Palm Sunday: Jesus fulfills the 69th week

According to Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy, the date that the Messiah would appear was 69 "weeks" or 483 years from the day the decree was given to restore Jerusalem and build the second Temple in Jerusalem. The Bible gives the length of a year as consisting of 360 days. This biblical year was based upon the lunar phases which comprised 30-day time periods. In modern times, our calendar is based upon the solar year which lasts 365 days with an extra "leap" day being added every fourth year. This of course keeps the days of each year occurring at the same time during the seasons. The Jews adjusted their lunar-year calendar by adding an extra month every few years by which to keep their seasons consistent. To calculate the "69 weeks" until the Messiah came, you multiply the 483 years by 360 days. The result is that the Messiah would appear 173,880 days from March 5, 444 B.C. (the day the decree was issued) By converting these days, using the precise length of our solar year, the day the Messiah would appear is the 10th of Nisan or March 30, 33 A.D. That the Messiah would appear on the 10th of Nisan has a tremendous significance that I will disclose shortly. This means that according to Daniel's prophecy, any person not proclaimed the Messiah on March 30, 33 A.D. could not in fact be the Messiah.

The New Testament illustrates how perfectly Jesus Christ fulfilled this prophecy. The biblical writer Luke gives timing of the beginning of Jesus' ministry on earth in his Gospel:

"52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. 1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene...21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. 23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age." (Luke 2:51-3:1, 21-23)

Biblical scholars recognize the Gospel writer Luke as a historian of the first degree. His book illustrates thoroughly the attention he gives to historical detail. In this passage, he makes it clear that Jesus was baptized and began His ministry in the 15th year of the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius Caesar. Since historians state that the Roman emperor Augustus died on August 19, 14 A.D., this means that Tiberius became sole emperor that same year. Thus, Jesus began His ministry in 29 A.D., which was the 15th year of Tiberius' reign. Most biblical scholars have concluded that Jesus' earthly ministry lasted three and one-half years. They base this belief on the listing of the various Jewish feasts in the Gospels that occurred during His ministry. Since His ministry started in the latter half of 29 A.D., He would have finished it in the spring of 33 A.D.

Thus, the exact date of Jesus' "triumphal entry" into Jerusalem when the multitudes of Jewish people proclaimed Him the Messiah was the 10th of Nisan or March 30, 33 A.D., the day Christians refer to as "Palm Sunday". More importantly it is the exact day that fulfilled the 69th week of Daniel's prophecy.

Jesus Himself revealed the importance and significance of this day. Several times during His ministry the people wanted to publicly proclaim Him the Messiah. Each of these times Jesus refused to allow them to perform this coronation. However, on the 10th of Nisan, 33 A.D. Jesus not only welcomed the praises and proclamations of the people declaring Him the Messiah, He stated that it had to happen on this very day. The religious leaders approached Jesus during this public homage to Him. They were angry that He was accepting this Messianic declaration of the people and said to Him, "Master, rebuke thy disciples."  Jesus responded to them and said, "I tell you that, if these [people] should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." Jesus was saying that it was so important that He be proclaimed Messiah on this very day that if the people wouldn't do it the rocks on the ground would. That is because God's prophecies and His will always come to pass and He will use whatever means available to accomplish them. The psalmist also refers to this specific day when he wrote: "This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, I beseech You, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech You, send now prosperity. Blessed be He that comes in the name of the LORD: we have blessed You out of the house of the LORD."

Therefore, in order to fulfill this prophecy of Daniel, Jesus was going to be proclaimed the Messiah on this specific day one way or another. As Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem on the donkey, He stopped and wept saying:

"41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." (Luke 19:41-44)

This saying of Jesus is of the utmost importance because it shows that according to Jesus, the Jews should have known that this was the exact day that the Messiah would visit His people. How could they have known? By correctly interpreting Daniel's prophecy, along with those prophecies of Isaiah and Zechariah, that foretold not only that the Messiah would be a humble, suffering servant but also the precise day of His arrival. However, the Jewish leaders did not want a suffering Messiah so they only focused on the kingly Messiah prophecies.

Back to Timeline