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year.34 And it is from this point, the 7th of Artaxerxes, that the great mass of commentators commence the seventy weeks.35
In computing a number of years from any B. C. point that will reach into A. D. times, one year must be added in order to give us the true result. Thus 4 years from B. C. 2 is fulfilled in A. D. 3. It is worked out thus: 4 minus B. C. 2 equals 2 plus 1 equals A. D. 3; the same in reckoning 490 years from B. C. 457, 490 minus B. C. 457 equals 33 plus 1 equals A. D. 34, the true time of termination.
But what about the prophetic years, those years so repeatedly presented by the prophets? Are they not to be employed in the solution of this prophecy? Bickersteth says: “As the seventy years captivity had a double commencement, so this longer period of 70 weeks appears to have a double commencement." (Practical Guide, p. 179.) Thus, with a double commencement and one common terminus, we may be assured of the correctness of the data.
The point from which we shall reckon the 490 prophetic years will be the central of the whole era covered by "the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem," which as we have learned, extended from B. C. 457 to B. C. 444.
This era is but a term of thirteen years, and is manifestly but one in its purpose and accomplishment. It was a period set apart and devoted to the issuance of commandments and the removal of hindrances whereby Israel might become free and unfettered. The commandment of the 7th of Artaxerxes did not alone accomplish it. True, it was a beginning, and an indispensable beginning, too, but there were later insurmountable obstacles preventing the carrying on of the work at Jerusalem, and which could only be, and were removed by the delivery of further imperial instructions. The commandment of the 7th of Artaxerxes could not achieve the desired results until backed up by the issuance of another in his twentieth year. Both commandments then, were necessary to the accomplishment of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. It is apparent, therefore, that the restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem, the one interesting event looked forward to by Daniel and his fellow-captives, was only accomplished by the combined workings of the two commandments, covering, as they did, a period of 13 years.
It is from this period then, that we will begin our measurement in prophetic years. Computing thus from an era is much more satisfactory than reckoning from an event of a day's or even of a year's dimension. An era is larger, more prominent and conspicuous, covering years, decades, and sometimes centuries in its immensity. Its importance is unquestioned and goes unchallenged, whereas an event confined to an hour, a day, a month, even its very existence in history is competed for by a thousand counter events
** Observations on the Prophecies, pp. 131-168. Warburtonian Lectures, pp. 457, 465, 466. The Even-Tide, pp. 130, 131, vol. 1. Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 262, 263.
Prideaux, Pusey, Elliott, Kett, Campbell, U. Smith, Duncklee, Spanheim, Sir Isaac Newton, Brown.
quite as important and just as big. With eras there is no such competing.
490 Solar yrs.
The point of commencement in an era from whence to reckon a term of years naturally will be its central. It is in accordance with the law of nature that we usually find the vital, germinative force secreted in the central and protected regions. The seed of the apple is in the core. The myriad planets upheld by unfathomable wisdom move upon their axes controlled by an unseen centrifugal force. There is no exception, and the circumference is invariably controlled by the center. In establishing a seat of government it is customary to locate it somewhere near the center of the dominion, not only to insure protection against the invader, but also to extend convenience to the citizen. It is so with these eras of history from whence prophetic periods are to be dated. We shall find their vital, controlling, and governmental point at the center. From thence we commence measurement in prophetic years.
In 490 prophetic years there are 483 solar years.
Beginning now from B. C. 450, the bisecting point of the 457-444 period, we are brought to A. D. 34, the very year of our former finding when using the solar rod of measurement.
Inasmuch, therefore, as 490 solar years, reckoning from 457, brought us to the true time of termination, that of the crucifixion of Christ, the 490 prophetic years, beginning at a different point but bringing us to the same event, must be a true system of interpretation, also.
In the prophecy before us, which, as we have said, is generally regarded as a pattern, the following features stand forth in prominence.
1. That prophetic periods may commence from an era. 2. That prophetic periods run out in solar and prophetic years.
3. That using the prophetic year system of measurement we should reckon from the controlling center of the era.
THE 1260 YEARS FULFILLED IN PROPHETIC YEARS. We are now prepared to entertain a fulfillment of the 1260 years in prophetic years.
We have already considered its fulfillment in solar time, beginning A. D. 570 and ending 1830, and have noted its harmonious expiration in lunar years commencing at A. D. 607. Following now the precedent presented in the 70 weeks, we bisect this 570-607 period and A. D. 588 is the result. From this central point we commence our journey of 1260 prophetic years and again we are brought to A. D. 1830.
Nor are there wanting circumstances within the apostate church marking A. D. 588 as an important epoch. In this very year, John, patriarch of Constantinople, who held extensive influence over the church in the East, assumed to himself the arrogant title of Universal Bishop.36 Upon this Pope Gregory of Rome remonstrated, committing himself in the following remarkable language: “But this the time which Christ himself foretold; the earth is now laid waste and destroyed with the plague and the sword; all things that have been predicted are now accomplished; the king of pride, that is antichrist, is at hand, and what I dread to say, an army of priests is ready to receive him, for they who were chosen to point out to others the way of humility and meekness are themselves now become the slaves of pride and ambition." 37
From this time on the breach widened between the eastern and western divisions of the church until in the eleventh century a complete separation took place.
The similitude existing between ancient and modern Babylon is most striking. Into that ancient empire Israel were carried in consequence of their sins, even as the church merged into the wilderness of Babylon the Great, on account of their transgressions.
So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.-Revelation 17:3, 5.
The first captivity marked the overthrow of Israel, the destruction of their temple, and the complete disorganization of their national existence: even as the church overthrown in apostasy, was completely disorganized.
In the one there was a predicted era of banishment, even that of seventy years, Jeremiah 25:9-11, so in the other the bondage to be endured was to last for an allotted period, 1260 years.
In the former the bondage lasted for the full time. Israel was not liberated a day sooner than the time decreed; and it will not be otherwise in the latter. She must serve her full time.
The captivity of 70 years began in B. C. 606 with the taking of Jerusalem, the carrying away of many of the vessels of the house of the Lord, the removal of great numbers of Israel to Babylon, and the entire subjection of the rest, who became vassals unto Nebuchadnezzar, compelled to pay him tribute.38 Rebelling later, against the conditions imposed, their bondage was intensified when
** Durham's Commentary, p. 432. Dowling's History of Romanism, p. 51. Jones' Church History, p. 167. Waddington's Church History, p. 142. 97 McGavin's The Protestant, vol. 1, p. 721.
Prideaux Connection, vol. 1, p. 99, 100.
Nebuzaradan, captain of the guards to the king of Babylon, “burnt down the house of God and brake down the wall of Jerusalem and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire,” “and all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord" he brought to Babylon, “and them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon.” (2 Chronicles 36:18-20.) All this occurred in B. C. 588.
Thus the scourge of the captivity, beginning in B. C. 606, reached its second and final stage in 588, after a lapse of eighteen years. The commencement of the 70 years, however, dates from 606. And thus it was in the apostasy to Babylon the Great. It began in A. D. 570, but passing on to the next milestone in the course of the apostasy we come to A. D. 588, marked as we have seen by those extraordinary assumptions on the part of the patriarch of Constantinople. In a most prominent way did he represent the eastern wing of the vulture of apostasy, which in time set itself up as an independent body known as the Greek Catholic Church, an organization quite as corrupt and equally as strong as the Roman Catholic Church. And it is singular to note that the developments of 588 occurred, as in the case of typical Babylon, just eighteen years after the apostasy had set in. It was the second section of train No. 570, conveying the funeral cortege of the church to the sepulcher of apostasy.
The full solar year period of 1260 years commences, however, at 570 and the 1260 prophetic years begin at 588. There is no disagreement, for they end together, and 1830 is their terminus. There is but one terminal point to the apostasy, even as the Babylonish bondage, beginning at two points, ended at the same time, B. C. 536. Commentators acknowledge several commencing points to the 1260 years.39
** Rev. Edward Bickersteth: “Thus we have a period for the commencing of the 1260 years. There are two probable commencements.”—Guide to the Prophecies, p. 195.
Rev. J. A. Wylie, LL. D.: “From which of these three epochs are we to date the commencement of the 1260 years? The opinion that there may be
And this similitude is even more intensely marked when we consider that the two Babylons are equidistant from that sacred era covered by the life of our Lord. This era commenced with his immaculate birth and ended with his immaculate sacrifice, the one being as essential as the other.
It extended from A. D. 1 to A. D. 34.
From either end of this period and extending to the nearest borders of Babylon is a period of just 536 years. Or measuring from the center, as we have in other periods, the result is the same, it is equidistant from the borders of Babylon. The rays of liberty emanating from the Sun of Righteousness extend to a circumference of 536 years all around.
Thus it appears that the 1260 years, reckoned from three different epochs, 570, 588 and 607, and computed in the three different systems of time, the solar, the calendar or prophetic, and the lunar, expires in A. D. 1830.
Five Hundred and Seventy, then, must be the year marking the beginning of this fatal era, and 1830 must be the grand terminating point.
What other epoch will produce the same results? Reckon, if we will, from 606-7 in solar years, as is commonly done, and where are the associate years producing a united termination in 1867?
To produce a prophetic and lunar year fulfillment in 1867 we would have to reckon from A. D. 625 and 644. But what are the events of those years signalling them as important? There are absolutely none. Little's Cyclopedia of Classified Dates, an exhaustive work that deals with nearly every year of the world's history, recording even the most ordinary events, passes them by in abject silence. There was "nothing doing" so far as Italy, the headquarters of the papacy and apostasy, was concerned; while in Turkey, the region of the eastern portion of the same church, there was but one event recorded for 625, and that one wholly unrelated and unimportant. It is as follows, "Smyrna is rebuilt by Antigonus and Lysimachus.” In 644 no event at all is recorded.
It is enough. We pass them by, confirmed in the conclusion statistically, historically, and scripturally, that the only date marking the beginning of the 1260 years is 570, supported by the accessory dates of 588 and 607, from whence, in solar, prophetic and lunar years, we are brought to an irresistible and united termination in 1830.
Leaving now the wilderness of the captivity and emerging into the clearance of 1830 we may expect extraordinary events. We shall look for the deliverance of the church from the thraldom of
a double or perhaps even a treble commencement of this period is very probable."-Seventh Vial, p. 153. H. G. Guinness: "This great week has thus earlier and later commencements.
This is clearly the case with other chronological prophecies also.”Approaching End of the Age, p. 371.
J. A. Edgren, D. D.: “This period (1260 years) like that of the Babylonish captivity, evidently has two or more beginnings.”—Epiphaneia, p. 90.