Tag Archives: John

The Seven Signs Through the Eyes of John

Our latest ebook on the Seven miracles of Jesus in the Gospel is finally ready.  You can pick up your free copy over at smashwords.com for a limited time.  Just follow this link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/274564

Or click on the cover below and put in the code: AV98M

The Seven Signs Through the Eyes of John

Healing of the paralytic at Bethesda: The third sign, part II Jesus at the bathhouse

12/19/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

If you have missed part I of the third sign, we recommend that you take a moment to read it to get a sense of the Setting in which Jesus was performing this sign.

Healing of the paralytic at Bethesda: The third sign, part I

We have noted that Jesus was again at the Passover, and that his visit to the bathhouse, which was a healing temple dedicated to the Greek/Roman god of healing, Asclepius and may have been near the birthplace of Jesus’ grandmother, Saint Anne, was to lead to the first of many direct confrontations with the Jewish religious authorities.

As we approach the text, which can be found in the Gospel of John, chapter 5:1-18, it is important to ponder why Jesus was there in the first place.  Was he not attending the most holy feast of the Jews?  Would not setting foot on the site of what was a pagan temple on the Sabbath have defiled him and prevented him from entering the Jewish Temple?  Was this some form of outreach, for which the Jews are not particularly noted?  Surely, these questions were going through the minds of the Jewish religious authorities, who appear later in the story.

Yet, as surprising as it is that Jesus was even there, what is even more surprising is the way in which this miracle took place.  For once again, rather than praying a certain prayer, reciting a spell, or laying hands on the affected part of the body, Jesus simply gives the paralytic a command, a command that demanded both a decision and action on the part of the paralytic.  In the first sign, obedience was the key.  In the second sign, blind faith.  Is the key to the third sign action?  Please read along with us from the World English Bible:

After these things, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the sheep gate, there is a pool, which is called in Hebrew, “Bethesda”, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, or paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water; for an angel went down at certain times into the pool, and stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had. A certain man was there, who had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to be made well?”

The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, another steps down before me.”

Jesus said to him, “Arise, take up your mat, and walk.”

Immediately, the man was made well, and took up his mat and walked.

Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10 So the Jews said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath. It is not lawful for you to carry the mat.”

11 He answered them, “He who made me well, the same said to me, ‘Take up your mat, and walk.’

12 Then they asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your mat, and walk’?”

13 But he who was healed didn’t know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a crowd being in the place.

14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “Behold, you are made well. Sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you.”

15 The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 For this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them,“My Father is still working, so I am working, too.” 18 For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

 

After coming to terms with Jesus going to the bathhouse on the Passover, we must examine what happened carefully, and understand what it may mean for both ourselves and for those whom we are called to serve.

The paralytic had been sick for 38 years, probably most of his life, if we had to take a guess.  We do not know how long he had been coming to the pool, hoping to step into the water first when the “angel” stirred up the water in order to be healed. Not unlike the healthcare system today (which takes its symbol from Asclepius), there seemed to be an interminable wait to be healed.  Furthermore, due to the large demand for free healing which could only be had, it seemed, via the benevolence of the “angel” at the pool, it seemed that the paralytic may age to the point where it may have appeared to most that a perfectly good healing was wasted on someone too old to enjoy it.  As such, there nobody at the pool was willing to lend him a hand.

Christ healing the paralytic at Bethesda, by Palma il Giovane, 1592.
Christ healing the paralytic at Bethesda, by Palma il Giovane, 1592.

The man may have become dejected by his prospects.  However, at the pool, he found a strange sense of satisfaction knowing that indeed there were those there who were worse off than he was.  In time, he had given up begging to be placed into the pool, and sat there, each day that spring, comparing his state infirmity to that of others.  If he could not be well, he would gain satisfaction knowing that there were others worse off than he was.  This is what the human mind resorts to when it has been robbed of all hope, and it is death.

Then, Jesus walks up and asks him, “Do you want to be made well?”

The man surprisingly answers, not in the affirmative, but with an excuse, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, another steps down before me.”  Again, when a person has been devoid of hope, they tend to spend their time creating emotional defense mechanisms, commonly known as excuses, to explain their inability to change their circumstances, usually by blaming the inaction of others.

Jesus understands from the reply that asking direct questions will only lead to more excuses from the man.  Instead, he gives him an assignment, “Arise, take up your mat, and walk.”  Would the man accept the assignment?

It seems simple, right?  But for the paralytic in Jerusalem on the Sabbath (the Passover, no less), it is an impossible task for two reasons.  First, the man is paralyzed, he has not “arisen” under his own power for perhaps 38 years.  Second, and more importantly, he had been taught from his youth that he was not to take up his mat on the Sabbath.

Jesus was asking the man to not only relinquish his internal defense mechanisms (and swallow his pride), but to do the impossible and break God’s command as interpreted by his religious leaders.  This is an extremely difficult assignment.

The man takes the assignment, and is healed.

When considering healing in this instance, it is interesting to note not only what Jesus did to heal this man, but also what he did not do.  He did not:

1.  Lay guilt upon the rest of the people at the bathhouse for not helping the man get to the pool.

2.  Ask people on the behalf of the man to please help him get to the pool.

3.  He and his disciples did not take the man down to the pool themselves

4.  He did not recommend that the man go to see a real physician

5.  He did not pray for the man, lay hands on him, or send him to the religious authorities to be prayed over

What he did do, with few words, was to help the man to understand his problem.  The man perceived that his immediate problem, beyond his physical ailment, was that he could not get into the pool.  If only he could get to the pool, he would be healed.  As getting to the pool proved elusive, he began to blame the lack of action by others for his inability to be healed.

The man’s real problem, as Jesus pointed out, was that he had given up on taking any sort of action on his own for his healing.  In a world where there is always a medical solution if “we just had the money,” as well as someone else to blame for our personal problems, this lesson is especially poignant.

In doing this, Jesus not only healed the man of his physical ailment, he began to heal the Jews of the web of rules that they had weaved in a vain attempt to observe the Ten commandments and the myriad of other rules that they attempted to observe.

For the Ten Commandments can only be truly observed when one understands that they are completely incapable of living by them.

For abstaining from lifting certain objects under certain circumstances does not help one observe the Sabbath, but taking daily action to provide for oneself and others allows all to live eternity in the Sabbath rest that Jesus offers.

Denouement

Not surprisingly, the Jewish authorities, upon seeing the man walking with his mat, in complete obedience to Christ’s word; therefore completing his assignment, chastise the man for breaking the Sabbath rules.

Jesus later encounters the man and gives what would become a familiar command to those who he has made well, even today:

“Behold, you are made well. Sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you.”

When the Jewish leaders discover that it was Jesus who made the man well, rather than marveling that such a thing should be done for a man lame for 38 years, they take the opportunity to deride Jesus for healing on the Sabbath.

This would be the first of many instances that Jesus would expose the moral impoverishment that in those days passed for observing Gods law.  It was for this reason that the Jews sought to eliminate him.  For the Golden Rule had no place in their economic or religious system as they played a dangerous balancing act of pleasing the Romans and protecting their heritage.

Jesus was offering them a way out, but they were to far down the road of compromise.  They were a nation sitting by the bathhouse, waiting for an “angel” to stir the waters when Jesus walked up to them.

What would they do?

Stay tuned for the fourth sign and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for December 19, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.59
Oil Price per Barrel:  $88.26
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.20
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.80%
FED Target Rate:  0.16%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,667 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.3%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,338
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,527,700,000,000
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,375,100,000,000

Healing of the paralytic at Bethesda: The third sign

12/17/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

If you have just recently joined us here at The Mint, we are exploring the seven signs that Jesus performed which are related in the Gospel of John.  We recommend that you begin by reading Changing water into wine:  The first sign, and Healing of the Official’s son:  The second sign, for additional context, as well as bookmarking or subscribing to The Mint for updates as we move through this important series.

We are finding that each sign appears to have a central theme, an overarching lesson that Jesus was teaching.  Perhaps this is why John chose these seven out of the seemingly infinite miracles of Jesus that he had witnessed.  In Changing water into wine, Obedience appears to be central to the operation of the Miracle, in the words of Mary, the mother of Jesus, “Whatever he says to you, do it.”

In healing the Official’s son, the operation of blind faith, believing without seeing, is required, “Go your way. Your son lives.” is Jesus’s response as the Official pleads with Him to journey from Cana to Capernaum to heal his son.

Today, as we begin to examine the third sign, the healing of the paralytic at Bethesda, we must be attentive to the presence of an underlying theme, for it is becoming clear that John selected each miracle carefully, and is recounting each one in order to give us something of eternal value, something that we can use today.

In the book of John, the narrative of the third sign immediately follows that of the second sign, beginning in John, Chapter 5, verses 1 – 17.  It begins with Jesus returning to Jerusalem.

The return to Jerusalem

As we pick up the narrative, we find that Jesus has gone to Jerusalem for the second time during his earthly ministry (we know that he went once before with his parents at twelve years of age, making it technically the third time).  This time, Jesus goes to Jerusalem in full view of the religious authorities.  The observant reader will recall that after His Passover first visit, Jesus and his disciples were run out of Jerusalem by the Pharisees for what may be called “excessive baptisms.”  This time, Jesus would have the first of what would be many direct confrontations with the Jewish religious authorities.

Which Feast?

In relating this sign, John does something that at first appears to be an uncharacteristic oversight, he forgets to tell the reader which particular feast of the Jews that Jesus is attending.  This apparent oversight has led come commentators to conclude that Jesus had gone to Jerusalem to celebrate Purim, which would have occurred in early March.

However, it is more likely that the feast that John referred to, or didn’t refer to, as it were, is actually the second Passover that Jesus attended during his earthly ministry.  This can be inferred both positively, in that the Passover was referred to as the “Feast of the Jews” and that the explicit Passovers mentioned in John 2:13 and 6:4 require an extra year between them.  This interpretation also allows for the harvest seasons mentioned in Mark 2:23 and 6:39.

It can be inferred negatively as well, in that Purim was not considered a religious feast of the Jews (it would be akin to the 4th of July, in a very stretched metaphor), and that it is unlikely that, due to the climate in Palestine in early March, that the sick persons by the pool would be lying in the open air.

The final arguments against the feast being Purim lie in the narrative itself.  As Jesus performs the sign on the Sabbath, for which the religious take exception to Him, and the feast of Purim cannot be celebrated on the Sabbath.

The greater question, perhaps, is why did John, who meticulously recorded the name of the other Jewish feasts in his gospel, omit the name of this particular feast?  For an answer, as well as beautiful insight into the importance of John, we turn to Dr. William Milligan in the “International Lesson Commentary”, who is here quoted in Volume III–John of B.W. Johnson’s “The New Testament Commentary,”

Why did John, whose custom it is to mark clearly each festival of which he speaks (see 2:13, 23; 6:4; 7:2; 10:22; 11:55; 12:1; 13:1; 18:39; 19:14), write so indefinitely here? The only reply that it is possible is that the indefiniteness is the result of design. The Evangelist omits the name of the feast, that the reader may not attach to it a significance that was not intended. To John,–through clearness of insight, not from power of fancy,–every action of his Master was fraught with deep significance; and no one who receives the Lord Jesus as he received him can hesitate to admit in all his words and deeds a fulness of meaning, a perfection of fitness, immeasurably beyond what can be attributed to the highest of human prophets. Our Lord’s relation to the whole Jewish economy is never absent from John’s thought. Jesus enters the Jewish temple (chapter 2:4). His words can be understood only by those who recognize that he is himself the true temple of God. The ordained feasts of the nation find their fulfillment in him. Never, we may say, is any festival named in this Gospel in connection with our Lord, without an intention on the author’s part that we should see the truth which he saw, and behold in it a type of his Master or his work. If this be true, the indefiniteness of the language here is designed to prevent our resting upon the thought of this particular festival as fulfilled in Jesus, and lead to the concentration of our thought on the Sabbath shortly to be mentioned, which in this chapter has an importance altogether exceptional.”

The significance of the Pool

The Pool of Bethesda.  Up until the 19th century, when archeologists uncovered the site of the pool where Jesus performed this sign, there was no evidence outside of the Gospel of John that the pool existed.  This lack of evidence caused some to argue that the Gospel was written later by someone who did not have first hand knowledge of Jerusalem and chose to use the pool in a metaphorical sense.

The discovery of the pool by archeologists in 1856 did wonders for the credibility of the Gospel of John.

As it turns out, the pool, which was first mentioned in the 8th century BCE, was formed when a dam was built across the short Beth Zeta Valley, creating a reservoir.  The pool is mentioned in two other Biblical texts 2 Kings 18:17 and Isaiah 36:2, where it is referred to as the “upper pool”:

17 The king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great army to Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they had come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller’s field.

and,

The king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem to king Hezekiah with a large army. He stood by the aqueduct from the upper pool in the fuller’s field highway.

As well as in Isaiah 7:3:

Then Yahweh said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shearjashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway of the fuller’s field.

The Bethesda Pool Today
The Bethesda Pool Today

A second pool was then added on the south side of the dam around 200 BCE.  In the first century BC, caves to the east of these pools were turned into baths as part of what was know as an asclepieion, a Roman healing temple dedicated to the god Asclepius.  The symbol for this god of medicine, healing, rejuvenation, and physicians is used today as the symbol for the American Medical Association and is ubiquitous in medical settings.

The site was brought inside the walls of Jerusalem by the expansion of Herod Agrippa around 50 BCE.  The pools, which had been constructed to bring living water into Jerusalem, had been turned into a pagan bath house whose waters are thought to have healing powers.  Naturally, it was crowded with those hoping to become well.

Today, the site of these pools is in the Muslim East Jerusalem near the ruins of a Crusader church which was completed in 1138 CE on a site that what was thought to be the birthplace of Jesus’ grandmother, Saint Anne.

So Jesus, on the Passover, the holiest of all Sabbaths, goes to the pagan bath house, which also happens to be the site that representatives of the Assyrian army stood and publicly humiliated Hezekiah, the King of Judah, before Jerusalem was invaded by them in 701 BCE.  Furthermore, according to later tradition, is near the grotto where his grandmother was believed to have born.

The pool at Bethesda ia a very interesting place, and Jesus has chosen to go there on the Passover.  What would he do?

Stay tuned for more of the third sign and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for December 17, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.64
Oil Price per Barrel:  $87.48
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.24
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.76%
FED Target Rate:  0.16%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,698
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.3%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,235
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,527,700,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,375,100,000,000

The Gospel of John – Jesus’ seven signs

12/6/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today, we shift gears a bit as we prepare for what will be a very important teaching coming up early next year:

The Seven Signs of John

The Gospel of John is unique in that it contains a plethora of dialogue attributed to Jesus, the Son of God, which are generally set apart in Biblical texts by using a red font.  It is rivaled only by the Gospel of Matthew in this respect.

We have previously explored what we consider to be John’s unique trait and compared him to one of the prophets, Isaiah, who shared this personality quirk:  He was eagerly awaiting the Jewish Messiah.

Today, we will begin to explore the material in the Gospel of John that we are to teach.  The seven miracles of Jesus that John chose to include in His Gospel.  The miracles are important, for John wrote the Gospel near the end of his long life, sometime between the years 90 and 100 CE (He is presumed to have died in 100 CE at 94 years of age), almost 70 years after Jesus had walked the earth.

John witnessed many miracles performed by Jesus, as he was with him throughout his earthly ministry, beginning with his (Jesus’) baptism by John the Baptist.  John witnessed so many miracles that he saw fit to state in his Gospel,

20:30 Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; 20:31 but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”

So why were these seven signs chosen by John, who perhaps knew Jesus better than anyone while He was walking the earth?  It is the aim of this study to answer this question.

What are the seven signs?

The logical place to start, then, would be to identify the seven signs.  According to most Biblical scholars, yours truly included, the seven signs refer to the following miracles which John chose to relate:

  1. Changing water into wine in John 2:1-11
  2. Healing the royal official’s son in Capernaum in John 4:46-54
  3. Healing the paralytic at Bethesda in John 5:1-18
  4. Feeding the 5000 in John 6:5-14
  5. Jesus’ walk on water in John 6:16-24
  6. Healing the blind at birth in John 9:1-7
  7. Raising of Lazarus in John 11:1-45

From a quick glance at the list, we can see that three of the miracles involve various types of physical healing, two of them involve providing for material needs, and one is a supernatural physical feat.

The final miracle, the resurrection of Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, must stand alone, as it is the astounding and meaningful miracle that has ever been recorded.  It is astounding not only for what took place, but for the fierce reaction which it brought from the religious authorities.

For with this Miracle, Jesus provided an irrefutable proof that He is the Son of God, and it was for this miracle that the religious authorities resolved to kill Him.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.  As with any great journey, we must begin with the first step.

Changing water into wine:  The first sign

Shortly after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, he called his first disciples, Andrew and John (the author).  What is interesting is that Andrew and John actually followed Jesus on John the Baptist’s declarations.  As such, they were not called, rather, they recognized who Jesus was, the long-awaited Messiah, and went after him.

Andrew then went and found his brother, Simon (who Jesus promptly renamed Cephas, or Peter).  The next day, Jesus was determined to go out into Galilee, where he found Phillip, who then went out and found Nathanael.

At this point, we understand that Jesus had five men whom are called  his disciples, yet the only one who he personally sought out was Phillip.

This is important, because it shows that, while Jesus did get up and pursue someone, four of his first five disciples started following him because others saw Jesus and recognized him as the son of God.  Let us not diminish the task that Christians have been given in fulfilling the great commission!

Our teacher, Bettie Mitchell of Good Samaritan Ministries is fond of illustrating this by showing us that while we are looking up to God, crying out for Him to “DO SOMETHING!” God is shouting back down at us “DO SOMETHING!”

It is a profound truth that God does not want subjects, He wants partners!

It is not surprising, then, that Jesus almost never performed a miracle without requiring an action or actions which require the individual to exercise faith.  In fact, in most of the signs, Jesus performs the miracles not as a helicopter parent who is making sure that everything is perfect for everyone, rather, he performs the miracles reluctantly, not because he does not desire a positive outcome, but because he is training those who desire and see in him the possibility of a miracle to walk in faith and courage.

Our first example, then, is when Jesus changes water to wine, a miracle that Jesus openly declares that he does not want to perform:

2:1 The third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there. 2:2 Jesus also was invited, with his disciples, to the marriage. 2:3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine.”

2:4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.”

2:5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.” 2:6 Now there were six water pots of stone set there after the Jews’ way of purifying, containing two or three metretes apiece. 2:7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” They filled them up to the brim. 2:8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the ruler of the feast.” So they took it. 2:9 When the ruler of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and didn’t know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast called the bridegroom, 2:10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when the guests have drunk freely, then that which is worse. You have kept the good wine until now!” 2:11 This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Apart from Jesus’ reluctance to intervene and the faith it must have required on the part of the servants to take the water, which had been poured in what today may be been referred to as a kitchen sink or a wash basin, and present it to the master of the feast as wine, there is one other curiosity in this narrative which deserves further consideration.

Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by Pharaoh, watercolor by James Tissot 1836-1902
The first sign of Jesus, turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana, has a harrowing parallel to Joseph saving many by providing for grain during the famine in the Near East, circa 1708 BCE
Painting “Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by Pharaoh”, watercolor by James Tissot 1836-1902

This curiosity consists of the exact words that Mary uses to instruct the servants to listen to Jesus.  While at first they seem trivial, “Whatever he says to you, do it,” we find in them both a simple requirement for the reception of a miracle, as well as an intricate link with the miraculous survival of the Jewish race some 1700 years earlier from a famine in Canaan:

For the words, “What he says to you, do,” are found not only in John 2:5 above, but also in Genesis 41:55.  In Genesis, they are spoken under much different circumstances…or are they?

The phrase that Mary invokes parallel the instructions that Pharaoh gave to all of the Egyptians when they began to cry out to him for grain during the famine in the Near East.  “Go to Joseph, What he says to you, do.”

As we cry out for a miracle, we would do well to pause, listen, and “Do what he says,” for miracles are born out of obedience.

Stay tuned for the second sign and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for December 6 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.61
Oil Price per Barrel:  $86.40
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.48
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.58%
FED Target Rate:  0.16%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,700
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,074
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,457,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,275,200,000,000

Lessons from John’s gospel, chapters 1-3

This year, it is our privilege to get to know John, the author of a good portion of what is now the New Testament.

There is much to learn.  Today, we had two revelations as we began our journey:

Revelation one has to do with what we willthe mechanics of rebirth.  It is written in John 1:12-13 that those who believe in Jesus, the Messiah, are given the right to become children of God.  How does this miracle occur?

It was revealed to us as the spirit of God penetrating the believer.  It is a miracle, yet we will attempt to describe it as clearly as possible.  The Spirit of God descends as a mere drop of oil on the head, which then enters the body, as if flesh were not a barrier.

Russian Orthodox icon of the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, 18th century (Iconostasis of Transfiguration Church, Kizhi Monastery, Karelia, Russia
Russian Orthodox icon of the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, 18th century (Iconostasis of Transfiguration Church, Kizhi Monastery, Karelia, Russia)

This drop grows larger until it fills the entire physical presence of the believer, for it is the essence of the Lord permeating the flesh of the believer.

This was confirmed as we read the next line, John 1:14:  The Word BECAME FLESH and dwelt amongst us.  This vision and John’s choice of descriptive language reveal the deep understanding and intimacy that John has with the Father.

It is no mistake that in Chapter 3, the third witness of this truth appears as John recounts Jesus’ shock in John 3:10 that Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, would be ignorant of the mechanics of spiritual rebirth.  Nicodemus’ ignorance is striking because He was a Pharisee, one who believed in life after death and the coming of the Messiah.

The second revelation is that John was one of two disciples of John the Baptist, whom upon witnessing the baptism of Jesus, immediately followed Jesus and asked where He was staying.  The other was Andrew.  Both of these first disciples told their brothers that they had found the Messiah.  The brother of Andrew was Peter, and the brother of John was James.

John, like Isaiah before Him, was eagerly awaiting the Jewish Messiah.  While He was a fisherman by day, his spiritual thirst attracted Him to John the Baptist.  His perceptiveness drew Him to Jesus.

The spirit of Isaiah was upon John, and the Spirit of the Living God is upon all of us.

We encourage you to join us on this journey, we will be studying the Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation, and The Acts of John.  We will also look back to Proto-Isaiah for the source of this passion for the Messiah which He and John shared.

We would love to have you along and to hear your insights as they are revealed.

Dabbling in Eschatology: What to expect in the Monetary Realm as the world comes to an end – Part III of III – The Vision of Daniel

4/11/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

If you missed parts I or II of this series, please click below and give them a brief read before continuing:

Part I – Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and Part II – The Vision of John

In our brief but necessary excursion into the wild world of Eschatology here at The Mint, we have endeavored to bring to your attention, fellow taxpayer, what one can expect in the Monetary Realm as the world comes to an end.

To be clear, we are not predicting when the world will come to an end, for only God alone can determine this, rather, we are sharing our interpretation of what will take place regarding man’s relationship to his money and possessions as the inevitable trials and tribulations which will take place begin to unfold.

First, a brief review of parts I and II of the series:

Part I – Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s:  Around 2000 years ago, Jesus reiterated the importance of a mark in determining monetary ownership, stating that since the mark of Caesar is on the coin used to pay the tax to Caesar, it is proper to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

With this simple statement, Jesus reaffirmed both the complete Sovereignty of God as well as the validity of private property held by men in God’s view.

The obvious yet staggering implication is that money and coinage given by an Emperor may at some point be demanded back by that Emperor, therefore it is foolish to accumulate money and coinage issued by an Emperor as a store of one’s wealth.

Not surprisingly, the same is true today.

Part II – The Vision of John:  Roughly 60 years after Jesus’ declaration, the Apostle John was given a vision of the events that would transpire before Jesus returned to the earth to reign triumphantly.

{Editor’s Note:  This is not unprecedented; in addition to the vision of Daniel which we will discuss today, a vision of Jesus’ first coming was given to Isaiah some 700 years prior to the event.}

 

Albrecht Dürer, The Revelation of St John: The Four Riders of the Apocalypse, 1497-98, Woodcut
The Revelation of St John: The Four Riders of the Apocalypse, 1497-98, by Albrecht Dürer, Woodcut

John’s vision, recorded in the book of Revelation, covers a great deal of topics and is perhaps the most widely studied book when it comes to Eschatology.  In this series, we are specifically concerned with only the portion of the vision which is commonly referred to as the “Mark of the Beast.”

In our review, we stated that the “beast (satan)” will at some point in the future demand the worship of all men.  Specifically, he will ban all worship of the One True God and cause a statue to be set up, which God refers to as the “abomination which causes desolation,” and demand that everyone on the earth render worship to the statue.

One tactic that will be used to coerce mankind into worshiping the statue instead of the One True God will be to require mankind to accept a “mark” on their physical body in order to be able to buy and sell.

The choice to accept or deny this mark will be the watershed moment for the inhabitants of the earth at that time.  They will be forced to choose to either throw their lot in with satan, whose kingdom is being destroyed forever, or the One True Living God, whose Kingdom is established for eternity.

On paper, the choice is obvious.  However, given the deception which satan employs in an attempt to manipulate mankind, much perseverance will be required.

The prospect of losing title to all of their possessions and not being able to buy or sell may be too much for even self professed Christians to bear, and many, faced with the choice to continue their way of life within the system or to presumably wander the earth as Cain was, may be tricked into capitulating to satan’s tactic and accepting the mark.

We wrote yesterday that the Rapture will occur before any of the tribulations, including the dreaded choice of whether or not to accept the “mark of the beast,” takes place.  Therefore, if the end times which John writes of seem like too much to bear (as it is for us,) we implore you to begin trusting Jesus today.

If you have just made or have already made a decision to trust Jesus, you may stop reading and begin a life of praise and service to God.

However, for those who are unfortunate enough to be living on the earth during the perilous days to come, the third and final passage which we will consider is intended to give them a measure of hope, as well as the timeframe which one must be prepared to endure.

Fortunately, God has given us, circa 2012, a guide to the end times.  For the vision of Daniel regarding the end times, related in the book of Daniel, Chapter 12, taken together with the vision of John in Revelation gives us the specific time frames that the “Mark of the Beast” will be required to be used for buying and selling within the earth’s system.

It is clear from John’s vision that the imposition of the mark will coincide with the erection of the statue which God calls the “abomination which causes desolation.”  Therefore, according to Daniel 12:11-12, the time frame from the beginning of the tribulations until the time that the decision to accept or reject the mark is presented to all of those on the earth at that time, will be 1,290 days, or approximately 3 years and 6 months.

If one finds him or herself on the earth at this time, we advise you to use those 1,290 days to prepare at least 45 days of rations.

Why 45 days?  Because 45 days is the period of time which one will have to refrain from buying or selling if you still desire to accept Jesus and reject the mark of the beast.  As it is related in Daniel 12:12:  “Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of 1,335 days.”

Again, 45 lonely days is all one will have to refrain from buying or selling as a consequence of wisely rejecting the mark of the beast.  During this extremely short period of time, the beast will appear to have complete control over the monetary realm.

Then, the fraudulent monetary and religious system that the beast has attempted to impose on the earth will collapse, and all of the earth will fall into a deeper tribulation as a result.  However, it is clear from Daniel’s vision that those who refused to accept the mark of the beast will be blessed.

We are aware that this is but one of many interpretations of the events surrounding the end times.  It is our prayer that you will find both comfort and a call to action in our interpretation of what is to come. 

45 days may seem like a long time, but with the proper preparations, all of the peoples of the world who remain during the coming tribulation may eagerly await the coming of Jesus without fear and full of hope.

God is faithful and will quickly answer honest and earnest prayer.  We encourage everyone to study the Bible and to seek God in order to develop their own understanding of what is to happen and what they are to do.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

 

Key Indicators for April 11, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.68

Oil Price per Barrel:  $102.70

Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.36

10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.03%

FED Target Rate:  0.15%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,660

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25% AWAY WE GO!

Unemployment Rate:  8.2%

Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.4%

Dow Jones Industrial Average: 12,805

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,299,000,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $9,823,900,000,000

Dabbling in Eschatology: What to expect in the Monetary Realm as the world comes to an end – Part II – The Vision of John

4/10/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

If you missed Part I of this series, please click below and give it a brief read before continuing:

Part I – Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s

It is clear from Jesus’ answer to the spies’ question that He ascribed little importance and value to the coinage of Caesar.  This flew in the face of what to most people believe about money on a subconscious level.

As we have explored in this space before, the current monetary system, where money is debt, creates an unnatural link between human beings, a sort of mutual slave/master relationship in which each and every person within the system finds themselves ensnared.

How does Caesar ensnare people in this system?  By simply placing his mark on the coinage, the coin becomes Imperial property.  The next step is to pass a series of laws, commonly known as legal tender laws, which obligate people to use the coinage in trade and commerce.

“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” therefore, may be seen as a call out of the system of Imperial coinage and tribute.  If one remains in the system by accepting and using the coinage in exchange for goods and labor, they remain a slave to the empire and all of the money bearing his mark which they have accumulated belongs to Caesar.

Today, some 2000 years after Jesus’ words, most of the western world lives in a system where not only does the modern day Caesar lay claim to their money via a mark, but also their future output by means of debts which are incurred as a necessity in the face of the declining real world value of the Imperial coinage in trade.

And yet it is only money, nothing more.  Jesus stresses both private property rights and God’s divine sovereignty over all when He continues, “and to God what is God’s.” implying that everything is God’s while recognizing the right for Caesar to lay claim to all Imperial coinage via the mark.

This brings us to the second passage which we will examine as we continue our eschatological dabbling into what to expect in the monetary realm as the world comes to an end.

Albrecht Dürer, The Revelation of St John: The Four Riders of the Apocalypse, 1497-98, Woodcut
The Revelation of St John: The Four Riders of the Apocalypse, 1497-98, by Albrecht Dürer, Woodcut

The second passage relates to us a portion of the vision given to the Apostle John as he was exiled on the Isle of Patmos in the Aegean Sea circa 95 AD.

The passage, Revelation 13:14-18, is a source of widespread discontent amongst Christians who are paying attention as it warns of a time when all people on the earth will be forced to make a permanent choice between accepting the “mark of the beast” and “buying and selling.”

The discontent stems from the perception that one will be forced to accept the mark, and as a consequence presumably be forever estranged from Jesus, to be able to put bread on the table for themselves and their families.  On the surface, this discontent is completely understandable.

Yet in light of the coming rapture of the Church, it is also completely unfounded for the true believer.  Allow us to explain.

At the Mint, we are of the opinion that Jesus will rapture us (those who have accepted Jesus as their savior) before the inhabitants of the earth are faced with this fateful decision.  This opinion is based on the parallels between the rapture and Jewish wedding traditions, where the bride (the Church of Christ) is swept away for seven days.

The parallel is that Jesus will come to sweep us away and hide us in his house (heaven) for the seven years of the tribulation which were revealed to John in his vision.  This interpretation is supported by everything else that Jesus said about the end of the world.

While nobody knows exactly when Jesus will come, it is reasonable to expect that He will return around the time of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  The first coming of the Messiah, Jesus, was the culmination of the Jewish Passover which occurs in the springtime.  It could logically follow that the second coming of Jesus would occur during the harvest time around the Feast of Trumpets.  Though we do not know the time of Jesus’ return, we will know the season.

If you, too, would like to share this joyful fate, we encourage you to choose today to trust Jesus.  At this point, you may stop reading and begin a life of praise and service to God.

In the unfortunate event that one chooses to decline God’s loving invitation and finds themselves on the earth when humanity is faced with the ultimatum to either accept the mark of the beast or to be denied access to a perceived economic necessity, namely, “buying and selling,” please read on, for there will still be time to choose eternal life with God, but it will involve a seemingly difficult decision.

There is no shortage of speculation as to what form this “mark of the beast” will take, ranging from barcode tattoos, implanted microchips, and even the choice to worship on Sunday.  Here we do not wish to add to the speculation.

Rather than focus on the substance which the mark will take, it is more important to focus on what it will mean, for at the time of the ultimatum, the choice they are being asked to make will be subtle and at the same time, crystal clear for all of mankind.

God’s enemy, satan, desires to occupy the place of God in people’s lives and the obligation to worship an image and accept a mark will be his final, desperate attempt to obtain all human worship for himself through a final deception.

It is clear that this desperate attempt will fail, yet that even some of those who are following Jesus may be led astray.  For this reason, it is important for all to be aware of the choice which is being presented.

The acceptance or denial of the mark will be a choice that all those on earth will be forced to make and it appears to be the final watershed event in human history.  The choice for those living at that time will be clear to them and the consequences eternal.

The choice is the following:  Will you accept the mark and throw your lot in with the world which you can see or will you deny the mark and throw your lot in with the unseen God, and as a consequence subject yourself and your family to being ostracized from the world system to face hunger, persecution, and torture?

Denying the mark will likely be similar to losing title to all of one’s assets and loss of access to the banking system.

In other words, it would mean being shut out of the system.

The choice that each person makes at that time will then be clear for all to see.  It will symbolize either entitlement to goods, services, and protection in the world system or being cast out of it to wander the earth as Cain did.

Those who desire to throw their lot in with God at that time are then presented with the some very important questions here and now:  How long can you and your family survive without access to your assets or the banking system?  Is it worth it to resist the mark and live as wanderers?  Won’t God understand if I take the mark and forgive even this transgression?

To the first two questions, only you can provide the answers.  The Bible is clear as to the answer to the third question, and from what we read in Revelation 14:9-12, it appears that the answer is no.

So, then, the true believer is left to prepare to live outside of the system until Jesus comes for them, to keep their lamp lit until the groom comes, as it were.

But for how long?  That, fellow taxpayer, is the exciting part, and it will have to wait until tomorrow.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for April 10, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.69

Oil Price per Barrel:  $100.90

Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.34

10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.99%

FED Target Rate:  0.16%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,660

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25% AWAY WE GO!

Unemployment Rate:  8.2%

Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.4%

Dow Jones Industrial Average: 12,716

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,299,000,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $9,823,900,000,000