Palm Sunday is an important day in the Christian Calendar. Churches globally celebrated it today as the start of religious observances during the Holy Week, leading up the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Some have asked: Do all Christian churches celebrate Palm Sunday? Isn’t this just a religious observance with little meaning to the modern believer? Why do so many churches simply ignore this special day?
I believe the answer lies in the fact that few believers understand the incredible prophetic significance of this day.
This was not just another incident in the life of Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. People spread palm branches and clothing on the road, shouting excitedly “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:1-12.
Zechariah’s Prophecy in BC 520–518
This Old Testament prophet wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He said, “Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9). His message to future generations was simple. This is how you will recognize the GENUINE Messiah!
Matthew understood that. His commentary on the event is found in Matthew 21:1-12. “All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet.” The Jewish people had been expecting Messiah for many years. In 800 BC, Isaiah prophesied the Coming of Messiah (Isaiah 9:6). So did many other Old Testament prophets.
The question was: When would He come and how would He be recognized?
Did you know that the prophet Daniel told us the exact date Messiah would ride into Jerusalem in fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy? That is why the common people recognized and welcomed Him with such joy.
Daniel’s Prophecy in approximately BC 600
Just about 80 years earlier, Daniel prophesied the exact time Messiah would come to Jerusalem to die for the sins of the whole world. This is what he wrote:
“Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.
Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks*;
The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.”
— Daniel 9:24,25
He prophesied five things…
- There is a period of seventy weeks where God is going to work specifically with the Jewish people and their Holy City. The “seventy weeks” is an expression that means “seventy weeks of years”, i.e. 490 years. (One week = 7 years. 70 weeks = 7 x 70 = 490 years).
- The purpose of this special time is that Messiah would come to deal with sin fully and finally and bring reconciliation between God and man. As Isaiah put it, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by 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.” (Isaiah 53:5,6)
- A command would be given to restore Jerusalem, which would begin the period of 490 years and start the prophetic clock ticking.
- Exactly 483 years later (69 weeks – seven weeks and sixty-two weeks) Messiah would come to Jerusalem to give His life for us and the Prophetic Clock would stop. Zechariah’s prophecy refers to this event.
- What happened to the remaining 7 years? “Troublesome times” will fulfill the remaining 7 years of the prophecy, referring to the reign of antichrist. During this time, the Lord deals specifically once again with the Jewish nation and all who survive this time of “Jacob’s Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) will recognize and serve their Messiah in spirit and in truth. “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:26,27).
The Historical Fulfilment
- Nehemiah tells us in the Old Testament book of the Bible that bears his name that an important event happened in BC 445. On March 14, King Artaxerxes of Persia decreed that the Jews may return to Jerusalem and restore the city and its walls. Ezra had been there for some years attempting to rebuild the Temple, without much success. When Nehemiah came the entire project was completed in record time. Unknowingly, the king was used by God to start His prophetic clock. The 70-weeks prophecy had begun.
- Exactly 483 years later on April 6, AD 32, Zechariah’s prophecy was literally fulfilled as Christ rode into Jerusalem on the donkey in the final week of His ministry on earth. The Prophetic Clock stopped temporarily.
- The 7-year reign of antichrist is ahead and the Prophetic Clock will start ticking again. I firmly believe the Tribulation period of seven years will be ushered in at the Rapture of the Church. “And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8.
The Prophetic Significance of Palm Sunday
- It demonstrates the inspiration and authority of the Bible, a prophetic Book that has never been faulted.
- It emphasizes the absolute truth that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only genuine Messiah.
- It points us to His Soon Return. There are far more prophecies about His Second Coming than His first and they will be just as precisely fulfilled.
This exciting prophetic event should be shouted from the pulpits of every church to warn our world that the Return of Christ is closer than we imagine.
Are you ready for His Return? It’s on God’s Agenda… it should be on yours!
May We Be Passionate About the Lord’s Return,
Occupying Until He Comes!
Maranatha! The Lord is Coming!
Author | Bible Teacher | Blogger