THE PROPHETIC TIMES AND THEIR EPACTS.
PROPHECY, which occupies about a third of the Bible, threw its light beforehand, as we have seen, on all the events of importance which were to befall the typical and the antitypical Israels, and the empires, nations, and powers with which in the course of their long earthly histories they were to be brought more especially into contact. One large group ot prophecies range themselves around the rise of the Jewish people, and a similar group clusters around its fall. The majority of these sacred predictions have in them, no chronological element, but in several, statements of time are embodied. The predictions we have now to pass in review, are the chronological prophecies, delivered about the time of the fall of the Jewish nation, by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel Some of these prophecies are literal, and some symbolic. In the literal predictions, the chronological statements are made in plain terms, while in the symbolic, they are expressed on the year-day system, in harmony with the nature of the prophecy. The former generally relate to events near at hand, and were given for the benefit of the generation which received them, or of the immediately succeeding generations, while the latter foretell a remote future, and were given, less for the benefit of the men of that age, than for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come:
To the prophet who was privileged to receive these wonderful Divine revelations of the future, and to behold in vision mystic symbols of events to take place in the time of the end, it was said concerning them, "Thou, 0 Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end;" and to others, as well as to this greatest of all chronological prophets, "it was revealed, that not unto themselves but unto us, they did minister" in their prophecies concerning the "sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow." These mystic revelations were not designed to be fully understood until after the lapse of ages, when the fulfilment of a portion should have thrown light on the meaning of the remainder, hence they were given in symbolic language, and their chronology expressed on the year-day system.
In this second class of prophecies are comprised Daniel’s predictions as to the duration of the restored Jewish polity after the Babylonish captivity; the period to elapse before the advent and death of Messiah the prince, and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, the rejection of the Jewish people, and desolation of their Sanctuary; the long course of the times of the Gentiles, with the events marking the close of that great dispensation; the resurrection of the dead; and the final blessedness of the righteous.
Thus, from the time of the prophet Daniel, right on over the first and second advents of Christ, and over all the intervening events, these far-reaching and majestic prophecies throw their Divine light, showing both the close of the Jewish economy, and the end of the Christian dispensation, and fixing beforehand, in mystic terms, the chronological limits of both.
They were not given for the wicked to understand, but for "the wise" to ponder in their hearts, and at the time of the end, when knowledge should be increased, to comprehend with ever growing clearness.
The predictions of the first, or literal class, which we shall have to consider are, -
1. That recorded in #Is 7:8; the "sixty and five years" foretold by the prophet, as to end in the cutting off of Israel’s national existence by their Assyrian conquerors.
2. That given in #Jer 25:2; and #Jer 29:10; the "seventy years" twice predicted as the predetermined duration of that Babylonish captivity which was sent upon Judah as a punishment for sin.
The "thousand years" of the millennial reign of Christ. #Rev 20
Those of the second, or symbolic class, which must pass under our review, are, -
1. The "seventy weeks," or 490 years, foretold by Daniel as the interval destined to elapse between the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the advent and atoning work of the Messiah. #Dan 9.
2. The 2300 years, similarly predicted as the long extended period which would elapse before the final cleansing of the Sanctuary. #Dan 8.
3. The 1260 years predicted domination of the little horn, which is the assigned duration of other events also. This period is the base of several others. It is a half week; "time times and a half" so we must consider the week of which it is half, the "seven times" or 2520 years of Gentile dominion and it receives in Dan. xii. two additions, of 30 and 45 years, so it must be studied both alone, and with its addenda, i.e., as 1290 and 1335 years. It is indeed the most important of these symbolic periods, and will repay the fullest investigation.
The periods we have to consider are therefore the following
65 years. #Isa 7:8.
70 #Jer 25:11.
490 #Dan 9.
2300 #Dan 8.
1260 #Dan 7.
2520 #Dan 9.
1290 #Dan 11.
1000 #Rev 20.
A little consideration will show a variety of beautiful and harmonious relations between these apparently dissimilar and incongruous periods.
They are all proportionate parts of a great week of millenaries, and fit into each other, and into a framework of 7000 years, in a way that proves almost to demonstration, that they were designed so to do.
The 70 years pf the Captivity may be regarded as a day; the 490 years of the restoration is then a week of such days; the 1260 years of the dominion of the little horn, is eighteen such days; the 2520 years of the times of the Gentiles is thirty-six such days (a tenth of 360 or a year of such days) and the 2300 years to the cleansing of the Sanctuary is a third of the Whole period, the nearest third of seven millenaries, possible in centuries.
Of all these periods the root is evidently the week of years, the seven years which, under the Levitical economy, extended from one sabbatic year to another.
The 70 years during which the Babylonish Captivity was appointed to endure, were 10 such weeks, and the 490 years of the restored Judaism . The little horn was to reign 180 such weeks, and the "Times of the Gentiles" to extend over 360, or an entire year of such weeks, while the whole period of seven millenaries contains 1000 such weeks.
It must be remembered also that the Jubilee period established under the law of Moses, was seven such weeks, or 49 years; so that the period of restored Judaism to the time of Messiah the Prince, was a tenfold Jubilee, or 490 years.
It should further be noted, that the two principal of these periods, the 2520 years, and the 2300 years, relate respectively the one to the THRONE, and the other to the SANCTUARY; the first embracing the whole period of Gentile rule, from the conquest of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar to the establishment of the kingdom of Christ, the true son of David; and the other extending from the time of the Medo-Persian kingdoms to the final cleansing of the Sanctuary, when Jerusalem ceases to be trodden down of the Gentiles, the Times of the Gentiles being fulfilled. The one is thus civil, and the other sacred, in character.
Harmonious and deeply significant mutual relations subsist therefore among these periods, and between them and the legal and ceremonial times established under the Mosaic economy. It remains to show that they are connected also with other periods of Jewish history, and that though they are not all soli-lunar cycles, they form a series of septiform soli-lunar periods, and that, of so marked and accurate character, as to preclude all thought of accidental coincidence, and to declare with unmistakable clearness the Creator’s plan.
We proceed to consider them in detail.
THE SIXTY-FIVE YEARS OF #ISA 7:8.
Chronological prophecy has always been given, not for seasons of prosperity, but for seasons of trouble and adversity: for nearly a thousand years, -ever since the prediction of Israel’s forty years’ wandering in the wilderness, it had been discontinued in Israel, when it was renewed shortly before the first captivity of the ten tribes, and continued at intervals during two centuries, up to the time of the last of Daniel’s visions, and the restoration of Judah from Babylon.
In the year of the death of Uzziah, -the profane and presumptuous monarch who intruded into the Holiest, and was struck with leprosy in consequence, -there was granted to Isaiah the prophet a vision of the God of glory; a vision of Christ the Lord, enthroned in heaven and adored, as the thrice Holy One, by the Seraphim.
The pollution and approaching rejection and desolation of Israel were also shown to him, and the future restoration of a remnant. This vision was immediately prior to the commencement of the "Times of the Gentiles," for it was given in the year of Uzziah’s death; and early in the reign of his grandson Ahaz, there was revealed to Isaiah the exact measures of the brief period that should elapse, before the commencement of the Captivity of Israel; "within sixty and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people" (#Isa 7:8).
Called to his sacred office, and cleansed for it by a live coal from the altar applied to his lips, at this solemnly momentous crisis in the history of Israel, on the very verge of their incipient rejection by God, as his people, Isaiah was constituted the evangelical prophet.
He was commissioned to unfold the rejection and death of Messiah, the call of the Gentiles, and the final restoration of Israel. Through him, living as he did just before their incipient commencement, was revealed the general nature of the "Times of the Gentiles;" while to Daniel, living at their full commencement about a hundred and fifty years later, was revealed their duration, together with a multitude of important events, destined to take place during their course.
This first of the Captivity series of chronologic prophecies foretold the overthrow of the ten tribes only.
It dates from a well-marked epoch; a certain confederacy of the king of Syria, with Pekah king of Israel, and their joint invasion of Judah (B.C. 741).
This attack of the hostile allies, struck terror into the heart of Ahaz king of Judah, and into the hearts of his people; "their hearts were moved as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind" (#Isa 7:2); and it was then that Isaiah the prophet was sent, to announce to the trembling king of Judah, as a message from Jehovah, the approaching downfall of one of his enemies. " Within sixty and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people."
This prediction received its fulfilment, in two stages. Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, came up against Samaria in the reign of Hoshea (B.C. 723) and after a siege of three years, took the city, carried Israel away into Assyria, placed them in Halah and Tabor and other cities, and located colonies of Assyrians in the cities of Samaria, in their room. Subsequently, in 676 B.C., Esarhaddon the son of Sennacherib completed the work thus begun-carried away the remaining Israelites, replacing them by fresh parties of Assyrian colonists (from whom the Samaritans, with whom "the Jews have no dealings," sprung), and completing the destruction of Ephraim.
This period of sixty-five years stands chronologically thus, -
B.C. 741.SIXTY-FIVE YEARS TO EPHRAIM’S FALL B.C. 676.
It comprised the period of the fall of the ten tribes, as distinguished from that of Judah; and its close synchronized with the commencement of Judah’s captivities. It formed the gateway, so to speak, of the great seven times of Jewish desolation, for this completion of the judgment on the ten tribes, was quickly followed by the Babylonish captivity, and the total subjection of the entire Jewish nation to Gentile rule.
Now this period of sixty-five years, is not a soli-lunar cycle, but the solar gain on the lunar year during its course, is a septiform period, seven hundred and seven days.
By the mouth of Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, the Lord foretold a seventy years’ captivity in Babylon, as the punishment shortly to overtake JUDAH for their long-continued sins of idolatry and obstinate rebellion against God. (#Jer 25:8-12.)
Unlike the judgment denounced against the ten tribes, to which no promise of speedy restoration was attached, a return to their own land was distinctly promised to Judah, at the expiration of this seventy years.
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon SEVENTY YEARS. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished; that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations" (#Jer 25:8-12).
Towards the close of the captivity thus foretold, Daniel says, "In the first year of Darius . . . I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that lie would accomplish SEVENTY YEARS in the desolations of Jerusalem."
Now this period of seventy years, is a remarkable one in many ways. It extends from the first destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (#2Ki 24:10; and #Jer 25:1), to the Edict of Cyrus for the return of the Jews, and the rebuilding of the temple (#Ezra 1:2), that is to say, from B.C. 605 to the end of B.C. 536.
Its relation to the entire course of the history of the Babylonian Empire, and its chronological position in that history, must first be noted. The duration of that empire, dating from the era of Nabonassar (which is its own era), to the capture of Babylon by Cyrus, which preceded the restoration of the Jews, was 210 years; from B.C. 747 to B.C. 538.
Now 210 years, is three times seventy years; and the seventy years during which the captive Jews hung their harps upon the willows, and sat down and wept by the rivers of Babylon, almost exactly coincided with the closing third of the existence of the empire. In the year B.C. 538, Babylon fell, Darius the Median took the kingdom (#Dan 5:3), and the great Medo-Persian Empire succeeded the Babylonian.
This period of 210 years, is also seven prophetic months (30 x 7 210) 50 that the typical Babylon lasted seven such months, and the antitypical Babylon is twice over in the Apocalypse said to last six times seven-forty and two-such months. This is the period during which the symbolic holy city and temple court, are trodden under foot (#Rev 11:2) and the period of the Beast (#Rev 13).
Seventy years was the life-time of the great king and sweet Psalmist of Israel, "David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years" (#1Sa 5:4). Moses the man of God, declares it to be the normal measure of human life, "The days of our years are threescore years and ten;" and it is, as we have seen, the day of which other prophetic periods are multiples.
It is also ten times the sabbatic week of years, and indeed the Captivity may be regarded as a larger form of that week, during which the land, as God by Moses had threatened it should do, lay desolate and enjoyed its Sabbaths.
Now this period, is astronomically, a soli-lunar cycle, in which the solar year gains on the calendar lunar year of 360 days, one entire year.
THE SEVENTY WEEKS OF #DAN 11.
When the seventy years of the Babylonish Captivity were nearly over, Daniel, "understanding by books" (the books of the prophet Jeremiah) that they must be well-nigh ended, gave himself to earnest supplication for his people, and about the city and Sanctuary, which, after a life-time of honourable exile, were still dear to his heart.
As David, when God had revealed to him his purposes of grace respecting his seed, cried, "0 Lord God, the word that Thou hast spoken, establish it for ever, and do as Thou hast said!" so Daniel, when he understood God’s intention quickly to terminate the long captivity of the Jews, began to pray for the accomplishment of his purpose. What a lesson, that a knowledge of the purposes of God, so far from leading to a fatalistic carelessness about their accomplishment, should lead to earnest, believing, hopeful, supplication!
"Cause Thy face to shine upon Thy sanctuary! Behold the city that is called by Thy name! Defer not, O my God!" so pleaded this "man greatly beloved," this devout and intelligent student of prophecy, who became in his turn a prophet, and we may say, the prince of prophets.
While he was speaking in prayer, the answer was given. Gabriel was sent forth, commissioned to give him further understanding of the counsels of God, about the city and temple of Jerusalem, and the future fortunes of the Jewish nation.
Daniel’s mind was full of the just expiring period of seventy years. Gabriel revealed to him, as determined by God, a new period of "seventy weeks." "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. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut oft; but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 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, and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it desolate [or, upon the battlements shall be the idols of the desolator], even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate"[or, desolator]. -#Dan 9:24-27.
From the then approaching command to restore and to build again Jerusalem, to the coming of Messiah the Prince, -that grand goal of all Jewish expectations, -was to be "seventy weeks." The event proved they were to be weeks of years, not of days; the interval was to be a great week of Captivity periods, a week each of whose days should equal the seventy years of the Babylonish Captivity in duration. This had consisted of seventy solar years; the new period was to include seventy Sabbatic years, 490 years. The reason why the chronology of this prediction is expressed in symbolic language, though all the rest is literal, is obvious.
It was needful so to word the prophecy, as to leave the Jews free to receive or reject Messiah when He should come, for He was not to be imposed on them against their will. His coming was to be a test: "It may be they will reverence my Son." Had the interval to the Advent been in the prophecy clearly defined as 490 years, Israel would not have been left free to say, as they alas! did, "We will not have this. man to reign over. us." "He came unto his own, and his own received Him not," Messiah was, as predicted, cut off, which would hardly have been possible had the date of his appearance been beyond dispute. It was essential that the form of the prediction should not compel a recognition of Jesus of Nazareth: hence the adoption of language which time alone could interpret. A term of ambiguous meaning, though suggesting common weeks, was employed, and yet the larger reckoning was not by it excluded. On the contrary, it was the basis of the expectation of Messiah’s immediate advent, so prevalent in Jerusalem when He did appear.
What then is this great period of four hundred and ninety years?
In reply, let it first be noted that it was no new period in the history of Israel. It was their jubilee of forty-nine years on a larger scale, a tenfold jubilee measure; and by it, previous chapters in their history had been regulated. It may be said indeed to be the peculiar period of the seed of Abram. The first stage of Jewish history from Abraham to the entrance into Canaan in the days of Joshua, is similarly a tenfold jubilee, a "seventy weeks," an interval of about 490 years. This was before actual jubilee reckoning began, for that was ordained to be from the time "when ye be come into your land." From Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, B.C. 1585-6, to the commencement of the Jewish kingdom under Saul (B.C. 1096), was also, as far as can be ascertained, ten jubilees, or seventy weeks, that is 490 years, the period of the Judges, and of the prophet Samuel ;- the Theocracy of Israel.
From the accession of Saul, the first king (B.C. 1096), to the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, in the days of the last king (B.C. 606), there elapsed ten jubilees more, another seventy weeks, or 490 years, the period of independent Jewish monarchy. So that the seventy weeks from the restoration to Messiah the Prince, was the fourth in a series of such periods, extending back to the days of Abraham, just as the seventy years of the Captivity was the third in a series of such periods, dating from the era of Babylon, the era of Nabonassar. God had employed both periods, before He announced either. This great period of 490 years is the connecting link between Old and New Testament times. Its closing portion was the period of the Advent, the atoning death, and the world redeeming work of the Son of God.
The soli-lunar measures of four hundred and ninety years are as follows: they contain twenty-five lunar cycles; and the solar gain on the lunar year in these twenty-five cycles, is twice seven lunar years and seven months.
There is a slight fractional remainder in years, the epact of which, added to that of the twenty- five lunar cycles, makes the epact of the whole 490 years, twice seven solar years and seven months, with a fractional remainder of about eight days, calculating by the true lunar and solar years. But calculating by the Julian solar, and calendar lunar years, the epact or difference is seven calendar lunar years and seven weeks, without remainder.
We may add, that in 490 years, the equinoxes retrograde seven days. Their annual retrogression is 20 m. 20 s., which amounts to seven days (within about two hours) in the" seventy.
THE "TIME TIMES AND A HALF," OR 1260 YEARS. #Dan 7:25.
This is the next link in the chain of chronological prophecy. The period is mentioned, under different names, seven tunes in Scripture-in two chapters of Daniel, and three of Revelation.
It is the duration assigned to,
1.The domination of the little horn over the saints . . . . . . . . .#Dan 7.
2. The closing period of Jewish dispersion . . . . . . . . . . . . ..#Dan 8.
3. The sojourn of the woman in the wilderness . . . . . . . . . . . .#Rev 12.
4. The same, her flight from the serpent . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..#Rev 12.
5. The treading under foot of the Holy City. . . . . . . . . . . . ..#Rev 11.
6. The prophesying of the two witnesses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .#Rev 11.
7. The duration of "the Beast," or 8th head of the Roman Empire . . .#Rev 13.
It is of course evident that 1260 days are the same period as forty and two months (30 X 42
1260), and that forty and two months are the same period as three years and a half (42 ÷ 12 = 3) and that therefore, on the year-day principle, this seven times mentioned interval, is one of 1260 literal years; half of the great week of "seven times," or 2520 years, which measures the Gentile dispensation.
It is primarily the period of the dominion of the little horn of the fourth beast of Daniel’s vision. That beast as we know symbolised the Roman Empire; and the little horn which had eyes and a mouth speaking great things, and which persecuted and wore out the saints of the Most High, represents a power which was to arise in the latter days of that empire, which would be like the other horns a civil and political power, and unlike them, at the same time, a religious power- unquestionably the Roman Papal dynasty.
The second symbol, to which the same period is attached is, as we have seen, the persecuting blasphemous eighth head of the Roman Beast, described in Revelation xiii. We have already shown that these represent one and the same power. They both rise in the latter stage of the Empire; they both speak great words against the Most High; they both wage war against the saints and overcome them; and they both endure for this period. There cannot be two such powers, in the same days of the same Empire; therefore these passages refer to the same power-the Papacy.
In #Rev 13, a mysterious number is attached to this power, as "the number of his name," and special attention is called to it. "Here is wisdom, let him that hath understanding count the number of the Beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is sir hundred, threescore, and six." A trine of sixes, -666.
Now in the Apocalypse especially, the number seven, is, as elsewhere throughout Scripture, prominent as the sacred number of perfection and completeness. The contents of the book which it represents as opened by the Lamb, is contained under seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials- a trine of sevens.
It is in this book that the number of the Beast is thus presented as a trine of sixes, and the contrast, as well as the intrinsic meaning of the numeral, intimates, that whatever else it may be, it is a perfect number of imperfection, or rather a number denoting perfect imperfection.
As this is the number of the Beast, we may expect to find it in various shapes in the chronology of the Beast, and in that of his most conspicuous Old Testament types. And it is there; a fact which has never before, we believe, been noted, but which is surely full of solemn importance. God has, -in secret cipher, -engraven this stigma, this mark of reprobation, on the very brow of the period of the self-exalting, blaspheming, saint-persecuting, power; and He has besides, in order that we may not fail to note the contrast, set it in the midst of a series of periods, whose septiform measures, bring out its peculiar and evil character.
There is nothing whatever sacred or septiform about this period, nothing sabbatic, nothing suggestive of rest, or worship, or liberty, as in the sevenfold sabbatic and jubilee series. Like some sounds in music, it is a discord, not a harmony; a symbol of what is imperfect and evil.
1. Twelve hundred and sixty years is, first, as we have seen, eighteen of the 70-years cycle. It is 6 plus 6 plus 6 such cycles.
2. And when we examine its lunar cycle measures we find that they similarly present a trine of sixes, for it is- 66 lunar cycles +6 years. (60 cycles plus 6 cycles plus 6 years).
Further; in the lunar cycles of this period, the sun’s gain is 66 weeks of months, and in the 6 years remainder it is 66 days. Sixfold throughout! a clear link of connection between the number of the Beast and his period.
3. The dominion of the typical ancient Babylon over the typical Israel, lasted, as Clinton shows in his Chronology, accurately 66 solar years, for the remaining years of the Captivity were under the Medo-Persian power. The dominion of the antitypical modern Babylon, over the antitypical Israel—over captive Christendom-endures for 66 lunar cycles, and 6 years.
Another link between the number and the period of the Beast dependent on great, and apparent utterly disconnected facts, in the realms of history and astronomy.
4.It has been well said, that "history is prophecy," for all history has a tendency to repeat itself. But the saying is, peculiarly true of Old Testament history. As Paul says of various incidents in the experience of Israel, "All these things happened unto them for ensamples (tupoi, types), and are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (#1Cor 10:2).
The literal Babylon was, as we have seen, a type of the spiritual Babylon-the Church of Rome; and the great king of Babylon, the destroyer of the holy city and temple, the captor of the children of Judah, who set up a golden image of himself 60 cubits high and 6 broad on the plains of Dura, and commanded all peoples nations and languages to fall down and worship it, and cast into a burning fiery furnace the faithful witnesses who refused-Nebuchadnezzar, who was a very incarnation of human pride, is a marvellous type of that Papal dynasty which is symbolised by the "little horn," and by "the beast." The Pope is the self-exalting monarch of the modern Babylon, who on a far wider scale commands all nations, and people, and languages, to bow down and adore him, and condemned to the flames the saints of the Most High, who refused compliance. The type- portrait is too like to be mistaken; it has had but one antitype, the man who sits in the temple of God, showing himself as a God on earth, and claiming the infallibility of Deity. We ask then what was the period of this remarkably typical monarch, Nebuchadnezzar?
Josephus tells us it was forty-three years, and the famous astronomical canon of Ptolemy confirms the statement; as Clinton says, "The reign of Nebuchadnezzar is forty-three years, in all the copies of the canon of Ptolemy, and that number of years is also assigned to his reign by Berosus."
Applying the same standard as before, we look eagerly to see what are the soli-lunar measures of this singularly typical reign, and again .the fatal trinity of sixes meets our view! The soli- lunar gain or epact in forty-three years is sixty-six weeks, and six days. 66 weeks +6 days.
5. In considering the four hundred and ninety years’ period, we observed, that whether regarded as consisting of true solar, or calendar lunar years, it equally afforded septiform results, when measured by soli-lunar epact. The elements of the calculation being different, the results are of course different, but both are septiform.
Similarly, with the period now under consideration, we have this true testimony of two witnesses. The twelve hundred and sixty years, may be taken either as , true solar, or as calendar lunar years, the epact measurement affords in either case, sixfold; not sevenfold, results. Treating them as true solar and lunar years, they are, as we have seen, 66 lunar cycles and 6 years. Treating them as prophetic, or calendar years, on the other hand, we find the gain of the true solar year in the whole period is 6606 days.
There is a very noteworthy circumstance connected with this last measurement, to which we must direct attention. We have in a previous chapter spoken of the Reformation of the calendar effected by Pope Gregory XIII., A.D. 1582. But for the application to the period in question, of the more accurate measures of the solar year introduced by this Papal reformation of the calendar, the above results would have been hidden from view. The use of the old style Julian years throws them out completely and make the solar gain in the 1260 years 6615 days. This is because the Julian year of 365 days is slightly in excess of the true solar year, and the error accumulates in this period to about ten days.
Now it will be remembered that Gregory XIII. cut off ten days from the year 1582, and commanded Christendom by a special Papal brief to count the 5th of October of that year as the 15th. In this he legislated back for 1260 years, thus changing times and laws for "a time, times, and the dividing of time," in remarkable agreement with the prophecy about the little horn.
This arose in the following way. The first general- or (Ecumenical Council, that of Nice, A.D. 325, had legislated with reference to the time of the observance of Easter. Gregory XIII. assumed this Council as a starting-point; and as the error of the old Julian year, had, in the interval which had elapsed since the Council, thrown the vernal equinox out, by about nine days and a half, he arbitrarily ordained the removal of ten days from the calendar, at the same time that he introduced regulations to avoid irregularities in future.
Gregory XIII. died in A.D. 1585, exactly 1260 years after the Council of Nice, and his reformation of the calendar only came into use three years before his death, and that only in the Catholic countries which accepted it as a matter of course; in Protestant Germany and Switzerland it did not take effect till A.D. 1700, and in England not till A.D. 1752.
It is a singular coincidence, to say the least of it, that this chronological legislation, emanating from the Pope who sanctioned and struck a triumphant medal, in memory 9f the bloody massacre of the Protestants of France, on St. Bartholomew’s day, should have removed from a period of 1260 years (dating from the first General Council following the rise of Imperial Christianity) the accumulated Julian error which concealed its true epact measures, and that he should thus have unintentionally uncovered, as attached to it, one more form of the triple six, so solemnly linking the period with the number of the Beast.
The downfall of the temporal power of the Papacy is the event marking the close of this period of 1260 years, just as the rise of the Papacy marked its beginning; and it is evident that neither of these events happened in a year, or indeed in a century. "Rome was not built in a day," it is commonly said; and assuredly the Roman Catholic Church did not burst full-blown on the world. It rose into power gradually as the old Roman empire decayed and passed away; it had various marked crises of rise, and hence its great period of 1260 years, must have analogous successive termini, earlier and later, exactly as in the case of the Captivity era. The earliest possible conclusion of the period, is the epoch of the Reformation. Up to that time the saints had been delivered into the hand of this persecuting power without exception, and without appeal, or redress. Then, and thenceforward, a very considerable portion of Christendom was delivered from its spiritual and temporal oppression and tyranny. From the Council of Nice to the full end of the Reformation movement may therefore, perhaps, be regarded as an initiatory 1260 years.
The chronological legislation of Gregory XIII., took place at the close of this period, and corrected the error that had accumulated since its commencement. Sixtus V., who died five years after Gregory (A.D. 1590), was "the last pope who rendered himself formidable to European courts." From his time, to the present, Papal power has been passing through its period of decline and fall just as from the fourth to the end of the sixth centuries, the system of the apostasy was gradually rising and developing into the Papacy.
A second and more evident and accurate measurement, is found by dating the 1260 years from the Edict of Justinian, which constituted the Bishop of Rome "Ike head of all the Churches," A.D. 533. This date of the terminus a quo, gives as the terminus ad quem A.D. 1793, the time of the French Revolution, in the course of which, as we have seen, the Pope was carried captive from Rome, and the Papal power received a tremendous shock, from which it never fully rallied.
But the main reckoning of the period is unquestionably between the chronologic limits A.D. 606 and 1866-70, the former being the date at which the title of Pope, or universal bishop, was, by the Emperor Phocas, conferred upon Boniface III., and the latter, that of the overthrow of Austria and France, and the consequent loss of the last vestige of temporal power by Pius ix., when Victor Emmanuel moved his court to the Quirinal, and became sole king of united Italy. Then, and never quite till then, the Papacy, as a temporal power-a horn -ceased to exist. As a religion, it is destined to continue till the second advent of Christ, when the Lord will destroy it "with the brightness of his coming." The Beast is to be cast alive into the lake of fire, and therefore to be still in existence at the Epiphany.
To sum up: 1260 years, the foretold and fulfilled period of Papal domination in Christendom, and of the temporal political. power of the Popes of Rome, has the following remarkable astronomic measures.
1260 years is 6 plus 6 plus 6 soli-lunar 70-year cycles; 1260 years is 66 lunar cycles plus 6 years. 1260 years have 6606 days of epact.
The 43-years type of the period of the Beast-the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, whose image was 60 cubits high and 6 broad, -has 66 weeks +6 days of epact.
This period is then bound by multiplied links to the number of the Beast, 666. And it is thus linked by hidden connections, not obvious ones; by great unobserved soli-lunar cycles, not by months and years of conspicuous recurrence; linked therefore by. the Hand that upholds the stars in their courses, by the Providence that orders all the events of history, and by the Mind that inspired the Apocalypse, and communicated to the man greatly beloved, the secrets of this "time of the end." "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world."
THE TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED YEARS (#Dan 8).
"And out of one of them [i.e., one of the four kingdoms into which the empire of Alexander the Great was divided] came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven: and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the Prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice hy reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, [or to that wonderful numberer], How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the making desolate [margin], to give both the sanctuary and the host to he trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days [or evening-morning], then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be. In the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonder. fully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. . . . Shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days."
In the year 553 B.C., the third year of the reign of Belshazzar, and about fifteen years before his subjugation by Darius the Mede, there was granted to Daniel a third great symbolic vision, that of the ram and the he-goat, affording a fuller glance than the previous one, at the history of the second and third of the four great monarchies.
Given as it was at a time when the Babylonian Empire and Captivity were both rapidly drawing to a close, this vision naturally unfolds God’s providence with regard to Israel and Palestine, under the MEDO-PERSIAN and GRECIAN empires. The symbols shown to Daniel prefigured their history with graphic accuracy: the successive rise of the two horns of the ram, foreshowing the sway of the two dynasties, which were afterwards merged in the great MEDO-PERSIAN monarchy; the le-goat from the west, -with his rapid course, great strength, wide dominion, and notable horn, abruptly broken, in the plenitude of the goat’s power, and replaced by four notable horns, prefiguring to the life the locality of origin, the character, the course of conquest, and subsequent history of the Macedonian or Greek empire of Alexander the Great, as well as its fourfold division consequent on his premature death. In twelve brief years that European monarch overran and subdued all the fairest provinces of Asia; and no sooner had he reached the zenith of power than he died, and his empire, after a period of confusion, was divided (subsequently to the battle of Ipsus), among the four kings, Ptolemy, Seleucus, Lysimachus, and Cassander.
From one of these kingdoms, the prophecy foretells that there would arise in the latter time a little horn which would ultimately wax "exceeding great," greater apparently than the "notable horn" itself which is said to wax only "very great."
This "little horn" is evidently a fellow to the "little horn" of the previous vision, only it rises, not amid the ten kingdoms of the Roman earth, but from one of the four branches of Alexander’s Greek Empire. These four were, the SYRIAN kingdom of the Seleucidae, the MACEDONIAN kingdom of Cassander, the EGYPTIAN kingdom of Ptolemy, and the kingdom of Lysimachus, which included THRACE, BITHYNIA, and other parts of Asia. It was from the kingdom of Ptolemy, as we shall see presently, that this little horn arose. The direction of the early conquests of this singular power, are distinctly given, "toward the south, toward the east, and toward the pleasant land." The main features of his conduct, as described in the vision, are his self-exaltation against the Prince of princes, his persecution of the saints, his taking away the daily sacrifice, and defiling the sanctuary, and his casting down the truth to the ground.
While beholding the vision, Daniel heard the question asked of the "Wonderful Numberer" who made the revelation (apparently the Lord Himself), "How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the making desolate, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?" And it is in answer to this question, that the period we are considering is named.
"UNTO TWO THOUSAND AND THREE HUNDRED DAYS, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."
Now, as this question was asked and answered before the close of the Captivity in Babylon, and when therefore the daily sacrifice and the sanctuary were not in existence, it is clear that this prediction of a second destruction; supposes a prior restoration.
This predicted period of 2300 years, commences, therefore, at some point in the time of the restored national existence, and ritual worship of the Jews, and includes the entire period of their subsequent dispersion, and of the desolation of the sanctuary:
Its earliest possible starting point is the decree of Artaxerxes to restore and build Jerusalem; and, reckoned thus, its opening portion is the "seventy weeks," and its second portion the 1810 years which follow, and end in A.D. 1844, the terminus of so many prophetic times. (We previously mentioned that in this desolation period of 1810 years, the gain of the solar year on the lunar is 666 months.)
An important later starting point is the era of the Seleucid , or the era of the founder of the great Syrian dynasty which included Antiochus Epiphanes, the first of the three powers referred to in the prophecy, as defiling the sanctuary and causing the daily sacrifice to. cease. Reckoned in lunar years from the era of the Seleucid (and it should be remembered that the long Mohammedan period of desolation which it includes is measured by lunar years) it terminates in A.D. 1919-20, Or just 75 years later on, than when reckoned in solar years from the decree of Artaxerxes. Thus reckoned in solar and in lunar years from these two most important starting points, it terminates first at the commencement and then at the close of the last 75 years of the great "seven times" of prophecy.
The question may occur, if this prophecy embrace the whole period from the decree of Artaxerxes to the yet future restoration of Israel, why did the greatest event to take place in the course of those ages, -the first advent and death of Christ, find no place in the revelation? The answer seems to be that the all-important coming and death of Messiah the Prince, and the events immediately subsequent, were to be fully treated in a revelation devoted entirely to themselves. They are similarly passed by in total silence, both in the vision of the four beasts, Chapter vii., and in that of the fourfold image, Chapter ii., though all three prophecies end with the second advent, or its connected events, the restoration of the throne to the seed of David, and the final cleansing of the sanctuary of Israel.
The place of paramount importance in this prediction, is given to the career and actings of an Eastern "little horn;" and our knowledge that the Papacy was the power predicted under the symbol of the Roman or Western "little horn" affords a clue to the meaning of this sister symbol.
The whole range of prophecy presents two, and only two, "little horns;" and the whole range of history presents two, and only two, powers, which exactly answer to the symbols; powers which, small and insignificant at first, gradually acquire empire on the ground of religion, and wax exceeding great by so doing; proudly oppose Christ, and fiercely persecute his people; repress and exterminate his truth; enjoy dominion for many long centuries (during which they tread down Jerusalem, either spiritual or literal), and perish at last under the judgment of God.
The Papacy does not stand out more distinctly as the great Apostasy of the West, than does Mohammedanism as the great parallel Apostasy of the East. The one originated from within the Church, the other from without; but they rose together in the beginning of the seventh century; they have run chronologically similar courses; they have both based their empire on religious pretensions; the one defiled and trampled down the Church, and the other defiled and trod down Jerusalem. In their life, they have been companion evils, and in their death they are not divided; for the one has just expired, politically, and the power of the other is fast expiring.
The Mohammedan power is, we think, unquestionably the main fulfilment of this symbol; but it is almost equally clear that it had a precursive fulfilment, on a smaller scale, in the person and history of ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES. His career accords so closely with almost every feature of the prediction, as to leave little room for doubt that it was intended by the Holy Spirit, as one subject of the prophecy. For seventeen centuries all expositors, Jewish and Christian, held that the prophecy referred to Antiochus. The Books of Maccabees record his career with great detail, and trace in it, as does Josephus, the fulfilment of the predictions of this little horn. But Antiochus never waxed "exceeding great," he never "threw down the place of the sanctuary," though he took away the daily sacrifice; and he lived too near the time when the prophecy was given, to be the full and proper fulfilment of it, seeing it is said of the vision, "it shall be for many days," "at the last end of the indignation." Besides this, the time of the desolation effected by Antiochus, -just three years, -does not in anyways or on any system, correspond with 2300 days; so that we are driven to regard this, as one of those prophecies, which has undoubtedly had a double fulfilment, like #Hos 11:1; or #Psa 72. Antiochus was a precursive little horn, Mohammedanism is the full and proper reality intended by the symbol.
A certain freedom in the construction of terms must be allowed in the case of all such double predictions, because the Holy Spirit, having more than one event in view, and selecting for description mainly those features which are common to both, may also introduce some, peculiar to the one or to the other.
Antiochus Epiphanes, the Romans, and the Mohammedans, have all taken part in accomplishing these predicted desolations of Jerusalem. The first two took away the daily sacrifice, the second cast down the sanctuary, all three have defiled the place of the sanctuary, and trodden it under foot, and by the last two especially have the "mighty and holy people" been "cast down," and "stamped upon," and "destroyed." But as the Roman power cannot be represented as "a little horn" arising out of one of the four kingdoms into which Alexander’s empire was divided (Dan. viii. 9), whereas both Antiochus and Mohammed can, we conclude that they mainly are referred to in the prediction, and especially the latter.
It must be borne in mind that no sooner did the Roman Empire cease to tread down Jerusalem, than the Moslem power began to do so, and has continued to do so to this day. The utmost efforts of Christendom, expended in eight different crusades, failed to drive the Moslem out of the Holy Land; for twelve centuries he has defiled the sanctuary, and stood up against the Prince of princes, casting down the truth to the ground, practising and prospering; but it is written that when this period of 2300 years comes to an end, "he shall be broken without hand," and "then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."
First, then, with reference to the earlier of the two terminations of the 2300 years already named:
B.C. 457 - 2300 years to the cleansing of the Sanctuary, AD. 1844, -
Let it be remembered that all great movements have almost imperceptible commencements, just as great rivers spring from little brooks. Israel’s restoration and the destruction of Mohammedan rule, i.e. "the cleansing of the sanctuary," are not events to be accomplished in a day or in a year, any more than the overthrow of the city and temple and national existence of the Jewish people, was accomplished in a day or in a year. From Ephraim’s earliest down to Judah’s latest captivity, a hundred and sixty-eight years elapsed; and similarly at the restoration, from the first edict of Cyrus to the second of Artaxerxes, ninety-two years elapsed.
We need not marvel then to find that this greater restoration, from this more than thirty times longer dispersion, should apparently be destined to occupy a period of seventy-five years. In the year 1844, for the first time since the days of Mohammed, From that date to the present time, a process of elevation and incipient restoration of Israel has been going on. It has been so quiet, so gradual, so unobtrusive, that few have noticed it; the turn of the tide has taken place, but the current has foot; but what of the two great Powers which 101 eighteen hundred years (with a few brief intervals) have successively trodden her down-Rome, and the various forms of that Mohammedan power, whose present head is Turkey? Rome trod down Jerusalem in the days of Titus, and Turkey holds her down now. "Rome cast her to the ground, and when she was down, Turkey set its foot on her neck. Rome hurled her to the dust, Turkey trampled her in the mire; Rome destroyed God’s temple and ploughed up the sacred site on which it stood, Turkey maintains the Mosque of Omar on that sacred site; and on the holy hill where Abraham offered Isaac, where David offered the oxen of Araunah, where Solomon built his temple, and where the Lord Jesus, the Son of David, cast out all that was unholy, there, by Turkish authority now stands a Mohammedan mosque, and there no Jew is permitted even to set his foot."
But Pagan Rome passed away long since, and Papal Rome is no longer a political power in the earth; the first oppressor is gone, and Turkey, the second, is fast going. "The foot of the sick man is the only one now remaining on the neck of Jerusalem, and the sick man is dying; when he dies, why should not Jerusalem arise and be free?" Every step in the downfall of Turkey, is a step in the direction of the cleansing of the sanctuary, and these steps are in our day succeeding each other rapidly. Since 1821, Turkey has lost Greece and Servia, Moldavia and Wallachia, Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt; and now in the recent war, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Bulgaria. The once mighty Ottoman Empire is in Europe practically extinct. Its power in Asia is also seriously diminished, and notably so in Syria. Aliens, or non Mussulmans, are now allowed to hold landed property in Palestine, and the number of Jews resident in their own land is every year on the increase. Thousands of intelligent Christians visit its shores annually, and the Palestine Exploration has completed a survey of its every square mile. "Thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof." There is every sign, when the present is contrasted with the past, that the time for the complete liberation of Palestine from Moslem tyranny is at hand.
The second starting.-point from which these 2300 years may be dated is the era of the Seleucid , B.C 312. The Seleucid were the race of monarchs (descended from Seleucus Nicator, one of the four notable horns of the he-goat,) from which ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES sprung.
AS THIS ERA OF THE SELEUCID , LONG USED BY THE JEWS THEMSELVES, AND STILL EMPLOYED BY THE NESTORIANS AND OTHER EASTERN NATIONS, IS DATED FROM THE GREAT FOUNDER OF THE DYNASTY OF THE PRECURSORY "LITTLE HORN," it is not an unsuitable point of departure. The period of 2300 years measured from it, and reckoned in lunar years, rules out in A.D. 1919-20, seventy-five years later than its first termination in 1844, and the same year as the main measurement of the Times of the Gentiles, dated from Nebuchadnezzar’s overthrow of Jehoiakim, B.C. 602.
B.C 312, 2300 LUNAR YEARS FROM THE ERA OF THE SELEUCID , A.D. 1919-20.
It remains to show that the soli-lunar measures of 2300 years assign to it a place in the great septiform series of prophetic times.
The sun gains on the moon in this vast period of twenty-three centuries seventy lunar years and seven months.
2520 YEARS, OR "SEVEN TIMES" (#Dan 4).
As we have already considered this period pretty fully (p. 341) as to its distinctive moral characteristics, and as to its historical chronological features (p. 369), we need in this place dwell only on its arithmetical peculiarities and astronomic measures. It is the great dispensational week, the arc of time which spans alike each of the three moral divisions of human history; it is the period of the fourfold image of Gentile rule, which is to introduce the everlasting kingdom of the Son of God. It is the most important of all the prophetic periods, and the oft-repeated 1260 years of the Apostasy, is its second half.
With regard to it we note in the first place, that 2520 is arithmetically a most remarkable number; a number as distinct from all other numbers as the circle is from all other forms. It is not a number that could possibly have been selected by chance, or put inadvertently into the important position it occupies in the prophetic word. Its selection in preference to all other numbers, is an indication of intelligent design which candour cannot fail to recognise. The omniscient God has deliberately passed by all other conceivable numbers, any one of which might have been made the basis of chronologic prophecy, that He might select, to occupy this position, a number which is sui generis, altogether unique, one which stands forth by its very nature as a king among other numbers, conspicuous and paramount. 2520 is the least common multiple of the first ten numbers; in other words, it is the first in the entire series of numbers, that is exactly divisible by all the first ten numerals.
1 is contained in it 2520 times without remainder.
Now ten, be it remembered, is a natural numerical radix, employed in Scripture and in world-wide use, so that the first ten numbers form a complete and fundamental series, and their least common multiple is a great fundamental number in arithmetic.
It is like a complex crystal, capable, from its very nature, of numerous regular divisions, and it is adapted to harmonize in one several series of periods of different orders and magnitudes, in a way that no other conceivable number could do. Is it by chance that this is the number of years of the great "seven times," which is the vertebral column of prophetic chronology?
Further: perfect arithmetically, 2520 years is also perfect astronomically. It contains 132 lunar or Metonic cycles, in which the epact amounts to- seventy-seven lunar years.
Over and above these cycles there is a remainder of twelve years, which raises the epact of the entire period to- seventy-five solar years.
Now, here we are confronted with another startling fact, a fact which it will puzzle the ingenuity of sceptics to account for, a fact which must have been unknown to Daniel, for the state of astronomic science in his day (nearly six centuries B.C.), was such that he could not have been acquainted with it; yet a fact which is absolutely indisputable, and which a very short calculation will demonstrate. In the last chapter of Daniel the angel intimates to the prophet in answer to his chronological inquiries, that while the scattering of the power of the holy people, should terminate at the end of the second half of the 2520 years, yet that there should be additions of thirty and forty-five years, before the era of frill blessedness would arrive. (#Dan. 12:11-13.) In other words, to the long period of 2520 years Scripture adds a brief period of seventy-five years, and as we have just seen, astronomy does the same. The difference between 2520 true lunar and the same number of true solar years is seventy-five years. In other words, the seventy-five years added in the prophecy is exactly equal to the epact of the whole "seven times." If 2520 lunar, and the same number of solar years begin together, the former will run out seventy-five years before the latter. The seventy-five years added to the "Times of the Gentiles" are equal to the epact of that great dispensational period.
Was it by chance that Daniel lit upon these two periods, so widely dissimilar, and which yet bear to each other this remarkable astronomic relation 7 Impossible! as impossible as that he could either have known that 2300 years (Chap. viii.) was a soli-lunar cycle, or that he could have selected by chance the exact number of years in that cycle, as the period of the restored temple and subsequent desolation of the sanctuary. Such coincidences are not the work of chance. Such Bible statements must be accepted with reverential awe, as evidences that the Divine mind which planned the universe, inspired also the sacred Book.
In these added seventy-five years, having this peculiar astronomic character, we see also one of those evidently intentional elements of uncertainty which meet us so frequently in chronologic prophecy. Just as it would be impossible, prior to fulfilment, to say which of several probable eras was the real commencing era of the seventy years captivity, and hence of the "Times of the Gentiles," so it is impossible in this case to decide, whether these added seventy-five years’ are to have an inclusive fulfilment in 2520 solar years, or an added fulfilment, or both. Regarding the 2520 years as lunar, and dating them from 598 B.C, which, as we have seen, is the latest commencement of the "Times of the Gentiles," they terminated AD. 1848, and we are now living in the interval created by the inequality of solar and lunar movements during the lapse of the whole "seven times."
But if the 2520 years be regarded as solar years, and dated from the same commencing era, they do not terminate, as we have seen, until A.D. 1923, and the concluding seventy-five years may possibly be added to that date. But the prophecy implies an end at the beginning of this supplementary seventy-five years; a fuller and more blessed end at the close of their first section-30 years (a month) of years; and the fullest and most blessed terminal point at the close of the supplementary forty-five years; that is, at the close of the whole seventy-five. What mysteries are here indicated who shall say? The full establishment of Messiah’s kingdom on earth may, even after his glorious epiphany, be a work of time. The downfall of the "little horn" seems to be the event presented in the prophecy as marking the first close. No events at all are assigned to the other two chronological points. They are simply indicated, and a character of final blessedness is stamped on the last; but this is all. It is vain to speculate where Scripture affords no clue. "The secret things belong unto God, but the things that are revealed to us and our children."
"TWELVE HUNDRED AND NINETY DAYS" (#Dan 12:1)
We must briefly glance at the two periods of thirty years and forty-five years, by which the main period of 1260 years, the latter half of the "Times of the Gentiles," is lengthened.
The glorious One, who makes this final revelation to Daniel, swears by Him that liveth for ever and ever, that "time, times, and half a time," 1260 years, should bring to an end the scattering of the holy people, and the "wonders" of judgment which had been foretold to the prophet. Daniel, longing to know more, inquires, "O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?" The answer is a refusal at that time to reveal more, or make plainer what had been revealed, coupled with an intimation that in the time of the end the prophecy should be better understood. "Go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." In the meantime he is assured that the blessed sanctifying work of God in individual souls would go on, in spite of national apostasies and the machinations of the Evil One. "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried, but the wicked shall do wickedly; none of the wicked shall understand" (these prophecies apparently), "but the wise shall understand." And then the great Revealer adds one or two further mysterious chronological hints, evidently designed for the guidance of the saints at the time of the end, which show plainly, what the analogy of the Captivity period not indistinctly intimates, that the time of the end, brief as it is when compared with the "time, times, and a half," and very brief when compared with the whole "seven times," is yet a period; and not a point-a course of years, not a crisis; that the full end is to come gradually, not suddenly.
Thus the rising and falling of the waters of the flood were gradual; the enslaving and the redeeming of Abraham’s seed from Egyptian bondage were gradual; the downfall of Jewish monarchy was by stages, and the final expulsion of the Jews from their land was equally gradual and by stages. These closing verses of Daniel prove beyond a doubt that the elevation of Israel, and the introduction of millennial blessedness, will also be gradual, and that marked stages will occur in its course.
"From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days."
The remarkable feature about these two closing chronological statements is, that they name no terminal event; the former does not even suggest any; the latter only implies that its close will introduce the era of blessedness. The emphatic "blessed is he that waiteth and cometh" to it, recalls the "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrections" of #Rev 20; and we may probably assume that the 1335 days is, in the fullest sense, "the end;" to which the Angel alludes in his closing words; "Go thou thy way till the end be, for thou shalt rest (in death), and stand (in resurrection) in thy lot at the end of the days" (i.e., of these 1335 days, or years).
In considering the 1290 years, we note that it passes beyond the limits of the primary period by thirty years, or ONE PROPHETIC MONTH.
As no event marking its close is given, in the prophecy, it is impossible to decide whether it is to be added to the earlier or to the later close of the "seven times," and its second half, the 1260 years of the domination of the Desolator.
Astronomically, thirty years is a soli-lunar cycle in which the solar year and the lunar year agree within a day.
In the whole 1290 years the epact amounts to the septiform period of 2004 weeks, or 14,028 days.
THIRTEEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE DAYS (#Dan 12:12).
Forty-five years more are in ver; 12 added to 1290, making 1335 years, carrying us seventy-five years beyond the termination of the Times of the Gentiles, and introducing the era of full blessedness.
An analogous forty-five years terminated in the inheritance of the typical rest of Canaan. It will be remembered that Caleb, when appealing to Joshua to give him the promised possession, said, "The Lord hath kept me alive these forty and five years, ever since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, and now I am this day fourscore and five years old. Now therefore give me this mountain whereof the Lord spake in that day. And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh, Hebron for an inheritance, and the land had rest from war "(#Josh 14:10-13).
Forty-five years was also a terminal period in the history of the Jewish dispensation. Our Lord’s crucifixion took place in the year A.D. 29, and his ministry began 3 years previously, or in the year A.D. 25; the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus was in the year A.D. 70, forty-five years from the commencement of our Lord’s ministry.
The soli-lunar measures of this brief terminal period are strikingly septiform. During its course the sun gains on the moon seventy weeks, or 490 days.
In the whole period of "1335 days," or years, there are seventy lunar cycles, and five years over. The epact of these five years is 54 to 55 days, from which the slight error of the lunar cycle has to be deducted. In 1335 years this error amounts to nearly a week; the result is, that the solar gain during the whole 1335 years is seventy weeks of mouths, and seven weeks of days.
Measured by the prophetic, or calendar year, the solar gain on the calendar year of 360 days in the 1335 years is a thousand weeks.
TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETY-FIVE YEARS.
These two brief periods of thirty and forty-five years make together 75 years, and are added to the second half of the great "seven times" of prophecy; if we consider them as added to the whole "seven times," or 2520 years, they raise that period to 2595 years.
We may therefore, in closing, glance at the astronomic measures of this period. It contains i 36 lunar cycles, and the solar gain over the lunar year in this period, is seventy-seven solar years.
In other words, this comprehensive period consists of seventy-seven soli-lunar cycles.
There is a remainder of eleven years, which-minus the accumulations of the small error of the lunar cycle-gives an additional septiform solar gain of fourteen weeks, making the epact of the whole accurately seventy-seven solar years, and twice seven weeks.
Grouping together the epacts of the prophetic times, we observe among them a striking similarity, and indications of the existence of some underlying law inviting research.
I. EPACTS OF THE PROPHETIC TIMES, AS MEASURED BY TRUE SOLAR AND LUNAR YEARS.
Prophetic TIMES. EPACTS.
45 years Seventy weeks of days.
65 Seven hundred and seven days.
490 Twice seven solar years, and seven months.
1290 Twice seven thousand and four times seven days
(two thousand and four weeks).
1335 Seventy weeks of months, and seven weeks of days.
2300 Seventy lunar years, and seven months.
2520 Seventy-five solar years.
2595 Seventy-seven solar years, and twice seven weeks.
1000 A month of solar years.
1260 Sixty-six weeks of months, and sixty days.
1810 Six hundred and sixty-six months.
II.EPACTS OF THE PROPHETIC TIMES, AS MEASURED BY THE PROPHETIC, OR CALENDAR YEAR OF 360 DAYS.
PROPHETIC TIMES. EPACTS.
70 years One calendar year and one week.
490 Seven calendar years and seven weeks.
1335 A thousand weeks.
2300 Thirty-three solar years.
1000 Twice seven calendar years and seven months.
1260 Thrice six calendar years, and thrice six weeks; or six thousand six hundred and