Nice work this week! You have hung in there, and we’re going to end this week’s study with a bang! So, prepare to be blessed!
As we’ve seen, Daniel 9:24-27 is a key prophecy in understanding God’s plan for Israel. We have already taken a deep dive into that passage, but today we’re going to search elsewhere for a few remaining nuggets to stash away in our treasure box.
We’ve learned that Daniel’s prophecy regarding cutting off of the Messiah was fulfilled exactly to the day! Now, let’s focus on that day (Palm Sunday), and His entrance into Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate.
In Mark 11:1-11, we learn that Jesus entered Jerusalem to the jubilant shouts of the people:
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David;
Hosanna in the highest!”
Yet Luke 19:41-44 tells us that Jesus wept because He had an appointment with His people, yet they missed it! Despite fulfilled prophecy, the Jews did not recognize their Messiah. They were His people, but they have yet to make Him their God!
Fields of Bethlehem
The setting and culture of the day are interesting bits of prophecy as well. John the Baptist, in John 1:29, declared Jesus the “Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.” The little town of Bethlehem lies only 6 ½ miles from the Temple. Lambs for the sacrifice were raised in and around the fields of Bethlehem.
Yes, Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, entered the Temple as the sacrificial Lamb of God, sent to take away your sin, my sin, and that of the entire world! In that day, lambs were brought into the house 4 days before Passover. Did you know that Jesus entered Jerusalem 4 days before Passover! Coincidence? I don’t think so!
The Bible is accurate in every single detail! Need more evidence? Okay, let’s take a quick look at the Eastern Gate. Read Ezekiel 44:1-3. Indeed, the gate was sealed shut after Jesus entered, and Scripture says it will remain sealed until the Messiah comes again! Though attempts have been made to unseal it, none have been successful.
The Eastern Gate through which Jesus entered is not visible today. It currently exists underground, beneath rubble from as early as 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the Temple. The current Eastern Gate was likely built during Justinian’s 6th century building program or in the 7th century by the Byzantines.
In 1517 the Turks conquered Jerusalem and re-built walls above where they previously existed. Though the original Eastern Gate is buried underneath the ground, Suleiman even walled up the new gate because he heard the Messiah was coming and feared He would conquer Jerusalem! Thinking they needed to be certain He would not enter, Muslims established a cemetery right in front of that gate that is still there today! The thought was that the Messiah would not defile Himself by going through a Muslim cemetery in order to enter that gate.
News flash to Suleiman: When Jesus’ foot touches down on the Mount of Olives an earthquake will split that gate wide open! So much for the cemetery!
Suleiman and his forces were not the only ones to mess with that gate! In 1917, it is said that British General and devout Christian, Edmond Allenby, led British troops in an attempt to drive the Turks from Jerusalem in order to restore Israel to the Jews. British tanks could not enter the Eastern Gate, however, as it was elevated above ground level at that time. Thus, there was talk about taking the gate down.
But Allenby took Isaiah 31:5 to heart. (Like flying birds so the Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem) He ordered planes to drop leaflets, written in Arabic, saying, “Surrender the city today, Allenby.” Most Turks had never seen an airplane, much less an entire squadron dropping leaflets, undoubtedly causing some degree of fear. Beyond that, when “Allenby” was translated into Arabic, it came out “Alla Bay,” meaning “Son of God” to Muslims. Thus, thinking they had gotten a command from the Son of God, the Turks surrendered without a shot being fired, and without the Eastern Gate being taken down! Did God send a “bird” to protect, deliver and rescue Jerusalem? General Allenby would not be convinced otherwise!
Well, today’s post is a bit longer than normal, but did you gather some golden nuggets today? I hope you have found this week’s study enlightening. God’s Word is full of “meat” for the hungry sojourner, and as we dig in we are filled! Be diligent in looking for the Blessed Hope!