9 Abib: Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

On this day — 1,982 years ago — during the “morning” of 9 Abib in 36 CE on the fifth “yom” of the week (Heb. Yom Chamishi) and five days before the immovable Passover, Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem as the Prince of Peace (cf. Isaiah 9 concentrating on v6) occurred.  This event is not to be confused with the false tradition of Palm Sunday. 9 Abib corresponds to the “evening” of March 29th and the “morning” of March 30th on non-leap years of the pagan Gregorian calendar.

This important symbolic event is documented in the Synoptic Gospels with the most descriptive account in the Gospel of John:

All four passages may be viewed here for your convenience.

Although Matthew, Mark, and Luke are unclear as to the date in 36 CE, John is crystal clear:

John 12:1 Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. (NASB)

So, we know with certainty when He was in Bethany, but the key verse is John 12:12:

John 12:12 ON THE NEXT DAY (emphasis mine) the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.” 14 Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” (NASB)

So, Christ’s Triumphal Entry occurred FIVE DAYS BEFORE PASSOVER! As Passover commences the “evening” of 14 Abib on the third day of the week, the Triumphal Entry occurred on the “morning” of 9 Abib.

Why were so many following Christ at this time? The clue is where He visited on 8 Abib — the home of the siblings Martha (Aram. Marta), Mary (Heb. Miriam), and Lazarus (Heb. El’azar; =”God is my help”) in Bethany. This Mary was the one who anointed Christ’s feet with “a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard” then “wiped them with her hair.” The entire story may be found in John 12:1-8 and Luke 10:38-42. Note from the Spikenard article above that nard is one of the 11 ingredients of the consecrated incense Ketoret.

But, the REAL reason was alluded to in John 12:1 above; the Israelites wanted to see Lazarus who was raised from the dead on their journey to Jerusalem for Passover and Unleavened Bread (Deuteronomy 16:16-17). Note that Pharisaic Jews falsely taught that the Passover occurred on 15 Nisan instead of 14 Abib per Torah and the Dead Sea Scrolls; that practice continues to this day through rabbinic Judaism. Corruption of God’s Word such as this was one of many reasons why the “sect” called The Way (Heb. HaDerech) relocated to Quman and Damascus.

This was the greatest of the miracles that Christ performed. He also raised two others from the dead: the daughter of Jarius (Mark 5:21-43) and the only son of the widow from Nain (Luke 7:11-17). Examine the Lazarus account in John 11:

John 11:1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 This He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14 So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” 16 Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.” 17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off; 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 20 Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house. 21 Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” 28 When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, 34 and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?” 38 So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44 The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” 45 Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done. (NASB)

Note in the first two cases that He said that they were only asleep; that is because the souls of the deceased go to She’ol awaiting resurrection — not Heaven as is falsely taught. What few realize (and no church nor synagogue teaches) is that not one — but TWO — resurrections will occur in the future:

What few realize (or forget) is that there was a third resurrection as Christ surrendered His Spirit at His crucifixion:

Matthew 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. (NASB)

It is interesting that the Bible is silent about what happened to these saints; we must assume that they died again as Lazarus did (Luke 16:19-31). What is also interesting is that three, full days pass between vv50-51 and 52-53. The key is v53: “after His resurrection.” Verses 51-52 occurred at His crucifixion on Passover >(14 Abib). Christ was in She’ol (Acts 2:22-36 concentrating on vv27, 30-31, and 34-35) three days and NIGHTS (15-17 Abib) per the sign of Jonah, and He was resurrected as Lord of the (Weekly) Sabbath on 18 Abib (Luke 6:1-5 concentrating on v5). Therefore, vv52-53 could not have occured until at least 18 Abib. Oftentimes, these subtleties are lost on most readers.

Bottom line: The Israelites — and especially John (Heb. Yochanan) the Immerser — knew to expect their Messiah who could give sight to the blind, make the lame walk, cleanse lepers, let the deaf hear, raise the dead, and have the Gospel preached to the poor (Luke 7:18-23 concentrating on v22; Isaiah 35 concentrating on vv5-6).

Luke 7:22 And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them. (NASB)

Returning to the story… Why did Christ enter Jerusalem in the manner that He did? It was to fulfill prophesy, of course!

Zechariah 9:9 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.
(NASB)

The problem is that Israel was expecting a conquering King of kings and Lord of lords at that time to vanquish the Romans; they refused to see the Suffering Servant who was to come first (Isaiah 53). That passage is too important to ignore:

Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

3 He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away;

And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
9 His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
10 But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,

He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
11 As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.
(NASB)

That is one of the most powerful passages in the Bible, yet it is PURPOSEFULLY EXCLUDED from the annual readings from the TaNaKh in synagogues! Watch the video entitled: The “Forbidden Chapter” in the Hebrew Bible – Isaiah 53. At His Second Coming, He will serve in the role they originally expected — instead of a donkey, He will return on a white horse (Revelation 19:11-16)!

Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (NASB)

AMEN!

Be sure to read the companion articles in the Passover/Unleavened Bread series as well as the events leading up to them:

Shema Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!)

Copyright (C) 2018, L. Alan Schuetz. All rights reserved.

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