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.Daniel 9:25
The events leading up to the resurrection of Christ are well known and celebrated around the world as the Passion Week. The events spanning from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday are paramount to our faith and the annual celebration of Easter reminds us of what Jesus did to secure our salvation.
When I was a new Christian I was mystified by the fact that Jesus would not openly say he was the long awaited Messiah. If anyone—human or demonic—would begin to point out who he really was, Jesus would quickly shut down the conversation.
When his mother Mary urged him to perform his first public miracle by turning water into wine, Jesus uttered the curious phrase, “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come (John 2:4).”
When demons encountered Jesus they freaked out. In Mark 1:24 (also Luke 4:31-36) right after Jesus’s 40-day wilderness test and the calling of his disciples, we read an account where—in church (synagogue)—a demon spoke through a man saying, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” As the demon was blowing Jesus’s cover we are struck by Jesus’s response. In 1:25-26 we read, “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.”
So, why all the secrecy? Then why suddenly—on what we refer to as Palm Sunday—did Jesus enter the city as the long awaited Messiah? First he’s secretive about who he is, then all at once he fulfills multiple prophecies beginning with his famous Zechariah 9:9 donkey ride.
The answer is found in Daniel chapter 9 where the Jewish people were given the exact time frame for the revealing of the Messiah. Without going into a complex explanation of Daniel 9:20-27 I’ll summarize. The angel Gabriel (always seen in Scripture in relation to Israel) delivered a message to the prophet that prophesied all of Jewish history from Daniel’s time until the end. There is a lot to unpack here, but I want us to focus on the verse that relates to Palm Sunday.
In Daniel 9:25 we read this, “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.’”
There would be 69 weeks of years (seven sevens) or 483 years between the command to rebuild Jerusalem until the arrival of the Messiah. King Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah the command to rebuild Jerusalem in Nehemiah chapter 2 “in the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes (verse 1).”
We know concretely from archeology and historical records exactly when King Artaxerxes’ 20th year was. Prophecy experts demonstrate that (using the Jewish 360 day year) it was exactly 483 years between King Artaxerxes command and Palm Sunday when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9.
So, when Jesus told Mary his time had not yet come, and when he shut the mouths of demons trying to out him—it was because of this momentous and pending fulfillment of Bible prophecy!
I pray that you will never look at Palm Sunday the same again. As we head into the Easter season, let’s thank God for Bible prophecy. His mysterious ways continue to amaze us, and his promise-keeping nature is proven in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
This should give us great confidence this Easter season as we look forward to the future yet-unfulfilled prophecies about the return of Christ and everything else he has for us in the future.