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The mind of Christ

Query for the Month

of

August 2006

Next up-date: September 1st 2006 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best on this subject that I have ever read!


Query:

1 Corinthians 2:

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual [Bible verses with Bible verses].

14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judges [understands] all things, yet he himself is judged [understood] of no man. 16 For who has known the mind of the LORD, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ [for understanding].

 [What is that mind like? 

It considers others more important than itself, and is willing to learn.]

Philippians 2:

3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. 

How can we use this "mind of Christ" to comprehend the Bible?

 

 Answer:

Normally the Bible student decides what he or she thinks Bible texts mean, but in this is often woefully off the mark.  (This independence of thought is the underlying cause of the many split churches which exist among professed Christians.)  For serious Bible study we need to throw away all dictionaries and Bible commentaries, especially those of our own church, as well as the writings of “the elders”, that mystical group of people who had all the truth, or so some would have us believe!  Then we must put aside all our pre-conceived ideas as well, including the meaning of words, and just “listen” to God as we read. 

If we come to the word hungering to know what the Son of God wants to tell us for today, then we will find it. That’s His promise. 

*************** (Begin quote)

Jeremiah 29:

11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” says the LORD, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end [salvation]. 12 Then [after that] shall you call upon Me, and you shall go and pray to Me, and I will hearken to you. 13 And you shall seek Me, and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart.

*************** (End quote)

The heart of all Bible prophetic interpretation is found in the 2300 day prophecy of Daniel 8:14, so let’s start there. A slow, prayerful reading of complete sections of scripture will produce something like the following:-

*************** (Begin quote)

Daniel 8:

13 Then I heard one Saint speaking, and another saint said to that certain Saint which spoke, “How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?”

14 And He said to me [Daniel], “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”

15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. 16 And I heard a Man's voice [from] between the banks of [the river] Ulai, which called, and said, “Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.”  17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said to me, “Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.” [Daniel collapsed and Gabriel came and helped him up.  Then he began his explanation which caused Daniel to faint completely.]

*************** (End quote)

(It is important to read verses before and after to get the context of the chosen text.  In fact, the best way is to read the entire chapter, or better still the whole book.)

Here we have Christ and Gabriel, the two leading exponents of Bible prophecy, appearing to Daniel. 

It is written in another place, “Then there came again and touched me [Daniel] one like the appearance of a man [Gabriel], and he strengthened me, and said, ‘O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be to you, be strong, yea, be strong.’  And when he had spoken to me, I was strengthened, and said, ‘Let my lord speak; for you have strengthened me.’ Then said he, ‘Know you wherefore I come to you?  And now will I return to fight with [in heavenly terms, persuade] the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Greece shall come [in about 200 years!]. But I will show you that which is noted in the scripture of truth [the Old Testament]: and there is none that holds with me in these things, but Michael your Prince’.”  Daniel 10:18-21.

In Daniel chapter 8 Gabriel asked Christ/Michael a question, but the Son of God gave the answer to Daniel, to whom it belonged, so it is also important for us.  Gabriel was then commanded to explain Christ’s meaning, but when Daniel fainted and was sick for a while it had to be postponed. 

While convalescing Daniel read in his Bible that God intended the people to come out of Babylon in the 70th year of their captivity.  (Daniel 9:1-2.  See Jeremiah 25:11-12 and then read 29:10 which was when He made the promise we read above). 

So Daniel began to pray and ask if there was anything he could do to help in this work for they had been 68 years in Babylon at that time. (Daniel 9:3-20.) Then, Gabriel, who had been working in the palace with the king of Medo/Persia came back and continued his explanation.

*************** (Begin quote)

Daniel 9:

21 Yea, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man [look alike] Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation [3pm]. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I am now come forth to give you skill and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show you; for you are greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

24 “Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your holy city,

“to finish the transgression,

and to make an end of sins,

and to make reconciliation for iniquity,

and to bring in everlasting righteousness,

and to seal up the vision and prophecy,

and to anoint the most Holy.”

*************** (End quote)

In explanation of the seventy weeks we are told that, “For I have laid upon you the years of their [Israel’s] iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shall you bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when you have accomplished them, lie again on your right side, and you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed you each day for a year.”  Ezekiel 4:5-6. And in another place, “After the number of the days in which you searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall you bear your iniquities, even forty years, and you shall know My breach of promise.” Numbers  14:34.  

From these two witnesses we now have the principle of a day in prophecy being used as a picture of a year in literal time.  Seventy “weeks” then becomes seventy x seven “days” which is 490 “days” or “years”.  This clue will enable us to decipher many other time prophecies also.

Now we have the length of the time given to Daniel’s people, the Jews, to finish their appointed tasks, but no starting date.  Gabriel now supplies that:

*************** (Begin quote)

Daniel 9:

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 

*************** (End quote)

Here we have time periods again. 

Seven weeks = 49 years; sixty-two weeks = 434 years; making a total from the commandment to the Messiah 483 years, leaving 7 years unaccounted for at this stage.  We know that Christ was crucified in April (Passover time) in the year 31AD after 3 years of ministry, having been baptised when He was  “about thirty years of age” in 27AD.  Luke 3:23.  (Due to a mistake in calculations made by Archbishop Usher, Christ was not born in the year 1AD, but in what we would call 4BC.)

The word “Messiah” signifies “the Anointed One.” Three and a half years back from April 31AD leads us to October 27AD when Christ was baptized by John, and received the anointing of the Spirit.  The apostle Peter testifies that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.” Acts 10:38.  And the Saviour himself declared, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.” Luke 4:18.  After His baptism He came into Galilee, “preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled.” Mark 1:14-15. 

If we work backwards from 27AD using the 483 years that Gabriel said would elapse till His appearing, we end up with the date of 457BC (there is no year 0.) 

So we look for a commandment to restore Jerusalem around that date. In the seventh chapter of Ezra the decree is found.

*************** (Begin quote)

Ezra 7:

11 Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes [of Persia] gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of His statutes to Israel.

12 “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.

13 “I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of His priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with you. 14 Forasmuch as you are sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of your God which is in your hand; 15 and to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem, 16 and all the silver and gold that you can find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:

17 that you may buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat [flour] offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.

18 “And whatsoever shall seem good to you, and to your brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God. 19 The vessels also that are given you for the service of the house of your God, those deliver you before the God of Jerusalem. 20 And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of your God, which you shall have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king's treasure house. 

21 “And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily, 22 to a hundred talents of silver, and to a hundred measures of wheat, and to a hundred baths of wine, and to a hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.

23 Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?

24 “Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them. 

25 “And you, Ezra, after the wisdom of your God, that is in your hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of your God; and teach you them that know them not. 26 And whosoever will not do the law of your God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be to death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.”

27 [Ezra now speaks] “Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which has put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem: 28 and has extended mercy to me before the king, and his counsellors, and before all the king's mighty princes.  And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.”

*************** (End quote)

This decree gave the Jews the right to re-establish their religion, to govern themselves by their own laws even to a death sentence, for the temple workers to be exempt from taxes, and to use the king’s money to do all this. 

The commandment was actually published in three stages, by three different kings.  The first was issued by Cyrus and allowed the Jews to return to the land and rebuild their temple. The second was issued by Darius I (the great) and gave a new authority for the continuation of the building of the temple.  The third gave Ezra, the man of God, full governance over the land and people.

This is how it occurred:

*************** (Begin quote)

Ezra 6:

1 Then Darius the king [called the great] made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. 2 And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written:

 3 “In the first year of Cyrus [539BC] the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem,

“Let the house [the temple] be built, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits; 4 with three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king's house. 5 And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought to Babylon, be restored, and brought again to the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God.”

6 [After that Darius ordered] “Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be you far from there: 7 let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in His place. 8 Moreover I make a decree what you shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given to these men, that they be not hindered. 9 And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail: 10 that they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons. 

11 “Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this. 12 And the God that has caused His name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. 

“I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed.” 

13 Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shetharboznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily. 14 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo.  And they built, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.

15 And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar [February/March], which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius [II] the king [the son of Artaxerxes].

*************** (End quote)

In its completest form the decree was issued by Artaxerxes, king of Persia, in October 457BC.  But in verse 14 above, the house of the LORD at Jerusalem is said to have been built “according to the commandment [margin, decree] of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.”  These three kings, Cyrus in originating it, Darius in re-affirming it, and Ataxerxes in completing it, brought the decree to the perfection required by the prophecy to mark the beginning of the 2300 years.  Only then was Jerusalem “restored” to full freedom.

Taking 457BC, the time when the decree was completed, as the date of the commandment, every specification of the prophecy concerning the seventy weeks can be seen to have been fulfilled, and the building was finished in the days of Artaxerxes’ son.

But there is more:

*************** (Begin quote)

Daniel 9:

26 And after sixty-two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and to the end of the war [the controversy between God and the rebel angels] desolations are determined [upon the Jewish people].

*************** (End quote)

So we have:

 

                457BC  408BC                                           27AD               34AD

 

 

        _______________________________________________

           

                     7 weeks        +          62 weeks          +        1 week  = 70 weeks

                    49 years        +          434 years           +       7 years  = 490 years

         

The “prince that shall come” (the Romans) conquered the Jews about 168BC and then destroyed the city and its sanctuary/temple in 70AD.  The majority of the Jews were sent into permanent exile.

*************** (Begin quote)

Daniel 9:

27 And He [Christ] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [of seven years]: and in the midst of the week [after 3 years] He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease [they lost their use as types when He died on the cross], and for the overspreading of abominations [the multitude of sins when the Jews rejected Christianity] He shall make it [Jerusalem] desolate, even until the consummation [the end of time], and that [that is] determined shall be poured upon the desolate [the Jews were dispersed throughout the world until 1948].

*************** (End quote)

 

To sum up:

The burden of Christ's preaching was, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent you, and believe the gospel.”  Mark 1:15. Thus the gospel message, as given by the Saviour Himself, was based on the prophecies. 

The “time” which He declared to be fulfilled was the period made known by the angel Gabriel to Daniel.  “Seventy weeks,” said the angel, “are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.” Daniel 9:24.  A day in prophecy stands for a year.  See Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6.  The seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety days, represent four hundred and ninety years. 

A starting point for this period is given: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks,” sixty-nine weeks, or four hundred and eighty-three years.  Daniel 9:25.  The commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, as completed by the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus (see Ezra 6:14; 7:1, 9, margin), went into effect in the October 457BC.  From this time four hundred and eighty-three years extend to the October 27AD.  According to the prophecy, this period was to reach to the Messiah, the Anointed One.  In 27AD, Jesus at His baptism received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and soon afterward began His ministry.  Then the message was proclaimed.  “The time is fulfilled” for in the next few verses Jesus called the apostles to join with Him in His work.  Mark 1:16-21. 

Then, said the angel, “He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (seven years).” For seven years after the Saviour entered on His ministry, the gospel was to be preached especially to the Jews; for three and a half years by Christ Himself; and afterward by the apostles.  “In the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” Daniel 9:27.  In April 31AD, Christ the true sacrifice was offered on Calvary.  Then the veil of the temple was rent in two, showing that the sacredness and significance of the sacrificial service had departed.  The time had come for the earthly sacrifice and oblation to cease. 

The one week – seven years – ended in October 34AD.  Then by the stoning of Stephen the Jews as a group finally sealed their rejection of the gospel, God’s offer of free salvation, and clung to their forms and ceremonies.  The disciples who were scattered abroad by persecution “went everywhere preaching the word” Acts 8:4; and shortly after, Saul the persecutor was converted, and became Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, the non-Jews.

The time of Christ's coming, His anointing by the Holy Spirit, His death, and the giving of the gospel to the Gentiles, were definitely pointed out.  It was the privilege of the Jewish people to understand these prophecies, and to recognize their fulfilment in the mission of Jesus.  Christ urged upon His disciples the importance of prophetic study.  Referring to the prophecy given to Daniel in regard to their time, He said, “Whoso reads, let him understand.” Matthew 24:15.  After His resurrection He explained to the disciples in “all the prophets” “the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27.  The Saviour had spoken through all the prophets.  “The Spirit of Christ which was in them” “testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” 1 Peter 1:11. 

But all this was only a small part of the main prophecy!

Christ’s ministry, His death on the cross, and the final call to the Jews by the disciples, are identified here only to explain what the 2,300 years prophecy was about!  When we deduct 490 years from the 2,300 years we end up with 1,810 years. Thus the time of the cleansing, or restoring of the sanctuary to its rightful place, when calculated by adding 1810 to 34AD gives us a date of 1844AD.

What was to happen then was so important that Christ, when explaining it to Daniel, used His own agonising experience as the Son of man to point to it. 

 

457BC  408BC                         27AD                  34AD                           1844AD

                                                                                         

 

________________________________________________________________

 

7 weeks    +        62 weeks    +    1 week =   70 weeks in total     

49 years    +      434 years     +    7 years  = 490 years  +  1810 years    =       1844

Do you know what momentous event happened that year?

I have not attempted to discover here all the knowledge embodied in the scriptures we have read, e.g. What is involved in the restoration of the sanctuary;

what the end of the period means to “the host” which was also “trodden under foot”; 

the six things the Jews could have accomplished at the end of the 490 years;  t

he troublous times of the building of the second temple; 

or even what the “gospel of the kingdom of God” is. 

I’m sure there is much more there also which may take us all eternity to discover. 

 

 Conclusion:

The time of Christ's coming, His anointing by the Holy Spirit, His death, and the giving of the gospel to the Gentiles, were definitely pointed out.  It was the privilege of the Jewish people to understand these prophecies, and to recognize their fulfilment in the mission of Jesus.  Christ urged upon His disciples the importance of prophetic study.  Referring to the prophecy given to Daniel in regard to their time, He said, “Whoso reads, let him understand.” Matthew 24:15.  After His resurrection He explained to the disciples in “all the prophets” “the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27.  The Saviour had spoken through all the prophets.  “The Spirit of Christ which was in them” “testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” 1 Peter 1:11. 

But all this was only a small part of the main prophecy!

Christ’s ministry, His death on the cross, and the final call to the Jews by the disciples, are identified here only to explain what the 2,300 years prophecy was about!  When we deduct 490 years from the 2,300 years we end up with 1,810 years. Thus the time of the cleansing, or restoring of the sanctuary to its rightful place, when calculated by adding 1810 to 34AD gives us a date of 1844AD.

What was to happen then was so important that Christ, when explaining it to Daniel, used His own agonising experience as the Son of man to point to it. 

 

oooOooo

P. S.

Jesus said, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth hears My voice.”  John 18:37.  Christ affirmed that His word was in itself a key which would unlock the mystery to those who were prepared to receive it. It has a self-commending power, and this is the secret of the spread of His kingdom of truth.

P. P. S.

James Usher (1581-1656) was archbishop of Armagh, Ireland.

oooOooo


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

Next query. To be discussed from September 1st, 2006.

Revelation 12:

1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.

2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up to God, and to His throne. 

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