Last Updated on : Saturday, October 11, 2014
The Book Unsealed
The Apocalyptic Scheme
CHART No. 4 -- SUPPLEMENTARY.
CHART No. 4, - SUPPLEMENTARY.
which is inserted after the others to give an idea of current anticipations in relation to the historical developments in Israel and among the Gentiles during the past fifty years.
In 1881 a brother published a chart of some of the principal prophetic times, in which he proposed to commence the "seven times" in relation to Israel, in B.C. 623. He said:-
"That seven times equals 2,520 years is proved by the comparison of Rev. 12:6 with verse 14 of the same chapter.
"We begin the times of Israel's down-treading at 623 B.C. because of this being about the date when the answer was given through the prophetess Huldah, as in 2 Kings 22:16, declaring that the commencement of the times of desolation upon Israel were about to begin. In support of this, we have Ezekiel's statement in his first verse, that his prophecy commences in the 30th year. From the second verse we find the year spoken of as the 30th to be the same as the 5th year of King Jehoiachin's captivity, which was 593 B.C. So that, taking the 30 years as the period of the times of Israel's desolation already expired when Ezekiel commences his prophecy, and adding it to 593 B.C., we have 623 B.C. as the commencement of the time. Consequently, Israel's down-treading should terminate about 1897 A.D."
Although it cannot be said that Israel's down-treading has even yet terminated (1920); yet there is this interesting indication of its termination, namely, that in this anticipated 1897 A.D. at Basle there was held the FIRST ZIONIST CONGRESS, which revealed to Israel and to the astonished world the first organic national voice of Israel since the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
THE foregoing exposition, excellent though it be in its main lines, fails, as will at once be seen, in the matter of premature expectations. These have been indulged in by all the Lord's people from the time when the apostles, immediately after his resurrection, asked him: "Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). Dr. Thomas was quite prepared for the possibility that his calculations might prove to be wrong, and said so definitely in Eureka, his exposition of the Apocalypse.
Dr. Thomas estimated that the termination of "The Seven times of the Babylonian Tree" would come in A.D. 1910. Concerning this and some of the other times, a few words may be said in connection with
Dr. Thomas' reckoning of the seven times is from B.C. 610, which he considers to be the first year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign. This gave the termination A.D. 1910. But it is doubtful if the time is to be reckoned from the palmy days of Babylon. The seven times appear to date from the "hewing down" of the tree (Dan. 4:14-16, 23-25, 33-34). If this be the meaning of "the watcher - the holy one," and the hewing down of the tree he taken to represent the Medo-Persian overthrow of Belshazzar in B.C. 542 (Dr. Thomas), then the termination of the seven times must be deferred to A.D. 1978. Other considerations make us hope this may be wrong; but the scripture seems to convey the idea, and therefore it is mentioned.
Again, if the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar be taken as the commencement (though the subject of Dan. 4 does not seem to warrant it), and the date be reckoned as B.C. 586 (Conder, in The Bible and the East - The chronology of the Book of Kings compared with the monuments. Dr. Thomas, in Chron. Heb., has B.C. 592), then we have the termination A.D. 1935. Time will try these forecasts.
With reference to the "evening-morning" period of Dan. 8, or 2,400 years which Dr. Thomas begins B.C. 540 and terminates A.D. 1860, it must be remarked first, that documentary evidence is all in favour of "2,300" as the true reading (see The Christadelphian, 1907, page 158). And, taking this number, some have reckoned from the close of prophecy about B.C. 397 (compare Mic. 3:6, and the date of Malachi - Usher) and thus arrived at A.D. 1903 for the date of "the cleansing of the Sanctuary." The efflux of time has proved this also to be premature.
Taking the 2,400, others have arrived at A.D. 1944 as a termination as illustrated by the following by a brother in The Christadelphian for 1899, page 24 :-
"The question is, seeing the Sanctuary has not been cleansed, when did this period begin? We are told, with respect to this vision (Dan. 8:27), that 'none understood it,' and we can see also in the ninth chapter, verse 2, that Daniel had been trying until the first year of Darius to find it out, and having made the matter the subject of prayer (verses 17-19), the angel Gabriel has sent to give him understanding concerning the matter of the vision (verse 23). Thus must be the vision of 'the evening morning,' for he had not been shown another vision since, and he says (verse 21) that he had seen Gabriel in the vision, a fact which is also stated in chapter 8:16. It is evident, therefore, that the explanation that follows, namely, the 'seventy weeks,' is an elucidation of the 'evening morning' vision, and is a part of it, and not a separate prophecy; and also that being a part of it, it must be the beginning part of it, and, consequently, the 'evening morning' and the 'seventy weeks' begin at the same time."
Thus, as represented on the second line of Chart No. 4, dating from B.C. 456, which all agree is the commencement of the "seventy weeks," the 2,400 expire A.D. 1944.
With regard to the Papal times, and the last three times of Daniel ch. 12 (1,260, 1,290, 1,335) it is evident that 1870 is to be regarded as the terminal date of the fall of the Temporal Power of the Papacy, and it is so celebrated in Italy itself. This gives a starting point for the 1,260 of A.D. 610; and it is noted that in that year the completion of the setting-up of the Papacy was marked by the giving of the Pantheon by Phocas to Boniface IV., and the dedication of the old heathen temple to the new Queen of Heaven and all the gods and goddesses and "saints" of the Papal superstition.
With this adjustment of the Papal 1,260 days, and naturally regarding the 1,290 and 1,335 of Daniel 12 as specifying times with the same starting point, we are brought to A.D. 1900 and 1945 respectively as their terminations.
In A.D. 1900 the FOURTH ZIONIST CONGRESS was held in LONDON and appeared to illustrate the friendliness of Tarshish for the Jews in a world of enemies.
In A.D. 1945 it is hoped by many that they may stand with Daniel in his lot in the kingdom of God.
Some prefer to consider the Moslem as "the Desolator," and to adjust Daniel's times in ch. 12 to Mohammedan rather than to Papal times. The Moslem year is lunar, and about 11 days shorter than the solar year of 365 days. Allowance must be made for this in calculating Moslem dates. A.H. (Anno Hegirae) 1260 = A.D. 1844, "a most marked era in the overthrow of Mohammedan Power." A.H. 1290 = A.D. 1873, followed shortly by the RUSSO-Turkish War of 1877. A.H. 1335 = A.D. 1917, marked by THE TAKING OF JERUSALEM, and the expulsion of the Turks from Palestine.
With regard to the war of "the last 40 years," of which Dr. Thomas speaks on p. 29, it is not certain that Mic. 7:15, and Rev. 14:20 indicate such a time, especially the latter passage. See footnote in Elpis Israel, page 409.
It is very evident that we are in "the time of the end"; and what the Lord himself said in the days of his flesh will doubtless prove true at the last: "In such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh."
"Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments."
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