“LOOK! YOUR KING HIMSELF COMES”
24. (a) In view of Gaza’s experience, what questions are asked about the object of her hostility, Jerusalem? (b) Why will Jerusalem’s crying out differ from that of Gaza?
24 A king was to perish from the Philistine city of Gaza, but what was to take place with regard to the object of Philistine hostility, Jerusalem, poetically called Zion? Is she, like Gaza, to “feel very severe pains” because of seeing the overthrow of the stronghold of greedy commercialism and untheocratic military force? Is she to cry out in extreme pain and terrifying fear? Cry out she will, but not in harmony with Gaza! For, after making his pronouncement against Syria, Phoenicia and Philistia, Jehovah proceeds to say: “Be very joyful, O daughter of Zion. Shout in triumph,* O daughter of Jerusalem. Look! Your king himself comes to you. He is righteous, yes, saved; humble, and riding upon an ass, even upon a full-grown animal the son of a she-ass.
25. Why has the “daughter of Jerusalem” every reason to shout in triumph and be very joyful at the approach of the king?
25 At the fulfillment of that glorious promise, why would not Jerusalem have all good reason in the world to be very joyful and to “shout in triumph”? For at the time that this divine promise was given through the prophet Zechariah, Jerusalem was without a king of her own. She merely had a provincial governor whom the emperor of Persia, Darius I, had appointed, namely, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel of the royal family line of David. The kingdom of David had been overturned by the Babylonians about ninety years earlier, in 607 B.C.E., at the total destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation of her king Zedekiah to Babylon. Although Jerusalem’s seventy years of lying utterly desolate had now passed, yet the Gentile Times of 2,520 years for the non-Jewish nations to trample upon Jerusalem’s right to a Davidic kingship had to continue on until the year 1914 C.E. So in Zechariah’s day the “daughter of Jerusalem” was longingly looking forward to the coming of the true Messiah King in the line of David, a Messiah prefigured by Governor Zerubbabel.—Haggai 2:23.
26. Why do we not have to guess uncertainly as to the initial fulfillment of this prophecy of Zechariah?
26 We today, who are interested in the true Messiah, not in a false Christ, do not have to guess uncertainly as to the initial fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy. It is recorded and described for us by at least three eyewitnesses thereof, namely, Matthew Levi a tax collector, John Mark an inhabitant of Jerusalem, and John the son of Zebedee, besides a first-century historian who investigated the facts of the case, the physician Luke of Asia Minor. It occurred on Sunday, Nisan 9, 33 C.E. Matthew Levi tells us:
Well, when they got close to Jerusalem and arrived at Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent forth two disciples, saying to them: “Be on your way into the village that is within sight of you, and you will at once find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. And if someone says anything to you, you must say, ‘The Lord needs them.’ At that he will immediately send them forth.”
This actually took place that there might be fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Look! Your King is coming to you, mild-tempered, and mounted upon an ass, yes, upon a colt, the offspring of a beast of burden.’”
So the disciples got on their way and did just as Jesus ordered them. And they brought the ass and its colt, and they put upon these their outer garments, and he seated himself upon them. Most of the crowd spread their outer garments on the road, while others began cutting down branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. As for the crowds, those going ahead of him and those following kept crying out: “Save, we pray, the Son of David! Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah’s name! Save him, we pray, in the heights above!”
Now when he entered into Jerusalem, the whole city was set in commotion, saying: “Who is this?” The crowds kept telling: “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee!”
And Jesus entered into the temple and threw out all those selling and buying in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. And he said to them: “It is written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a cave of robbers.” Also, blind and lame persons came up to him in the temple, and he cured them.
When the chief priests and the scribes saw the marvelous things he did and the boys that were crying out in the temple and saying: “Save, we pray, the Son of David!” they became indignant and said to him: “Do you hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them: “Yes. Did you never read this, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have furnished praise’?”—Matthew 21:1-16.
27. If the disciples had not cried out, how would the prophecy have been fulfilled?
27 And the Jewish physician Luke adds this detail:
However, some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to him: “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” But in reply he said: “I tell you, If these remained silent, the stones would cry out.”—Luke 19:39, 40; see also Mark 11:1-18; John 12:12-19.
28. How, on his triumphal ride into Jerusalem, was Jesus peaceful, “humble,” “righteous,” and “saved”?
28 Thus, instead of on a war-horse, Jesus Christ peacefully rode an ass into Jerusalem, unlike Herod the Great, who, after three months of besieging Jerusalem in the year 37 B.C.E., took Jerusalem by storm and dethroned Hasmonaean (Maccabean) king, Antigonus of the tribe of Levi. Jesus was indeed “humble,” as Zechariah 9:9 had foretold. He was no false Christ or false Messiah, but was “righteous,” the Messiah vindicated by his heavenly Father Jehovah. He was in fact “righteous” by being perfect in the flesh, sinless, unblemished, and therefore able to offer himself as a perfect human sacrifice for taking away the sin of the whole unrighteous world of mankind. (Acts 7:52; Hebrews 7:26; 1 John 2:1) He was indeed “saved,” just as his ancient ancestor King David was saved by being given the victory over his enemies. (2 Samuel 22:1-4; 8:6, 14) Not in vain did the great crowd cry out as Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem: “Hosanna to the Son of David,” or, “Save, we pray, the Son of David!” Seven days later Almighty God saved Jesus out of death by resurrecting him to immortal life in heaven.—Hebrews 5:7-10.