COMPASS OF CHRONOLOGY there is a number of details which,
though intimate to the subject, are surrounded with their own
details, and those, to some degree, reflect into the main
subject. The final era, the ONE
SEVEN, of Daniel 9, is such a matter: in
fact, the whole period of the seventy sevens may be said to have
merged prophecy into chronology, at least in respect of its
conclusion. This brings a unique feature into chronology, one
which has not hitherto been in it, for chronology is to be
consummated by prophecy. It is quite a major matter as to how to
treat all the points of this coalescing of the two, and at the
same time keep within the intention to follow wholly the
statements and information which the Scriptures actually give.
It seems necessary to
establish a real or correct relation of days and months to the
year. Days, of course, are easily related to the week, though,
to be sure, Hebrew does not actually have our English word
"week", but the seventh day, the sabbath, served most
effectually. The year, regarded as a unit, speaks of
appointments such as "stated times" or "seasons". Yet days and
months, though within the compass of the year, look rather at
the happenings which make up the history of the year.
The Scriptures do not enter
into the details by which the modern outlook views the year,
such as the periods:
The orbital (perihelion to
The sidereal (star to star)
The solar (equinox to
These are the astronomer's way
of stating the length of the year. The necessity to consider
such matters may, of course, be argued, and the decision may be
to favour the solar aspect, and yet, at the same time, it
must be granted that the sidereal is basic to calculation: the
solar has its own peculiarity which gives the precession of the
equinoxes. The attempt to fix any of these upon the chronology
of Scripture produces further problems to addle the brain to no
profitable result in respect of God's revelation.
The luminaries were to be for
the atmosphere of the heavens. As to light, they separate
between day and night. They also came to be for signs,
appointments, days and years. As an illustration, we see the
seven festivals, introduced by the hand of Moses, distributed in
the months of the year (see Leviticus 23), but the Scriptures do
not give an actual calendar, though features in them seem
agreeable to need a calendar. It would, however, require to be
one which was a fully repeating cycle, able to give the
festivals which are fixed by lunar details.
The question is suitably and
properly to connect lunar details to the period of the year, and
the latter is a measurement due to some aspect around the sun.
But our present calendar does not solve or eliminate problems.
We need the exact period, and this adds an extra day beyond
fifty-two weeks. This again is insufficient, for we need the
further day for leap years (so-called).
Such items become very evident
when we note that the Jewish year requires identical years
rather than the events moving forward by one day each year. The
problem is how to achieve this, for the year is geared to a
Passover Festival which was closely related to the Vernal
Equinox. Yet the lunar year of thirty day months does not give
coincidence with the sun. Because of this, the standard lunar
year is an impossible thing as a direct result. Coincidence
between sun and moon occurs but once in nineteen years (the
metonic cycle). This is nineteen vernal equinoxes or 235
lunations. How can we have the cycle of a fixed calendar to
satisfy both relations? And at the same time give an identical
day for identical events?
The Mosaic principle seems
rather to be that of direct observation, for astronomical
calculations were eshewed in order to keep well away from
astrology. Notably the state of the crops had also to be taken
into account, alongside the appearance of the moon. The Heave
Offering, the firstfruit of the harvest, thus becomes as
important matter around the Passover. In fact, this offering was
an anticipation of Christ as the Firstfruit in resurrection. For
the first, seasonal matters, referring rather to the year, enter
the case. Yet the Hebrew had but two seasons, winter and summer,
or cold and warmth (see Gen. 8:22).
Writers have made various
explanations in regard to the calendar adjustments necessary to
keep the month and the year in step. The chief feature put
forward is that of intercalary days, introduced in various ways.
To a calendar consisting of 29 and 30 days, alternately through
the year, one suggests to insert three intercalary months during
eight years, and to repeat so as to complete the metonic cycle
of 19 years. Yet another regards a cycle of thirty-nine years,
in which to every third year is added the intercalary month of
33 or 34 days as necessary. Claims are made for this latter that
it gives a perfect calendar, but full evidence that it was
really used seems lacking, that is, as an actuality in the
Scriptures. There is, however, much correspondence with the
requirements of the periods which enter into the year and its
chronology. But that is not entirely sufficient for it to be
accepted as the fact of the calendar of the Scriptures.
The present Jewish calendar is
not to be regarded as a criterion. Jewish traditions on this
matter are insufficient, for it seems certain that the
intercalary feature was not taken as a definite feature in their
calendar until during the fourth century, when the Jews
hellenized their calendar.
We may be sure that a calendar
corresponding to the requirements of the Scriptures would not
have months of irregular lengths of our Gregorian calendar.
There must be a more uniform length to suit the outlook of the
Scriptures. This outlook will regard the year as a unit in which
to locate appointments such as "stated times" or "seasons".
Though this unit of a year will be the full length of a period
of time, which, from observations, may be measured by the
sun, yet its details will be computed by months and days
(see Leviticus 23). The days and months rather look at the
happenings, whereas the years take the complete view which
covers every appointment.
Thus we may remark that, for
the Scriptures, time is measured by the year of
the sun, that is, it is a repetition, which is the significance
of the Hebrew shne. But time is computed by days
and months of the moon, yet these days are pinned down, by
observation, at least of the moon, to the year of the sun, and
this latter is the continuing measurement of our chronology. We
will not extend this kind of consideration further, but we hope
we may have stated sufficient to illustrate the problems of this
kind which can be made to enter our subject.
During Judah's deportation,
prophecy came to state time periods as being related to the
course which its details would follow, and these are given in
years. They are a measure of the extent which the
prophecy is to cover. Amidst the long period, we may have days
and months which compute a shorter era. This method appears to
be in order to avoid the indecision which could be possible were
the period expressed in the unit of a year.
The seventy sevens of years
arose out of Daniel's prayer concerning the seventy years of
deportation. It is to be noted that the period of seventy sevens
of years is, in the main, related to "the times of the Gentiles
or nations". For sixty-nine of these sevens, the Jew was back in
the land, yet under the dominance of the nations. This is not a
feature which was not in being in the days prior to the
deportation, and it remains so right on to the return of the
We resume concerning the
period of the seventy sevens of years. It is divided into three
sections: seven sevens, sixty-two sevens, and
one seven. The conclusion of the sixty-two brought Messiah's
birth and then His cutting- off, yet with no adjudication for
Him. Now the complementing ONE
seven does not follow His cutting-off, but leaps forward over
the centuries to view the beginning of the day of the Lord given
in the Unveiling. This one seven is the section in which
details of the prophecy come to be given amidst the use of days
and months to express the time of certain elements which are to
be occurring to conclude the whole of the large
prescribed period of sevens of years. Alongside this rigid
preciseness, there seems to be the element which eschews
definiteness. This possibility is in the use of the word "season",
for the manner of use would at first seem to cover the year
rather than only a season of it. However, the statement by
season must necessarily find itself decided by the months and
the days which are given. These cases call for special
In these thoughts we are
dealing with the concluding seven of Daniel's seventy sevens.
Distinct attention is required, for we must keep within our
intention to give the fullest regard to statements in the
Scriptures. Daniel's final seven is especially related to the
Unveiling, being covered by the first nineteen chapters of
that book. In this book, this seven years of Daniel's prophecy
is given what amounts to an exclusive position. And this it is,
in a very real sense, for the "times of the Gentiles" are in the
throes of being concluded, and man's day is turned to the Lord's
Day. Elsewhere we have been told that the days have been
discounted (Matt. 24:22 and Mark 13:20), so that it cannot be an
indefinite period. The related element of time is considered in
an exclusive sense, one which is agreeable to the isolation of
the one seven from the others.
Time seems to be regarded as
standardised and located to Jerusalem. This seems
particularly obvious in the final half, the middle of the seven.
This concluding period is referred to a year of 360 days. It is
a special era, one which is given its own details: thus we have
42 months (treading of holy city) Unv. 11: 2
42 months (authority of wild beast) Unv. 13: 5
1260 days (two witnesses prophesy) Unv. 11: 3
1260 days (woman nourished in wilderness) Unv. 12: 6
Season, seasons and half (Woman nourished) Unv. 12:14
Note Daniel 7:25 and 12:7.
Also 1290 days Daniel 12:11
1335 days Daniel 12:11
2300 days (Dedication of the Temple) Daniel 8:14
(Contrast: three and a half years - Luke 4:25 - James 5:17)
Does it not become very
obvious that these time statements have reference to the special
era in which the eon is concluded? Though they are given in
different units, yet each one expresses the same time value as
the other. The terms are understandable by any nation. Any
uncertainty is absent and they are referable to a uniform datum,
the half of the period of the last seven, during which a
covenant is made with many of Israel. With uncertainty removed,
who needs to be deceived? The forty- two months confirms the
twelve hundred sixty days, and so there is certainty in the
numbers, for they are mutual to each, though the units differ.
There is not the need to transpose the years of this final
seven, for this is already done, making them most distinct from
the years of the prior sixty-nine sevens. Those years went
forward by the regular routine, either as to the customs of
Israel or those of the nations.
These time values of the final
seven are framed by God, so that forty-two months: twelve
hundred and sixty days: season, seasons and half: twelve hundred
and ninety days: thirteen hundred and thirty-five days: two
thousand three hundred days: all go forward from one point, the
middle of the heptad.
May grace be ours to believe
what is written.
to Martin Lee (GoodNewsGospel.info)
to copy and distribute this document.