Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
CHRONOLOGICAL ERRORS OF THE
"WATCHMAN, WHAT OF THE NIGHT?" EXAMINED. FURTHER P.B.I. CHRONOLOGY EXAMINED. SOME OF CARL OLSON'S CHRONOLOGICAL ERRORS EXAMINED. SOME RECENT P.B.I. CHRONOLOGICAL CLAIMS EXAMINED. SOME MORE RECENT P.B.I. CHRONOLOGICAL CLAIMS EXAMINED. SOME MISTAKES IN PTOLEMY'S CANON. ZEH—NOT THESE, BUT THIS. SOME P.B.I. ERRORS ON JEREMIAH AND DANIEL.
IN THE April 15 Herald of Christ's Kingdom, the P.B.I. periodical, appears an article of ten pages entitled: "Watchman, What of the Night?", repudiating our Pastor's chronology. In particular it denies that the Times of the Gentiles began in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar with the desolation of the land after the overthrow of Zedekiah, claiming that the Times of the Gentiles began nineteen years earlier, in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign as King of Babylon. As a result they likewise state that they repudiate the chronology of the 6,000 years from Adam's creation as ending Oct., 1872, A.D., as well as the chronology of the great cycle leading up to the antitypical Jubilee, and the chronology of Parallel Dispensations. The article assures us that not only the five Herald Editors, but the seven P.B.I. Directors agree unanimously in these chronological repudiations, as well as in what they consider the Truth on these chronological periods. Quoting from Studies, Vol. II, which our Pastor wrote between 1886 and 1889, they claim that the three things therein set forth as our expectations as to 1914 "utterly failing to materialize"—(1) the utter collapse of Christendom, (2) the end of Armageddon, [Points (1) and (2) are the same event, not two different events] (3) the full establishment of the Kingdom—we were disappointed in our expectation in 1914. This, they say, necessitates a
re-examination of the chronology to find out the [supposed] mistake.
In setting forth such a reason they overlooked the fact that ten years before 1914 our Pastor pointed out that the Time of Trouble would not begin until after the end of Gentile Times in the Fall of 1914 (Z '04, 197-199; 229, 230; the last paragraph denies that we should teach that anarchy would be over in the Fall of 1915). Hence those of us who were properly informed on the subject did not for ten years before expect the end of Armageddon by the Fall of 1914; for we for years knew that a world-wide War, to begin in 1914, would precede it (Z '04, 249; 1 Kings 19: 11, Berean Comments; Amos 9: 13). So, too, they overlook the fact that in 1913 the Tower cautioned us that the Church would not leave the world in 1914; and that hence the kingdom would not be fully established in 1914. Accordingly, the Herald in claiming as a ground for going back on the chronology a disappointment of our expectations in 1914 is setting forth a fictitious, a nonexistent disappointment; for before that time we did not expect these things to occur in that year. Our expectations for 1914—the beginning of the great Tribulation at the end of the Times of the Gentiles, and also the end of the reaping, but not of the gleaning—were realized by the outbreak of the World War, and by the gleaning continuing in that year. The Herald Editors give as a second reason that led them to look for a mistake in our chronology—the anxiety of their readers as to the meaning of the conditions since 1914. Had the Herald Editors retained the Truth on the subject of the Epiphany, and of the separation in the Church in 1917 as the antitype of Elijah's and Elisha's separation, and had they continued to walk in the light thereafter, they would have been able to quiet the anxiety of their readers by the Lord's solution of these conditions, instead of attempting to do so by repudiating a correct chronology. Thus they have greatly erred.
The Herald Editors tell us that they have very earnestly sought the Lord in prayer, and very diligently searched the Scriptures, to enable them to find the [supposed] mistake in our chronology. But they overlooked telling their readers that they evidently paid very little heed to the Scriptures on the subject; rather they paid very much heed to the chronologies of nominal-church writers like Usher's, and Guinness' and to heathen chronologies like Ptolemy's, whose solutions they have throughout accepted as against our Pastor's solutions, which he accepted after thoroughly examining and, for good reasons, rejecting nominal-church and heathen chronologies on the date of Nebuchadnezzar's first year as king of Babylon. Our Pastor having showed these chronologies to be wrong in Studies, Vol. II, the P.B.I. Editors should have been estopped by that fact from accepting them. In this particular these Editors have followed the same spirit as they showed in not a few cases in their interpretations of Revelation. Of course, they try to make it appear that our Pastor laid down principles, e.g., in Z '14, 5, justifying their procedure, forgetting to mention that later, when the War broke out, our Pastor claimed that our chronology was thoroughly vindicated by the facts, i.e., the Time of Trouble beginning at the time required by the chronology. We agree to his statement (which they quote to show that we are by him told to change our views as facts require): "Our expectations must not be allowed to weigh anything as against the facts"; and we add: the facts prove that what we expected before did come in 1914; hence there is no need to suggest alterations, as these Editors and Directors do, as being necessitated by the facts. The facts forbid their alterations, and justify our Pastor's view of the chronology.
We will set forth in their order with our refutations their three supposedly Scriptural proofs that the
Times of the Gentiles began in the first instead of the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign. Then we will examine their attempted refutation of the 70 years' desolation of the land as being identical with the seventy years of Babylon's universal rule.
The first (supposed) proof that they give in favor of the Times of the Gentiles beginning with the first year's reign of Nebuchadnezzar instead of with its nineteenth year are two statements in Dan. 2. In v. 1 it is stated that it was in "the second year" of his reign that he dreamed of the metallic image; and in verses 37, 38 it is stated that he was already then a universal monarch by God's appointment. Hence they reason that this being eighteen years before Zedekiah's uncrowning, the Times of the Gentiles began, not with the uncrowning of Zedekiah in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, but in the first year of the latter's reign.
Our answer to this argument is as follows: The Scriptures date the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar's reign from two chronological standpoints: (1) from the year in which he succeeded his father as king of Babylon, and (2) from the year in which he became the king of the World, with which latter year the Times of the Gentiles began. The latter year was in the nineteenth of his reign as his father's successor as king of Babylon. We now proceed to prove that the expression "in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar" (Dan. 2: 1) cannot refer to the second year after he succeeded his father as king of Babylon, which the Herald Editors claim.
(1) Since it was after Daniel and his three companions were by Nebuchadnezzar with Jehoiakin, the choicest Israelites, and some sacred vessels captured and sent to Babylon (Dan. 1: 2), which occurred in Nebuchadnezzar's seventh year of reigning (Jer. 52: 28) that these four young Hebrews were selected for a three years' student course (Dan. 1: 5); and since
it was after these three years were accomplished (Dan. 1: 18) that Daniel and his companions were counted among the wise men of Babylon, and were privileged to stand before the king, i.e., be officers and councilors of his; and since it was still later that the dream of Daniel 2 occurred, and was interpreted by Daniel, the dream could not in any wise have occurred before the fourth year of Nebuchadnezzar as king of Babylon. Hence the expression "second year" (Dan. 2: 1) cannot refer to the second year of His reign as his father's successor, but must refer to the second year of his universal reign. This we will later prove began in the nineteenth year of his reign as his father's successor over Babylon. The Herald Editors mention these three years. How could they have overlooked the fact that these three years refute their view of the "second year" of Dan. 2: 1?
(2) The three years' educational course of Daniel and his three companions could not have begun before the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign in successorship to his father as king of Babylon, because it was toward the end of his seventh year as such a king that the first Jewish captives were by him sent to Babylon (2 Chro. 36: 5-7; Jer. 52: 28), where they arrived during his eighth year (2 Kings 24: 12), since a very expeditious journey of that distance then required at least four months (Ezra 7: 9). Hence, the three years educational course could not have been finished before the eleventh year of Nebuchadnezzar as king of Babylon. Hence also the dream coming still later, the "second year" of Dan. 2: 1 could not mean his second year as king of Babylon, but must mean the second year of a different reign from that which Nebuchadnezzar began at least eleven years before, immediately after his father's death, i.e., it was the second year of his Universal Empire, which began nineteen years after he became king of Babylon.
Before proceeding further we desire to make some
remarks in reconciliation of the chronology on several points which are overlooked by the Herald Editors. One of these is an apparent contradiction between Dan 1: 1-4 and certain other Scriptures, and certain remarks that we made in the preceding paragraphs. If we had only Dan. 1: 1-4 as data, we would likely conclude that the captivity referred to in these verses occurred in the third year of Jehoiakim; but the data of 2 Chro. 36: 5-7 and Jer. 52: 28 prove that it occurred in the eleventh year of Jehoiakim and in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar. We harmonize the accounts as follows: Dan. 1: 1, 2 mentions the time of only the first of its various events, giving the others until Jehoiakim's dethronement without their chronology, as the following proves: Late in Jehoiakim's third year (Dan. 1: 1) Nebuchadnezzar in his first year left Babylon for Palestine, arriving there in the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign (Jer. 25: 1). Without suffering a siege at that time Jehoiakim came to terms with Nebuchadnezzar, becoming subservient to him for three years (2 Kings 24: 1); then in the fourth year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign and in the seventh year of his own reign he rebelled against the former. As a result after considerable delay the former came against Jerusalem, and for the first time laid siege to the city (Dan. 1: 1), taking it in the seventh year of his own reign and in the eleventh year of Jehoiakim, dethroning him and sending some of the people and some of the sacred vessels to Babylon (2 Kings 23: 36; Dan. 1: 2-4; 2 Chro. 36: 5-7). These events occurred toward the end of Nebuchadnezzar's seventh year as king of Babylon (Jer. 52: 28). Thus ended the first chapter of Nebuchadnezzar's dealings with Israel in the seventh year of his reign over Babylon. This harmonizes Dan. 1: 1, 2 with the other accounts. Another point becomes clear as follows: Nebuchadnezzar appointed Jehoiakim to succeed his father; but within three months and ten days (2 Kings 24: 8)
he besieged and captured him in the eighth year of his own reign (2 Kings 24: 10-12), leading captive the second group of Israelites to Babylon with some others of the sacred vessels (2 Kings 24: 13-16; Jer. 52: 29). In this latter verse a careless scribe inserted the Hebrew word for ten after the Hebrew word for eighth making the verse say the eighteenth year instead of the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar. The difference in the number of the captives we harmonize as follows: the former passage gives the number of captives of all kinds, the latter does not include the members of the royal family, its relatives, the princes, their families, the men of war and the craftsmen. Thus ended the second chapter of Nebuchadnezzar's dealing with Israel, resulting in a second group of Israelites going into captivity in the eighth year of his reign, after a second siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. But the Scriptures teach that Nebuchadnezzar's sword would be unsheathed a third time against Jerusalem (Ezek. 21: 14), which began in the ninth year of Zedekiah, ending during his eleventh year in his uncrowning (Ezek. 21: 25-27), and in the third group of captives, and in the rest of the sacred vessels going to Babylon (2 Kings 25: 1-21; 2 Chron. 36: 18; Jer. 52: 4-15). This occurred in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25: 8). It was Nebuzar-adan, the general of his host, who led away the captives, as the accounts show, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25: 8, 11, 20; Jer. 52: 12, 15, 16, 24-27, 30). We harmonize the dates of the other passages with Jer. 52: 30 as follows: Nebuzar-adan returned to Jerusalem from the pursuit of the fugitives (2 Kings 25: 4-6, 8) on the seventh day of the fifth month (2 Kings 25: 8); on the tenth of this month he entered and then began to destroy the city and temple (Jer. 52: 12; 2 Kings 25: 9, 10), and on the twenty-third day of this month he led away the captives from
Jerusalem (Jer. 52: 30). The Herald Editors, who use this verse to disprove our Pastor's view on the meaning and time of the land's desolation, object that this last verse says this was done in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar. Our reply is as follows: Both the account in 2 Kings 25: 512, 18-21, 22, 25 and in Jer. 52: 12, 15, 16, 24-27 show that this was done in Nebuchadnezzar's nineteenth year. Hence we understand that out of the Hebrew text the following words have been lost after the words translated "in the year," with whose corresponding words the verse in Hebrew begins: "nineteenth and in the day," etc. In other words, the verse should read as follows: "in the nineteenth year in the twenty-third day" [of the fifth month], i.e., two weeks after beginning to destroy the city, Nebuzar-adan withdrew with the captives, leaving a few people and a governor in the land, who was murdered in the seventh month, whereupon all the remnant fled to Egypt, leaving the land "desolate'' "without inhabitant" (Jer. 26: 9; 52: 16; 2 Kings 25: 22-26). Thus the Scriptures teach three sieges of Jerusalem and three groups of captives led away into Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar and they speak of the third of these sieges, resulting in the third of these captivities, as the sword unsheathed the "third time," as its first unsheathing resulted in the first group of captives reaching Babylon in Nebuchadnezzar's eighth year. These remarks harmonize the chronology completely on these subjects.
(3) Reason suggests that the three years' educational course of the four Hebrew youths began later than in the eighth and ended later than in the eleventh year of Nebuchadnezzar; for these youths were prisoners of war; additionally they were of the royal family (Dan. 1: 3). Against them some of the odium and distrust that Nebuchadnezzar felt toward its head who rebelled against him (2 Kings 24: 1; 2 Chron. 36: 6) must have been held. Hence they were persons
whom the king would not trust nor promote to the extent implied in arranging to educate them to become officers and councilors of his kingdom, until sufficient time had elapsed in which they could be observed and tested as to trustworthiness and ability for an education preparatory for such responsible careers (Dan. 1: 4, 5). The tender love of the prince of the eunuchs implies a long time-element intervening before this education began (Dan. 1: 9). Let us assume that three years, a conservative estimate for so responsible a thing, were passed in observing and testing the trustworthiness of these youths before they were admitted into the educational school for their three years' course. This would have made their entrance into and graduation from this school respectively in the eleventh and fourteenth years of Nebuchadnezzar's reign as king of Babylon. This consideration also disproves the thought of the Herald Editors that the dream of the metallic image, which occurred after the graduation of these Hebrew youths, took place in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign as king of Babylon.
(4) A fourth set of considerations disproves the point of the Herald Editors, showing additionally that the dream occurred considerably later than the fourteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign over Babylon: Considerable time must have elapsed and many events must have occurred to furnish the opportunities for Daniel and his three companions to prove themselves superior to all the king's other wise men in all matters on which he inquired of them as his officers and councilors (Dan. 1: 19, 20). For these inquiries, be it noted, were made after they were made officers and councilors of the king, i.e., after "they stood before the king." The further fact that Daniel and his three companions were singled out and were expressly sought by the executioner, after the king decreed the death of the wise men for failing to tell the dream, proves that they had for a considerable time been
recognized as famous among the wise men of Babylon (Dan. 2: 13). Evidently also long time-intervals elapsed between the events given in each successive chapter of Daniel from the first to the fifth inclusive. Thus these lines of facts are in harmony with the date of the dream as being some years later than the fourteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign over Babylon, and of course contradict the Herald's claim.
The four points given above demonstrate that the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign mentioned in Dan. 2: 1 cannot be the second year of his reign as his father's successor as king of Babylon; for these facts prove that Dan. 2: 1 refers to the second year of a reign begun many years later. Therefore, instead of Dan. 2: 1, 37, 38 proving that the Times of the Gentiles began with the first year of Nebuchadnezzar as king over Babylon, as the Herald Editors with so much confidence claim, it disproves that thought, and is in line with the thought that the Times of the Gentiles began in the nineteenth year of that reign, and that the dream occurred in its twentieth year, which was his second year as universal monarch. Why did not the Herald Editors, who in their article mention the three years' schooling, see that this fact made it impossible to refer to the second year of Dan. 2: 1 to the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign as his father's successor as king of Babylon? Why did they not try to harmonize the facts and the chronology of Dan. 1: 1, 2, which mentions the chronology of its first event only, with those of 2 Kings 24: 1-21; 2 Chron. 36: 5-7; Jer. 25: 1; 52: 28? It is impossible in harmony with justice to consider interpreters who are so careless, and who make so manifest blunders in such important matters, as clear, accurate and reliable interpreters. Let our readers remember also that they committed this blunder despite their knowing that our Pastor after careful investigation rejected the event and year in Nebuchadnezzar's reign that they
are now advocating as marking the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles; for their present theory is of many years' standing among nominal-church writers, from whom they borrowed it. Let our readers also remember that in this matter the Herald Editors have rejected our Pastor's findings in favor of those of nominal-church and heathen chronologies.
The second (supposedly) Scriptural argument that the Herald Editors use to prove our Pastor to have made a mistake in taking Nebuchadnezzar's nineteenth year as the time, and Zedekiah's uncrowning and the coincident desolation of the land as the events marking the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles, and to prove themselves right in accepting against his findings the nominal-church and heathen chronologies as giving Nebuchadnezzar's first year as the time, and Jehoiakim's becoming servile to him seven years before his dethronement as the event, marking the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles, is by them claimed to be found in Jer. 27: 1-11; Dan. 1: 1, 2; 2 Kings 24: 1; 2 Chro. 36: 6. Briefly, their argument is the following: According to Jer. 27: 1-11 in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, whose reign began twenty-two years before Zedekiah's overthrow, Jehovah made a decree that all nations must be subject to Babylon for seventy years (v. 7, compare Jer. 25: 11, 12; 29: 10). The decree thus announced was, they say, enforced in Jehoiakim's third year when he allegedly became subservient to Nebuchadnezzar in the latter's first year. In proof they quote Dan. 1: 1, 2; 2 Kings 24: 1. Hence they claim that Nebuchadnezzar's first year marks the beginning of Babylon's Universal Empire and of the Times of the Gentiles, nineteen years before Zedekiah's uncrowning.
To this argument we make the following answer: This decree (Jer. 27: 1-11) was made, not in the beginning, and then enforced in the third year of Jehoiakim's reign, but was made in the fourth, and then
enforced in the eleventh year of Zedekiah's reign, which was the nineteenth of Nebuchadnezzar's reign. In proof of the correctness of this answer we submit the following reasons:
(1) This is in part evident from the fact that this decree was made by God through Jeremiah to the ambassadors of various countries (Jer. 27: 2, 3), who were at that time accredited, not to King Jehoiakim, but to King Zedekiah for delivery to their rulers. Hence the decree was made after Jehoiakim's reign of eleven years, and Jehoiakin's reign of three months and ten days were over; hence not earlier than the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24: 12).
(2) This is also in part evident from the fact that at the same time that this decree was made and delivered to the ambassadors at Zedekiah's court it was also delivered to him (Jer. 27: 12-15) and to the priests and to the people (v. 16).
(3) This is further in part evident from the fact that, before this decree had been made, Nebuchadnezzar in his eighth year (2 Kings 24: 12-16; 2 Chro. 36: 9, 10) had already taken away the second lot of the sacred vessels— those taken in the days of Jehoiakin—while this decree threatens that if Zedekiah and the people would not be subject to it, those of the sacred vessels that yet remained would also be taken to and kept in Babylon with those formerly carried there, until Israel's return from captivity (Jer. 27: 16-22).
(4) This is directly proven by the statement of Jer. 28: 1 to the effect that it was in the same year as this decree was made, i.e., in the fourth year of Zedekiah, that Jeremiah's prophecy respecting the matters treated of in Jer. 27: 1-22 was contradicted by the false prophet, Hananiah (Jer. 28: 14).
(5) This is fully evident, because the best MSS. of Jer. 27: 1 read as follows: "In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah," not Jehoiakim. In proof please
see Rotherham's note on this verse, giving the correction on the authority of Dr. Ginsburg, that very learned Hebrew scholar who has done for the Hebrew text of the Old Testament the work that Dr. Tischendorf, etc., have done for the Greek text of the New Testament—collated and published the variant readings of the original. Please also see the note of the A. R. V. on this verse. That the reading "Zedekiah" is the proper one is manifest from the entire chapter, particularly vs. 3, 12, 19, 20; and is unanswerably proven to be so by Jer. 28: 1, which states that the whole message of Jer. 27 was delivered in the fourth year of Zedekiah, designating that year as "in the beginning" of his reign. Hence not only do Jer. 27: 1-11; Dan. 1: 1, 2; 2 Kings 24: 1; 2 Chron. 36: 6; Jer. 25: 11, 12; 29: 10 not prove that the Times of the Gentiles began with the third year of Jehoiakim, and in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar; but they most positively disprove it, and prove that they had not yet begun in the fourth year of Zedekiah. Since previously Nebuchadnezzar's sword had twice been unsheathed against Israel, these passages further prove that this decree, made in Nebuchadnezzar's thirteenth year with reference to a future event, did not go into effect until his sword's third unsheathing—in the end of Zedekiah's reign. Hence these passages prove that the Times of the Gentiles began in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign over Babylon, which was the first year of his reign over the world, one year before he had his dream of the metallic image.
We desire to ask the Herald Editors why they quote in proof of their theories passages which positively disprove them? How could they have been so careless as to overlook the statements of Jer. 27: 3, 12, 16-23 and Jer. 28: 1, proving that Zedekiah was meant? The presence of those statements would have made careful thinkers pause and question whether there was not something wrong with the reading "Jehoiakim" in
Jer. 27: 1. We opine that hurried on by Azazel, and filled with the theories of nominal-church and heathen writers, they failed attentively to consider the oracles of God, and thus plunged themselves into this great blunder, from which a proper meekness on their part toward that Servant would have saved them. Instead, while drunk with Babylon's wine, they offered strange fire before the Lord (Lev. 10: 1, 9)!
Following nominal-church writers, the Herald Editors claim as a third Scriptural proof that Jehoiakim's subserviency beginning (not in his third year, as they claim, but) in his fourth year (Jer. 25: 1; 2 Kings 24: 1) proves that from that time onward Israel was subject to Gentile rule, and hence the Times of the Gentiles then began. Corroborations of this they think are Jehoiakin's uncrowning and Zedekiah's appointment by Nebuchadnezzar. To this we make several answers:
(1) Nebuchadnezzar's relations to Jehoiakim were not those of a super-ruler, but those of a foreign invader too powerful to resist while near.
(2) This subserviency as soon as possible was cast off and disregarded for four years (2 Kings 24: 1; 2 Chron. 36: 5-7).
(3) While Zedekiah (2 Chron. 36: 10) was appointed by Nebuchadnezzar after the latter's besieging, capturing and deposing Jehoiakin, Jehoiakim's successor, he was independent of Nebuchadnezzar, as Jer. 27: 12-17 clearly proves.
(4) If the mere subserviency of a Jewish king to a Gentile power and his dismissal or appointment by such a power prove the subjugation of Israel implied in the expression, the Times of the Gentiles, then the Jews became subject to the Gentiles, and hence the Times of the Gentiles began, four years before the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when Necho, king of Egypt, overthrew Jehoahaz, appointed Jehoiakim in his stead, and made Israel pay tribute (2 Chro. 35: 20—36: 4).
(5) God counted Israel His typical kingdom and thus independent of Gentile power until David's descendants lost the crown (Ezek. 21: 25-27). Ezek. 21 and Jer. 27 throughout are in line with this thought, showing that Israel lost its kingdom, independence, by Nebuchadnezzar's sword unsheathed the third time: at the end of Zedekiah's reign.
The Herald Editors quote Ptolemy's canon and nominal-church writers in corroboration of their claims as to 606 B.C. being Nebuchadnezzar's first year as Babylon's king. In answer we say:
(1) Ptolemy's canon sets the year 604 B.C. as the first year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign over Babylon, a fact that the Herald Editors evidently know, but that they evidently conceal, proven by their giving, and that out of their proper chronological place, two years of Nebuchadnezzar's supposed coregency with his father. Why did they not place the supposed coregency at its proper chronological place at the head instead of next to the bottom of their chronological table? Was it because its position at its proper chronological place would have exposed the unreliability of Ptolemy's canon on that date—an exposure that they would not desire to be made, because fatal to their theory?
(2) It is because the Ptolemy and the nominal-church chronologies contradict the Bible chronology previous to Cyrus' decree that our Pastor rejected them as incorrect previous to that time. Shall we with our Pastor follow the Bible chronology previous to Cyrus' decree, or shall we with the P.B.I. Editors and Directors follow heathen and nominal-church chronologies contradictory to the Bible? Which? The faithful will with Joshua say, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!"
Of course these Editors feel that the seventy Jubilees kept by the land during its desolation are against the acceptance of their nominal-church theory by the
Lord's people, and therefore they make the most desperate efforts to dispose of them as against their theory, and in so doing have offered some tortured explanations that have been rarely equaled for unreasonableness—explanations that they have borrowed from nominal-church writers, whose views on the 70 Jubilee years they also endorse as against our Pastor's. They claim that the 70 Jubilee years that the land kept began Dec. 25, 589 B.C., when they claim Nebuchadnezzar invaded the land in the ninth year of Zedekiah, and ended somewhat earlier in the year, 520 B.C., a period of less than 69 years, during over sixteen of which they say the Israelites were in the land after their return from Babylon! And they actually proceed at great length to expound such an absurdity to people trained in our Pastor's sober ways of thinking, even assuming that these 70 years are periods of 360 days, a method that they used to palm off a nominal-church writer's (Dr. Guinness) views as against our Pastor's thought on the 3½ days during which the two witnesses lay dead on the streets of that great City! One view of this nominal-church theory is given in McClintock and Strong's Cyclopaedia, Vol. 3, 304, pars. 2, 3.
We will give some brief refutations under two heads. We will prove (1) that the seventy years of desolation and the seventy years of Babylon's universal rule are identical; and (2) that these Editors' view of the seventy Jubilees kept by the land is grossly erroneous.
First we remark that by Babylon's seventy years' reign we do not understand that their emperors were on the throne as universal rulers that long, but that their authority as exercised by them or by their representatives among the nations would not be overthrown entirely until the end of that period, which synchronized with Israel's arrival in Palestine after leaving Babylon in harmony with Cyrus' decree. We make this
remark because, actually, Cyrus overthrew Babylon's last emperor in 538 B.C., a date less than seventy years after Babylon became a universal power.
We now proceed to give briefly the proof that the seventy years of desolation and the seventy years of Babylon's universal rule are one and the same period.
(1) The proofs already given in connection with "the second year" of Nebuchadnezzar's reign (Dan. 2: 1), and the date of giving and the date of enforcing Jehovah's decree (Jer. 27: 1-11) as to Babylon's universal rulership, prove this proposition and need no repetition here.
(2) Jeremiah mentions this expression, seventy years, only three times (Jer. 25: 11, 12; 29: 10; in the latter passage practically all versions, and that correctly, render "for Babylon," not "at Babylon") and in one of these passages—the only one where he mentions the desolation of the land as of seventy years' duration—he identifies the period of Babylon's universal rule and the period of the desolation of the land (Jer. 25: 11, 12).
(3) Daniel correctly understood Jeremiah's one and only reference to the seventy years of the land's desolation to mean the period of time during which the Israelites would be away from the land (Dan. 9: 2, 7, 12, 16, 18-20). Hence he prayed for Israel's return to the land as that period was closing (Dan. 9: 1-29).
(4) Jeremiah's one and only one reference to the seventy years' desolation of the land (Jer. 25: 11, 12), which he identifies with Babylon's seventy years' universal rule, and his references to the land being "desolate" "without inhabitant" (Jer. 26: 4-7, 9) are by Jehovah Himself identified with the seventy Jubilees kept by the land through the absence of its inhabitants (2 Chro. 36: 20-22). If these seventy Jubilees are not referred to in Jer. 25: 11, 12, which verses identify the seventy years' desolation with Babylon's seventy years supremacy, where else does he foretell seventy Jubilees
to be accomplished in the desolation of the land? Nowhere! Hence the seventy Sabbaths are identical with Babylon's seventy years; for 2 Chro. 36: 20, 21, 22 proves that Israel was driven and kept out of the land for seventy years in order to fulfill Jeremiah's prophecy of the land's desolation for seventy years; and the only place where Jeremiah makes such a prophecy is where he identifies the land's desolation with Babylon's seventy years' supremacy (Jer. 25: 11, 12). Moses' prophecy refers to the same thing (Lev. 26: 33-35). Accordingly, these two expressions refer to the same period of time.
(5) 2 Chro. 36: 20-22 proves that the seventy years' desolation of the land was during Israel's total absence from the land, for these verses say that they were driven out, and then kept out of the land for seventy years in order that the land could keep its seventy Sabbaths. And it also says that as long as it was desolate—"without inhabitant" (Jer. 26: 9)—it kept its Sabbaths for seventy years. Hence the seventy years of Sabbath keeping and Babylon's seventy years' supremacy are identical.
(6) Zech. 7: 5-14 generally, and particularly verses 5 and 14, show expressly that the seventy years' desolation were a period in which nobody was in the land, and that during those seventy years of desolation no one returned to the land; while the P.B.I. theory, plagiarized from the nominal church, claims that the Israelites returned and lived there over sixteen years before the seventy years of desolation were completed!
(7) The Jubilee beginning on the tenth day of the seventh month (Lev. 25: 9), and the solar year and the lunar year in Israel being in the long run equalized, which is proven by the ripening of the first-fruits pointing out the month of Nisan (Lev. 23: 10-15); and the Jubilee year in the long run averaging in length the solar year, the seventy Jubilees—the seventy years of desolation—were on the average equal to
seventy solar years; and therefore we must have a period of seventy average solar years for them, which no explanation allows other than the identity of the seventy years of desolation and Babylon's seventy years of supremacy. Hence the identical period is meant by these two expressions.
The above seven reasons demonstrate the Scripturalness of our Pastor's views, and refute the nominal-church views on this subject, now offered us by the P.B.I. Editors and Directors.
Having proved the correctness of our chronology on the seventy years and thus indirectly disproved the Herald's views, we now proceed to a direct refutation of the latter's thought on the seventy years as being years of 360 days and as beginning Dec. 25, 598 B.C., and ending in Nov., 520 B.C.
(1) Whatever God's people may or may not have done before on the subject, certainly Israel never from the Exodus onward kept a year of 360 days (Ex. 12: 2). Their year was a lunar year with a month added at its end whenever at that end the condition of the growing barley proved that its first-fruits would not be ripe in time for presentation in the Holy of Holies on the sixteenth of the next month (Lev. 23: 10-15). Hence their years in the long run averaged a solar year of 365.242 days. Therefore the seventy years of desolation were not counted by them as consisting of 360 days each. Had they used such a year, it would have made their Passover come in the Fall 35 years after their first Passover. This consideration refutes the P.B.I.—nominal-church view on the seventy years being of 360 days each.
(2) The Jubilee years came on an average every fifty solar years, and on an average lasted a solar year. Therefore the seventy Jubilee years—the seventy years of desolation—averaged seventy solar years, and therefore would have outlasted the period from Dec., 589 B.C. to Nov., 520 B.C. by a year and a
month. Hence this consideration refutes their thought.
(3) It is an unproved and false assumption—the claim of the Herald—as we showed above—that there were seventy years of 360 days from Nebuchadnezzar's final invasion until the Israelites commenced again to rebuild their temple in the day of Darius; but it is further disproved, because the year of the Jews forbids such a method of reckoning, as was proved by the first point given above.
(4) The nations, e.g., the more ancient Babylonians and the Egyptians, that used the year of twelve months of thirty days each, either at certain intervals added a month, or at the end of the 360 days added five or six days as the case required to make the years begin at their proper seasons. This is what the quotations from Sir Isaac Newton and Sir G. C. Lewis mean, as can be seen from the latter's statement (in the quotation that the Editors give they present these statements as though they favor their view, whereas they do not so do) that some of the ancients kept the year of 360 days, "determined within certain limits of error." But as we have seen, the Jews did not observe a year of 360 days, because it would have made it impossible for them to keep in the proper seasons of the year their festivals, which were fixed to the seasons of the year, e.g., the Passover in the Spring, the Feast of Tabernacles in the Fall, etc.; for with a year of 360 days, thirty-five years after the first Passover that festival would have come in the Fall, on about the fourteenth of the seventh month. Sixty-nine years later the same thing would have occurred again, with intervening ones coming on an average five to six days earlier in each succeeding year. This fact completely refutes the Herald's claims. True, God uses the year of 360 days and the month of 30 days in foretelling the time periods. For this there is the best of reasons; for had He, in foretelling these time periods by symbolic months and years, used the exact number of days