Hello My Friend and Welcome.
Our Lenten and Easter Series continues today with an examination of a few prophecies that reference three highlights of this penitential season: Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Entire books have been written on Biblical prophecy, and the following references are, in most cases, one or two among many.
On the first day of the week of his crucifixion, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on the back of a young mule. His disciples laid their cloaks on the ground in front of him and the people cut palm branches and waved them in the air shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Why did Jesus do this? What was its symbolic meaning?
The event itself is foretold in Zechariah 9:9-10. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”
The symbolism of this event is reflected in 1Kings in which David declares Solomon his successor. By seating him on his own mule, David gave a sign to the people that Solomon was the legitimate heir to the throne rather than Adonijah, his brother. Solomon can be seen as a type for Christ. Hence, Jesus re-enacted the event establishing himself as the heir to the throne of David. Why a mule? Mules are a cross between a mare and a male donkey. Since crossbreeding was prohibited in Israel (Lev 19:19), mules were likely imported, making them highly valued.
1Kings 1:38 “Then King David answered, “Call Bathsheba to me.” So she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king. And the king swore, saying, "As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, as I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel, saying, ‘Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; even so will I do this day.’ King David said, “Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benai'ah the son of Jehoi'ada.” So they came before the king. And the king said to them, ‘Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon; and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet there anoint him king over Israel; then blow the trumpet, and say, `Long live King Solomon!’”
As an aside, this illustration of the crucifixion (one of my personal favorites) is by Salvatore Dali. Though the name Dali brings to mind melting clocks and strange images, he was clearly capable of great and inspiring work.
Isaiah’s prophecies of the suffering servant are the most familiar relating to the crucifixion.
Isaiah 53:5-7 “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter…”
Interestingly, that is immediately followed by a prophecy relating to the Jesus’ burial in Joseph of Arimthea’s tomb. Isaiah 53:9 “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.”
There is also Zechariah 12:10 “…when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born.”
The following passage from Amos ties the crucifixion to the High Holydays of the Passover.
Amos 8:10 “I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son, and the end of it like a bitter day.”
There are a number of Old Testament passages referring to what is usually called the General Resurrection…that is the resurrection of all people on the Day of the Lord, and most people in Jesus’ time believed in such a resurrection. However, specific passages referring to a unique resurrection for the Messiah are sparse. Jesus himself pointed us to one, Jonah, whose escape from the whale’s belly foreshadowed the Messiah’s resurrection.
Matthew 12:38-40 “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, ‘Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.’ But he answered them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’”
We also find a pointer in Acts 2:25 to Psalm 16:9-10 “For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope. For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let thy Holy One see corruption…’”
In this passage from Hosea the Messiah himself seems to be speaking.
Hosea 6:2 “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed this short overview. A Google search for Messianic passages will yield many, many more.
OurLenten series continues on Monday with a series of four posts taking a close look at each of the men who tried Jesus.
Until then, we wish you Peace and Blessings.
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