Summary: The donkey symbolizes the circumstances that prevailed during His first coming and how the horse symbolizes the circumstances that will prevail at His second coming.
A DONKEY AND A HORSE
(or, “Symbols of the Nature of the Two Comings of Christ”)
The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ The King of Israel!" Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: "Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt." John 12:12-15 (NKJV)
The nature and purpose of the 1st and 2nd comings of Christ are vastly different. In His first coming, our Lord Jesus came as the “Suffering Servant” to redeem us from our sins by His atoning death on the cross. Israel, as a whole, rejected Him because they thought the Messiah would liberate them from Roman bondage and return political power to the nation of Israel. Their eyes were blinded to the great prophecies which related to the Messiah written by Isaiah seven hundred year earlier. Consider:
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.” Isaiah 53:5-7 (NKJV)
But His second coming will be totally opposite. When our Lord returns, He will come in awesome power and unspeakable glory. The first task of which will be the total destruction of the armies of the Antichrist assembled in the Valley of Armageddon. Immediately thereafter, He will assume His rightful place on the throne of David from which He will rule the world in truth and justice for one thousand years.
Let us give some thought as to how the donkey depicts the circumstances that prevailed during His first coming and how the horse depicts the circumstances that will prevail at His second coming.
THE DONKEY SYMBOLIZES THE FIRST COMING OF CHRIST!
The donkey suggests humility and was often the object of ridicule. Regarding humility, our Lord said: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart…” Matthew 11:29.
Regarding ridicule: “Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him…And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him.” Luke 22: verses 63 and 65.
In Bible times, the donkey was ridden by kings to convey the message of “peace”. Thus the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 is beautifully fulfilled in Jesus, which reads:
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah 9:9 (NKJV)
The Lord is Our Peace:
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:14-18 (NKJV)