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self,64 "which compose the age of the great Metallic Image and which form the measure of the sacred Calendar of Prophecy, must have commenced with the birth of the golden head at some point between the years 658 and 646 before Christ.” 65 Reverend Waller also shares this view: “The apex of the image corresponds with the birth of Nebuchadnezzar, as he was the head of gold. It was at this time when the wickedness of the Jews came to the full that the seven times of chastisement with which God by the mouth of his servant Moses threatened to afflict them by the hands of the Gentiles had their commencement.” 66
It is a significant fact that 655-654, the bisecting and prophetic commencing point of the era of Israel's overthrow, is comfortably nestled in the cradle of B. C. 658-646.
From this point, then, we strike forth a term of “seven times,” 2520 years, and the result once more, even as it has been in every other instance, is A. D. 1830.
True, these are prophetic years, amounting as they do to 2484 solar years, but they are none the less scriptural for all that. They are the years that Daniel and John particularly indorsed. Further, it has been discovered that in computing from the central and commanding point of Eras, that prophetic years were invariably employed. This was illustrated in the solution of the seventy weeks; and to preserve this divine pattern of computation we must in this period, also, employ prophetic years.
Whether, then, we take our stand in the valley of A. D. 570, of B. C. 437-436, or of B. C. 655-654, using the telescopic lens respectively provided, that of 1260, 2300 and 2520 years, the range of vision is the same. It reaches to A. D. 1830 but no further.
It is also strikingly significant that the bounds of the first half of the period of seven times, terminates just where the last half, that of the apostasy, begins. From B. C. 655-654 to A. D. 570, the setting up of the Man of Sin, there are just 1260 lunar years. From the same point to A. D. 588, recording the bold assumptions of the patriarch of Constantinople, there are 1260 prophetic years; and to A. D. 607, the formal imperial acknowledgment of the pope's headship over all the churches, there are 1260 solar years.
“Chance work”! do we hear? That is the argument of the ignorant, who, unable or unwilling to accept the mystery of creation and similar divine doings, attribute them, rather, to the ingenuity of a brainless Baal whom they call Chance. "Chance work"! Nonsense! There's no such thing as chance.
There is a cause for everything; and while we might be unable to outwardly discover the underlying supports of a great structure, they are there just the same. Chance is an uncrowned king, an undesirable subject, an evicted tenant, existing nowhere in particular and entertained only by the superstitious and credulous.
Gazing, then, upon the historic proportion of the ages, viewing its architectural detail and admiring its inspirational symmetry measured by the standard of 1260, of 2300, and of 2520, who shall say that this palace of prophecy is the production of chance? And who shall not admire its dome of 1830, towering above the clouds of apostasy, gleaming amidst the beaming rays of fulfilled prophecy?
The period of "seven times" fulfilled, Israel may reasonably expect a reversal of that rigorous chastisement borne in their scattering and persecution for lo, so many years. And that is just what the Scriptures teach us to expect. There will be a regathering of the scattered remnants.
My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. . . . For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.—Ezekiel 34: 6, 11, 12.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.—Isaiah 11: 11, 12.
As stated, it is at this time that the "ensign" of the Lord will be set up, termed elsewhere the standard. (Isaiah 49: 22.) It will reveal the fullness of the everlasting gospel. And when these things shall be brought forth then let all the house of Israel know assuredly that the Lord has begun “his work, his strange work," even a "marvelous work and a wonder.” (Isaiah 28:21; 29: 14.) These things will be treated on hereafter; suffice it to say that 1830 witnessed the accomplishment of all these events.
In this connection it may be well to note the periodicity of sacred history. It recurs in cycles, and 1260 years is that mighty measuring rod reaching from era to era. As just observed, B. C. 721-588 marked the overthrow of Israel's national organization and it was just 1260 years later that their spiritual organization was overturned. The one carried Israel into exile, where the identity of the · ten tribes was lost among the nations, and the other carried the church into the "wilderness" of obscurity. In the former, we see Judah in bondage to Babylon, where with the utter loss of their liberty and former privileges they must remain an allotted time; even so in the latter, Mystery Babylon the Great, exercising "power over all kindreds and tongues and nations” controlled the fortunes of the honest in heart for 1260 years. (Revelation 17:5, 6, 15, 18; 18:3, 13, 14; 13: 7.)
The first records the burning of the temple, that which was built at the Lord's command, and the removal of its sacred vessels to the domains of the enemy. The second registers the destruction of the church and the misappropriation of its ordinances and teachings. Well might King Solomon say,
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.—Ecclesiastes 1: 9.
ERA OF THE BEGINNING OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.
And this periodicity is further emphasized upon noting that the Era of the Beginning of the House of Israel is just 1260 years beyond the era of their overthrow.
The era of their beginning began with the call to Abram, while dwelling in Mesopotamia. It was the first communication that Abram received from the Lord so far as the Bible reveals. Hitherto he dwelt in obscurity. It was given B. C. 1921.
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.—Genesis 12:1-3.
The promise was renewed in B. C. 1917, although not so extensive in point of spiritual blessings as the former. (Genesis 13:14-17.) Again was it partially renewed in B. C. 1913, after Abram, meeting with Melchisedec, priest of the Most High God, received his blessing. (Genesis 15:5.) And once more it was stated when Abram was “ninety years old and nine.” This was in B. C. 1898.
In B. C. 1897 the long-looked for heir arrived. Isaac was born.
It was a centennial jubilee for Abraham, having just reached the age of one hundred, and he “made a great feast." (Genesis 21: 5-8.)
But the Era of the Beginning is not yet complete; one more incident, an exacting one, and the promises are ratified and sealed. Isaac being the Lord's child as well as Abraham's, born miraculously out of due season, this fact must be emphasized on all future posterity, and so the Lord calls for his own. He asks that Abraham shall take his only son Isaac and offer him for a burnt offering. The command was irresistible, it tried to the uttermost, but it had to be obeyed.
The child was bound, laid upon the altar, and was about to be slain when the angel of the Lord restrained. It was enough! Abraham's faith had been tested and found steadfast. It was sufficient to receive the far-reaching blessings, and at once there was a grand renewal and confirmation of all that had been formerly promised.
By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord; for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.—Genesis 22: 16-18.
Now will the promises be fulfilled and the posterity of Abraham become a mighty nation "because thou hast done this thing and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son.” Thus the crucial trial of Abraham's faith was absolutely essential to the fulfillment of the promises.
This was the last promise ever made him, although he lived fifty years thereafter. It was made B. C. 1872.
The Era of the Beginning of the House of Israel is bounded, therefore, on the one side by the call of Abraham, the Lord asking him to give up his country, his kindred, and his father's house; and on the other by a more exacting call, the Lord asking him to give up his only son. That of surrendering his home was the first, and that of surrendering his son was the last. It is the period of the call and the acceptance disclosed in the opening and closing scenes.
This grand Era of Beginning, B. C. 1921-1872, bisected, as all other eras, is focused in the birth of Isaac, B. C. 1897. And what more prominent event could crown an era, emphasizing it as the commencing point in prophetic calculation. In the birth of Isaac we see a budding of those remarkable national blessings pronounced upon the head of Abraham. He was the commencing point. "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," said the Lord repeatedly to Abraham (Genesis 21:18; 12:3), and Isaac was the first of the chosen seed.
He was indeed a type of the church in that he was the only accepted son and was the product of special creation. And the apostle, illustrating the exalted standing of the church, refers to this gracious character: “Now, we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. ... So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.” (Galatians 4:28, 31.)
It is from this year, therefore, B. C. 1897, that Marsh with some propriety affirms that "the Jewish church commences." (Ecclesiastical History, p. 446.)
We are now prepared to "Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and them that worship therein," 07 and the "rod” or "measuring line" noted in the Scriptures of Truth, is that of the forty-two months, the 1260 years. It is a period, not of casual consideration, but of constant and impressive importance. It is mentioned by prophets separated by centuries, and revealed in both the Old and the New Testaments. And, as if to add to its sacredness, it is referred to in seven distinct places, and symbolized by the persecuted personal ministry of our Lord, which lasted some three and a half years—twelve hundred and sixty days.
Occupying, therefore, such an important and prominent place it may properly be considered the measuring rod of the dispensations. Applying, then, this standard of measurement to the great structure of the House of Israel it will be found that reaching from its foundation to its dome of 1830, the distance is exactly three lengths, no more and no less.
From B. C. 1897 forward 1260 prophetic years we are brought to B. C. 655-654, the center of the era of Israel's overthrow. It is also interesting to note that from the occasion of Abram's meeting with Melchisedec and receiving his blessing, which in all prob
67 Revelation 11:1, 2; Zechariah 2:1, 2.