Matthew 21:1-11 Part 2

In the exposition of the first four verses of this passage last Lord’s Day, Jesus and His disciples and the crowds have arrived in the vicinity of Jerusalem.  And, from Bethphage, on the Mount of Olives, He sent two disciples forth into Bethany to “loose” an ass and a colt which had previously been “bound” there.

And we said that the two disciples (one of which was probably Matthew) accomplished an apostolic mission, having to do with “Binding and Loosing”, thereby fulfilling the Word of God through the prophet Zechariah, which says:


“Speak to the Daughter of Zion, “Lo your King comes to you, meek and mounted on an ass, on a colt, an offspring of a beast of burden.’”  (Zechariah nine, nine)


God had spoken, through the prophet, that Messiah/King would be submissive to His Father’s will – that He should suffer pain and humiliation and death, giving His life a ransom in place of many.  In other words, as Zechariah wrote, He would be meek.  And that meekness was materially connected to His riding into Jerusalem on a colt, the offspring of a lowly beast of burden.

And the disciples loosed that which had been bound, and they led the beasts away to Jesus, fulfilling the “Rhema” (speech) of God concerning the meekness and humiliation of Zion’s King!

Now.  First, this morning, we need to find out what the rest of this prophecy means.  And then maybe we can understand more fully why Jesus entered Jerusalem the way He did.  Listen to it again, as Matthew quotes, loosely, from Zechariah nine, at verse nine.  He says, “Speak to the daughter of Zion, ‘Lo, your King comes to you meek and mounted on an ass, on a colt, an offspring of a beast of burden.’”  And Zechariah goes on to speak of these things – all to the rejoicing of the “Daughter of Zion”.  (verse ten of His prophecy)

But God had spoken it in the heavens, and Zechariah the prophet prophesied it, and the disciples/apostles of the King “loosed” it; and so the King entered into Jerusalem meek and mounted on an ass – to the delight of the Daughter of Zion!

So what does “the Daughter of Zion” mean; and what relationship does it have with Messiah/King, Who rides into the royal city in such a manner?  To whose delight is He coming in?  To whose delight is He coming – in meek submission to His Father’s will?  To whose delight is He coming, in such lowly fashion, to provide the ransom?  Who is it here who is rejoicing, while so many wish to destroy Him?

Well, the “Daughter of Zion” is exactly what you would expect it to be!  “Zion” – we’ve already had some experience with (and we’ll get some more); and “daughter” – such a splendid term in Scripture.  But, as always, we want to continually add to what we already know, don’t we?  Substance….  The crowds.  The Daughter of Zion.  The remnant.  The lowly entrance into Jerusalem, and the rejoicing…!

Zion is Biblically connected to the “mountain of God”, to Israel, to Jerusalem where the temple is (the representation of the throne of God over the Creation), to the covenant people of God, to the holy “Presence” of God with His people, to those who are separated out from the world order, to the “reign” and “realm” of God and His “house” over the world; it is joined, Biblically, with Eden, the Creation of God before the entrance of sin and the fall and the curse.  The establishment of Jerusalem and the building of the temple is likened to “Heaven and Earth”, for it is an Edenic garden in the midst of a cursed world.  And its people are “betrothed” to Yahveh, Who has “covenanted” with her.

But Zion City of God apostasized and rebelled against Yahveh.  And this sin is dramatically depicted in the prophets as the infidelity of Jerusalem, which has sunk to the level of a harlot!

She has made religious and political and economic covenants and commitments with surrounding pagan powers, and she is guilty of wickedness and oppression against her own people.  She has rejected the Law of God and become worse than even the pagan nations!

Jeremiah, in his time, didn’t think he could find even one upright man in Jerusalem!  The very essence of the city is oppression; it causes iniquity to gush forth like water.  The idolatry is so serious for Ezekiel that he simply calls Zion “the city of blood-guiltiness”  (chapter twenty-two, two).  She is full of pagan abominations and she is worse than Samaria and Sodom.

Jeremiah writes (chapter forty-two) as if God’s wrath and fury have already been poured out upon Jerusalem (the prophetic present).  In the Lamentations (chapters one through five) Jeremiah describes the catastrophe as incomprehensible.  As the sin has no parallel, so the judgment!  And the “end of the age” destruction of the harlot is likened to the termination of heaven and earth.

But Yahveh’s pity for Zion Jerusalem implies the dawn of a new age!  The prophets declare approaching salvation to Jerusalem, for God can no more forget Zion than a woman her child!  God is jealous for Zion, and He protects His claim to it with anxious love.  The prophets say the glory of Yahveh will once again shine forth in Zion; and the dawn of this new age is likened to the Creation of the World!  There will once again be a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells!  And Jerusalem Zion once again becomes, definitively, the “City of God” (Isaiah sixty).  It will be the residence of God and His glory and His rule will go out from there unto the ends of the earth!

So Zion city of God will receive a new nature… and a new temple; and God will protect her and make her secure from all her enemies; and never shall she again be destroyed.  And she shall receive a new name – “Hephzibah” (My delight is in her); and the land will be called “Beulah” (married) (Isaiah sixty-two).

Jeremiah says that Zion Jerusalem will be called “Yahveh our righteousness”.  Ezekiel calls her “Yahveh is there.”  And Isaiah (sixty-two, verses eleven and twelve) says this.  Listen carefully:


“Behold, Yahveh has proclaimed unto the end of the earth, ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your salvation comes; behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.’  And men will call them “The Holy People”, The Redeemed of Yahveh:  and men will call you “striven after,” a city that will not be forsaken.”


And in no case in the prophets are these things prophesied apart from the “coming in” of the Messianic Ruler!  He is God’s Salvation; and by His recompense God blots out the blood-guiltiness of Zion Jerusalem, and washes away the filth of its sin (Isaiah four, four).  The Redeemed of the Lord return unto Jerusalem, and they are identified, in the prophets as the holy remnant of God!

And after that, there is a great pilgrimage from all the nations of the earth!  All peoples will come and serve Yahveh in His Holy Temple, and they are taught to live according to His will – His Law (Isaiah chapter two).  And the New Zion Jerusalem is described as an Edenic Paradise where God’s glory is present, and from which rivers of living water flow into all the desert wastelands of the earth (Ezekiel chapter forty-seven).  She is protected by Yahveh Himself, and she is inviolable!

Now.  In those cases in which the prophets speak of the “Daughter of Zion”, it is with reference to this new people of God who are brought into relationship with Yahveh by the “coming in” of the Messiah!  And this people are called an “inviolable” virgin!  In Psalm nine, it is clearly the Church in its child-like, bride-like, conjugal and virginal relationship to Yahveh!

In chapter fifty-two Isaiah prophesies that unclean heathen have entered in to God’s betrothed nation.  They are unclean in flesh and heart, and Zion Jerusalem has been entered, defiled and desecrated.  But in chapter sixty-two, Isaiah makes it clear that the “Daughter” of Zion (the Church) is the virginal, holy people of God to the ends of the earth – loosed and coming into the city!

Now, it’s always exciting to look into the Revelation of St. John and see his vision of these very things happening!  For example, in the beginning of the twelfth chapter we read of the woman, (a sign of the Church in John’s Revelation); and here it is the glorious vision of the Church of Jesus Christ in all its virginal purity.  The Old Covenant “betrothed” of God became a desecrated harlot; but the “Daughter of Zion” is the glorious, redeemed people of God!

And then in chapter fourteen John sees the Lamb of God standing on Mount Zion (a once-desecrated city), fulfilling all the prophesies concerning the restoration of God’s Holy Mountain to the earth (Isaiah chapter two, and Daniel two).  And the Lamb isn’t alone.  He is standing with the remnant one hundred forty-four thousand with the Names of God the Son and God the Father written on their foreheads!  And this whole vision recalls the words of Psalm chapter two where God says,


“I have installed My King upon Zion My Holy Mountain.”


So, what all of that says is that Jesus is coming into Jerusalem, meekly submissive to His Father, and ready to pay the ransom for a new Zion Jerusalem.  The betrothed but defiled harlot will be destroyed, and a new dominion, the “Daughter of Zion”, will be established by the grace of God.  And she (the Church) will be the pure and virtuous and protected people of God, where the Glory of His Presence shines upon all the nations of the earth.  As prophesied, the Mountain of God, (Mount Zion) will once again be established, and as we know it has been.  And this time it is established in all the earth – the “high mountain” imagery, which we’ve already seen a number of times, being the sign of world-wide dominion of God’s King.

And, as Zechariah prophesied, the Daughter of Zion rejoices as her King comes in.  In the text, as Jesus makes ready for His entrance into the city, our attention has to be drawn again to the crowds.  The Daughter of Zion rejoices!

From reading the four versions together, we get the distinct impression that there were now two very large crowds; the multitude that had been following Jesus on His journey from Galilee (and growing by the hour), and now a large crowd that goes out to meet Him on the way down from the Mount of Olives.  Presumably many have now heard that Jesus was in the area, with many following Him, and, possibly they have heard that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in Bethany.  Adding that to all His other mighty works would have sent them running to meet Him!

Whatever the case, it looks like now there are two great crowds of people!  The one with Him and following Him is on the Mount of Olives with Him, and there are large numbers flowing out of Jerusalem, cutting trees and strewing the branches in His path, making ready the way of the Lord!

But before we get to all of that, I think we need to say something about these two multitudes of people following Him and going before Him.  First, the crowd which has followed Him from Galilee (and through the areas on the other side of the Jordan) are those who have been collected from Samaria and from areas which are considered “pagan” by the Scribes and Priests and Pharisees.  They are not from Judah, and therefore they are looked down on by the Jerusalem society!

Secondly, the crowd that goes out to meet Jesus from Jerusalem are those who have heard of Him and believe that He is the coming Messiah King of Israel.  It could be that many of these were Jews from other nations (in town for Passover celebration) and maybe even some Gentiles!  And they are the ones who, according to the Gospel of John, are called by the Pharisees “the cursed rabble who know not the Law!”

So, in essence, we have two crowds, one whose origins are not to the Pharisees’ liking; and the second crowd who are called “rabble” because they have been separated from the Pharisees’ teaching by this “charlatan” from Nazareth!  So both crowds are looked down on (albeit greatly feared because of their numbers), but they’re looked down on and scorned because they don’t follow the Pharisees’ leadership and teaching; and (the others) because they’re not ethnically pure!  They’re Galileans and Nazarethites and Ammonites and Syrians and Tyroleans and Sidonites and Gadarenes!  They’re from those “northern kingdom” tribes in Samaria, and they’re from those pagan cities and they’re barbarians!  Many are actually “uncircumcised” people who have no business in Jerusalem – especially at the holiest festival of the year!  And the cursed “rabble” of this city is going out to be with them to follow this “carpenter” from Nazareth!

But the Pharisees didn’t know that this double crowd was representative of the remnant of Israel who had been preserved by God as His Own!  From Jerusalem herself and from the northern kingdom and from the heathen nations, the Daughter of Zion was rejoicing, for her King was come in!  Shouting, singing, quoting the prophets, making His way ready!

Listen to Isaiah, from chapter ten:


“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again depend upon him that smote them… the remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God….  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to restore the remnant of His people, which shall be left (in many places), and He shall put up a signal for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth….  And there shall be a highway for the remnant of His people which shall be left….”


And in chapter four:


“And in that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.  And it shall come to pass, that those left in Zion and he who remains in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem; when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.”

“Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters; they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward….  Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; your land – strangers devour it in your presence and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.  And the daughter of Zion is left as a “booth” in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.  Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom and Gomorrah….”


So in our text this morning the Messiah is fulfilling all the Older Testament prophets concerning the virginal daughter of Zion, and concerning the rejoicing of the remnant/crowds as God’s promised Messiah/King comes in.  Who is it that is rejoicing?  The virginal bride of Christ – the Church.

Next Lord Day, the preparations for entry; the course down the Mount of Olives and up Mount Zion into Jerusalem (littered with garments and branches), the singing and shouting and rejoicing of the crowds; and the reaction of the city to His entrance.

But I leave you this morning with the words of Zephaniah the prophet, so that you might consider your position in Zion, City of our God.


“Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.  The Lord has taken away your judgment, He has cast out your enemy; the King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of you….


And Isaiah fifty-two:


“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that says unto Zion, ‘Thy God reigns!” … “Break forth into joy, sing together… for the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem.  The Lord has revealed His power in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.  Depart, depart; go out from there.  Touch no unclean things; go out of the midst of her; be clean, ye that bear the vessels of the Lord… for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your (protection).”


O God that we might see Your glory in our midst, and benefit from Your protection, and witness Your power among all the nations.  For the King is come in, and salvation reigns now from the High Mountain of Zion.