`Cut off; but not for Himself'

Posted May 11, 2013 by kym Jones in Midnight Cry (Loud Voice)

This phrase is the focal point of the Book of Daniel - and the entire gospel, as the following table which outlines the Chiasms of Daniel demonstrates:



Historical Prologue - Ch 1



   Prophecy of Four Kingdoms (Image) - Ch 2



      Trial of God's faithful (Fiery Furnace) - Ch 3



          Prophecy to Pagan King (repentant) - Ch 4



             God gives & rules in the kingdom of men - 4: 25



           Prophecy to Pagan King (unrepentant) - Ch 5



        Trial of God's Faithful (Lions Den) - Ch 6.  



      Prophecy of four kingdoms (Beasts) - Ch 7.   



      Prophecy of four kingdoms (Fierce king) - Ch 8.   



          Daniel prays for deliverance of his people - 9: 1-24



               Decree - Jerusalem & temple rebuilt - 9:25



                     Messiah `cut off, but not for Himself' - 9:26a



               Decree - Jerusalem & temple -destroyed - 9:26b              



          Daniel prays and fasts for God's people - Ch 10



     Prophecies of kingdoms - Ch 11



Historical Epilogue (prophetic) - Ch 12



Table 1.1 Chiastic Structure Revealing the Unity and Emphases of Daniel 1


The studious reader can see that the chiastic structure of the Book of Daniel reveals that while the bold type underlining the chiasm of the first half of the Book of Daniel focuses upon judgment (for Daniel means "God is my judge"), the bold type underling the chiasm of the second half of the Book of Daniel focuses upon the sacrifice of our dear Lord at Calvary. These focal points of the double chiasm of the Book of Daniel are in fact another chiasm which is at first not apparent, and suggests to us that the prophetic key to understanding the judgment and sacrifice of Christ are to be specifically found in studying the prophecies of the seventh and eighth chapters of the Book of Daniel. More specifically, if we are to study the judgment of God, we study Daniel chapters 1-7, and if we are to study the sacrifice which Christ has wrought for us, we study Daniel chapters 8-12; for the vision of the `Seventy Weeks' of Daniel chapter 9, reveals to us the entire gospel in the one scripture which informs that `Messiah was cut off, but not for Himself' (Dn. 9: 26a). It was given because Daniel could not initially understand the charon vision of Daniel 8 - which (along with Daniel ch 7) becomes the focus of the chiasm of Daniel 4: 25 (judgment) and 9: 26a - `Messiah was cut off, but not for Himself'. Thus, one specifically studies the `Seventy Weeks' of Daniel in conjunction with the chiasms of Daniel ch. 7 and 8 if one wishes to explicate a scriptural exegesis which outlines the plan of redemption and salvation from sin.  

While most Christians interpret this phrase as meaning that Christ suffered and died for us at Calvary, its meaning is much more far reaching than this, as Seventh-Day Adventists understand that when Scripture informs us that `The soul that sins, it shall die', this is not speaking of the first death which all men die, but is instead the `second death' - which is the extinction of sentient life forever. For if Christ is to be a propitiation for our sins, then Christ must experience that which the lost are consigned to - which is the `second death'. Otherwise Christ has not come all the way down from heaven and demonstrated the agape of the Father to us, by being made in the `likeness' of sinful flesh and becoming sin for us on the cross, just as Moses lifted up the Serpent in the wilderness of sin:

`And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.' (John 3: 14)

The idea that we are saved by Christ's suffering, and not His death, originated with paganism, and found its way into the Church in the first and second centuries as men began to believe in the natural immortality, or divinity of the soul. As the character of God was believed by the philosophers and the pagans to be `Eros' (or the love of `self' - which indeed has grave ramifications in regard to the ontological relationship of the Three Persons of the Trinitarian Godhead), then this idea of the pagan conception of the character of God led to men also believing that Christ's suffering on the cross saves them, for the platform upon which `Eros' was conceived is that only the `good' can be saved. Logically, the Patristic Fathers of the Church deduced that by participating in Christ's divine `goodness', we can be saved and at death we then become divine; for our immortal souls are a dim reflection of the Trinity, and at death return to `oneness' with the Trinity. But as they also depicted the incarnate Christ as assuming the `sinless' flesh of the unfallen Adam (for reason that the `fallen flesh' of the fallen Adam is corrupted by the genetic inheritance of sin), then they also began to believe that we must do good works that have merit in our salvation, for Christ's suffering on the cross was insufficient to atone for sins. Thus the formula of `faith plus works' equates to salvation  was first constructed by Augustine very early in the fifth century, when he synthesized Eros (works) with Agape (faith) and called it `caritas' (lovingkindness).  It was in fact little more than `Eros' with a relatively more refined and cosmopolitan face; for it retained the basic principle of `Eros' - which assumes that only those who are already `good' can be saved. Unfortunately, this theology was not vanquished by the Reformation, and eventually found its way into Adventist theology when `Questions on Doctrine' was published in 1957.

From the time that Lucifer (who is also known as Satan, or the Devil), first entertained thoughts of rebellion against God, to when sin is finally vanquished when death is cast into the `lake of fire' with him (Revelation 20: 10, 14), the entire issue of salvation has from eternity hinged upon the principle of the character of God, in contrast to the character of Satan. This indeed, is the focus of the `Great Controversy' between Christ and Satan - Satan purports to be worshipped as Christ Himself and by stealth and subterfuge attempts to elevate himself to the position which only Christ alone can occupy - our Saviour, Creator and Redeemer; who is one with the Father in mind and purpose.

An object lesson that demonstrates the awe inspiring type of love which the Father and Son have for us is depicted by imprinting upon our minds the picture of Moses descending Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments tucked underneath his arm - only to find his people dancing around and worshiping the golden calf. Although the Lord had led His people out of Egypt and sustained them when they had nothing - after only forty days in his absence, they had returned to worshiping the Egyptian gods! How would you feel? So the Lord tested Moses and made a proposal to him; informing him that he would wipe out the children of Israel completely, and begin again with him. What did Moses say?

`Wipe them out and start again with me, Lord, because they deserve it, and you know I won't let You down like they did!'

Although you and I would have most likely have said that - Moses didn't! He was so overcome with emotion, that this dash appears in the King James Version of the Bible --; for he could barely speak and choked upon his words as he declared to his people:

` All of you have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; possibly I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if you will forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray you, out of your book which you have written.' (Exodus 32: 30 - 32.)

This passage reveals that Moses was a type of Christ; for just as Moses was willing to lay down his eternal life so that his people might live, so also did Christ demonstrate the `agape' of God on the cross at Calvary, by laying His eternal life on the line for us - and daring to die the `second death'!  Philippians 2: 5 - 8 contrasts the selfless mind of Christ (of which we are exhorted to partake of), with the selfish mind of Lucifer, the fallen angel of God:
`Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.' (Philippians 2: 5 - 8.)
Most `new' translations read `even death on a cross'. The reason why, is that there have always been two streams of manuscripts - those which follow the Latin Vulgate and the Douay version of the Catholic Bible, and those that follow the K.J.V. The manuscripts which eventually coalesced as the K.J.V. after the translation of Erasmus provided the basis for it were handed by the disciples to the Syrian Churches, then to the Waldenses and then to the Reformers. They are known as the `Textus Receptus', or `Received Text', for the Reformers received them in an unbroken chain which began with the disciples of Christ.

The `Majority Text' is the class of manuscripts which survived the fires of the Inquisition and support Origen's Platonising of the Latin Vulgate at the hand of  Jerome. As this class of manuscripts support the doctrine of the `natural immortality of the soul', it most surely follows that the phrase `the death of the cross' was interpolated and then changed to `death on a cross', for this phrase supports the Platonic notion of the natural immortality of the soul, while the phrase `the death of the cross' supports the doctrine of the conditional immortality of the soul, and resurrection from the `sleep of death'. Most `New Translations' are based upon the `Majority Text'. They are little more than Catholic Bibles disguised as Protestant Bibles and are the product of the counter-Reformation.

When seen in conjunction with Daniel 9: 26a, Phillippians 2: 5-8, and in particular the phrase `even the death of the cross' may be considered as the foundation upon which all other Scripture rests, for it clearly delineates the unconditional, or unselfish and selfless `agape' love of Christ, and contrasts it with the self-centred love of the Greeks, which was called `Eros'. For `Eros' depicts the mind of `iniquity' or lawlessness which Lucifer appropriated when he fell into sin. It is the mind of `self', or `selfishness'. So if we are to describe the fall of man in these terms ( for the fall first took place when Adam fell from grace when he first sinned), it is this mind of utter selfishness which Adam appropriated from Lucifer when he first fell into sin. But a way of escape was made for Adam and all of his children who by faith follow his example. By faith He could look through the long corridor of history, and behold the cross of His Saviour, for Galatians 5: 6 informs us that true faith `works' by love. And what is that love? It is the unconditional love which Christ has for us, which was demonstrated to us on the cross, `even the death of the cross'; for we are exhorted to simply `let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus'.

Christ's entire life was an object lesson in humility. Here was the Commander of heaven, Who had the entire host of heaven at his feet, Who, equal with the Eternal One, came all the way down from the lofty heights of heaven, and `was made a little lower than the angels', and `made like unto His brethren', so that He could give fallen man `help' where we need it most, so that He `by the grace of God should taste death for every man':

`But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.' (Hebrews 2: 9.)

What was the death He died for us, yet rose again on `the third day'? It must have been the `second death' He `tasted'; for all men `taste' the first death, and Jesus does not save us from the first death. He could have been born to nobility, as was His right, but instead chose to identify Himself with the weakest of the weak, and the poorest of men, and to these He was born. As a bond-servant to fallen man whose lives are ensnared by sin, his entire life was an abasement of self, so that He might provide corporate humanity with the highest service which is possible for fallen man, which is for God Himself in veil of flesh to unselfishly `taste death' for us, so that we might live. He humbled Himself by joyfully taking upon Himself the burden of our sins as our servant, but was instead `despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not', for He `was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed' (Isaiah 53: 3,5.)   

Here the prophet Isaiah pictures in graphic form the crucifixion of Christ and informs us that that Christ was `cut off out of the land of the living' (Isaiah 53; 8). Daniel 9: 26 employs similar language and states that `And after threescore and two weeks, Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself'; which is a part of the  prophecy which is known as the Seventy `Weeks' of Daniel, and is the greatest prophecy of all of Christ. Sir Isaac Newton, the famous scientist who founded the Law of Gravity said of this prophecy that the Seventy `Weeks' of Daniel is: 

"The foundation of the Christian Religion." (`The First and Second Advent: or, The Past and the Future, with Reference to the Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God', Bouchier Wrey Saville, 1858.) 

He further stated that:

`Thus we have in this short Prophecy, a prediction of all the main periods relating to the coming of the Messiah; the time of his birth, that of his death, that of the rejection of the Jews, the duration of the Jewish war whereby he caused the city and the sanctuary to be destroyed, and the time of his second coming . . .' (`Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John', Sir Isaac Newton, p. 137.) 

It is the phrase `Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself’ upon which the entire plan of salvation hinges. It is the most misunderstood and poorly comprehended phrase in the Bible. John Calvin, the sixteenth century French theologian, comments on it: 

`The angel, then, here asserts, Christ should die, and at the same time he specifies the kind of death by saying, nothing shall remain to him. this short clause may be taken in various senses, yet I do not hesitate to re present the angel's meaning to be this—Christ should so die as to be entirely reduced to nothing. Some expound it thus,—the city or the people shall be as nothing to him ; meaning, he shall be divorced from the people, and their adoption shall cease, since we know the Jews to have so fallen away from true piety by their perfidy as to be entirely alienated from God, and to have lost the name of a Church. But that is forced. Others think it means, it shall be neither hostile nor favorable ; and others, nothing shall remain to him in the sense of being destitute of all help ; but all these comments appear to me too frigid. The genuine sense, I have no doubt, is as follows,— the death of Christ should be without any attractiveness or loveliness, as Isaiah says.' (Calvin, Institutes', Chap. liii. 2, p. 221.) 

While Calvin quite correctly asserted that `Christ should so die as to be entirely reduced to nothing’, what does `died on the cross and was reduced to nothing’, truly mean? Does the atonement affect the collective human race more deeply than we have ever imagined? Indeed, did Calvin really understand what he was writing, or was he just `skimming the surface’ of deeper truths which (over the centuries) have been either lost or misunderstood? This question is fundamentally important in affecting our perception of salvation, for if we misunderstand what took place at Calvary, then not only is our perception of salvation flawed, but our perception of the character of God also becomes flawed, as the unconditional `agape' love of Christ becomes infused with erroneous conceptions of love that amount to the disguised selfishness of the Greeks; for the Greeks believed that the body weighs down and corrupts the immortal soul, which must be purified by the doing of good works, so that at death, the soul can then achieve its own inherent divinity and `realize' that it is the `little god' that it once was. It was for this reason that the Greeks did never anything which could be classified as good unless it was for their own benefit, so that ultimately they themselves would benefit through the `caring for the soul'. 

The question must be asked, "What did Christ accomplish when He died on the cross?" More to the point, would the mere death of His human body satisfy the demands of the broken law – or would He have in some way endured what befalls the impenitent, which is eternal separation from the Father? For this raises another question – as only a Divine Sacrifice can satisfy the judicial equity of the broken law (which is to say that if only His human body died on the cross, then His atonement cannot satisfy the penalty of the broken law, for this does not provide for a divine sacrifice); then how is this even possible, as the essence of divinity is defined by its eternal nature? We find a clue in Galatians 3:13: 

`Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree’ (Galatians 3:13) 

In the Hebrew economy, death by stoning was the usual penalty for what were considered to be grave sins. Contrary to popular opinion, this was not a barbaric form of execution, but was instead merciful - the first stone which was cast was big enough to crush the chest, thus ensuring that death would be immediate. In a spiritual sense this represented Christ, the `Rock of offense'  passing judgment upon all who refuse His `free gift' of eternal life(1 Peter 2: 8):

`And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.' (Matthew 21:44.) 

But if you were convicted to die by this most horrible death you could still take solace in the fact that if you confessed your sins and repented of them, then the Father would hear you, and you would be assured that when you died, a place could be found for you in the Book of Life and you would have eternal life. However, if you were convicted of a sin worthy of death - you were hung on a tree outside of the camp and were accursed of God; for you could pray to the Father for forgiveness, but the heavens would be as brass and He will not hear your prayers, for you have absolutely no hope of redemption: 

`And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and you hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but you shall in any way bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that your land be not defiled, which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance.’ (Deuteronomy 21:22,23.) 

This was not mere physical death - for you were `cut off’ from the Giver of Life Himself for eternity and you would die with absolutely no hope of an afterlife. It would be as if you never existed: 

`Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for your mercies' sake. For in death there is no remembrance of you: in the grave who shall give you thanks?' (Psalms 6:4-5) 

This is the death which Christ ` . . . by the grace of God, should taste death for every man'! (Hebrews 2: 9.) He did not `taste' it merely for the good, for there are none that are good, simply because all men inherit the selfish mind which Adam `fell' into when he first sinned. For this reason, no man is better than another, for all share in the same sinful desires! It is this death that Christ died for us; for by `numbering Himself with the transgressors' and being `hung on a tree' outside of the camp (in this case, the city walls of Jerusalem), Christ Has Himself reconciled us to God by becoming sin for us, so that He can `save to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing that he forever lives to make intercession for them.' (Hebrews 7: 25, 26.) The disciple Peter referred to this when he was confronted by the High Priest of the Sanhedrin, who had previously commanded that he was not to teach in the name of Christ (Acts 5: 28). Peter replied:

 `We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him has God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. ' (Acts 5: 29-31)

In this passage Luke declares that Christ was `hung on a tree', as did the apostle Paul. While both men could have simply said that Christ was crucified on a cross, they instead stated that He was `hung on a tree', which signified that they were referring to the eternal death which Christ dared to die for our benefit, so that we might not have to die it ourselves, for it demonstrates to us the `agape' of God! The Bible calls this death the `second death' (Revelation 2: 11, 20: 6,14, 21: 8), which all will suffer who do not accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour. However, this is not to say that Christ remained dead in the grave, for being sinless, the chains of death could not hold Him, and He was raised to life on the third day by the Spirit of His Father, just as the dead in Christ shall be raised to life by Him, so that they might meet Him in the air at the Second Coming:

`Your dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, all of you that dwell in dust: for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.' (Isaiah 26:19)

We have previously seen that Moses pleaded with the Lord to blot His name out of the `book', so that his people might be spared. The prophet Daniel refers to this same book - which is the Book of Life, when he refers to the second coming of Christ:

`And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.' (Daniel 12: 1 - 3.) 

The names of all who have overcome the selfish mind of the Devil shall have their names written in the `Book of Life', and their names shall be confessed before our Father, and His angels: 

`He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.' (Revelation 3: 5.) 

However, those who refuse the `free gift' of salvation will have their names `blotted out' of the `Book of Life':

`And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.' (Revelation 20: 12 - 15.)

This `blotting out' from the Book of Life indicates that the sinner who had committed a sin worthy of death will be eternally separated in death from the great Giver of eternal life. Christ dared to die the second death, so that in becoming the `curse' which is due to us, He has reconciled fallen man back to God - `For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.' (Romans 5: 10) 

`But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be no more remembered.' (Jeremiah 11:19.) 

And so we find that Christ was hung `outside the camp' (the literal city of Jerusalem) with thieves and murderers; thus signifying that Christ died the death which those who are accursed of God are condemned to die:

`And the scripture was fulfilled, which said, `And he was numbered with the transgressors.' And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, `Ah, you that destroy the temple, and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross.' (Mark 15: 28-30.) 

Paintings of the Renaissance and Baroque periods picture Jesus hanging on the cross with a cloth draped demurely around His groin in a manner that does not offend our sensibilities. Yet the cross is an offense to God (Galatians 5: 11). The grim reality of the cross, is that the Romans used this barbaric form of execution to terrorize offenders, so that local populations of subject nations might be kept in check. It was a slow and agonizing death; those who were condemned to crucifixion were stripped naked and usually slowly died over a period of several days. They were often permitted to have their buttocks supported by a small seat called a `sedile'; but this in fact prolonged their agony, as both legs were broken, forcing the offender to lift themselves up on their arms every time they took a breath. Although the sedile gave them some support, as they grew weaker, eventually they suffocated and died. Yet Christ died in just a few hours - the weight of the sins of the world crushed the life out of Him.

 The `blotting out' of the names of the wicked from the `Book of Life' indicates that contrary to popular belief, man has no `natural immortality of the soul' and does not directly ascend to heaven or hell when he dies. Most Christians would be astonished to find that not only did this doctrine gain entrance into the early Church via the conduit of Greek Platonism, but the majority of the disciples of Christ in the first and second centuries believed that this doctrine in fact denied the Resurrection, as it in fact nullifies the atonement! They regarded it as blasphemous, and believed that those who partake of it are not Christians!

`The ancient Church differs most of all from Hellenism in its belief in the Resurrection. Christian tradition affirmed the 'Resurrection of the flesh,' which the Apologists opposed to the Hellenistic doctrine of the 'Immortality of the Soul.' The antithesis was conscious and intentional, for at no point so much as this was their opposition to the Hellenistic spirit felt by the early Christians. The Platonic, Hellenistic doctrine of the Immortality of the soul seemed to the Apologists a godless and blasphemous doctrine, which above all they must attack and destroy (Justin Dial. lxxx. 3-4) Their motto in this regard might well be Tatian's word:

"Not Immortal, O Greeks, is the soul in itself, but mortal. Yet it is possible for it not to die." (Tatian Oratio ad Graecos, xiii. 1.)

The difference between Christian and non-Christian in this matter was so great that belief in the 'Resurrection of the flesh' could become a shibboleth. One who believes in the 'Immortality of the Soul' shows thereby that he is not a Christian. As Justin [Martyr] says:

"If you have fallen in with some who are called Christians... and who say that there is no resurrection of the dead, but that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians." (Dial. lxxx. 4)' (`Agape and Eros', Anders Nygren, 1969, pp. 280-281).

 The Bible teaches that eternal life is conditional and is dependent upon our acceptance of Christ as our Savior:

`For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much greater punishment, suppose all of you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden underfoot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace?' (Hebrews 10: 26-29.)


Furthermore, this `blotting out' of the names of those who refuse salvation indicates that some form of judgment must take place either when we die, or sometime in the future after we die! So if type follows antitype; which is to say that in the Jewish economy Israel was judged on the `Day of Atonement' when the Sanctuary itself was `cleansed' from sin, then it is logical to assume that judgment takes place when the antitypical Sanctuary in Heaven is spiritually `cleansed' of sin at the end of the 2,300 `days' spoken of by Daniel the Prophet in Daniel 8: 13, 14, and it is at this time that the judgment begins. If the day/year rule of prophecy is applied to this passage, as Sir Isaac Newton applied it, then this is a period of 2,300 literal years: 

`Then I heard, saith Daniel, one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, 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 underfoot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed [Ver. 13, 14.]. Daniel’s days are years; and these years may perhaps be reckoned either from the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in the reign of Vespasian, or from the pollution of the Sanctuary by the worship of Jupiter Olympius, or from the desolation of Judea made in the end of the Jewish war by the banishment of all the Jews out of their own country, or from some other period which time will discover . . . . The Sanctuary and Host were trampled under foot 2300 days; and in Daniel’s Prophecies days are put for years . . . . They were to last till the Sanctuary which had been cast down should be cleansed, and the Sanctuary is not yet cleansed.'
(`Observations on Daniel', Sir Isaac Newton, pp. 122, 123.)

Newton believed that the dead in Christ reign with him for a thousand years, with the `general judgment' beginning at the time of the first resurrection when Christ returns. The `second death' is to take place at the end of this period of judgment, with those who are consigned to the second death `considered as continuing in a state of death':
`The resurrection in this prophecy [Rev. 20: 4-5] [1] is taken only for a resurrection to life. Those who live to dy the second death do not live again in the language of the Prophets, nor have part in the resurrection, (but are considered as continuing in a state of death. Luke 14: 36. Phil 3: 11. . . . . ) and so the second resurrection shall be from the second death as the first was from the first, the second death having power more or less on all who have no part in the first resurrection . . . . .' (`The Synchronism's of the Three Parts of Prophetick Interpretation', Sir Isaac Newton, Yahuda Ms. 6, National Library of Israel, Jerusalem.)

The Bible teaches that sin is so offensive to God, that the Lord's wrath against sin would consume the sinner completely and consign them to the `second death' if it were not for the fact that in bearing our sins at Calvary and literally becoming sin for us, Christ eminently qualifies as our intermediary. Sin literally cuts us off from the face of God - the unity which Christ had with His Father was broken up as the Father withdrew His Spirit from Him at Calvary, leading Christ to cry: 

`My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' (Matt. 27:46) 

Picture this in your mind. Christ is dying on the cross while a preternatural darkness fills the sky as Christ literally becomes the sin of the entire world, and the Father withdraws His Spirit from Christ, for He is so Holy that He turns His face away from sin. Jesus cries out to the Father to give Him the strength to bear that which must be born, for as the Father withdraws His Holy Spirit from Christ, He can no longer feel the Father's Presence around Him and He agonizes as He feels that which all the condemned experience as He literally becomes sin for us on the cross and is accursed of God. Christ trod the winepress of the Father's wrath against sin alone. Sin is death and in becoming sin for us He could see no further than the grave, for as He felt His unity with the Father being broken up as the Spirit of the Father was withdrawn from Him - all He could hold onto by faith were the Scriptures which testified of Him. Christ went to the grave with absolutely no assurance from the Father that He would be raised again, and experienced that which the condemned must suffer after they are raised in the `second resurrection' after the judgment; which is the horror of realizing that their life is about to be extinguished forever, resulting in eternal separation from the great Giver of Live and the eternal death it ensues - the second death! The fact that Christ was resurrected from the grave by the Father on the third day because of the law of sin begetting the second death does not deny this truth, for in His life, Christ voluntarily laid aside His divinity so that a Divine Sacrifice could ensue - He lived His life as a man, and suffered on the cross as a man. The only times in which Christ used His divinity, was when He, as the bond-servant of all men, used it to forgive sin or for the benefit of others, such as the instance when He forgave the woman who was taken in adultery (John 8: 2 - 11). Not once did he use His divinity to benefit Himself so that He might have an advantage over us as the Devil assaulted His senses, for His life testified that the accusations which Lucifer originally made are unjust, and testify that just as God is holy and good, so also is His Law `holy and good', for the Law is a transcript of His character of `agape', and cannot be `improved' upon by man. Thus Christ experienced the death which the lost must suffer, and was raised again by the Holy Spirit of the Father, for He who became sin for us, knew no sin and the bonds of the grave could not hold Him:

`Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.' (Hebrews 2: 14-15) 

In becoming sin for us, Christ was `cut off' from the face of God so that we might not be cut off from His face ourselves. His Sacrifice is not merely a human sacrifice; a mere human sacrifice cannot satisfy the demands of the broken law, for if it could, then our works would have merit in our salvation and Christ would have been reduced to a good man, whose example we must imitate so that we might be saved. His is a Divine Sacrifice; for only a Divine Sacrifice can satisfy the judicial equity of the law - Christ is the divine Bridge between justice and mercy. In the Hebrew economy, if you had committed the unpardonable sin by rejecting the Giver of Life you had rejected your own salvation. You could implore God to forgive your sins, but the heavens would remain as brass to you and you would die, eternally separated from God and eternal life. There would be no remembrance of you, because although you were sorry that you had sinned because you were fearful that you would die, you had absolutely no remorse in sinning against your Creator and still refused salvation. It would be as if you had never existed. Thus it is today. In presenting Himself as a most pleasing sacrifice for sin at Calvary, Christ was `cut off, but not for Himself' for the sake of the penitent sinner. At Calvary, Christ dared to have His Holy Name `blotted' from the Book of Eternal Life forever, so that the sentence of death and the eternal oblivion which would otherwise most surely ensue for the penitent sinner is reversed. But for the impenitent, who consistently refuse the promptings of His Spirit to repentance, there cannot be a Sacrifice for their sins: 

`This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. In order to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.' (Ecclesiastes 9: 3-6) 

This most basic tenet of faith, which was Paul's declaration that `I want to know nothing among you save Christ crucified' (1 Corinthians 2: 2) as a personal Saviour for every man, woman and child who has ever been born upon this earth, turned the world `upside down' as the gospel of `Christ crucified' was preached by the disciples of Christ (Acts: 17: 1-7):

 `But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.' (1 Corinthians 1: 23, 24.)

The gospel was `foolishness' to the Greeks simply because their Hellenistic, or Platonic beliefs determined that they believe in the `natural' immortality of the soul - which as we have already seen, obscures the `agape' of Christ and according to Justin Martyr and apostolic Christians who lived in the formative years of the Christian Church - nullifies the atonement! They also believed that God is `immutable' (or cannot change); which is to say that while we believe that `immutability' applies to His Holy character, the Patristic Fathers believed that this imbibed the Platonic belief that this applied to His material `essence' as well; which necessitated that they believed that Christ could not be `made in the likeness of sinful flesh' without corrupting His divine nature (Rom. 8: 3). 

As the Greeks already believed that when they died, their soul would live on in some form after death, then as far as they were concerned, the gospel of salvation and `free gift' of eternal life through the atonement of Christ (Romans 5: 15) was, well - foolishness! So it is today. The first great lie which the Serpent told Adam and Eve was `ye shall not surely die' (Gen. 3:4). It directly contradicts Scripture, for the result of sin is death - the second death; which is eternal! As it is only natural for fallen man to believe this first lie which the Serpent told Adam and Eve, so also is the `good news' of salvation through Christ considered to be `foolishness' by the world at large today, for everybody believes that when we die, we either go straight to heaven or straight to hell! Much of what is passed off by the Christian Churches today as Orthodox theology  in fact obscures the `agape' love of Christ, by infusing it with the `eros', or disguised selfishness of the Greeks - just as Daniel 8: 11 depicted; for in that prophecy we see the principal of self-exultation (eros) being `lifted up' into the early Christian Church through the auspices of the Papacy - and the ensuing obscuring of the `agape' of Christ which followed. Therefore the question which Christians should ask themselves when studying the Bible, is - "Does this doctrine that I am studying convey the selfless mind of Christ, or has it been subtly infused with the mind of the devil, in the form of disguised selfishness?" For a basic understanding of why the two minds of Scripture are naturally antagonistic toward each other and cannot be mixed one with another ultimately leads to spiritual discernment. 

Augustine's synthesis of `agape' with `eros' was clearly wrong, for when  unselfish love is sullied by selfish love in any form at all - unselfish love ceases to be unselfish! `Caritas' (or charity) is too inadequate an expression of love to be able to identify it with `Agape'. When `Agape' is leavened with `Eros', it ceases to be `Agape' and instead reverts to `Eros'! Unfortunately though, this adulterated form of love, which is thought to represent the character of God, is commonly taught in many Christian churches today. Ultimately, the two minds of Scripture which the Bible portrays represent the mind of Christ, and the mind of the Devil and the doctrines which we assimilate reflect one or the other. The issue is serious, not only for the sake of our own salvation, but perhaps what is even more important, is that what we teach as salvation to others is largely dependent upon what we believe ourselves. Unfortunately, much of what is passed off in the Churches as genuine Christianity instead reflects this mind of disguised selfishness which Adam received from Lucifer when he first sinned, and after originating in ancient Babylon with Nimrod the great grandson of Noah, eventually became refined by Plato, at which it subsequently poisoned the early Christian Church and is still with us here today; thus obscuring the true `agape' of Christ from our vision. It is to some degree responsible for the unbelief and stultification which we generally see today. For the Churches of Christ no longer comprehend the `agape' of Christ and sleep soundly in error which has its basis in Plato. 

Ultimately, we still have hope - for our loving Saviour has carefully secreted within the prophesies of Daniel chapters 8 and 9 an assurance that eventually `agape' would be redeemed, for when Daniel pleaded with the Lord to restore His Shekinah glory to the Sanctuary  `for the Lord's sake' (Dan. 9: 17), he was informed that after 2,300 years the Sanctuary be `restored to its rightful place among his people'(Daniel 8: 14) . Only then, after the people of God once again perceive `agape' in its pristine beauty, and thus fulfil this prophesy by restoring the Sanctuary to its rightful place, can Jesus can return for His people. For the last message of mercy to be given to this dying world is a revelation of the character of God, which is the given in conjunction of the judgment which is associated with the Third Angel's Message - for it is the message of the Fourth Angel which is to lighten the earth with its glory and thus prepare a people who long for the return of their Lord (Rev. 18: 1,2).

1 `This chiastic outline for the Book of Daniel is built on Shea's original idea which can be found in William H. Shea, "The Prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27", in The Seventy Weeks, Leviticus, and the Nature of Prophecy, ed. by Frank Holbrook, Daniel and Revelation Committee Series, v. 3. (Washington, D.C: Biblical Research Institute, General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, 1986), 113.' - fn. `Identification of Darius the Mede', G. Law, p. 12.