If you hear the phrase “unalienable rights,” you automatically think back 238 years to a line in the Declaration of Independence. Only 238 years because our nation is in its infancy. Compare that to this timeline:
3850 years ago – Jacob gave a mysterious prophecy over his son, Jacob, saying his descendants would rule over the rest of Israel…
“… until he comes to whom it [the royal scepter, the symbol of kingly authority] belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; …” (Genesis 49:10b-11a, – my added explanation)
2700 years ago – Isaiah added this prophecy about the promised Messiah/King:
“The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.’ ”” (Isaiah 62:11)
2500 years ago – Zechariah continued this prophetic theme:
” Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9)
Perhaps a bit later? – An unknown Psalmist, yearning for the coming King/Savior, wrote:
“O Lord, save us [this is the word, “Hosanna!”]; O Lord, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.” (Psalm 118:25-27 – my added explanation)
2000 years ago – In Jesus’ day, these and many other prophetic Scriptures were well known. There was a widespread, growing expectation that someone, perhaps even Jesus, would soon be revealed as the promised King and Savior. The air crackled with anticipation. As Jesus and His disciples approached Jerusalem for the final time, He instructed them to bring Him a colt of a donkey. Getting on this colt, Jesus began to ride toward the gates of the city. Those ancient prophecies came to life and began to resonate together. Matthew wrote:
“This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”” (Matthew 21:4-5)
“A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”” (Matthew 21:8-9)
It is likely that Matthew’s words were read by people who had been in that crowd, who perhaps had been swept away by the excitement of the crowd and who had not fully understood the significance of what was happening. Jesus was identifying Himself to those who could make the connection, who could see how His actions resonated with the ancient prophecies.
The record is still there in black and white for anyone who wants to make the connection today. The ancient words still resonate for those who listen.
Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.