by Lawrence M. Nelson
Chapter Four – Christ The Mathematician
This chapter features Christ as the Mathematician, and will present even more evidence of the perfect wisdom and knowledge of our God, and His love and care for each of us.
Mathematics, the most exact science known to man, is the tool we will use as we explore one of the most profound prophecies found in all of the Bible. We shall establish by mathematical proof that Jesus was the Messiah, the Anointed and Holy One of Israel, the Savior of the world. This proof has its foundation in Bible prophecy and events relating to the sanctuary service.
Would you dare to predict precisely what will happen a year from now, or a week, or even tomorrow, concerning the events to take place in this world? Yet, God’s Book boldly predicted, nearly five hundred years in advance, the exact year when Jesus Christ would begin to cleanse the sanctuary in heaven before He returns to take His people home.
We will begin with the eighth chapter of Daniel. In this chapter God gave a vision of what was to take place at a later date. We will read from Daniel’s own account of how the angel was commissioned to explain every detail of this vision to him, so that he might thoroughly understand it. Here is a portion of this amazing prediction in Daniel 8:14, ‘And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” You will notice that God commanded Gabriel, the highest angel of heaven, to instruct Daniel. Notice carefully Daniel 8:16, “Make this man to understand this vision.” Now as Gabriel began to open up the mind of Daniel to the great events that were to transpire in the future, Daniel was so overwhelmed that he fainted. So the angel left him until he recovered.
When Daniel recuperated, he prayed for his instructor to return, and to finish the job of interpretation. Daniel states: “Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, . . . Gabriel . . . touched me . . . and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.” Daniel 9:21, 22. So the angel Gabriel returned to finish the explanation that was interrupted when Daniel fainted. Then the angel begins to explain the meaning of the 2300 days of prophecy. He begins in verse twenty-four of Daniel, chapter 9: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy 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.”
Notice the first two words, seventy weeks. This is a measure of time. Gabriel begins by stating, “seventy weeks are determined upon thy people.” When this prophecy was given, the Jewish people were God’s chosen people. So this first part deals especially with the Jewish nation, for he said, “determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city,” which refers to Jerusalem.
Now the word determined, in the original Hebrew, means to “cut off’. In other words, the seventy weeks are a segment, or a part of the 2300 days, which Gabriel said were allotted to the Jews.
Now we are ready for our first arithmetic problem. We have 2300 days, and from this number we must subtract 70 weeks. . . but wait! We can’t subtract weeks from days without first changing the weeks into days. Remember, there are seven days in a week; so, as you consider problem #1, we take the number of weeks, (70), and multiply this number by 7, which equals 490 days – (70 x 7 = 490). Then we subtract the 490 days from the 2300 days, and this leaves 1810 days.
70 weeks x 7 days in a week = 490 days
2300 days – 490 days = 1810 days
Now you can see that the 2300 days were divided into two sections: The first section of 490 days were allotted to the Jews. The second section of 1810 days were allotted to the Gentiles. This will enable us to discover the date when the heavenly sanctuary is to be cleansed.
Before going further in our calculations, we must remember that in prophetic time, a day stands for a year. Ezekiel 4:6, “I have appointed thee each day for a year.” According to this rule, 2300 days is equal to 2300 literal years; so this first section of 490 years is for the Jews, and the remaining 1810 years for the Gentiles. The close of this prophetic time period brings us to the actual year when the Lord will cleanse the sanctuary in heaven.
In order to go ahead with our project of measuring time, we need a starting date. The 2300 years do not mean much to us unless we know what year the time prophecy was to begin. For example, I could tell you that Martin Luther, the great Protestant reformer, lived for sixty-three years, and this is a fact of history; however, if I tell you that Luther was born in 1683 and he lived for sixty-three years, you would know the year he died. You would know this by adding sixty-three years to the date of his birth. Simple enough? Yes, it is simple arithmetic.
The Lord knew that we would need this additional fact, so He gave us the starting date of this 2300 year prophecy. But, where can we find it? We read that the angel instructed Daniel that the 70 weeks, or the 490 year period, was to begin at the time the decree was given to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem. You remember that Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed Jerusalem, but God had said the time would come when it was to be rebuilt. We learn about this decree in Ezra 6:14. Talking about the temple, it says, “And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes the king of Persia.” This tells us that there were three kings involved in issuing this decree, and Ezra received the final authority to restore the temple in the year 457 B.C., from Artaxerxes, who was the king of Persia. Where is the proof of this? We find it in a letter from Artaxerxes to Ezra, confirming this authority. Read it in Ezra 7:12-28.
This gives us the starting point. The date of this decree was 457 B.C. You will find that date in the margin of some editions of the King James version of the Bible; also, history has verified this event, and it has also been established by concurrent eclipses. There is positively no question concerning this date. God tells us we are to count the first 490 years of this prophecy from the date when the command was given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, which was issued in the fall of 457 B.C. — 457 years before Christ.
Now get ready for something startling–a real thriller! This prophecy, given to Daniel some five hundred years before Christ was born, actually foretold when the Messiah was to begin His ministry. Look closely at these words in Daniel 9:25, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.”
Now we’re ready to do some more arithmetic.
7 weeks + 60 weeks + 2 weeks = 69 weeks
69 weeks x 7 days in a week = 483 days, or years
483 – 457 (date of the decree) = 26
26 + 1 (plus 8-9 months since decree was issued in the fall of the year.) = 27 A.D. — date Christ began His earthly ministry.
Let’s add together these 7 weeks, threescore weeks (20 + 20 + 20), and two weeks. The total is 69 weeks. And remember, a day in prophecy stands for a year; so 69 weeks must be multiplied by 7, (the number of days in a week), which total 483 days, or years. This leads us to the very date that the Messiah was to begin His mission. Now in order to keep our arithmetic simple, we will subtract 457, (the date of the decree), from 483, (the number of years involved), which gives a total of 26 years. But since there is not a 0-1 year starting point, and the decree was issued in the last part of the year, a full year must be added which takes us to AD. 27, the exact date when Christ was to begin His earthly ministry. Isn’t this marvelous?
Let’s notice a few more things in this amazing prophecy. What special event happened in A.D. 27? The Scripture records, a crowd gathered on the banks of the Jordan River. As John is baptizing, Jesus comes and asks to be baptized. When John looks at Jesus, he recognizes that he is in the presence of a Holy Life; and he shrinks from granting His request, saying, “I have need to be baptized of you.” But Jesus looks at John and says: “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” Matthew 3:15. And so John, under the inspiration of God, announces to all those gathered on the banks of the Jordan, that Jesus is the Savior of the world, by pointing to Jesus, and saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. Then John leads Jesus down into the river, buries Him under the water, and brings him up out of the water. Immediately the heavens are opened; the Holy Spirit comes down in the likeness of a dove, and the Father declares from heaven that Jesus is His very own Son. ‘And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved son; in thee I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22.
After this anointing and the forty days of temptation, Jesus began His work, in the fall of 27 AD–exactly at the precise time that had been prophesied. Jesus Himself recognized this time prophecy, for He began to preach by saying, “The time is fulfilled.” Mark 1:15. What time? The 483 year time prophecy of Daniel 9:25. The words, “the time is fulfilled” tell us that Jesus knew all about the prophecy of Daniel. And why not? For it was He Himself, through the angel Gabriel, who had instructed Daniel. He had prophesied that “69 weeks” after the decree went forth, the Messiah would be here on this earth to commence His work. And when the 69 weeks ended, the Messiah, Jesus, did appear on time. Immediately He began to preach, “The time is fulfilled.”
Tell me, friend, is there anyone in this wide world who can tell what is going to happen a year from now? I couldn’t even tell you what’s going to happen tomorrow. But there is a Book, the Word of God, that revealed exactly what would happen hundreds of years later. The Bible is truly a divine book; for it told exactly the very year when Christ would appear–A.D. 27.
This date of 27 A.D. brings us close to the end of the 69 weeks. How many weeks are left? (Remember Daniel 9:24–“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people.”) Yes, there is just one week left. And what a week it was! Read verse 27, ‘And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” If you cut a week in half, how many days are there to the mid point? One-half of seven days is 3-½ days. According to prophetic time, you remember, 3-½ days equals 3-½ years. Here the Bible is stating that in the midst of the last week of the 70 the Messiah would be cut off. Notice Daniel 9:26, (‘And he shall) be cut off but not for himself” Can you fathom the great love of God speaking in these words? Certainly the Son of God did not deserve to die–just as the lamb in the sacrificial offering did not deserve to die. Christ was not guilty of any sin. Even the Roman governor who sentenced Christ to die said, “I find no fault in him.” Nevertheless, He was cut off, sacrificed–but not for Himself. He was cut off, friend, for you and for me. “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 53:5.
Gabriel told Daniel, “. . . in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” Daniel 9:27. How? By offering Himself as the supreme Sacrifice on the cross, the sacrificial system of the sanctuary was no longer necessary; because Jesus, the great Lamb of God, became the offering, and died the sinner’s death as his substitute.
Now, here’s a little more arithmetic for us to do. We have established the year of 27 A.D.; but prophecy adds 3-½ more years to this date, so we now have 30-½ years, which brings us to the exact date when the Son of God was to be sacrificed. Isn’t this amazing? Yes, it was in 31 A.D. as Jesus hung on the cross, that He uttered those unforgettable words: “It is finished.”
70 weeks – 69 weeks = 1 week
1 week = 7 days divided by 2 = 3-½ days, prophetic Years!
27 A.D. (In the fall)
30-½ years A.D. — since the prophecy brings us to the fall — by adding ½ year it gives us 31 A.D. in the spring.
What happened in the earthly sanctuary on the date 31 A.D.? The veil that divided the holy from the most holy in the temple, was ripped from the top to the bottom by an unseen hand, signifying that the earthly sacrifices no longer held any meaning. The sacrifice of the Lamb of God was complete. “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” Mark 15:37, 38.
For some fifteen hundred years the Jews had been offering a Iamb during the feast of the Passover. If the Jews had only studied the wonderful 2300-day prophecy, in the light of the typical service of the sanctuary, they could have known when Messiah would appear, and–the year, the month, the day, and the hour when Christ would be sacrificed, for the exact time when the Passover lamb was to be killed was at 3:00 p.m. according to Jewish law.
Just think of it, more than five hundred years before it took place, His death had been prophesied in specific detail. This amazing historical fact maintains the certainty of God’s word, in that it is established by mathematical calculation that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God and the Savior of the world. Now, look at Fig. #4. You will note the date of 31 A.D. (Spring), taken from figure number 3. Now add the remaining 3-½ years and you will see that the total is 34A.D., (fall).
31 A.D. — spring
+ 3-½ years
34 A.D. — fall
What happened at this specific time, A.D. 34? This was the time when Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death by the Jews during the persecution of the followers of Christ. It was then that the newly-formed Christian church went out from Jerusalem to spread the gospel to the Gentiles–to every nation on this earth.
Thus far, in this study we have covered the first 490 years of the 2300 year prophecy, including the year when the gospel would go to the Gentiles. Now we move into the second segment of the time prophecy–the period of 1,810 days or years. What was to happen at the end of the second segment of the 2300 year prophecy? “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Daniel 8:14. Now look at figure #5. Adding 1,810 years to 34 AD., brings us forward in time to the year 1844. At this date, according to the prophecy, the cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven was to begin.
34 A.D. — fall
+1810 (See figure #1)
1844 A.D. — fall
Now we are ready to consider what is to take place within the heavenly sanctuary in the fall of the year 1844. We shall discover in the next chapter that in the process of cleansing the sanctuary, each of us must give an account (in the investigative judgment) showing that the blood of Christ has covered every sin. This will determine our future.
This chapter has revealed that Christ was truly the Lamb; slain as prophesied on the day when the Passover lamb was killed. The Passover sacrifice and ritual was a reminder of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage, but it also pointed forward to the greater deliverance from sin, as revealed in the wonderful sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The apostle Paul speaks of Him as Christ our Passover, sacrificed for us.
You remember the story of how the destroying angel passed through the land of Egypt to kill the firstborn of man and beast. Every house of Israel was spared because the head of every dwelling had killed a lamb and placed some of its blood on the doorpost of the home; but, there was death in every Egyptian household. Friend, soon the destroying angel of God will once again carry out His orders to destroy all sinners in this world. Only those who have accepted the blood of Christ in their behalf will escape the wrath of God. Now is the time for us to make sure that the Lamb of God has covered us with His blood. Remember the promise of Exodus 12:13, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.
And so, by the process of mathematics, we have established without question that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. But, we have also learned something of even greater significance; that in the fall of 1844 Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to do His work of judging each individual case and to cleanse the sanctuary. The cleansing work is done by Christ, Who, with His own blood, blots out the forgiven sins of His redeemed–the sins which were recorded in the books of Heaven.
If through Christ’s righteousness our lives have been prepared through repentance, confession and surrender so that we are declared right with God at the judgment, this final atonement will be made for you and for me.