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Benson commentary on Mark 1:1-3:

The evangelist (Mark) speaks with strict propriety in this sentence ...

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." Mark 1:1 NASB

... for the beginning of the gospel is in the account of John the Baptist, contained in the first paragraph; the gospel itself in the rest of the book. Thus the verse must be considered as being connected with the following, and as signifying that the gospel of Jesus Christ began, according to the prediction of the prophets, see Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1, with the preaching and baptizing of John the Baptist

Through the testimony of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Zechariah, and John the Baptist, himself, God makes it clear that this rugged wilderness preacher, (the last prophet, likened to Elijah), is the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. In my own discernment, a "Messiah", himself, in the same vein as Cyrus the Great, see Isaiah 45:1, although more so, as Cyrus was merely a "temporal" deliverer of God's people. Which brings us to the last part of my question:-

Could John, by way of his own "spiritual" ministry, as the forerunner of the "good news", regarding salvation through Jesus Christ, also be considered as a Prince/Leader, in the same vein as the eternal Redeemer, Jesus Christ, himself. And, consequently, be an indispensable part of the lead up to the eternal Redeemer's ministry, and complete the Messiah the Prince role, at the end of the "69 Weeks (483 lunisolar years)", as portrayed in Daniel 9:25??

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  • Does the everlasting gospel (Rev. 14:6) actually have a beginning in a temporal sense or is it more like an entrance or commencement? Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 13:05
  • 2
    @MikeBorden It is the everlasting gospel from heaven and from Deity. It is prophesied of within Israel. But in its inauguration on earth (and, notice, the 'beginning' is not the birth of Christ, as such) the 'beginning' is the first preparative ministry which prepares the ground of the soul to receive the Christ. It had already 'begun' in the hearts of such as Job and Abraham. But that was not the full declaration and revelation which came with the ministry, first of the Baptist, and then of the Christ, Himself.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 14:15
  • @MikeBorden - Hardly temporal. In the footnotes of the NASB, Ryrie Study Bible, 1978 edition, regarding Rev, 14:6, he calls it:- "God's last call of grace to the world (via the first of three angelic messengers) before the return of Christ in judgement." (brackets mine). Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 14:25
  • @NigelJ - Just saw your comment, as I was in the process of posting my own. I'm not so sure that the two pieces of "Good News" are to be connected. Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 14:36
  • @NigelJ - What I mean is. I'm not so sure that the angelic message given in Revelation should be connected to John the Baptist's/Jesus' time in the 1st Century. Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 14:45

3 Answers 3

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In the opening verses of his gospel account, the evangelist, Mark, quotes twice from the Hebrew scriptures. He quotes, first, from the lesser prophet (Malachi being a 'lesser' than Isaiah, in certain terms) and, first, from the later prophecy (the book of Malachi coming some three hundred years after Isaiah's publication, which had significant precedence).

Thus, Mark draws attention to Malachi by quoting out of sequence to what might have been expected in terms of precedence and significance.

Mark changes one letter of what might have been (it cannot be said categorically) a quotation from the Septuagint, and in so doing he follows Jesus wording in regard to the same prophecy.

Jesus says 'my messenger' (μου) before 'thy face' (σου), who shall prepare 'thy way' (σου) before 'thee' (σου), Matthew 11:10. TR, undisputed.

Thus Jesus (followed by Mark) adds to the revelation of Malachi who states, in Hebrew, 'my messenger' before 'my face'.

Thus God says to the prophet 'my' way before 'my' face and Jesus re-states, with further definition and revelation 'thy' way before 'thy' face.

The Messenger of the Covenant, of whom Malachi prophesies, is the Lord himself. And the Lord himself is sent by Him who says 'I will prepare thy way before thy face' (as re-stated by Jesus of Nazareth and then re-stated by Mark in the introduction to his gospel account).

It becomes clear in the opening verses of Mark that a singular Messenger is being sent who will prepare the way before the Lord himself in an unprecedented manner.

And who may abide the day of his coming ? Malachi 3:2. And who shall stand when he appeareth ? He is like a refiner's fire and like fuller's soap.

There is a burning, and John was, indeed, a burning and a shining light, John 5:35. There is a purging and a cleansing :

Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. [Matthew 3:12 KJV]

The Messiah, when he comes, preceded by a previous messenger, will come with unprecedented force and with unparalleled consequence.

This is the beginning of the gospel.

John comes and faces the hypocrisy and the lethargy. His word sinks deep, and fills to the brim, as the six waterpots were filled at Cana of Galilee, before wine was available at the marriage. As the camels of Abraham's servant drank deeply, before a bride could go forth to Isaac, Genesis 25.

There is a preparatory work as the parable which is above all parables, without understanding of which one will have no knowledge of any parable, plainly declares, Mark 4:13.

The parables of the four states of ground, three of which failed due to lack of preparation, is present in the three synoptic gospel accounts but not in John. For John narrates, in detail, the ministry of John the Baptist, as such. Thus the preparative work of the Baptist's ministry is seen in reality, in John.

John stood, and Jesus appeared. Then Jesus walks by and John yet stands.

In order to follow Jesus, the disciples - first - must heed the ministry (a preparative ministry) of John. Then, he having fulfilled that ministry, Jesus appears.

But to make further progress, the disciples must leave John and follow the disappearing back of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messenger of the Covenant, the Apostle and Hugh Priest of our calling.

John came preaching and said, Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near, Matthew 3:2.

Jesus follows and repeats exactly the same words, Matthew 4:17.

The message is precisely the same, to begin with. There is absolute agreement.

But to make progress in spiritual matters, to follow Jesus unto a real salvation and an inheritance in the world to come and unto an everlasting glory - one must leave the preparatory message of John and, in faith and trust, one must follow the progress of Jesus, all the way to Jerusalem, into persecution and affliction, all the way to Gethsemane, all the way to Golgotha, all the way to the tomb and out again to the Mount and upwards to heaven . . . . . .

For John's ministry of repentance is just the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.


The question is astute. Which comes first ? Are they intertwined ?

This is a matter of one's own experience, I would say. Some are brought up with a little knowledge of the gospel, but perhaps unclearly. For such, they may have to be brought to a necessary understanding of the baptism of repentance, the necessity of being filled with word of a certain kind in order to, later, be able to assimilate the real and extensive word of Christ.

Some have no knowledge of religion at all. They may well begin with John and have a clear path onwards to then be enlightened further as to the gospel in full.

Yes, they sometimes seem to be 'intertwined'.

But they are distinct : preparation and fulfillment. Digging up and planting. Repentance and faith.

Only with time, maturity and experience may an individual look back and see how the Lord has led themselves. In two distinct yet absolutely necessary ways, at times, perhaps, merging but both, in their place, resulting in a deep foundation, never to be moved.

Amen.

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  • Singular messenger indeed, at first, by way of John the Baptist, but there are two ministries nevertheless, as Jesus' ministry follows directly on from John's. Distinct only in that one follows after the other. The message is the same. One preparatory for sure, followed by the "main" event. Also, according to a certain professor, by name of James Tabor, on checking out the "Dead Sea Scrolls", Malachi 3:2 adopts the wrong pronoun, in translation, before "coming". It should be "them" and not "his", which then follows on correctly from 3:1. Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 13:59
  • @OldeEnglish Really? 'The day of them coming'? Is it then also "who shall stand when they appear' and 'they are like fuller's soap'? Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 12:59
  • @MikeBorden - No! Those pronouns I believe are correct and apply to Jesus himself. Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 14:04
  • @Nigel J If possible, could you address the thoughts/question in the OP's last paragraph? As it is, your answer leaves room for interpretation.
    – Nhi
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 0:59
  • @Nhi I have fully answered the question as it was asked in the context of Mark and Malachi. The OP has now edited and introduced an entirely new question regarding Daniel and the seventy weeks. That is an entirely different matter and should be addressed as a new question. Thank you.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 4:08
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Commentaries differ, but I would say that "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" is best understood as a superscription or title that the author gave to his work, which we call the 'Gospel of Mark.' According to the introduction to this Gospel in the NABRE translation:

The opening verse about good news in Mark (Mk 1:1) serves as a title for the entire book. The action begins with the appearance of John the Baptist, a messenger of God attested by scripture. But John points to a mightier one, Jesus, at whose baptism God speaks from heaven, declaring Jesus his Son.

A similar opinion is give in The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, which says:

These words stand as a title indicating the content of the book as a whole. The gospel here [however] is not the book, but the message, the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.

In other words, what we are reading is a book that contains, or may be rightly called. "The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."

So that superscription, which Mark uses to introduce his subject, refers to the entire Gospel. It does not start with Jesus but with John. But as the OP suggests, the Gospel in the sense of the 'Good News' is a larger concept.

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  • Due to having been embroiled in the comments sections, not to mention my daily life, under the other answers here, your own answer, although short, is to the points in question. I just edited, my Q., for the second and hopefully last time, this time with due regard to my last paragraph, in order to make it clear that it is not actually pertaining to another question. I particularly appreciate the last sentence of your answer, but hardly dare to wonder what you truly have in mind. It's hard for me to forget your answer to my "Linked" Q., opposite my "tags" here. It's now an upvote from me. Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 9:24
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The answer to this question hinges on the meaning of the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον for which BDAG gives three meanings:

  1. God's good news to humans as a proclamation
  • (a) [alone] eg, Mark 1:15, 8:35, 10:29, Rom 1:16, 10:16, 11;28, etc
  • (b) in combination with an adjective, eg, "eternal" - Rev 14:6, 2 Cor 11:4, Gal 1:6; with "kingdom" - Matt 4:23, 9:35, 24:14; with "of God" - Mark 1:14, Acts 20:24, etc
  1. details relating to the life and ministry of Jesus, eg, Mark 1:1
  2. a book dealing with the life and teaching of Jesus, a gospel account, eg, Mark 1:1

It is clear that the meaning of εὐαγγέλιον in Mark 1:1 is either #2 or #3 above.

Further, the account of Jesus life and ministry (as we now understand) cannot be complete without saying something of the preparatory ministry of John the Baptist as predicted (and mentioned by the OP) in Isa 40:3 and Mal 3:1.

Dan 9:24-27 Prophecy

The great 70-week prophecy detailed in Dan 9:24-27 contains a prophecy of two distinct princes:

  • "Messiah the Prince" (V25, 26), ie, Jesus Christ
  • prince who is to come who will destroy the city and the sanctuary (V26, ie, the Titus)

The word מָשִׁיחַ (mashiach = anointed one) is used in the OT in several ways:

  1. of the kings of Israel, 1 Sam 24:7, 11, 26:9, 2 Sam 1:14, 16, 19:22, etc
  2. of the high priest of Israel, Lev 4:3, 5, 16
  3. Cyrus, Isa 45:1
  4. The prophesied Messiah (as documented above, ie, Jesus Christ) in Dan 9:25, 26
  5. Patriarchs, Ps 105:15

Now, it is obvious that John the Baptist does not fit any of the above categories and is never referred to a "Messiah" nor "Christ" anywhere in the Bible. Therefore, I do not see a reference to John the Baptist in Dan 9:24-27.

Further, unlike Jesus (Luke 4:18, 19, Acts 4:27, 10:38, Heb 1:9, see also Matt 3:16, 17, Mark 1:10, 11, Luke 3:21, 22, John 1:32), there is no record of any anointing of John the Baptist.

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  • Ok, I know that you and I (me only recently) agree that the terminus a quo for the "70 Weeks" had to have begun on Nisan 1 (April 8 Julian, April 3 Gregorian), of 458 BC, the 7th year of Artaxerxes - Ezra 7:9. If we then march on a full "69 Weeks", 483 astronomically correct years, we must come to the month of Nisan of 26 AD. One more week of 7 astronomically correct years (if the 70th week ran concurrently, which I now believe it did) being added on, making for 490 years, we arrive at April 5 Julian, April 3 Gregorian, Nisan 16 Judean, of 33 AD, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ..tbc Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 4:52
  • ...ctd...The terminus ad quem, therefore, being Jesus Christ's resurrection, in the highly probable year of 33 AD, terminated on Sunday, Nisan 16, which would make the previous Friday, the day of the cross. It all fits perfectly. It boggles my mind that anyone would dispute this. New moon sighting, in confirmation of Nisan 1, March 21 of 33 AD, right on the equinox, is a veritable truth, confirmed by many a theologian. What then of the first half of the 70th Week, from the Spring of 26 AD to the Fall of 29 AD, as Jesus' ministry only lasted for the remaining 3 1/2 years-John the Baptist. Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 5:06
  • @OldeEnglish - not quite - Messiah would be cut off in the middle of the week as Jesus' ministry did not last seven years.
    – Dottard
    Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 11:41
  • Messiah would be cut off in the middle of the week is old news. The word translated to mean "middle", actually means "half" and "end of second half" at that. Check out Rodger C. Young's:- THE THEOLOGICAL PROBLEM PRESENTED BY THE EXACTNESS OF DANIEL'S 70 WEEKS (which I can't seem to paste for some reason on my new computer). Also, I never said that Jesus' ministry lasted 7 years, I said it only lasted 3 1/2 years (Fall of 29 AD to Spring of 33 AD). Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 12:42
  • As it turns out, I had already given you the link for R C. Young's article, in the second paragraph of my answer to Q.83490, where I not only asked the Q. myself but answered also, as did you. See here:- hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/83490/… You actually praised me for changing my belief on the correct starting point for the "70 Weeks" prophecy. I just hadn't figured it all out at that point. Consequently, I would, respectfully, suggest you revisit that Q. & A. Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 18:11

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