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The idea prominently sustained throughout the book of Daniel is, as we have seen, one dominion under divers administrations, styled the kingdom of men, or of Babylon, as opposed to the kingdom of Judah, which is Yahweh's. Both these kingdoms have their times, or periods, during which their reigns are unrivalled. The two kingdoms, however, being essentially hostile and destructive of one another, it so happens that when one reigns prosperously, the other must be in adversity, or extinct. This being the case, it is obvious that the prosperity of the two kingdoms must pertain to different and successive ages, and that the practising and prospering of the one is at the expense of the others. Now this is a truth that is self-evident to all acquainted with the history of Judah and the Gentiles, or other nations. From the celebrated Passover in the eighteenth of Josiah's reign to the present time, has been a period of calamity for the Jews; and from the first of Nebuchadnezzar's, which was seventeen years after, to the same epoch, a period of ascendancy and Gentile treading-down for the Babylonian kingdom of men. During this long interval to 1868, of about 2498 years, the stump of the Babylonish Tree, "banded with iron and brass", has continued with its roots in the earth. But when its time shall have passed over it, "the stump of its roots" will be removed; and the times of the reign of the kingdom of God will begin. These continue without change for a thousand years, at the end of which, perfection being attained, the constitution of the kingdom will be altered to meet the improved condition of the world. Thenceforth, all things will be permanent, and generations will cease to come and go. The unrighteous will have been exterminated; and the earth will be inhabited by immortals only, who will have attained to immortality upon the condition of believing heartily what God has promised and taught in His word prophetically and apostolically ministered; and of doing what He there requires to be done. A kingdom having the Invisible One in all for its king; the Anointed One and his brethren for its princes; and the redeemed from among Israel and the nations during the previous thousand years for its nation of immortals, will be our globe's "New Heavens and Earth" that shall never wax old nor vanish away. Its times, therefore, will be interminable, an idea expressed by the phrase, "during the age, and during the age of the ages" (Dan. 7:18
But the times of the kingdom of Babylon cannot be calculated without reference to the times of Judah's adversity. The reason of this is, that when these end, Israel's Commander-in-Chief and his associates at the head of the tribes, begin the work of Babylon's destruction, which they accomplish in the time allotted for the restoration of the kingdom again to Israel. Hence there is a parallelism between Babylon and Judah's times that must not be lost sight of; for Babylon is only a subject of prophecy so far as it is in opposition to the things of the kingdom of God.
Now, the whole number of the times of the continuance of the kingdom of Babylon is seven times; and the whole number of the times at the end of which Judah's subjection to it shall cease, is also seven. The truth of this in relation to Babylon appears from the sign recorded in the fourth chapter of Daniel. There Babylon's dominion is represented by a tree so lofty that it was seen from the end of the earth. But it was revealed to Nebuchadnezzar by what happened to the tree and to himself, that the dominion should not always continue in his family and the city he so proudly boasted of. He was, however, instructed by his seven years' expulsion from the throne, and the kingdom, nevertheless, being assured to him, that though Babylon should cease to be the throne of the dominion, the Babylonish kingdom would exist in the earth for the period signified by the seven times; when it would become apparent to all the nations of the dominion, that "the Heavens do rule".
The seven times during which Nebuchadnezzar herded with the beasts, were the sign-period significative of a longer period than itself; yet containing within itself the elements of the calculation. "A day for a year" is a rule to which all prophetic times are reducible. In seven times, which are less than seven years, we have 2,520 days, which are prophetically equal to the same number of solar years. The end of these is the terminus of the times of the Babylonish kingdom of men, or of the stump of the Babylonian Tree banded with iron and brass; that is, under its Latino-Greek constitution.
Judah and his companions have also seven times allotted to them, before they can obtain deliverance from Babylonish oppression and reproach. This appears from the twenty-sixth chapter of Leviticus and the eighteenth verse, which I render as follows: "If ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will increase to punish you seven times for your sins". This threat is repeated for several times in the same chapter. It cannot mean four distinct punishments of seven years each, or seven punishments. The history of the nation forbids this interpretation: it can therefore only signify that, if they would persist in their transgressions of the law, notwithstanding all the chastisements they experienced while living in Yahweh's sight upon His land, He would bring upon them a punishment of seven prophetic times' duration, or 2,520 years.
But at what national epoch should this 2,520 years of adversity commence? If they began with the end of the kingdom of the Ten Tribes of Israel, the 2,520 years of the scattering without any movement towards restoration would end in A.D. 1823. According to my chronology in Chronikon Hebraikon, the kingdom of Israel was abolished B.C. 697, in the year of the world's age, 3392. The years before Christ deducted from 2520, give the A.D. 1823, the epoch of the Sixth Vial, in which the 1290 of Dan. 12:11 terminated; and in which "that determined" began to be "poured out upon the Desolator" of the land (Dan. 9:27). This would be the ending of the 2520. But, if this be not a calculation upon correct data, then our inquiry is limited to the history of Judah subsequently to the expulsion of the Ten Tribes. After this calamity the remnant of these tribes mingled themselves with Judah; and in their history we find nothing of any note as an epoch but the celebrated Passover in the eighteenth of Josiah's reign. Of this it is written, "There was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet". It was a royal effort to being the nation to repentance, that the threatened chastisement of the Law might be averted, "Notwithstanding, the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah .... And he said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as l have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the temple of which I said, My name shall be there". In seventeen years after this, that is, in the first of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, the dominion of Babylon overshadowed the kingdom of Judah. The seven times had become current. Still in judgment the God of Israel remembers mercy; for He says, "If they shall confess their iniquity... and their uncircumcised hearts be humbled ... Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob; and also my covenants with Isaac and with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land .... And yet for all that they have done, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them; for I am Yahweh, their Elohim".
But the probability of Josiah's passover being an epoch in Judah's Calendar, seems converted into certainty by Ezekiel. He says, "Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year I was among the captives, by the river of Chebar, which was the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity" (Ezek. 1:1,2). In another place he says, "It came to pass in the seven and twentieth year the word of Yahweh came unto me" (Ezek. 29:17). After identifying the thirtieth year with the fifth of Jehoiachin's captivity, he dates the communications he receives from Yahweh by the year of the captivity until the seven and twentieth, which was the sixteenth year after Jerusalem was smitten (Ezek. 33:21). This seems to have been the latest, which was therefore the fifty-second year from the passover. But why did he not continue to date from the passover instead of from the captivity? The reason was evidently because, as the captivity was for 70 years, he preferred to mark its diminution for the encouragement of his brethren, than to note the lapse of time from the Passover, which being the epoch of a long series of ages, was calculated to depress the national mind by reminding it of the remoteness of its deliverance.
The thirtieth year period is thus accounted for. Josiah reigned thirty-one years; and the Passover being in the eighteenth year of his reign, a remainder is left of thirteen years. Jehoahaz, his son, reigned three months. He was succeeded by his brother Jehoiakim, who reigned eleven years. Next was Jehoiachin, who reigned three months and three days; and was then carried off to Babylon, and Zedekiah set up in his place. Here were 29 years, 6 months, and 10 days, inclusive of the fifth of Jehoiachin's captivity, or the thirtieth from the passover, as Ezekiel states; that is, B.C. 598. Seeing, then, that he has made it a point of departure for a calculation of years, upon this basis the 2,520 would end A.D. 1892; for the Great Passover occurred B.C. 628, which, deducted from the period, gives the annus Domini stated for the end.