The Jewish prophets foretold the exact time and nature of Messiah’s visit to the city of Jerusalem. The Prophet Daniel was given a vision of 70 weeks revealing the exact date when Messiah would come to visit His temple in Jerusalem. 483 biblical years or 173,880 days from the decree of Persian King Artaxerxes to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to the time the Jewish Messiah would visit His temple in Jerusalem.
“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. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself… ” (Daniel 9:24-26a)
The Prophet Zechariah declared how He would enter the city. “Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9)
We see in the Gospel of Matthew the story of this prophesied time of visitation where Jesus presents Himself as the promised Messiah to the Jewish people. Jesus at the close of His ministry enters the city of Jerusalem as the promised Jewish Messiah.
And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!” And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:8-11)
Jesus then cleanses the Temple then heals the blind and lame.
Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER,’ but you have made it a ‘DEN OF THIEVES.'” Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES AND NURSING INFANTS YOU HAVE PERFECTED PRAISE’?” (Matthew 21:12-16)
Jesus then leaves the city and returns the second day.
Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?” So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:18-22)
Why did Jesus curse the fig tree? Because the tree did not have any fruit on it. The fig tree represents the Nation of Israel. He saw that there was no fruit of repentance in the nation. God referred to the nation as a fig tree in times past. For instance, Jeremiah saw Israel as a basket of good and evil figs (Jeremiah 24:1-10), some would be preserved in Babylonian captivity and some would be destroyed. Daniel the prophet was one of the good figs who was preserved and lived through the Babylonian captivity. God saw the forefathers of Israel as the first ripe figs on the fig tree (Hosea 9:10). Jesus cursing of the fig tree was in keeping of the Palestinian Covenant concerning the blessings and curses found in Deuteronomy 28:13-68
Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem because they missed their time of visitation saying…
“If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:42-44)
Jesus publicly rebukes Israel’s blind spiritual leaders.
Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John–where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.” And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things. (Matthew 21:23-27)
Jesus gave three parables that spoke of the spiritual condition of the leaders and what God was going to do.
- The parable of 2 sons is a rebuke to the spiritual leaders because of their unbelief and hypocrisy. (Matthew 21:28-32)
- The parable of vine-dressers is a rebuke to the nation for their rejection of the prophets in times past and their rejection of God’s son, the Messiah. (Matthew 21:33-46)
- The parable of the wedding feast reveals that because Israel rejected their Messiah that the kingdom invitation would be given to Gentiles and the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed. (Matthew 22:1-14)
Jesus challenged the leaders about the identity of Messiah.
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘LORD,’ saying: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, TILL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES YOUR FOOTSTOOL” ‘? If David then calls Him ‘LORD,’ how is He his Son?” And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore. (Matthew 22:41-46)
What was Jesus saying about the identity of the Messiah? He was stating that the Messiah was King David’s Lord and King David’s offspring. In other words, Messiah would not just be a man but God wrapped in human flesh. Jesus was claiming to be God in the flesh!
After this, Jesus publicly condemned Israel’s spiritual leaders for their blindness in not recognizing the day of Israel’s visitation. Jesus cries out publicly 8 woes to the spiritual leaders of Israel in Matthew 23:1-36 then dusts of his feet and leaves Jerusalem for the last time. Jesus made it clear that He would not return until the nation of Israel, God’s fig tree would accept Him as their Messiah.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘BLESSED is HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’ ” (Matthew 23:37-39)
The prophet Hosea saw this day coming when he prophesied…
“For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, And like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue. I will return again to My place Till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” (Hosea 5:14-15)
It is important to understand that God requires Israel to acknowledge their offenses before He can restore them.
‘But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt–then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land. (Leviticus 26:40-42)
However according to the prophet Zechariah, a day would come in which the nation of Israel would acknowledge their Messiah and turn to him in faith and repentance.
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. ” (Zechariah 12:10)
Hosea the prophet also saw the nation restored after two days.
“Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight. Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3)
Those two days represent 2000 years of spiritual blindness where the Jewish people have been scattered from their homeland into the nations of the world. The third day represents full restoration of the nation of Israel where they will live in the sight of Messiah for 1000 years of peace and prosperity. When Jesus comes the 2nd time the nation will accept Him as their Messiah and the world will enter into a millennium of peace and prosperity it has never known. We are about to enter the third day!
Jesus is the cornerstone for both the Church and the Nation of Israel.
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE. THIS WAS THE LORD’S DOING, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’ ? (Matthew 21:42)
The rejection of the Savior was in the plan of God. The scripture declares…
“The hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: “EYE HAS NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NOR HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN THE THINGS WHICH GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:7-10)
Isaiah the prophet said, “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:1-5)
Jesus death on the cross is payment for man’s sin that forgiveness and healing may flow into our lives. The big question is, do you believe? Have you put your trust and confidence in the Savior? If you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with your mouth that He is Lord you shall be saved! Today we are seeing more Jewish people acknowledging Jesus as their Messiah. Certainly this is a sign that the Gospel is coming full circle. It started with the Jewish people and its going to end with the Jewish people, just like Jesus said, “the first shall be last and the last shall be first.”