VOL. XVII. MAY 15, 1896. No. 10.
Erroneous Chronology and False
Mr. Dimbleby's Chronology, Etc....................110
True Bible Chronology Stated A.M..................112
The Temple of God.................................113
Bible Study: Parable of the Vineyard..............115
Bible Study: The Destruction of
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ERRONEOUS CHRONOLOGY AND FALSE CONCLUSIONS.
MANY are the false chronologies and erroneous and very misleading applications of prophecy in our day, but the majority of them being little known it is not necessary that their errors should be specially pointed out. But during the past five years numerous tracts and pamphlets have been published and widely circulated by a Mr. Dimbleby of England, and by a Mr. Totten of the United States, which present a so-called "Bible chronology," and various prophetic interpretations based thereon, which are quite misleading to many,--inclining them to false expectations and thus diverting their attention away from correct expectations, and consequently away from the real duties of the present "harvest" work and time.
Their chronology, and methods of applying such prophecies as they attempt to expound, are practically the same, with a few exceptions which we will show later on. Mr. Dimbleby is conceded to be the originator of the Chronology, which is far from clear, and very disconnectedly stated. It is built only in part upon the testimony of the Bible; and, while claiming exactness to the fraction of a day, it is one hundred and twenty-nine years astray, according to the Bible record. This is shown in the article following, on "The True Bible Chronology";--to which, for straightforward, unvarnished simplicity, no other chronology we have ever seen will compare. We do not claim it as "our" chronology: on the contrary, we claim it is God's chronology, supplied in the Bible to all that are his, and for our common use and behoof. We fear human speculations and manufactures along these lines, by ourselves or others.
But it may be asked, Why should any be confused by this Dimbleby-Totten chronology, which they do not understand, and which is not simple? We reply, it is chiefly because of five things:--
(1) Because these gentlemen claim to back up their chronology by astronomical calculations, eclipses, etc.
(2) Because Mr. Dimbleby is or has been connected with the British Chronological and Astronomical Association; and Mr. Totten is a man of some erudition, who for some time held the position of Instructor of Military Tactics in Yale College, and therefore is known as Professor Totten.
(3) Because the majority of people know little about mathematics, chronology and astronomy--especially the latter--and are apt to overestimate possibilities along those lines.
(4) Because both of these gentlemen, following a very common failure, employ their talents rather to impress their readers with reverence for their learning, and thus for their views, than to elucidate and prove their subject. They use technical terms, and assert astronomical proofs of their chronology which the average readers do not comprehend, the latter are convinced of their own ignorance, and proportionally convinced of the wisdom of these gentlemen; and forthwith they accept what they do not at all comprehend. And as for those who have some knowledge of astronomy, they usually have little knowledge of the Bible, and no knowledge of Bible chronology. They are therefore as unprepared to see, as they would be indifferent to expose, the errors of statement on this subject made by Mr. Totten and Mr. Dimbleby.
(5) Because these gentlemen state themselves boldly, as though they believe all that they are teaching.
Respecting the last proposition: We must remind our readers that it is nothing uncommon for people to deceive themselves, as well as others. Saul of Tarsus, one of the most zealous, God-fearing men in Israel, was deceived to the extent that he persecuted the Church while verily
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thinking that he did God service. Hence, while charging these gentlemen with serious errors, we do not believe that they were originally actuated by any desire to deceive themselves or others. They desired to find a chronology, and concluded they ought to be able to find and prove one. They set about it; and have bent and warped their own judgments so that they no doubt at first believed what they were teaching, which, as we proceed to show, is very far astray chronologically, and without a particle of astronomical support. But we do find fault with them in that afterward, when they became involved in difficulties from which they could not extricate their theories, either logically or Scripturally, they taught and still teach them instead of refuting them.
Their "Bible Chronology" is defective; because in certain places where the historic account of the Bible is broken, they have neglected to take the divinely given "bridging" for those "chasms," specially provided by the Lord in the New Testament; hence the difference between it and the simple, easily comprehended, Bible chronology presented in MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., Chapter II. (See p.42), and stated in Anno Mundi order on another page of this issue. The largest portion of this error (100 years) is made in reckoning the period of the Judges. The error next in magnitude is made in connecting Bible chronology with secular chronology,--the "seventy years desolation of the land" being taken to mean seventy years of captivity, whereas the captivity began eighteen years before. Thus one hundred and eighteen (100+18) years are lost from their reckoning. In these two errors these gentlemen have followed Bishop Usher, whose chronology appears in the margin of our common version English Bibles. Indeed, it may be said that they use Usher's chronology with but slight deviation, until, finding it too short, they adopt a peculiar, "original" and erroneous method of lengthening it, the fallacy of which we will expose.
But, says some one, if their chronology is wrong to the extent of one hundred and eighteen years, or even one year, or even one day, how could they prove it by astronomy?
They do not prove it, we answer; they merely assert that they prove it: and we will show you why it is impossible, absolutely impossible, for them or for any one else to prove their chronology, or any other Bible chronology, by astronomy.
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Now do not allow yourself to conclude that because you know nothing about astronomy you can therefore only choose between their claim to prove their chronology by astronomy and our claim that such a procedure is as impossible as the most impossible thing you ever heard of; for the matter is not nearly so abstruse as some learned people pretend and some unlearned people suppose. When we have explained, in simple language, the principle of applying astronomy to chronology, you can understand it, and will understand it; and you will see and fully endorse our declaration that astronomy cannot in any sense or degree be applied to Bible chronology.
First.--Astronomy has taken note of the fact that the heavenly bodies move with such regularity that it is possible to calculate their movements into the future and say, Unless some remarkable and now unforeseen change occur, the sun will rise and set at such hours on a certain day five hundred years hence, and that during that year there will be such eclipses at such and such hours on such and such days. By similar calculations or by reference to tabulated reckonings (just as in reckoning interest one person would figure it out while another would refer to an "Interest Table"), it is a very simple matter to know that such and so many eclipses occurred one thousand years ago or ten thousand years ago, unless some unknown changes occurred in the meantime.
But now suppose that you had reckoned the matter out, and found that just five thousand years ago to-day the sun rose at 5 A.M. and set at 7 P.M. in the vicinity of Palestine; and that during that year the moon was eclipsed four times, and the sun twice; suppose that you were very precise and had reckoned the very day, hour and minute at which each of those six eclipses occurred; suppose that you noted, also, a transit of Venus and a transit of Mercury, to the very day, hour and minute, that same year. Of what value would all that reckoning be to you, or to any one, so far as giving a knowledge of human history, or of enabling anyone to connect your astronomic reckoning with mankind and the chronology of human affairs?
All can see that! Any grammar school pupil can see that it would be absurd to claim that because you had found that certain eclipses and transits occurred in a certain year, therefore, that must be the year in which Adam died; or in which Noah was born; or in which Moses and Israel came out of Egypt.
But, says some one, while that seems logical enough, will you not explain how astronomy is sometimes used in ascertaining, or at least in corroborating, dates of history?
In ancient times a connected chronology was not valued and preserved as now. The solidarity of the race was not appreciated then as now, and no common era was recognized. The first effort to bring time-order into the world's general history was in the second century of the Christian era (A.D.), by that celebrated astronomer, mathematician and geographer, Ptolemy, of Alexandria, in a book entitled "A Table of Reigns." In it he gives a chronological table of the Assyrian, Persian, Greek and Roman sovereigns from his own day back to Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar, of Bible note. The records of those kings and dynasties had been written independently; and Ptolemy attempted to reconcile and harmonize them into one. And, although generally quite accurate, no doubt the mistake of reckoning the "seventy years desolation" as seventy years of captivity, in his endeavor to unite Bible
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history with secular history, was originally his. It has been followed, very generally, since.
Astronomy was one of the early "sciences"; but in early times it was so mixed with vague imaginations and astrology as to be of little value, and astronomers (rather astrologers) then not only claimed to foretell something respecting the future state of the weather, but after the style of the modern "fortune-teller" pretended to predict future events;--teaching that there was some connection, or relation, between the eclipses and transits of heavenly bodies and the events of earth,--such as births, battles, deaths, revolutions, plagues, etc.;--and they frequently made note of eclipses in connection with their records of events which they supposed answered as fulfilments of these superstitious notions, just as superstitious people now often connect things together in their imaginations which have not the remotest philosophical relationship--as, for instance, the breaking of a looking glass to be a sign of a death, etc., etc. Thus it happened that Ptolemy, who was a historian as well as an astronomer, found in those superstitious records of the world connections between history and astronomic data which he was able to use; and his knowledge of astronomy and of dates and times when eclipses had occurred helped him in bringing order and harmony out of the histories of the four principal heathen nations of his day--Assyria, Persia, Greece and Rome.
To illustrate the incompetency of astronomy in fixing dates, we note the fact that scholars are still in doubt and dispute respecting the date of our Lord's birth. Some hold that it occurred one year and three months before the beginning of the year A.D. 1, while others contend that it occurred four years (and some six years) previous to A.D. 1. Both parties appeal to astronomy to assist them in proving their dates. There is nothing in the Scriptural account to assist (except the reference of `Luke 3:1` to the reign of Tiberius; see MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II. p.54), for in the Bible nothing is recorded respecting eclipses or transits; but in secular history something was found that might bear upon the subject, at least indirectly,--the date of Herod's death, supposed to have been the year in which our Lord was born, or the year after. The only astronomical date was Josephus' record that the same year that Herod died a sedition occurred and several of the rebels were burnt alive by Herod's orders; and "that very night there was an eclipse of the moon." This is more data for an astronomer to work on than is furnished by any incident mentioned in the Scriptures: but was it sufficient to fix the year of Herod's death? No; because there are from one to four eclipses of the moon every year.
How absurd it is, therefore, to talk about establishing Bible chronology by astronomy! The absurd claim of the Mormons that God gave them a new Bible engraved upon copper plates is no more incredible. The one proposition is as worthy of belief as the other.
The following from the American Cyclopedia bears upon the point we are considering. It says:--
"Greek and Roman dates are generally well authenticated [back] to the first Olympiad (about 776 B.C.).... The Assyrian, Babylonian and Egyptian inscriptions are in extinct languages and in characters long obsolete.... Ctesia, a Greek, about 415 B.C., wrote a history of Babylonia, but it is not regarded as authentic. Herodotus is valuable only as to his own time, about 459 B.C., and those of a century or two earlier.--Attempts have been made to bring astronomy to the aid of chronology. Eclipses being anciently regarded as portents, occasional mention is made of them in connection with historical events."
Thus it is seen that secular history of very early dates is admittedly not generally reliable; and that only in a few instances has astronomy been able to assist in fixing dates to a reasonable degree of exactness. Two dates are fixed with considerable certainty,--the beginning of Nabonassar's reign on Feb. 26 of 747 B.C. and the beginning of the reign of Cyrus in 536 B.C. The former date is valueless to us in the study of Bible chronology; because Nabonassar is not mentioned in the Scriptures. The latter, however, is a very important aid; for the Bible chronology ends with the "70 years desolation of the land," and it tells us that God stirred up the heart of Cyrus to restore Israel from captivity at the close of that period, and that this was in the first year of Cyrus;--hence 536 B.C.
The Bible, and the Bible alone, supplies such a chronology as the people of God can rely upon; and our conviction that God did intend to give us a Bible record of all past time is strengthened by the fact that the only broken periods in the Old Testament record are "bridged" by New Testament records.
If, then, we rely upon the Bible as an inspired declaration on the subject, why should we not use it as far as it goes;--to the "seventy years desolation of the land," and thus to Cyrus. Why not believe that God intended thus to provide a chronology as long as it was needed-- down to the point where secular history could be depended upon as accurate--so as to give us a complete chronology A.M.? We do so believe; and we find most satisfying corroborative evidence of it in the fact that the whole Bible record fits it with accuracy and precision, as shown in MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II.
But did not Messrs. Totten, Dimbleby and Usher pursue this same safe plan, and make use of the inspired chronology of the Bible as far as it will go,--down to the first year of Cyrus?
No, they did not. They admit that the first year of Cyrus was the end of the "seventy years desolation of the land"; and that that date is well established as A.D. 536; but instead of following the Bible line of chronology back of that, and making the uncertain dates of secular history conform to the positive statements of the Bible, they reverse the matter, and attempt to make the Bible record agree with the secular dates, admitted to be quite obscure and uncertain. For instance, they adopt the uncertain secular date for the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar's reign;
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and then referring to `Dan. 1:1`, they thus fix the date of
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Jehoiakim's reign and alter other matters to suit.* Then again, they apply the "seventy years" as years of captivity and begin them in the third year of Jehoiakim; whereas the Scriptures unequivocally declare, repeatedly, that those were years of "desolation of the land," "without an inhabitant." (`Jer. 25:11,12`; `29:10`; `2 Chron. 36:21`; `Dan. 9:2`.) In this manner the remainder of the reign of Jehoiakim and all of the reign of Zedekiah (18 years) are reckoned in as part of the "seventy," whereas Scripturally they were previous and, therefore, additional years.+
In this connection let us remind the intelligent reader that the secular history, whose dates are taken in preference to the Bible history and dates, is so confused, that to this very day the ablest secular students of the subject are not in full agreement as to who was the immediate predecessor of Cyrus,--Darius or Cyaxares; or whether those two names were applied to the same ruler, or whether they ruled for a time conjointly with Cyrus.
It is not surprising that unbelievers put as much confidence in the uncertain dates of secular history as they do in those furnished by the Bible; but it is strange that Christians should do so: and that they should give them the preference and adopt them when professedly giving a "Bible Chronology" is a matter of regret. The consequence is that while Usher's chronology is 124 years too short, the chronology of Dimbleby, endorsed and used by Totten, is 129 years too short. This leads the gentlemen into other errors (one error almost always leads to another); for they see that there are strong evidences that we are living somewhere near the end of the Gospel age, and near the time for the Millennium to be ushered in by "a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation."
They believe, with us, that the 6,000 years of permitted sin are to be followed by the 1,000 years of Christ's reign of righteousness. But whereas the true Bible chronology shows that the 6,000 years from Adam ended in 1873 (the very year in which the world-wide depression began), their erroneous chronology would show the beginning of the seventh millennium to be over one hundred years in the future.
To make their short chronology come out to fit present times, two fallacies are introduced; and their readers, who are unskilled in chronology, are confused and misled into false calculations and into false expectations based thereon. As their applications of prophecy differ a little, we shall consider their efforts separately,--Mr. Totten's first.
With these three thoughts in mind: (1) that the transition should be expected somewhere about the end of six thousand years; (2) that present evidences indicate that the Lord's Kingdom is near at hand; (3) that his adopted chronology shows the end of six thousand years to be more than a century future, Mr. Totten seems to conclude that he must look up some means of shrinking his chronology, of shortening the 6,000 years so as to end them somewhere near the present time; or rather near 1899-1\4--which date he reckons, by his calculations, will witness the end of the Times of the Gentiles.
Mr. Totten is ingenious. He reflects that while according to his accepted chronology the 6,000 years will end in A.D. 2002, yet by reckoning twelve lunations as a year, each year would be shortened eleven (11) days and the 6,000 years end very shortly now. These he terms "short" or "lunar" years; while the regular solar year he styles the "true" year. To count the entire 6,000 years as "lunar" years, of 354 days each, would make the 6,000 years from creation end in A.D. 1829, rather too early for present use; so looking along the aisles of history, and figuring, he finds that the date of Joshua's great battle, at which he commanded the sun and moon to stand still, would be a convenient approximate date, as well as a marked event upon which to speculate. He reckons the date of that event to have been the year A.M. 2555-1/4, and declares that the remaining 3444-3/4 years necessary to complete 6,000 years would (if reckoned 354 days to each year), according to his chronology, end A.D. 1899-1/4. We quote his words from his own publication of Sept. 22. '90, as follows:--
"Since that [Joshua's] day the millennaries have been shortened to lunar years, so that there will extend from thence 3444-3/4 lunar years to March 1899 A.D. The sum of the 2555-1/4 "long" or solar years up to that day and the 3444-3/4 "shortened" or lunar years, from thence to the specified equinox, is exactly 6000. Thus some particular day near the vernal equinox [March] of the year 1899 A. D. will accurately terminate the sixth millennary since creation."
We can find no reason whatever for using such a year as 354 days would make; and know of no reckoning, ancient or modern, upon that basis. The solar year (i.e., the year reckoned by the sun, and marked every spring and every autumn by equinoxes--the equal length of the day and night) has always been used in reckoning years The ancient Jewish custom was to reckon intermediate time by "new moons," but this was rectified in a simple manner, and brought to solar time, by beginning each new year with the first new moon at the Spring equinox, nature adding an extra month every few years. Thus the years of the Bible were true or solar years, and may be reckoned in with our present chronology without difficulty. Although arrived at in a simple manner, it was no less accurate and scientific than our present method of intercalation.
But we shortly after discovered another reason why Mr. Totten chose this date for the ending of 6000 mixed years (part solar and part lunar);--he wanted it to agree with his "Times of the Gentiles," reckoned by his chronology.
*We, on the contrary, by this passage fix the date of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, from the Bible date of Jehoiakim's reign.
+Thus they lost eighteen years more.--See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., pp. 50,51.
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Accordingly, we concluded to examine his "Times of the Gentiles," which he brings to a close at the same minute, and proves by similarly careful (?) mathematical (?) and astronomical (?) calculations. What do we find?
We find that in this, as in his chronology, Mr. Totten goes outside the Bible account and takes secular history from the first year of Cyrus back to and through the Babylonian period. Thus doing, he is obliged to deny the Bible statement that the land of Judea lay "desolate" "without an inhabitant" for seventy years. (`Dan. 9:2`; `2 Chron. 36:21`; `Jer. 25:11,12`.) To get the Bible chronology linked to secular chronology he shortens the desolation period, which followed Zedekiah's captivity, from seventy to fifty-two years.
But, worse yet; in order to get the "Gentile Times" to end as early as 1899-1/4 he begins them, not at the time when the crown was removed from Zedekiah, the last representative of David who sat upon the typical Kingdom of God; nor even at the date when Nebuchadnezzar had his vision and was told that he was the head or beginning of the Gentile governments represented in the image shown him in his dream. Mr. Totten goes back twenty-two years before the dream given to Nebuchadnezzar, and forty years before the crown was taken from God's representative on the typical throne of David, and begins it with the first year of Nabopolassar.
God, both by a vision and by his Prophet Daniel, had said to Nebuchadnezzar, "Thou art this head of gold, and wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of heaven, hath he given into thy hand, and made thee ruler over them all." (`Dan. 2:38`.) And, in view of this clear, plain statement, no sufficient excuse can be found for such misapplication of Scripture as the above, by any candid expositor. We can only suppose, as above suggested, that Mr. Totten, realizing from the signs of the times that the great crisis of the age is close at hand, let his zeal run away with his judgment and his conscience, to a greater extent than even he has fully realized.
(1) He errs in asserting that his chronology is that of the Bible, and that it is supported by astronomy--eclipses, etc., --when in reality everybody familiar with the Bible knows, who knows anything about the adaptation of astronomy to history and chronology, that there is not one solitary event so recorded in the Bible as to make this a possibility.
(2) In shrinking his (erroneous) chronology 103 years, he supposes a year such as no people, not even savages, have ever used.
(3) To get his "Times of the Gentiles" near the same date, by his erroneous chronology, he violates the Bible record and begins them twenty-two years before God gave any intimation of Gentile Times, and while God's typical throne still stood.
By reason of the assertive style of Mr. Totten's teachings some astronomers even, who were not so well posted in the Bible as in astronomy, have been thrown off their guard, supposing that he had found something new in the Bible on which to calculate the dates astronomically; and vice versa, some Bible students were so unfamiliar with astronomy that they were ready to believe that it could prove anything. And so some very good and some educated men are misled by Mr. Totten's supposed wisdom, the main evidence of which to them is his strong statements that he has "solved the riddle of history," found "the hidden key" to prophecy and chronology, etc. Many of the unsophisticated of God's children are thus in danger of being misled so as to ignore and neglect the true light now shining upon God's Word and plan. Unless helped in time, they are likely by and by to be greatly shaken by the failure of Mr. Totten's predictions; and then to become easy captives to the snare of Infidelity.
But, while Mr. Totten is very positive about all past time, he is cautious as he reaches out into the future. He states himself, but rather vaguely; intimating that the
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"watchers" will understand: and they do. We see exactly what he expects from his writings and diagrams, but have difficulty in finding brief, succinct, positive statements for quotation.
His theory, as presented in his publication of Sept. 22, 1890, chart, is, that from March 1892 to March 1899, seven years, the world will be crazy; as represented in the seven years of Nebuchadnezzar's madness.
By March 1891 A.D. the "Jewish Irredentalism" would be accomplished; i.e., the Jews would organize as a people, but under the domination of other governments.
By the autumn of 1891 A.D. he announces "Palestine" Redivivus"; i.e., Palestine would come into existence again, be revived. By this we presume he meant nationally, for Palestine has been in process of revival otherwise, for nearly twenty years. That he meant nationally is implied also by his expectation that "Jewish Irredentalism" would precede it six months.
By March 1892 A.D. (the beginning of the seven years of world-madness), a man, a prince (Antichrist), representing himself as Messiah, would appear and deceive many Jews, and make "a compact with many"; and the following September would see the "altar finished" and Antichrist's "edict issued," and then would follow the general deception and conversion of the whole world to Antichrist,--the "virgins" being the only exceptions. This would be quickly done, and fully completed before Sept. 1895 A.D., the "midst of the week."
By Sept. 1895 a wonderful event was to take place;-- the setting up of a great Image of Antichrist, which every human being on earth was to be compelled to worship, or else be killed. Onward to 1899 the "plagues" and "vials" of divine wrath, mentioned in Revelation, will be let loose upon Antichrist and all whom he had deceived--the whole world; and Antichrist will perish, while Christ and the
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saints (to be translated about March 1892) will appear in glory, at that time, March 1899.
That it may be seen that we are not misstating Mr. Totten's views we quote his words, from his pamphlet of Sept. 22d, 1890, as follows (the brackets are ours):--
"This table gives upon an enlarged scale the years surrounding the final seven upon the 'Times of the Gentiles.' [March 1892 A.D. to March 1899 A.D.] They antitypify those of Nebuchadnezzar's insanity, and cover Antichrist's REIGN OF HORROR. The latter half of the seven, which will probably be bi-sected [divided, Sept. 1895] by the setting up of his IMAGE [`Rev. 13:18`] in the temple, is the time of 'Jacob's trouble.'
"The times are now short and their signs are all completed save a single one--the manifestation of 'Ho-Anomos' 'That Lawless One' (`2 Thes. 2:8`), whose synonym in the same language gives us the familiar neologism, 'Ho Anarchos' --(THE ANARCHIST)--and those short days (a year and a half) [Sept. 22d 1890 to March 1892] are the SOLE DAYS OF GRACE THAT YET REMAIN TO US. For when that One shall have begun his reign [March, 1892] the Holy Spirit which hitherto has withstood it (`2 Thes. 2:6,7`) will have withdrawn! From that dread moment [March 1892] we must date the 'Great Tribulation,' which is the time of 'the harvest'....Progressive interpretation of the Word now suggests the awful certainty that the Holy Spirit, grieved beyond endurance, will withdraw [March 1892] before the Second Advent! With it 'the elect' will probably be 'caught up' to join the returning Savior in the air. But 'woe to the inhabiters of the earth' (`Rev. 12:12`) when the 'wise virgins' disappear! The 'foolish' will then be truly surrounded by a pack of wolves, for when the Holy Spirit 'withdraws itself' man must literally face the INCARNATE DEVIL."
We take exception to every item of Mr. Totten's program, except that the Gospel age ends with the second presence of our Lord in the clouds of a great time of anarchistic trouble, already overshadowing the world. We are not now presenting our views, however, but criticizing his.
In the beginning of Mr. Totten's presentations of his views, we thought that few probably would be misled by his errors; and that those few would quickly be undeceived by the utter failure of the predictions for 1891 and 1892. But no; we had given his followers credit for more discernment than they possessed; for it seems that they and Mr. Totten become more and more infatuated with their errors as the predictions one after another fail, until now they think of no date except 1899-1/4. There they expect something, nay, everything, to occur; whereas, according to Mr. Totten's claims, if reliable at all, everything should be over by that time.
Mr. Totten himself, instead of coming out frankly and admitting that thus far his calculations and predictions are certainly erroneous, still infatuated with them, writes in the same positive manner as at first. In his publication of Dec. 21st, 1892, after the time predicted for "Jewish Irrendentalism" and "Palestine redivivus" had passed and, as every one knows, brought no such events; and after the year 1892 had passed, and no Antichrist such as he predicted had appeared, or made an "edict," or made a covenant or "compact with many" Jews, so far from admitting his errors Mr. Totten writes thus:--
"I doubt if many hamlets in Saxon lands have failed to hear some echo of the message, which during the past year I have been constrained to send forth with no will to hesitate, nor have I aught of it to curtail or withdraw."
"Whether the date, March 29th 1892, upon which I have fixed as merely the beginning of Judgments, be a type only, or the long delayed antitype itself, it is the one or the other, and in either sense is FINAL."
All this is the language of desperation, the language of a man who has staked his all, and as it disappears will not believe the evidence of his senses, but continues to mutter to himself, It is so! It must be so, even if it isn't so! Hear him again:--
"The time has at last arrived when Biblical Chronologists may be absolutely sure of certain things; and have no fear that they will ever have to be moved again."
But Mr. Totten thinks best to take some notice of the dates which had so evidently proved false, so far as his predictions were concerned. He concludes to mention the matter guardedly, lest a few should have seen the slip, and need just a word of assurance from him, that his only reliable and authentic, only Biblical, and only astronomically proved and double riveted chronology is as faultless as ever. Yet the statement must be so guardedly made that the masses of his readers, uncritical, would not know that any slip had occurred. His utterances, therefore, must be as much as possible like the utterances of the ancient Oracle of Delphi,--capable of being understood variously, according to the hearer and according to the facts of the future. Thus on page 319, Dec. '92 issue, he refers to the "Jewish Times" which he had previously shown most conclusively would end exactly one and a half years before March 1892, as proved beyond shadow of doubt by his wonderful astronomical calculations. Without a word of retraction of the error (so far as we have noticed), he takes a new place for beginning those times; viz., 3406 A. M. (his and Dimbleby's chronology) instead of, as before, 3444-3/4 A.M., a difference of only 38 years--a mere nothing however, in Mr. Totten's exact (?) chronology which proves (?) itself to a fraction of a minute.
But more; he not only begins at a different point, but also changes the kind of time: he now measures it by the "true" or solar year of 365-1/4 days, instead of by his short and untrue year of 354 days; then, because the reckoning reaches nowhere, he adds 75 years (for no conceivable reason except to force a date); and then gives the astonishing (?) result, 6001 A.M. Here are his own words:--
"Hence, adding to 3406 A.M. these seven times (7x360=2520 years), we reach the 5926 A.M., and by the further addition of thirty and forty-five or seventy-five years, we reach the year 6001 A.M., which is the first of the Sabbath thousand, reckoned on the longest possible or Solar scale!...Moreover, as we are at this moment (Sept. 20-21 1892 A.D.) only at the end of Solar year 5890 A.M., it would appear that the first year of the Millennium
::R1977 : page 109::
was still about 111 years off! And so it is upon the long or Solar scale."
This is so stated that Mr. Totten can refer to it by and by and say,--I showed that the Millennium might not come before 2003 A.D. This would mean that the poor Jews would be "trodden down of the Gentiles" for a hundred years more;--a hundred years after the end of Gentile Times, after all Gentile nations and Antichrist have been destroyed by the establishment of Christ's Kingdom. Where now is Antichrist's deception of the Jews, getting them to build him a temple and altar and to worship him--if he flourishes from March 1892 and is destroyed in March 1899; and, poor Jews! must they be trodden down by their dead enemies for another century?
But Mr. Totten well knew that few, very few, of his readers would see or appreciate this little statement sandwiched in with other matter; and so he proceeds on the very next page to reiterate his older erroneous position, in these words:--
"Our 1899-1/4 A.D.--Now I have elsewhere shown upon a dozen or so lines of independent calculation that the 'Times of the Gentiles' must terminate with this latter date; and it is for this reason that I unhesitatingly place the termination of a hidden scale of 6000 years at this
::R1978 : page 109::
It will be noticed that March 1899 is no longer stated as the end of 6000 years, but now the end of "a hidden [deceptive] scale" of years;--part "true" or solar years and part false or short years. All this we can characterize as nothing short of a jugglery of language.
Although Mr. Totten had previously acknowledged Mr. Dimbleby as his "preceptor" "in the critical study of Biblical chronology," and claimed that they "use the very same line of A.M. years with the same respective calendars, all as discovered by Professor Dimbleby"; and although he had vouched for the whole, and assured his readers that he (Totten) had verified it by astronomy, etc., etc., proving it to a second and beyond a shadow of doubt, as it were double riveting it all around by his wonderful discovery, or inspiration, etc., connected with Joshua's long day and the dial of Ahaz, etc., etc., yet after critics had taken some notice of its historical and astronomical inaccuracies, Mr. Totten shoves the blame of them upon Mr. Dimbleby, saying in his serial of Dec. 25, '94.--
"He [Dimbleby] formerly held the maximum Eclipse Cycle to be 651 years to the very day. The true Eclipse Cycle seems to be nearer to exactly 649 years, as he now agrees. Yet for all practical purposes 651 years is an accurate Eclipse Cycle. We now believe that it is really the earth's mean anomalistic period, and that it always closes with an eclipse to within 4-5 days, sometimes accurately."
Is this a sufficient retraction for men to make who have deceived a confiding public into the belief that they had found some new means of verifying their chronology to the fraction of a minute, and, by a system of stretching and shrinking periods, had led people to expect a fulfilment of their predictions from 1892 to 1899, which, if not witnessed would impliedly prove God a liar and the Bible a fraud;--because their eclipse-proved chronology could not err. Now the fraction-of-a-minute exactness means, "within 4-5 days, sometimes accurately," on a short cycle of 649 years!
We have searched carefully for any retraction or acknowledgement of the error of the statements of what he had previously stated must occur in the several years 1892 to 1899; but we find none. On the contrary, the Dec. 25 '94 issue speaks of the leading of the Holy Spirit still, although it was to have been withdrawn in 1892 to make way for Antichrist. Referring to past teachings in the aggregate, he affirms their truth, saying that it must yet "be mastered by the scoffers."
Finally, in Nov. 15, '95 issue, he admits just a possibility of some trifling error; but by his triumphant tone would have his readers believe these so trifling as to be unworthy of mention. He says:--"Now and then a stray shot may hit away a 'week-day' designation, and here and there a careless disposition may entail the sweeping of a whole section of our work into the dust." But not one syllable as to the gross misapplications of Scripture and history already pointed out in this paper; which misstatements will surely do damage to the faith of some well-meaning but too credulous people, unless they are helped by God's providence.--`Psa. 91:11,12`.
In the same publication, in view of the proved gross inaccuracies of Mr. Dimbleby in relation to astronomy, etc., Mr. Totten says: "Any close astronomical student of Biblical Chronology will detect the specific errors of Professor Dimbleby." But Mr. Totten himself not only endorsed those astronomical inaccuracies, but has also used them to delude many trusting souls. Mr. Totten adds: "Even were every feature of Prof. Dimbleby's work amenable to the specific criticism of inaccuracy, and we will not say it is not, it has none the less SUPPLIED THE FOUNDATION upon which some of the grandest truths of Biblical chronology have been discovered."
What an admission of the weakness and unworthiness of the foundation upon which Mr. Totten has labored for years. And how astounding that any man not bereft of reason should claim that he had built a substantial faith-structure upon an unreliable, crumbling proposition which "any close astronomical student" would at once reject as senseless, if not fraudulent. Yet Mr. Totten declares, in the same editorial,--"We not only believe, but are satisfied by PROOF and DEMONSTRATION that the time of the end of the times of the Gentiles is almost over, that the world ought to have the message sent to it at once, and as no message was sent ever before. If we had the means we should send it at any cost." But as Mr. Totten has not the means, those who believe his unscriptural, unscientific, unastronomical and mathematically incorrect presentations can procure them at the wholesale rate of $8.50 per
::R1978 : page 110::
set in paper covers, and scatter them as truth, and delude fellow pilgrims. Alas! that even those who seem to be struggling to open the eyes of their understanding should be beset by such bewildering false lights.
In a chart issued by Mr. Totten, Oct. 1895, he reiterates his so-called Bible chronology which we have shown is very unscriptural, and repeats the same false measurements of Gentile Times, but he says nothing about the withdrawal of the holy spirit in 1892, nor about the seven years' reign of Antichrist from 1892 to 1899, predicted in a previous chart. Instead, he runs the record of years down to 1899, and then says, "How long, O Lord!" and following this he shows another century--until A.D. 2000, for Israel to tussle with a literal, human Antichrist and get firmly established. Some may consider this all the retraction of previous errors necessary; but we do not. Many will not see through it, and hence the necessity for helping the candid ones, as we now attempt to do.
If we have shown that Mr. Totten's chronology is not Biblical nor reliable,--and that it is absurd to talk of proving his (Usher-Dimbleby) chronology, or any other Bible chronology, by astronomy,--eclipses, etc.--because the Bible contains no record of eclipses and absolutely no data of any kind upon which astronomy could take hold,--and that his "Times of the Gentiles" were commenced at a wrong period, for which there is no authority in reason or Scripture,--and that all of his other prophetic "discoveries" are based upon these false premises and hence are equally erroneous and misleading, we have accomplished our purpose.
::R1978 : page 110::
MR. DIMBLEBY'S CHRONOLOGY, ETC.
AS ALREADY stated, Mr. Dimbleby's solar chronology was the one acknowledged by Mr. Totten. Therefore, whatever we have said respecting its errors of one hundred and twenty-nine years applies to the calculation built upon those errors in the theories of both. But to the credit of Mr. Dimbleby's knowledge of astronomy, he found nothing peculiar to note about the time of Joshua's long day, nor any reason to count his years 354 days each from then on, so as to culminate the six thousand years over a century sooner than they could honestly be terminated, according to his erroneous chronology. So he allows his 6000 years to end in the year 2002 A.D.; and begins in another way to show that the seventh or great millennium of Christ's Kingdom will begin one hundred years before the sixth thousand years end--but for what reason each reader is left to guess. It was evidently the observance of this inconsistency, together with the erroneous chronology, that led Mr. Totten to his grievous error of attempting to shorten one period and stretch another to bring the two together.
Mr. Dimbleby errs, as Mr. Totten does, in beginning his "Gentile Times" with the beginning of King Nabopolassar's reign, fully twenty-five years before Nebuchadnezzar had his dream of the great image of Gentile governments, in the interpretation of which God informed him, through Daniel the prophet, that into his hands (not into the hands of his dead father Nabopolassar) he gave the dominion of the world. (`Dan. 2:38`.) So even if his chronology were corrected he would be obliged to alter the date for beginning his 2520 years of "Gentile Times" or rule;--which, by the way, he brings to an end in A.D. 1898-1/4 (March 1898), one year earlier than Mr. Totten. Working on the same exact (?), eclipse-proved (?) chronology, Totten begins Nabopolassar's reign with the year 3377-1/2 A.M., and Dimbleby begins it in 3376-1/2 A.M.
Mr. Dimbleby, knowing of Mr. Totten's failure thus far, steers clear of any danger of failure before 1898, by locating the second coming of Christ, the time of trouble, etc., beyond or at the close of his "Times of the Gentiles"
--March 1898. He says:--
"We must observe that our Lord places his second coming as at the end of the 'Gentile Times,' 5896-1/4 [1898-1/4 A.D.]....The coming of Christ, the conversion of the Jews, and the appearance of the saints in glory, are contingent events, all taking place at the end of the Gentile Times."
"The evidence is abounding and overwhelming, if we can add up figures, that the eventful period is 1898-1/4.... All civil governments will thus be overturned, and God rises up to make the enemies of Christ his footstool."
"Following the close of 'Gentile Times' will be the 30 years....But how great are the events of this day of Christ, or 30 years, now close at hand."
What about this "30 years?" What is it? Where does Mr. Dimbleby get it?--We reply, He claims that there are certain Jewish Times as well as "Gentile Times," with a different beginning and a different ending,--an ending 30 years after 1898-1/4, where he ends Gentile Times. But this is an unreasonable and untenable position, and betrays a misunderstanding of the real significance of "Gentile Times."
God passed by all the other nations of the earth and recognized only Israel. (See `Amos 3:2`; `Rom. 3:1,2`.) In Israel he placed his own throne, typically, and her kings represented Him; as it is written, "Solomon sat upon the
::R1979 : page 110::
throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father." (`1 Chron. 29:23`.) Yea, before the first of their kings, Saul, God considered himself Israel's King, and so declared. (`1 Sam. 8:7`) Under his covenant with that nation, God promised to bless and protect them while they remained loyal to him; but to chastise them for disloyalty. He did this repeatedly, delivering them on account of sin into captivity to the Philistines, etc., and rescuing them again after they repented; but still recognizing that nation, as represented in "Judah," under the kings of David's line, down to the end of Zedekiah's reign (3522 A.M., true Bible Chronology*). There, in harmony with his vision to Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (18 years previous), God actually removed his typical kingdom, to permit Nebuchadnezzar's government to become universal; for it would be impossible for the Gentiles to have universal sway so long as God's Kingdom, even in a typical form, existed. The Lord marks this time and event in most explicit language, saying of Zedekiah, the last king upon the typical throne,--"Thou profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come when iniquity should have an end, thus saith the Lord God: Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn,
*Starting from this, the evidently correct starting point, the 2520 years of "Gentile Times" will, without stretching or shrinking, end with September 1914 A.D.; while, possibly, something may be expected 18 years sooner (1896 A.D.); because the announcement of "Gentile Times" was made by Daniel, and the dream representing them was given to Nebuchadnezzar, 18 years before God's typical Kingdom was taken out of the way of Nebuchadnezzar's universal sway.-- See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., Chap. 4.
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overturn, overturn it [God's typical crown and kingdom on earth]; and it shall be no more until he come, whose right it is [the Christ, "Head" and "body"]; and I will give it [the crown and kingdom there overturned] unto him." (`Ezek. 21:25-27`.) It is for this period, during which the crown or kingdom of God is overturned in the earth, that God gives a lease of ruling authority to the Gentiles, whose "times" are seven symbolic years, or 2520 literal years. And it is during their "times" that God's people, Israel after the flesh, are trodden under foot by the Gentiles; and during the same period Israel after the spirit, "the Kingdom of Heaven, suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." (`Luke 21:24`; `Matt. 11:12`.) Hence for Gentile Times to end means for the Gentiles to cease to tread down, and for God's people no longer to be trodden down; and the treading and the being trodden must of necessity end together.
But not only does Mr. Dimbleby err in separating his Jewish times of being trodden, from the "Gentile Times" of treading, but he begins them at different and wrong places. He begins his Jewish times at the end of the reign of king Jehoiakim; seven years after Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and eleven years before God removed the diadem of his kingdom and overturned it. Furthermore, although he does not use Mr. Totten's false year of 354 days in his chronology, he falls into the error of reckoning his Jewish times by that false measure, authorized nowhere and by nobody. Though his chronology and starting times are erroneous, his calculations seem to be truthful, except when he tries to bring together various prophecies which have no real connection, and there he persuades himself that the following statement is true; viz.,--
"I should also state that the 1260 and 1335 years make a total of 2595,--and 2595 lunar [354 day] years are 2520 solar."
Mr. Dimbleby's pencil deceived him here, by five years lacking 26 days; for 2595 lunar years, 354 days each, would represent exactly 2515 years and 26-1/4 days, of 365-1/4 days to the year. A rather bad slip for an astronomer and premier chronologist, who claims to figure out a chronology correct to the fraction of a day, and proved (?) by astronomy (?)!
On the whole, then, Mr. Dimbleby's errors are perhaps less serious than Mr. Totten's; but still very serious for himself and many others: for he has a very dogmatic style, calculated to deceive many. Indeed, he almost charges that if there should be any miscarriage of his dates it would be because of God's unfaithfulness. For instance, in commending his findings and presentations, he says:--
"Is God going to change? Will he abandon his fidelity? Better suppose that the sun will not rise tomorrow."
Such language is not that of a teacher properly under the lead of the Lord's spirit. A teacher should present the Scriptural or other evidences, and there rest his case. Beware of any teachings "hammered in" thus. The implication is that Mr. Dimbleby's work is infallible, beyond question; sooner question God's veracity and fidelity, and sooner yet doubt the sunrise: the thing farthest from failure is Mr. D's. chronology and figures,--which we have just shown are inconsistent in every important part. We recapitulate them here:--
(1) Errors in Chronology of one hundred and twenty-nine years.--One hundred years short in the period of the Judges of Israel. The other twenty-nine years in error are dropped by leaving the Bible record (as the standard, down to the first year of Cyrus, the end of the seventy years desolation) and attempting, with Ptolemy, Usher and others, to harmonize the statements of Scripture with the fragmentary statements of secular history.
(2) The error of making a period of "Jewish Times" (which the Scriptures nowhere mention) separate from "Gentile Times"; and of beginning both at wrong dates, and counting them upon his erroneous chronology, and one of them upon false (short) years.
(3) Above all the other errors his wholly unwarranted and absolutely untrue statements that prophecies begin and end on the same day of the week and month, etc., and that his chronology is proved by eclipses, exact to an hour or minute, etc. Mr. Dimbleby, as well as Mr. Totten, must know, what every person of even average acquaintance with chronology, astronomy and the Bible should know, that the Bible does not contain one solitary item that could be used by an astronomer in fixing any date;-- neither with certainty nor with uncertainty.
What he has done with his chronology any one could do with any chronology. First, as Mr. Dimbleby practically does, accept Usher's chronology--partly from the Bible and partly from secular history. Then, take your pencil, or such astronomical "tables" as are accessible to all, and say to yourself, If my chronology is correct, Nebuchadnezzar came to his throne in such a year; and, if so, I see by the "tables" that there must have been such and such eclipses, or such and such transits, that year. If my chronology is correct, king David ascended his throne in the year _____, so many years ago; and, if so, according to the "tables," there were such transits and such eclipses that year.
But all depends on the if of the chronology. If the chronology were astray one year, or one thousand years, astronomy would not assist in detecting the error, unless accurate and quite elaborate records of astronomical events are found in connection with the history; which is not the case with Bible history.
We could just as easily fix up a statement of solar cycles, conjunctions and transits and affix it to various items of our truly Bible chronology. We could claim that astronomy verified every date; and we could no doubt deceive many by such attempts, and few would see through the sophistry. But God would know it, and we would know it ourselves; and we believe that it is as dangerous for one to deceive himself as to deceive others. We advise all to be especially on guard against self deception in handling the divine Word.--`2 Cor. 4:2`.
* * *
Much more could be said in criticism of the views set forth by Messrs. Totten and Dimbleby--their misapplication and distortion of every prophetic date they attempt to handle; their expectation of a coming man Antichrist, etc., etc.; but we forbear for two reasons. (1) Because those who see that their chief proofs (?) and arguments are absurdities would know better than to trust in other matters to such teacher's assertions. (2) Because our readers already have what we believe to be the Scriptural interpretation of the various prophetic periods, and a full treatment of the Antichrist, in MILLENNIAL DAWN.
* * *
For the sake of some, we remark that a "prophetic year" of 360 days, used to symbolize 360 years, is an arbitrary arrangement peculiar to its intended symbolic use. It is neither a Lunar year of 354-1/3 days nor a Solar year of 365-1/4 days. The fulfilment of a prophetic year would mean 360 actual or Solar years of the common reckoning.
::R1980 : page 112::
TRUE BIBLE CHRONOLOGY STATED A.M.
THE arrangement of Chronology in our Common Version English Bibles was made by Bishop Usher. It begins with the era known as Anno Domini (the year of our Lord--although Usher believed, with many scholars, that our Lord was born 4 years earlier than that era,--and we claim 1-1/4 years earlier.)* Usher reckons backward from A.D., calling the years B.C., and in our chapter on Chronology in MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., we have followed the same usage. But since some might grasp the subject better by a presentation of it in consecutive order, from Adam's creation to the present time, we will here give such a presentation, known as A.M. (Anno Mundi) or the year of the world. Otherwise the statement following will be found to coincide exactly with the presentation in MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II.
PERIOD FROM CREATION TO THE FLOOD.
Adam's age when Seth was born--`Gen. 5:3`--was 130 = 130
Seth's " " Enos " " " `5:6` " 105 = 235
Enos' " " Cainan " " " `5:9` " 90 = 325
Cainan's " " Mahaleel " " " `5:12` " 70 = 395
Mahaleel's " " Jared " " " `5:15` " 65 = 460
Jared's " " Enoch " " " `5:18` " 162 = 622
Enoch's " " Methuselah " " " `5:21` " 65 = 687
Methuselah's " " Lamech " " " `5:25` " 187 = 874
Lamech's " " Noah " " " `5:28` " 182 = 1056
Noah's " " the flood was on the earth `7:6` " 600 = 1656
Total years from Adam to the day the
flood was dried up--`Gen. 8:13` 1656
PERIOD FROM THE FLOOD TO THE ABRAHAMIC
Flood dried up (`Gen. 8:13`)......................................1656
Arphaxad was born two years after the Flood (`Gen. 11:10`)........1658
Arphaxad begat Salah when 35 (`Gen. 11:12`).......................1693
Salah begat Eber when 30 (`Gen. 11:14`)...........................1723
Eber begat Peleg when 34 (`Gen. 11:16`)...........................1757
Peleg begat Ren when 30 (`Gen. 11:18`)............................1787
Ren begat Serug when 32 (`Gen. 11:20`)............................1819
Serug begat Nahor when 30 (`Gen. 11:22`)..........................1849
Nahor begat Terah when 29 (`Gen. 11:24`)..........................1878
Terah died aged 205 years (`Gen. 11:32`)..........................2083
Abraham at that time was 75 years old (`Gen. 12:4`)...............2083
PERIOD FROM THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT TO THE LAW.
Terah was Abraham's father; and at his death (`Acts 7:4`;
`Gen. 12:4`) Abraham removed into the land of Canaan.
Thus by his faith and obedience he sealed to himself the
great Abrahamic Covenant, which God had previously promised
should be his, upon this condition. (`Gen. 12:1-7`.) And,
since the period from the making of this Covenant to the
giving of the Law was 430 years (`Gal. 3:17`), it follows
that the first feature of the Law, which was the Passover,
was instituted in the year........................................2513
(See `Exod. 12:40-51` and MILLENNIAL DAWN VOL. II., pp.45-47.)
PERIOD FROM THE LAW TO THE DIVISION OF THE LAND.
Israel's day of trial in the wilderness was 40 years--from
"the self-same day" that the 430 years ended, on the
fourteenth day of the first month, four days after
they entered Canaan in............................................2553
There the Jubilee cycles began to count.--Compare
`Joshua 4:19` and `5:10`; `Lev. 25:2`.
Six years were consumed by Israel in conquering the land
and dividing it amongst the tribes. These preceded the
first Sabbath year, and ended with the year.......................2559
(`Josh. 14:7,10`; MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., p.48.)
PERIOD OF THE JUDGES.
St. Paul, discussing this subject, says (`Acts 13:19,20`):
"He [God] divided their land to them by lot; and after that
he gave them Judges about [during+] the space of four hundred
and fifty years [i.e., they had Judges off and on during
that space of time], until Samuel the Prophet [inclusive].
And afterward, when they desired a king, God gave unto
them Saul," at the close of the year..............................3009
(Compare MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., p.49.)
PERIOD OF THE KINGS.
Saul's 40 year "space" of reigning (`Acts 13:21`) ended 3049
David's reign of 40 years (`1 Chron. 29:27`) " 3089
Solomon's " 40 " `2 Chron. 9:30` " 3129
Rehoboam's " 17 " " `12:13` " 3146
Abijah's " 3 " " `13:2` " 3149
Asa's " 41 " " `16:13` " 3190
Jehoshaphat's " 25 " " `20:31` " 3215
Jehoram's " 8 " " `21:20` " 3223
Ahaziah's " 1 " " `22:2` " 3224
Athaliah's " 6 " " `22:12` " 3230
Jehoash's " 40 " " `24:1` " 3270
Amaziah's " 29 " " `25:1` " 3299
Uzziah's " 52 " " `26:3` " 3351
Jotham's " 16 " " `27:1` " 3367
Ahaz's " 16 " " `28:1` " 3383
Hezekiah's " 29 " " `29:1` " 3412
Manasseh's " 55 " " `33:1` " 3467
Amon's " 2 " " `33:21` " 3469
Josiah's " 31 " " `35:1` " 3500
Jehoiakim's " 11 " " `36:5` " 3511
Zedekiah's " 11 " " `36:11` " 3522
*See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., p.54.
+The Greek word here rendered "about" is hos, and has the significance of during or while. The same writer, Luke, uses the same word in `Acts 1:10`; `10:17`; `Luke 24:32`; and in each of these cases it is translated "while," in our common version. The Syriac reads thus,--"And for four hundred and fifty years he gave them Judges, until Samuel the Prophet"--the last of the Judges.
The record of `1 Kings 6:1` is evidently a transcriber's error, 480 being stated instead of 580. The latter agrees perfectly with the Apostle's statement (`Acts 13:19,20`), and is in accord with the lapping and broken periods of the Judgeships and captivities recorded in the Book of the Judges.
The Emphatic Diaglott has the following footnote on `Acts 13:20`: --"A difficulty occurs here which has very much puzzled Bible chronologists. The date given here is at variance with the statement found in `1 Kings 6:1`. There have been many solutions offered, but only one seems entirely satisfactory; i.e., that the text in `1 Kings 6:1` has been corrupted by substituting the Hebrew character daleth (4) for hay (5), which is very similar in form. This would make 580 (instead of 480) from the exode to the building of the temple, and exactly agree with Paul's chronology."
::R1980 : page 113::
PERIOD OF THE "70 YEARS DESOLATION OF THE LAND."
This period began after Zedekiah's kingdom was overturned when the land was left desolate (`Jer. 40:6-13`; `40:10-18`;
It ended 70 years later, in.......................................3593
PERIOD FROM THE RESTORATION UNTIL THE ERA A.D.
The date of the restoration of Israel to their own land,
which terminated its seventy years of desolation "without
an inhabitant," is clearly fixed in the Bible as the first
year of the reign of Cyrus the Mede (`2 Chron. 36:21-23`),
which was therefore, as above shown, the year..................3593
Here the Bible chronology ends, giving us a good connection
with secular history; for the first year of Cyrus is
recognized by all competent judges as a clearly fixed date,
536 years before our era known as Anno Domini. (And it
should be remembered that no earlier date than this can be
clearly and unquestionably associated with Bible history
and chronology.) Since the year 3593 was the same year
as the first year of Cyrus, to add 535 years to it would
show that the year B.C. 1 was the year.........................4128
Our A.D. era followed.
To complete 6000 years would require 1872 years
(to Oct. 1872 A.D.)............................................1872
Hence, the year ending Oct. A.D. 1872 was the year 6000
The date marked by the Jubilee cycles as the beginning of
the Times of Restitution (`Acts 3:19-21`), Sept. 20th, 1874*
was therefore the year.........................................6002
The year which ended Oct. 1895 was.............................6023
The year ending Oct. 1900 A.D. will be.........................6028
The year ending Oct. 1914 A.D. will be.........................6042
and the full forty year "day of wrath" from October, 1874, will end Oct. 1914 A.D., the full limit of Gentile Times to tread down Jerusalem and its people.
All students of chronology may be said to be agreed, that the first year of Cyrus was the year 536 before the beginning of our Anno Domini era+. But there is, and can be, no agreement as to the dates of previous events, for several reasons:
(1) The records of secular history are fragmentary, and all hopelessly tangled. The Bible record is by far the most clear; yet, as we have seen, its Old Testament records would be insufficient without the inspired assistance of the New Testament writers.
*Two years in Eden, free from sin, may be reckoned as belonging to the Millennium, and thus the two years discrepancy between the end of the 6000 years and the beginning of the Times of Restitution be accounted for;--Man's week of evil, 6000 years, being measured in full. See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. III., p.127.
+Much confusion will be saved by remembering that between B.C. and A.D. is a fixed point which marks a new era chronologically; (not the birth of Christ, but that point of time once assumed to have been the date of his birth). Hence, whether our Lord was really born one and a quarter years earlier, or four and a quarter years earlier, would not alter the number of the years. Whatever would be added to the A.D. would come off the number of B.C. years, and the total years would be in every case the same. See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., p.55.
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(2) In endeavoring to harmonize the statements of the Bible with the tangled statements of secular history, Bishop Usher (and nearly all more recent chronologists have followed his lead in this matter unquestioningly) counted the "seventy years" upon Israel to be years of captivity to Babylon and have dated them from the first year of Nebuchadnezzar, when he carried Jehoiakim and many of the people and the valuable vessels of the Temple to Babylon. The chronology arranged upon such a false supposition is of course incorrect; for, as we have shown, the Bible explicitly declares that those were "seventy years desolation of the land," without an inhabitant.
Our method, of taking the Bible figures only, and exactly, is the only proper course; and we are thus assured that we neither deceive ourselves nor others. God will in due time vindicate his Word abundantly;--meantime we trust it implicitly. Whatever may be said of others, the chronology as given in the Bible itself is, in our judgment, the only one worthy of consideration by the child of God who believes that
"God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain."
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THE TEMPLE OF GOD.
"For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."--`1 Cor. 3:17`.
THE usual Hebrew term applied to the Jewish temple was heykal, which signifies a royal residence. It was also often qualified by the term kodesh, sanctuary, to indicate its sacredness as the visible dwelling place of Jehovah among his people. The same significance also attached to the movable tent or sanctuary of Israel, the tabernacle in the wilderness. The idea thus visibly expressed was that God was in the midst of his people, as he said, "And there will I meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God."-- `Exod. 29:43-45`.
In fulfilment of this promise, as soon as the tabernacle was finished, the glory of the Lord filled it, as we read:-- "So Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle....The cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys"--`Exod. 40:33-38`.
So also at the dedication of Solomon's temple there was the same divine recognition of this more permanent structure:--"So was ended all the work that king Solomon made for the house of the Lord. And Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated, even the silver and the gold and the vessels did he put among the treasures of the house of the Lord....And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord so that the
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priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord."--`1 Kings 7:51`; `8:10,11`.
The idea conveyed by the several accounts of this glory of the Lord, as it appeared in the Tabernacle, in the Temple, on Mount Sinai, and as it guided and protected Israel in coming out of Egypt, is that of exceeding brightness, enveloped, and usually concealed, by a thick cloud, from which, on special occasions, it shone forth. Thus we read, "And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days....And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel." --`Exod. 24:16,17`. See also `19:9,18,19`; `40:34,35`; `1 Kings 8:10,11`.
But the tabernacle and temple of God, built by divine direction and under the divine supervision, and thus honored with the visible, typical manifestations of the divine presence and glory, were only types of that grander tabernacle, not made with hands, of which fleshly Israel could have no conception, and of that holy temple which should by and by eclipse the grandeur of the earthly temple with all the gold and precious stones that adorned it. Let us, then, look away from, or, rather, let us look through, the typical temple of God to its antitype. The Apostles tell us that the Gospel Church, both individually and collectively, constitute the antitypical temple:--"For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
Considering the matter first in its individual application, we hear Paul say to the consecrated people of God, "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the holy spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?...Ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people." (`1 Cor. 6:19`; `2 Cor. 6:16`; `Lev. 26:12`.) Thus every faithful, consecrated child of God in whom God, by his holy spirit, dwells, is a temple of God, a royal residence of the King of kings, a holy sanctuary, this high privilege being ours through Christ, who first redeemed us by his precious blood, and thus made us eligible to the call of God to be thus sanctified and set apart wholly to his use--"for a habitation of God through the spirit."
It was to this that our Lord also referred, saying, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him....The comforter which is the holy spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (`John 14:23,26`.) Thus each individual saint becomes "a habitation of God through the spirit," a holy temple, a royal residence.
How precious is the thought, how great the condescension of our God in thus honoring his chosen ones who believe and trust in him and are fully consecrated to his will and service. "Ye are the temple of the living God"; and "ye are not in the flesh [in the old carnal condition], but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you." (`Rom. 8:9`.) And if the spirit of God dwell in us, it is to sanctify and glorify these temples of his, that even now we should show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.
It is in this view of our relationship to God that Paul would impress upon our minds the sanctity of these temples of the holy spirit, saying, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man destroy the temple of God, him will God destroy." That is, if, after he has been made a partaker of the holy spirit, and consequently, through the enlightening and guiding influences of that spirit, has tasted the good word of God and the powers [privileges of divine instruction, etc.] of the coming age, he should stifle all these blessed influences, refusing to be further led of the spirit of God, and turn again, either suddenly or gradually, to the spirit of the world, such a one is destroying his spiritual life--destroying the temple of God, which was holy and consecrated to God. And if such a one should hope thereby to have his portion in the coming age with the restitution class, let him quickly undeceive himself, for the judgment against all such is, "Him will God destroy." The Lord has "no pleasure" in any who "draw back" from such high privileges. "But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation....We are not of them who draw back unto destruction, but of them which believe to the saving of the soul."--`Heb. 6:4-9`; `10:38,39`.
It was in allusion to this same thing that our Lord, addressing his disciples, said, "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life, shall preserve it"; and that Paul also said, "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye, through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (`Luke 17:33`; `Rom. 8:13`) It is to those who appreciate the sanctity of these temples of God that all the blessings of divine grace belong; for God shall dwell in them and walk in them, and his glory shall be manifested in them and to them. It is their blessed privilege, in reverent humility, to realize the condescending favor of God in recognizing them as his temples, and making his abode with them, and to profit by all the hallowed influences of his presence and favor. And if indeed these bodies of ours be the temple of the holy spirit, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godlikeness? and how ought these mortal bodies to be quickened by his spirit that dwelleth in us?--quickened into active and diligent service and to the bringing forth of all the fruits of holiness. --`2 Pet. 3:11`; `Rom. 8:11`.
But while the saints are thus individually the temples of God, they also collectively constitute the great temple in which Peter likens each individual to a living stone, and Christ to the chief or foundation corner stone, "To whom coming, as unto a living stone,...ye also, as living stones,
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are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up sacrifices* acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." (`1 Pet. 2:5`.) Paul also refers to this same thought, saying, "Ye are...of the house of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [the foundation of hope in which they trusted, and which they pointed out to us], Jesus Christ, [he] being a foundation corner stone of it; in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple for the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the spirit."--`Eph. 2:20-22`.
The fact of the chief corner stone being also the foundation stone of this building, as well as the "head-stone," the crowning glory of it, as suggested by the prophets (`Zech. 4:7`; `Psa. 118:22`), calls to mind the form of the Great Pyramid whose top stone is the chief corner stone, and whose internal structure corresponds so perfectly with the Tabernacle and its symbolism.+ And further, if Christ
*Sinaitic MS. omits "spiritual" before sacrifices.
+See Millennial Dawn, VOL. III., Chap. 10.
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be the chief corner stone, the top stone and also the foundation, as he surely is (`1 Cor. 3:11`), the manifest suggestion is that the foundation of this building of God is laid in the heavens, not on earth, and that all the other living stones built upon this foundation are drawn and cemented to it by heavenly and not earthly attractions. Yes, "ye are God's building"--"ye," both individually and collectively, consecrated sons of God who have become the habitation of God through the spirit, ye are the temple of God. Howbeit, though now it is but a tabernacle in the flesh, and though in this tabernacle we often groan, being burdened, we know that when this tabernacle is destroyed we have a building of God, "a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."--`2 Cor. 5:1,2`.
Though the Church, like a tabernacle in the wilderness, is now a habitation of God, owned by him, and blessed by his presence, and filled with a large measure of his glory, yet enveloped, as it generally is, by clouds of trouble, etc., which hide the glory from others, except as occasionally manifested, it is not always to be a moving tent with its glory concealed. By and by her glory will be manifested without the enveloping cloud;--"She shall shine forth as the sun." (`Matt. 13:43`.) The prophet Isaiah joyfully anticipates that blessed time when the finished temple of God shall displace the present tabernacle, saying, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee,...and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising."-- `Isa. 60:1-3`.
What a hope is thus set before the faithful ones, who, as living stones, come to Christ to be built upon this foundation! From the eloquent imagery of prophets and apostles we catch the inspiration of that holy joy which shall be fully realized when all the living stones of the glorious spiritual temple of God shall noiselessly come together without the sound of a hammer--in the first resurrection, and when the headstone shall crown this glorious building of God, amid shoutings of "Grace, grace, unto it." (`Zech. 4:7`.) What tongue can tell or pen portray the glory to be revealed in the saints by and by, when the sacrifices of this day of atonement (the Gospel age) are all over? and what plummet can sound or line measure the wealth of blessing that will flow to redeemed humanity from the glorified temple of God?
But, aside from this inspiring theme, let us return to the thought which the Apostle would impress upon the minds and hearts of all God's people; viz., the sanctity of the temple of God,--"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man destroy the temple of God, him will God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
If the spirit of God does not dwell in us, then we are not of the class addressed; "for if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his." And those who have that spirit are led by it in the paths of righteousness and truth. And not only so, but those who have and who are led by the spirit of God have therein an earnest or pledge of their future inheritance as the sons of God, as the Apostle tells us, saying, "After that ye were sealed with the holy spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."--`Eph. 1:13,14`.
Yes, our present divine recognition as sons of God is the surest evidence we can have of his recognition when we shall have finished our course. If to-day we have his manifest approval and fellowship, and if these mortal bodies are quickened into loving, active zeal both to know and to do the will of God, we may also look forward with joyful anticipation to that blessed time when we shall see the Lord and be like him.
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PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD.
--MAY 24.--`Luke 20:9-19`.--
Parallel accounts--`Matt. 21:33-46`; `Mark 12:1-12`.
Golden Text--"The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner."--`Luke 20:17`.
THIS parable formed a part of our Lord's discourse on the last day of his public ministry. He had been teaching daily in the Temple, and the people, much impressed by his mighty works and his wonderful words, "were very attentive to hear him." (`Luke 19:47,48`.) But the more his fame spread abroad and the people were influenced by his teaching, the more the envy and opposition of the scribes and Pharisees increased and intensified into a settled murderous hatred, which plotted and schemed to accomplish his death. It was in this spirit and intent that the chief priests and scribes and elders of Israel came upon him with what they esteemed puzzling questions, seeking to entrap him in his words and thereby to gain some pretext for his arrest.
The shrewdness with which our Lord met their attacks commands the admiration of all. He was more than a match for all the gainsayers, putting them to silence and to shame. Then he spoke this parable, which they perceived to be against them, and which the more angered them, so that they would have laid hands on him then had they not feared the people.--`Verse 19`.
In the parable, the owner of the vineyard represented God, and the "vineyard" represented the Jewish nation as described under the same figure in `Isaiah 5:1-7`.--"For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant." God had done much for his vineyard in the way of planting and care and cultivation; and in view of this he inquires (`Isa. 5:4`), "What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?" But nevertheless it repaid him wild grapes instead of good grapes,--"and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry, etc." And the "husbandmen" to whom the vineyard was let were the divinely constituted religious leaders of the nation. These husbandmen had this stewardship from the time of the exodus down to the time of the coming of Messiah, a period of nearly nineteen centuries.
At various seasons during the age God specially looked for fruits of righteousness, sending to them his faithful prophets, who were lightly esteemed and illy treated--especially by the husbandmen.--`Matt. 23:31,32`.
Last of all, in the harvest or end of the age, God sent unto them his Son, saying, "It may be they will reverence my Son." But no, in their selfish ambition to retain their stewardship, they said among themselves, "This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours." "So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him." The application of the parable was too manifest to be misunderstood. The guilty consciences needed no further accusation. The self-righteous hypocrites perceived that the
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great Teacher had read their hearts and was aware of their dark designs.
In the further progress of the parable was the prophecy of his own final triumph, even though they should kill him; for he was the stone of which the Psalmist prophesied, saying, "The stone which the builders refused is become the headstone of the corner" (`Psa. 118:22`), the building of God being referred to as a pyramid, of which the topstone is the chief corner stone. (See also `Zech. 4:7`.) This stone might indeed be rejected by them then, but that would not hinder its exaltation in God's due time as the chief stone in the glorious spiritual temple of God.
In stumbling over Christ at his first advent, the Jewish nation was indeed broken to pieces; and ever since they have been a nation scattered and peeled (`Isa. 18:2`), all the world being witness to the fact. The world is also witness to the fact that those wicked husbandmen who crucified the Lord were destroyed as such. They lost their prestige and power and honor and office (and many of them doubtless perished literally in the destruction of Jerusalem), and were superseded by the more worthy apostles and teachers of the gospel of Christ.
Such was the testimony of Christ against fleshly Israel
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as a people, and against their religious leaders and teachers; and as we read the prophecy and mark how true to the letter has been the fulfilment, we should not fail to mark also another prophecy, pointing to a double fulfilment,--first, upon fleshly Israel, and, secondly, upon nominal spiritual Israel, or the nominal Christian Church. It reads,--"And he shall be for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel." (`Isa. 8:14`.) In this as in other things the two houses of Israel, the fleshly of the Jewish age, and the spiritual of the Gospel age, stand related to each other as type and antitype; and the likeness is striking. The attitude of the public teachers of to-day, like those of the Jewish age, is against the Lord and the truth now due in these days of his presence. They are closing their eyes to the light that is now shining, and, as a result, both they and all who follow their leading are stumbling into the ditch of infidelity; and soon they will all be overwhelmed in the great tribulation of which the Lord and the prophet forewarn us.--`Matt. 24:21`; `Dan. 12:1`; `Rev. 18:4`.
The result of the stumbling of the nominal gospel Church over this stone will be the same as in the case of the Jewish Church: they will be broken; the whole institution will be disintegrated, and only the faithful remnant of this age (as of that) will be gathered into the Kingdom of God--a "little flock" to whom "it is the Father's good pleasure to give the Kingdom."
But when this corner stone crowns the finished temple of God, the Church glorified, when the Kingdom is established in glory and power, upon whomsoever this stone falls it will grind him to powder; it will utterly destroy him. "Every soul that will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people."--`Acts 3:23`.
With the example of the stumbling of fleshly Israel in view, how careful should every Christian be to see to it that he is not among those of this age who form the antitype-- either of the blind leaders or of the blind multitudes who follow their leading into the yawning ditch which shall surely ingulf all of the unfaithful.
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THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM FORETOLD
--MAY 31.--`Luke 21:20-36`.--
Golden Text--"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.--`Luke 21:33`.
IT should be remembered that this lesson is but a fragment from our Lord's long discourse, in answer to three distinct questions propounded by the disciples:-- When shall these things [the destruction of the Temple, etc.] be? What shall be the sign of thy [second] coming? What shall be the sign of the end of the age?
`Verses 20-24` have reference primarily to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish polity in the close of the Jewish age, altho they have a secondary reference to events in the end of the Gospel age, the antitype of the Jewish age. This, however, is no part of our present lesson.
The literal fulfilment of this portion of the prophecy is disputed by none. The Roman army besieged the city, and then suddenly withdrew (A.D. 69). Vespasian, the Roman general, learning of the death of the Roman emperor, and that insurrection prevailed at Rome, hastened thither and assumed the emperorship. Meantime, before Titus had assumed command of the army and renewed the siege of Jerusalem, the Christians of the city acted upon our Lord's instruction, fled from the doomed city and thus escaped the awful horrors of its siege, in which it is claimed that 1,100,000 Jews perished. Josephus, the Jewish historian, says of this event: "The misfortunes of all men from the beginning of the world, if they be compared to those of the Jews, are not so terrible as theirs were"; "nor did any age ever produce a generation more fruitful of wickedness, from the beginning of the world." As a nation, the Jews had experienced great blessings and privileges, and these being misused brought great darkness and ultimately a terrible national judgment, as predicted. (`Verse 22` and `1 Thes. 2:16`.) All of these things correspond to the conditions in the "harvest" or end of this Gospel age. Here the light of the Lord's second presence rejected will bring special responsibility upon nominal "Christendom," whose wickedness at the time will be very great, proportioned to its light; and its fall will be in the midst of a time of trouble still greater than that which overwhelmed the typical city and nation.
Our Lord's prediction, when uttered, seemed most improbable: the city and country were more prosperous than for a long time, and the temple, after forty-six years of building, had just been completed and was truly magnificent. Yet within forty years it was an awful ruin. (See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., Chap. 4.)
`Verses 25-31`, leaping over centuries, point to events near the close of Gentile Times, and mention the signs of the close of the Gospel age, and connected with the revealing of the Son of Man in glory. The signs in the sun, moon and stars were to give a general idea as to the time when the Kingdom would be nigh. We will not here particularize respecting these signs, but will mention them:-- The remarkable darkening of the sun and moon, May 19th, 1780; and the notable falling of stars or meteoric shower on the morning of Nov. 13th, 1833. While we believe also in a symbolic fulfilment of the darkening of the sun and falling of the stars, yet we cannot overlook the literal fulfilment, and hence expect, in harmony with
`Verses 32,33`, that some of the generation which saw the falling stars will continue to live until God's Kingdom shall be fully established.
`Verses 34-36` are a general exhortation, as applicable to us to-day as to the disciples eighteen centuries ago.