. 
7 They are created now, and not long ago; 
   you have not heard of them before today. 
So you cannot say, 
   ‘Yes, I knew of them.’ 
8 You have neither heard nor understood; 
   from of old your ears have not been open. 
Well do I know how treacherous you are; 
   you were called a rebel from birth. 
9 For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; 
   for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, 
   so as not to destroy you completely. 

The new things were the atonement by Jesus. When Jesus was riding on the donkey into Jerusalem, some recognised the Messiah (who praised Him "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" Matthew 21:9 and waved palms at Jesus) but majority of the Jews didn't and Jesus wept. They should have because of the prophesies but they chose to reject Jesus. 

Luke 19:42-44

42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

The Jews did not recognize the time of God's coming to them through Jesus. They should have. It marked God's triumphant entry, the Messiah had arrived! If only they did, God's kingdom would come immediately upon them and they would be delivered. Instead, now we see the struggle in Israel but God is patient. 

We know today that Jesus' death and resurrection was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 53 to the minutest detail. 

A new thing not fulfilled yet - the second coming of Jesus and the new heavens and new earth. Here is another chance for us to believe in Jesus. God is patient.

Today, we are in better position than the Jews to believe in Jesus because we can look back and see the prophesies fulfilled during Isaiah's time and by Jesus in Isaiah 53. Of all people, we should find it the easiest to believe who Jesus is. We are not called to believe blindly. The bible, God's words have revealed who Jesus is.

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