It was just one day...a single 24-hour period... from sundown to sundown. But it was the most consequential and significant day humanity had seen since Adam and Eve’s exile from the Garden. In fact, it was the day the greatest redemptive act of human history took place— the culmination and consummation of thousands of years of divine preparation and action.
Of course, I’m speaking of the day Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) laid down His life— becoming the long-awaited fulfillment of Passover’s sacrificial lamb. On this single day, dozens of Old Testament Messianic prophecies were fulfilled.
What makes this single day so monumental? It is because the day of Yeshua’s death (and later resurrection) represents God’s victorious “check mate” of Satan in a cosmic chess match that had been thousands of years in the unfolding—one made necessary by Man’s rebellion and the resulting fall. There in the Genesis garden, the first man and woman had been deceived into surrendering their Godgranted authority and their keys to the Kingdom. The tragic result was mankind’s loss of intimate fellowship with God.
This fall also unleashed a terrible curse upon the world. Future generations and indeed earth itself were subjected to corruption, decay, and death as a result. But almost immediately, God put in motion a plan for restoration—a plan the enemy would attempt to thwart at every turn.
God’s opening gambit in this chess match for the ages was to make a prophetic proclamation right there in the Garden:
”I will put animosity between you and the woman— between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will crush his heel” (Genesis 3:15).
The next several thousand years of human history—and the entirety of the Old Testament record—can be understood as the clarifying of God’s strategy to bring that promised “seed” into the earth and the serpent’s futile efforts to keep that very promise from being fulfilled.
Move and countermove, the match evolved.
- Cain’s murder of Abel. The subsequent birth of righteous Seth.
- Abraham’s surrender of his lovely wife Sarah to a foreign monarch’s harem. A dream that warns that monarch before he takes her into his bed chamber.
- Pharaoh’s slaughter of an entire generation of Hebrew infants. The miraculous rescue of the infant Moses by an Egyptian princess.
- King Saul’s repeated attempts to murder David. David’s survival and rise to the throne of Israel.
- Herod’s “slaughter of the innocents” in Bethlehem. The preemptive dream that warned Joseph to whisk his wife and infant son away to the refuge of Egypt.
Each of these events—and countless others leading to the events of that one day in Jerusalem 20 centuries ago—are highly intentional moves in this high-stakes match. It is a war in which the “spoils” are the souls of all mankind and the title deed to planet Earth. This is the significance of the “scarlet thread of redemption” that runs like a river through the Bible’s wondrous narrative.
Every move reveals God’s loving, redemptive plan to deposit that promised “seed” in the fertile soil of earth, and the doomed serpent’s desperate, fear-andrage- filled efforts to keep that seed from being born and crushing his head.
On the day of Yeshua’s execution, the heel of that “Seed” was indeed crushed. But the end result was the far more devastating carnage of the enemy’s legal headship or right to rule planet earth.
Many other Messianic prophecies were fulfilled in exacting detail on that day.
For example, the Psalmist David predicted Judas’ betrayal when he, prophetically speaking in the voice of the Messiah, wrote: “Even my own close friend, whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:10).
In a similar way, the prophet Zechariah foresaw the way Jesus’ closest friends and disciples dispersed and went into hiding on that day of darkness:
“Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, against the man who is My companion! It is a declaration of Adonai-Tzva’ot. Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered!” (Zechariah 13:7).
The Word of God records the precise fulfillment of this prophecy in Mark 14:50, where we read: “And all fled, abandoning Him.”
Daniel’s prophecies concerning the Messiah are extraordinary. In his prophecy of the “69 Weeks” (7+62), he not only delivered the stunning prediction that Israel’s Messiah would be killed—something unthinkable to the Israelite mind—he predicted the time of the Messiah’s execution down to the exact day!
“From the issuing of the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem until the time Mashiach, the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and 62 weeks. It will be rebuilt, with plaza and moat, but it will be in times of distress. Then after the 62 weeks Mashiach will be cut off and have nothing” (Daniel 9:25-26, emphasis mine).
Daniel’s “weeks” here are weeks of years. In other words, seven-year periods. And at the time he received this revelation, God’s people were still in exile in Babylon. Babylon eventually fell to rival empire Persia, and just as Daniel predicted, in 458 B.C. the Persian King Artaxerxes issued a “decree” permitting the return of Judah’s exiles and the restoration of Jerusalem. Space restraints do not permit a full explanation here, but numerous scholars have demonstrated that indeed precisely 69 “weeks” of years (483 years) after Artaxerxes issued his decree— to the very day—Yeshua of Nazareth was executed by the Romans in Jerusalem. The Messiah was “cut off.
The 24 hours that led up to and included Yeshua’s death and burial were clearly a day packed to the brim with fulfilled prophecy.
Of course, Yeshua also fulfilled His own prophetic words on that day as well. Among them were the words He spoke to Nicodemus who had come to Him in the evening—words that not only pointed to His impending execution but also explained the significance of that sacrifice:
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life! For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:14-16).
A few chapters later in John, we hear Yeshua prophesying further—this time to His inner circle:
“And as I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself.’ He said this to show the kind of death He was about to die” (John 12:32-33).
Yes, this was a Passover like no other...a day of fulfilled prophecy...the day that changed everything.