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Principles Of Time Representation In Scripture


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#1 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:07 AM

PROPHETIC TIME DURATIONS - THEIR PURPOSE


Certain prophecies are accompanied by time durations. These time durations may be given in literal terms, or in symbolic terms.

We shall deal with the issue of literal terms and symbolic terms later (as well as the means by which we can determine one from the other), but for now let's just look at the purpose of these time durations.

Why would God accompany a prophecy with a time duration? There are two fundamental reasons:

1) For exhortation and encouragement

2) For warning and admonition

Let's have a look at some examples.

#2 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:08 AM

TIME DURATIONS - FOR EXHORTATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT


In Genesis 15, Abraham makes a covenant with God. In the process, God not only repeats the promises to him, but gives him a prophecy of the immediate history of his seed Israel:

Genesis 15:
13And He said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
14And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
15And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
16But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.


We note from this that Abraham is told:

- That his seed will be a stranger in a strange land

- That his seed will be afflicted and oppressed in this land

- That his seed will be placed under servitude

- That the nation which subjects them will be judged

- That they will come out of the strange land, and be delivered with a substantial recompence for their labour

This passage is more significant than we might think. Firstly, we should reflect on the memories which Abraham has of Egypt - after all, he has been there himself. His memories are not positive.

In Egypt he himself committed folly, and was actually placed in a highly embarrassing situation because of his fear of the Egyptians.

It is noteworthy that his seed would later repeat his mistake, and that they also would receive the unpleasant consequences of their actions.

Secondly, we should note that Abraham is encouraged - despite the fact that his seed would descend into Egypt, and despite the fact that they would bear humiliation as he had, God would be watching over them as He had watched over Abraham, and they would eventually be delivered. The certainty of this is made very clear to Abraham.

In this passage, God places a clear time limit on the duration of Israel's bondage in Egypt - 400 years. This may seem like a long time - and indeed it is - but at least it is a limited duration. The time which Israel would spend in Egypt would be a time goverened by the will of God, and He would deliver them at the end of that time.

If the prophecy of Israel in bondage under Egypt had made Abraham sorrowful (which undoubtedly it would), then the assurance of deliverance at a set and fixed time would provide him encouragement and exhortation - this sorrow would pass.

#3 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:08 AM

Another example is to be found in the prophecy of Jeremiah, concerning the captivity of Babylon:

Jeremiah 29:
10For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  
12Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you.
13And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.
14And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.


Like the prophecy made to Abraham, this is intended to inspire Israel. They were to go into captivity and be reduced terribly by Babylon, but God here provides a message of hope - a prophecy which places a set time limit on their distress, and which assures them that the punishment would not be final. The duration of their captiivty was limited by the mercy of God, and He wished them to understand that He did not in any way intend to cut them off completely.

His mercy was available to them still, and He was awaiting their response.

#4 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:08 AM

TIME DURATIONS - FOR WARNING AND ADMONITION


Other prophetic time durations are given not for encouragement, but for warning.
Typically the warning is of impending judgment or punishment.

One obvious example is the message which Jonah carried to Nineveh:

Jonah 3:
4And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.


This is a clear prophecy of destruction - and a set time limit is given until its fulfillment.
Nineveh is warned that they have just forty days in which to repent before judgment is visited upon them. In this case, the specifically limited time duration is intended to express the urgency of their situation, the limited time they have in which to repent.

Another example is the prophecy of Daniel 9, in which a certain time duration is specifically identified as the time from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, to the coming of Messiah, his rejection and the destruction of Jerusalem:

Daniel 9:
24Seventy 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.
25Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the 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.    
26And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, 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.  


Like the prophecy given to Nineveh, this is a clear warning of judgment. Christ makes specific reference to this prophecy in Matthew 24, warning Israel that the time for the conclusion of the prophecy was near at hand.

Understanding the purpose for specific time durations in prophecy will help us to understand their function.

#5 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:08 AM

PROPHETIC TIME DURATIONS - THEIR FUNCTION


The simplest means of determing the function of a prophetic time duration is to ask which of the two questions it is addressing:

1) How long?

2) When?

All prophetic time durations belong to one of these two categories. Either we are being told how long something will last, or we are being told when something will occur.

This gives us the means of determining the function of certain prophetic time durations, even when their length is not made explicit.

#6 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:08 AM

DETERMINING THE FUNCTION OF EXPLICIT TIME DURATIONS IN PROPHECY


Numbers 14:
33And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.  
34After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.


This is a prophecy with a very specific time duration - forty years. What function does this time duration serve within the prophecy? It tells us how long the punishment would last.
But how is this supposed to be an exhoration or encouragement? Forty years wandering in the wilderness until you're dead doesn't sound very encouraging.

In fact, the encouragement is present in this prophecy - but not for the sinners who are being punished:

31But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
32But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.


The encouragement is for the next generation. A deadly punishment would fall on the generation which had rejected the promised land, but their children were assured by God that they would be brought to that land again, and that this time they would enter it.
As much as this prophecy was a dire warning of judgment on the wicked, it was certainly an encouragement to those of the next generation who would have to endure that same hardship for forty years, wondering if they would indeed enter the land after all this.

#7 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:09 AM

A similar prophecy is found in Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 25:
11And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.


This is a prophecy of the invasion of the Babylonian empire, and the yoke under which Israel and the other nations would be put - we can call it a 'How long?' prophecy, because it is telling us how long the captivity would last.

The duration given for this punishment is seventy years. Yes, the time would be long, and the punishment would be terrible, but it would be limited.

The faithful Israelites (later described in Jeremiah as 'good figs'), would be able to wait in hopeful expectation of deliverance, knowing of a certainty that God would save Israel after this time.

But how is this prophecy supposed to be an encouragement and an exhortation to those in captivity? The fact that the captivity would last for 70 years would mean that most of them would die before Israel was restored.

#8 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:09 AM

Interestingly, we find the answer to this in the previous chapter, and it is exactly the same message which was given to the Israelites before the forty years of wandering in the wilderness:

Jeremiah 24:
4Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
5Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.


The captivity would be for the good of the next generation. How? It would ensure that they were kept safe (for God had promised to care for the captives in Babylon), it would ensure that they would not be subjected to the idolatrous influences of Israel (in the prophecy of Ezekiel we find, ironically, that Jerusalem had become a city of idolatry and witchcraft), and it would encourage them to remain in a state of faithful watching for deliverance. There's nothing like being in exile to bring you back to God.

But the prophecy of Jeremiah in this place goes further. Having given a 'How long?' prophecy, it immediately follows this in the very next verse with another prophetic utterance:

Jeremiah 25:
12And 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.


This prophecy uses the same time duration, but this time it is a 'When?' prophecy, because it is telling us when the judgment on Babylon would fall.

#9 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:09 AM

DETERMINING THE FUNCTION OF UNDETERMINED TIME DURATIONS IN PROPHECY


The use of this simple principle is extremely helpful when dealing with other prophetic passages.
It gives us the means of determining the function of certain prophetic time durations, even when their length is not made explicit.

Even when we may be uncertain of their precise duration, we can at least be guided by an understanding of their function.

Here is one example:

Luke 13:
32And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.


This is an example of a prophetic time duration which is undefined - that is, we are not told specifically what this duration of time actually is.

But what we can determine is the function of this prophecy, and this can guide us towards an understanding of the time duration.

First, we ask 'Is this a how long prophecy, or is it a when prophecy?', and the answer is that it is both:

32... I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow...


This speaks of the ministry of Christ, and provides a duration of time for which that ministry would continue - a 'how long' prophecy.

32...  the third day I shall be perfected.


This speaks of the perfection of Christ, and provides a point in time at which that perfection would occur - a 'when' prophecy.

Already, without having to go into any complicated detail about what these days may or may not represent, we can see that the scope of this prophecy is the duration of Christ's ministry, and the point in time at which he would be perfected. The time duration of this prophecy, therefore, must be between his ministry from the time at which he spoke these words, and the time of his perfection (subsequent to his resurrection).

When we come to examine this passage in greater detail, this information can guide us to a correct conclusion. Whatever we decide the days are, and however we come to a conclusion about the actual length of this time duration, we have managed to establish for it a start and a finish date - we know it encompasses the ministry of Christ from that point of time until his resurrection.

#10 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:10 AM

THE TIME REPRESENTATION PRINCIPLE


Within the Brotherhood, there is an expression used, a term with which people often describe a certain prophetic time principle. That expression is 'the day for a year principle'.

What does this mean? It is the claim that in Bible prophecy a day is often used to represent a year - that in certain prophecies a time duration is expressed by a number of 'days', but that these 'days' ought to be interpreted as years. What is the evidence for this principle? Is it a correct statement? How can we prove it? Who discovered or invented it?

In fact, we shouldn't really use the expression 'day for a year principle' without an understanding of how time durations are used in Biblical symbolism generally.

When we examine Biblical symbolism, we find that in fact the 'day for a year principle' is simply one part of a much larger system of Biblical symbolism, which we might call the 'time representation principle'.

Edited by Fortigurn, 29 November 2003 - 09:16 PM.


#11 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:10 AM

When we examine Biblical symbolism, we find that in fact the 'day for a year principle' is simply one part of a much larger system of Biblical symbolism, which we might call the 'time representative principle'.

Throughout Scripture, specific times are ordained by God and used by Him to mark out certain durations of probation, judgment, or worship.
These durations are represented by particular terms which are defined by God.
Hence, just as we might use one metre to represent 100 centimetres, so within the Divine time schedule a week, or sabbath, is used to represent 7 days.

The first of these is found in Genesis, where we find that 7 days make a week, and a week is marked off by a short duration of rest:

Genesis 2:
2And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all his work which He had made.


A week of days, therefore, is 7 days. This becomes the foundation time unit for the Divine time representation principle, the entire structure of which is built around a series of sevens or half sevens. The use of a series of sevens is used most commonly in Scripture to represent time durations (especially in prophecy), and for that reason we shall call it the primary Divine time schedule. The use of a series of half sevens is used less frequently in Scripture to represent time durations, and for that reason we shall call it the secondary Divine time schedule.

The primary Divine time schedule is found almost entirely in the Law of Moses, and is an obviously deliberate structure which was intended to be understood by Israel, and which was to order and direct their lives from day to day, week to week, month to month, and year to year.

#12 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:11 AM

The fact that this time schedule is so explicit and so clearly defined as to be completely undeniable demonstrates that Yahweh has a pattern to which the time durations He specifies for a particular purpose must conform.

Sabbath - A Week of Days: Seven Days

Leviticus 23:
3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.


Pentecost - A Week of Weeks: Forty Nine Days

Leviticus 23:
15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.


Feast of Trumpets - A Week of Months: Seven Months

Leviticus 23:
24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.


Sabbath of the Land - A Week of Years: Seven Years

Leviticus 25:
4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.


Year of Jubilee - A Week of Weeks of Years: Forty Nine Years

Leviticus 25:
8 And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years


Given the very clear definition of this time structure, it is no surprise to find it reflected in the prophetic time durations.

#13 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:11 AM

Thus the time of the Babylonian captivity is expressed in terms of this same time schedule:

Daniel 9:
2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.


In this instance, the prophetic time duration ordained for the captivity conforms precisely with the primary Divine time schedule, so perfectly in fact that it may be seen to represent the natural progression of the principle.

We have here a week of decades, which agrees perfectly with the strict ascending hierarchy of the established Divine time schedule:

A Week of Days: Seven Days - Sabbath

A Week of Weeks: Forty Nine Days - Pentecost

A Week of Months: Seven Months - Feast of Trumpets

A Week of Years: Seven Years - Sabbath of the Land

A Week of Weeks of Years: Forty Nine Years - Year of Jubilee

A Week of Decades: Seventy Years - Time of Captivity


#14 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:11 AM

From this survey, we can already see that the foundation which we have built from Genesis through the Law has established for us a guide for expounding prophetic time durations.

We established this schedule by starting in Genesis, working our way through the Law, and finally applying it to the prophecy concerning the captivity of Israel in Babylon.

Let's now see how we can use this same time schedule to determine the length of prophetic time durations which are not explicitly revealed.

Daniel 9:
24Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city…


This prophecy contains an ambiguous time duration, described as 70 weeks It is ambiguous because there is no Hebrew word for 'weeks' (the word used here simply means 'sevens'), and ambiguous also because the interpretation of this 'seventy sevens' as seventy lots of seven days (or 490 days), is not sufficient to fulfill the prophecy, which we know was fortelling the coming of Messiah.

In fact, the prophecy insists that Messiah would come after 69 'sevens':

Daniel 9:
25Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks...


It is obvious to all that Christ was not born a mere 69 literal weeks after the Jews were caused to return to their land to rebuild the temple, and thus a meaning other than literal days must be ascribed to the 'sevens' here spoken of. To this, nearly every commentator of whatever methodological persuasion agrees.

#15 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:12 AM

Again, we find this to be a natural progression within the hierarchy of the established Divine time schedule, the next logical extension of the principle:

A Week of Days: Seven Days - Sabbath

A Week of Weeks: Forty Nine Days - Pentecost

A Week of Months: Seven Months - Feast of Trumpets

A Week of Years: Seven Years - Sabbath of the Land

A Week of Weeks of Years: Forty Nine Years - Year of Jubilee

A Week of Decades: Seventy Years - Time of Captivity

A Week of Weeks of Decades: Four Hundred And Ninety Years - Coming of the Messiah


There is a perfect harmony here which is impossible to deny. The structure is simple, logical, consistent, and progressive. Clearly these Divinely appointed prophetic time durations are related to the previously established time schedule, the primary Divine time schedule, which is built on a series of ever increasing multiples of seven.

#16 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:12 AM

At this point it will prove useful to illustrate these principles with a practical example, in this case the 'seven times' of Daniel 4.

For his pride, Nebuchadnezzar receives a Divine punishment involving him becoming like a beast 'till seven times pass over him'. What are these 'times', and in what way do they agree with the Divine time schedules?

Consider first the appropriateness of the duration to the punishment.
These 'times' could perhaps be days, but would seven days of punishment be an appropriate duration? More importantly, would seven days fulfill the Divine purpose of the punishment?

Just as the forty years of the wilderness wanderings were required to punish a generation with death (a literal forty days of wandering would not have been sufficient to end the lives of an entire generation), so a duration of more than a mere seven days was required to fulfill the Divine purpose of Nebuchadnezzar's punishment.

What was this purpose? In the case of Nebuchadnezzar it was not death, but a change of heart:

Daniel 4:
25...seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will.


The duration decreed for the punishment of Nebuchadnezzar was for the purpose of instruction - he would be subjected for a time sufficient to abase him and cause him to humble his heart.
This duration would be required to be long enough to humble Nebuchadnezzar, whilst short enough to ensure that he remained alive.

The most likely definition of these 'times' is a year - thus 'seven times' would be seven years.

This is appropriate to the purpose of the punishment (seven days or weeks would hardly be sufficient punishment, and it is entirely probable that seven months would not be sufficient either), and it receives both lexical and historical support.

The word 'iddan' here translated 'times' is a Chaldean word found only in Daniel, and means literally 'a set time'. It was most commonly used to refer to a year. It is equivalent to the Hebrew word 'shaneh', which also means literally 'a set time', and is also used most commonly to refer to a year, as in Daniel 9:1-2. The lexical evidence, therefore, would suggest that the word 'times' here is to be understood as a year.

#17 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:12 AM

Now let us consider two instances in which the day/year principle is clearly stated in Scripture, instances in which it is appealed to directly:

Numbers 14:
34After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know My breach of promise.


Here the children of Israel are compelled to walk for 40 years in the wilderness, each year being symbolic of one day during which the land was searched by the spies.

This is not a prophecy of 40 days which are required to be understood as years, but rather it is an example of the symbolic representation of one unit of time (a year), for another (a day). It is this principle of representation which is illustrated clearly here.

Moreover, it is the representation of one time unit for another, where the representative time unit is more appropriate to the context. This is a very important principle.
After all, God could have had Israel walk in the wilderness for 40 days (a day for a day), but this would hardly have been punishment.

The entire reason why a year was chosen was that it was God's intention to punish an entire generation with death, without them entering into the promised land. This could not have been done had the punishment been a mere 40 days, weeks, or days.

Thus the time unit which is used as a representative of another is always used because it is appropriate to the context and the purpose of God in any one case.

#18 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:12 AM

Let us examine another case:

Ezekiel 4:
6And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.


In this case it is a day which is used to represent a year. Once again, the time unit used as a representative (a day), is appropriate to the circumstances - it would have been inappropriate for Ezekiel to lie on his side for forty years, firstly because of the attendant practical difficulties (when God had other work for him to do aside from this), and secondly because the principle of symbolism is one of representation.

Just as Ezekiel was required to build a representative siege of Jerusalem (not a literal complete city and literal accompanying army), so he was to enact the representative duration of the burden of Judah.

Having now examined the Divine time representation principle, and from that established an understanding of the 'day for a year' principle, it is now appropiate to address a few concerns which people sometimes have with what we call the 'day for a year' principle.

#19 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:13 AM

Having now examined the Divine time representation principle, and from that established an understanding of the 'day for a year' principle, it is now appropiate to address a few concerns which people sometimes have with what we call the 'day for a year' principle.

It is thought by some people that this 'day for a year' principle was 'invented' by Christadelphians - specifically Brother Thomas. In fact, it precedes our community by a number of centuries - well over 1000 years. The table on the previous page, together with the following references, prove the point:

'According to Froom, the earliest year-day exponent was the Karaite Jew, Benjamin Ben Moses Nahawendi (eighth-ninth century), who calculated the 2300 year-days from the destruction of Shiloh and arrived at 1358 as the Messianic year.

'At least ten Jewish expositors applied this principle to the time periods of Daniel before Joachim of Floris, the first Christian expositor, a Catholic, used it in the year 1190.'

Lawrence Kellie, 2000, 'Historical Overview of the Year-Day Principle'.



'Hippolytus (d. c. 236), the first sytematic expositor, uses a variation of the year-day principle on the 70 weeks.

Origen (c. 254), the great allegorizer, uses an expanded year-day prinicple. He allegorizes the 70 weeks to 4,900 years! Eusebius Pamphili (c. 340), bishop of Caesarea and the famed "Father of Church History", settles on 490 years for the 70 weeks. Polychronus (c. 374-430), bishop of Apamea, also correctly uses the year-day principle on the 70 weeks.

These early expositors did not, however, apply the year-day principle to Revelation.'

'Down to the Protestant Reformation, there was scarcely a Jewish expositor on Daniel who protests the year-day principle, and nearly all support and apply it.'

'Joachim (d. 1202), a noted Bible scholar, was the first to apply the year-day principle to the 1260 day prophecy. [in Revelation] He did not, however, apply it to the 2300 day prophecy.  Joachim declares the 1260 days as 1260 years "without doubt."

'Francois du Jon (c. 1545-1602), Huguenot leader, lawyer, theologian, preacher, gives his reason for the year-day principle:

"Daies is commonly taken as yeares, that God in this sort might shew the time to be short, and that the space of time is definitely set downe by Him in His counsaile.  That daies must be reckoned for so many yeares, after the example of the Prophets Ezechiel and Daniel."

'John Napier (1550-1617), distinguished Scottish mathematician, celebrated inventor of logarithms, introducer of the present use of the decimal point, inventor of a mechanical device for the performance of multiplication, division, and extraction of square and cube roots, says this about the year-day principle:

"In propheticall dates of daies, weekes, monethes, and yeares, everie common propheticall day is taken for a yeare."

Le Roy E Froom, ‘The Prophetic Faith Of Our Fathers’, volume 1, chapter  2, page 239 footnote, volume 1 page 713, volume 2 page 624, volume 2 page 457.



'Puritan John Cotton (1584-1652), of Massachusetts was the first Puritan expositor of the New World.  Froom, speaking about Cotton, says "Prophetic interpretation thus starts in America with the clear recognition of the year-day principle. This should ever be remembered.' (Froom 3:38).'

Lawrence Kellie, 2000, 'Historical Overview of the Year-Day Principle'.



#20 Fortigurn

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 02:13 AM

In fact, it's very interesting to see that expositors from centuries ago understood this principle, and they understood it by examining the very passages of Scripture which we have considered - specifically the passages in Numbers and Ezekiel:

'Samuel Langdon (1723-1797), Congregational clergyman of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, president of Harvard states:

"As we find in the Old Testament several examples in which days are answerable to years, it is sufficient to justify the same reckoning in the prophecies of this Book. Thus Num. 14,34 it is said, 'After the number of days in which ye searched the land, even 40 days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years.' And in Ezek. iv, 4, 5, 6, a day for a year is appointed the Prophet to bear the iniquities of Israel and Judah.”


"But Daniel's prophecy of the time of Messiah's coming makes the prophetic way of reckoning quite clear.  The time is there fixed to 70 weeks, and the accomplishment is a sufficient proof to christians that these weeks are to be reduced to days, and each day taken for a year, making 490 years."

...

'By the early 1800s, the day-year principle was so entrenched that Adam Hood Burwell (1790-1849), missionary to Canada, could state "that a day is here set for a year I hardly need attempt to prove."

...

'It was not until 1826, that renewed attacks started on the year-day principle.

Only this time, it was Protestants attacking, leading to a split over the issue of the year-day principle in the Protestant churches. The attackers were Protestants who wanted nothing more to do with the Reformation and leaned toward Rome. They denied the progressive nature of the year-day principle...'

'These opponents to the year-day principle used as their arguments that this principle was not considered as applicable to a prophecy until it had run out or nearly run out.'

'And in response to these attacks, Alexander Keith (1791-1880), Scottish writer on prophecy, wrote one of the strongest defenses of the year-day principle to meet the spreading fallacies of the Futurist interpretation.'

Le Roy E Froom, ‘The Prophetic Faith Of Our Fathers’, volume 3 page 210, volume 4 page 315, volume 3 pages 657,  662-3.




'Many such interpreters, though quite literalistic in their interpretation of the millennium of Revelation 20, were less literalistic in their understanding of the Antichrist. They did not expect a personal Antichrist to appear at the end of the age to persecute the saints during a three-and-a-half-year period.   Nor did they look for what has often been called "the Great Tribulation," but were convinced that the tribulation extended throughout the history of the church. The three and a half years, or 1260 days, were often interpreted to mean 1260 years of church history prior to the end times.

Examples of premillennialists of this historicist type are Joseph Mede (1586-1638), Isaac Newton (1642-1717), William Whiston (1667-1752), J. A. Bengel (1687-1752) and Johann Heinrich Alsted (1588-1638)
.’

Mark Sarver, ‘Modern Dispensationalism - A Biblical Analysis’, 2000.






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