Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
of Hebrew, violate its grammatical rules and are given to support error.
For some time the P.B.I. Herald Editors have been publishing articles on the books of Daniel and Jeremiah. Despite our complete refutation of their chronological errors they continue to repeat them, adding nothing materially to their former views on them. Like their British colaborer, Wm. Crawford, in his course toward us in Britain, they seem to proceed on the assumption that repetition is proof. They cannot answer our arguments, and the repetition of overthrown contentions avails nothing as proof against such arguments. In their recent writings we notice more and more they refer to that Servant just as they do to various nominal-church writers, e.g., "a certain writer," "another writer," "a recent writer," etc., and degrade him in these connections to a par with nominal-church writers, approvingly or disapprovingly as they wish. And these Herald Editors are the very persons who in 1918 by a whispering campaign assassinated us among many supporters of the Fort Pitt Committee on the falsely alleged charge that we were teaching contrary to that Servant! In view of their and our courses toward that Servant's teaching since that time, how can they look the same people in the face before whom they made those charges?
It is not our purpose to go into details on their Jeremiah and Daniel articles. On only a few points will we offer refutations of their views. In the P.B.I. Herald '24, 12, pars. 4-7, they say that nothing occurred in 1878 indicating the return of favor to the Jews at that time, and that the fact of Israel's suffering much since then proves their contention. Was it not a most powerful evidence of the return of secular national favor to Israel that in 1878 at the Berlin Congress of Nations, the European Concert of Nations (the modern phase o f the fourth beast that scattered them to the four winds, taking away from them
national existence) made it a matter of International Law that they be given the right of settling in Palestine with the removal of onerous handicaps from them? Was it not a most powerful evidence of the return of religious national favor to Israel that on June 11, 1878—exactly 1845 years to the day from the time when Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on the believing portion of them (Acts 2: 1-4, 33)— the Delitzsch Hebrew translation of the New Testament in its revised edition began to circulate among the orthodox Jews, which with other cooperating agencies has ever since then been so destroying Jewish prejudices against, and so enlightening Jewish eyes on, Jesus as years ago to have brought the majority of the Jews to believe that instead of Jesus having been an apostate and impostor, He was one of the greatest of their Prophets, and to have greatly decreased the prejudice of most of them? One of the troubles with the P.B.I. Editors is that they overlook the fact that time prophecies mark beginnings, not completions, of fulfilled events. Had they humbly heeded our Pastor's oft repeated expression on this subject, they would have continued to recognize in the two events just indicated the return of both secular and religious national favor to Israel in 1878.
But their contention that the Jews, having very greatly suffered since 1878, could not in that year have had a return to favor, shows additionally that they have overlooked the operation of punishment for another feature of Israel's guilt—their suffering to the full time the other double because of other guilt. Israel has had two doubles—one of 2520 years because of their transgressions against the Law (Lev. 26: 14, 15), the other of 1845 years because of the rejection of our Lord. These two forms of guilt are indicated in Ps. 107: 17, where the word "transgression" refers to their rejection of Christ and the word "iniquities" refers to their sins again the Law. But what of their
sufferings since 1914, when their 2520 years' double ended? We reply that, like the rest of mankind, and not for the two forms of guilt just mentioned, they have sinned against natural justice; and therefore in the time of wrath they must with the Gentile world suffer the wrath of the day of wrath, which began with the end of their 2520 years' double. The above observations dispose of their objection to the teaching that the double which Jesus pronounced upon the Jews began in 33 and ended in 1878 A.D. and of their claim that it continues.
But the Herald Editors in their Daniel series proceed to other repudiations of our Pastor's teachings. Among these repudiations is their denial of our Pastor's view, which they call that of "one writer," to the effect that the three plucked-up horns were the Western Empire, and the kingdoms of the Heruli and the Ostrogoths. Their reason for the supposed necessity of repudiating this thought is, they allege, that the Western Empire was a beast, not a horn. Against this claim we offer the following reasons: (1) If their view were correct, the ten-horned beast would have been destroyed before any of the ten horns came up on its head! Thus there would have been no ten-horned beast at all! (2) But the fact of the matter is that the Roman Empire consisted of two parts, the Eastern and the Western, for sometime after the death of Theodosius, for whose two sons the division was made, the Eastern Empire having the ascendancy in the organization of the Empire, even as this was the case, more markedly however, from the days of Dioclesian, 285 A.D. to 324 A.D., at which latter date Constantine consolidated the Empire, which remained so until Theodosius' death, 395 A.D. That the Empire was, after the fall of the Western Empire as such, 476, still considered as consisting of two parts with the Eastern in the ascendancy can be seen from Gibbon's statements (Vol. IV, 11, 12, 20, 21) respecting the Ostrogoths,
who with more or less loyalty, acknowledged this ascendancy of the Eastern Empire as represented in the Eastern Emperor at Constantinople. Hence the contention of the Herald Editors that the Western Empire was not a horn, but a beast—the Roman beast—falls to the ground; and their excuse for repudiating our Pastor's view of the three plucked-up horns, and for arguing for the views of nominal-church writers is groundless.
These editors, to prove this error of theirs, say that they do not know of a single historian who states that temporal power was exercised by the popes during the sixth century, but that they all agree that this was not done until the eighth century. They quote Gibbon to prove their point. But Gibbon, one of the ablest secular historians, in Vol. IV, 423-425, shows that the temporal power of the popes began before the days of Pope Gregory I, 590-604, and cites various exercises of temporal power in judicial and executive respects by this pope. Kurtz is one of the ablest Church historians, and he says, in Vol. I, 273, that Gregory exercised temporal power and states that this is admitted on all hands. It is doubtful if the P.B.I. Editors tell the truth as to their own knowledge when they say, "we do not know of a single historian that records this [that popes possessed temporal power in the early part of the sixth century], all agreeing that it was not until the eighth century [italics ours] … that the Roman bishops attained temporal possessions and authority." As a matter of fact we do not know of a serious historian who treats of the temporal power of the pope who does not locate its first exercises in the sixth century. While in the eighth century, through Pepin and Charlemagne, the temporal possessions and authority of the popes were very greatly enlarged, they were exercised in Rome, etc., two centuries before, as all reliable historians agree.
At the bottom of this P.B.I. error lies the same
mistake as was pointed out above—their failure to remember that chronology points out the time of the first beginnings of predicted events, and not so much the later details. Applying this principle to the matter in hand, we would say: There were two stages of the popes' exaltation:
(1) exaltation to ecclesiastical primacy, and (2) exaltation to civil authority. The claims, with pertinent acts, to his primacy in the Church were begun in the third century, were very general in the fourth century, and were acknowledged by the Eastern and Western Emperors as against all other claimants, especially against the claims of equality by the pope's only serious rival—the patriarch of Constantinople—in favor of Pope Leo I (440-461) in 454 A.D., in connection with the Eastern Emperor's annulling the 28th canon of the council of Chalcedon (451), which claimed such equality. A law of the Western Emperor (445) made it even high treason to deny the pope's ecclesiastical primacy. Thus the pope's ecclesiastical supremacy in the middle of the fifth century was a law of both the Eastern and the Western Empires. (See Kurtz, Vol. I, 269, 270.) Biblical chronology, backed by the Pyramid's corroboration, gives the third century as the date of the beginning of the first, the ecclesiastical phase of the pope's exaltation. The decree of Justinian and its accompanying correspondence (533) only emphasized the already generally accepted belief and law of the pope's primacy in the Church, and shadowed forth the events that were connected with 539—the defeat of the Ostrogoths, the capture of their capital, king and leaders, leaving them in ruin, shortly to be annihilated as a nation. This overthrow of the Ostrogothic Empire in Italy, 539, freed the pope from restraints on exercising temporal power, and thus was the first act in the setting up of the pope in temporal power. This was quickly followed by acts of temporal power which within a half century had proceeded so far that Gibbon (Vol. IV, 423-425)
could cite many of these acts of temporal power grouping them into two kinds, judicial and executive, and give many examples of each as performed by Gregory (590-604).
The ambition of the popes to gain political power made them pursue a course that contributed to the overthrow of the Western Empire, the Heruli and the Ostrogoths. Hence the little horn is prophetically represented as contributing to the plucking up of those three horns by its pushing them out of their place to make room for itself as it was growing, figuratively speaking, under the hide of the beast's head and before it broke through that hide. The powers and possessions granted by Pepin and Charlemagne in the second half of the eighth century gave the climax to the recognition of the special exaltation of the pope's temporal power, as the period of its adolescence was ending, just as Justinian's decree gave the climax to the recognition of the special exaltation of the pope's ecclesiastical power as its period of adolescence was ending. These considerations refute the P.B.I. Editors on the date of the setting up of the papacy both in ecclesiastical and civil power, and vindicate the views of our Pastor. The P.B.I. Editors' attempt to fix 539 as the date of the pope's beginning to obtain ecclesiastical as distinct from political power to oppress the saints, so as by this distinction to set aside our Pastor's thought that papacy's exaltation in temporal power began in 539, is contrary to history; for previous to 539 the popes had and exercised such ecclesiastical power, among other ways, as compelled persecution against saints through the civil power—Jezebel persecuting Elijah through Ahab. For at the behest of the clergy, especially of the papacy, these persecutions, which, among other forms, included imprisonment, exile, torture and in some cases death, began with the persecution of the Donatists (316 A.D.) by Constantine, after the Roman bishop and others had
denounced them to him, which as the dates prove was even before the Nicean Council, 325 A.D. The facts in the preceding paragraphs on the popes' exaltation to ecclesiastical supremacy, especially those connected with the dates 445, 454, and 533, completely refute the P.B.I. Editors' claim that 539 marks the setting up of the papacy in ecclesiastical power, as distinct from civil power, which they falsely claim came first in the eighth century. Facts show, therefore, that this P.B.I. distinction as applied to 539 is not true; and that our Pastor was right in the claim that 539 begins the period when the saints began to be oppressed by the pope as a temporal prince, i.e., when the papacy was set up in civil power.
As by their chronological errors these editors rejected most of the prophetico-chronological parts of Studies, Vol. II, so by their errors on the setting up of the "man of sin" they are repudiating large parts of its last chapter and parts of Studies, Vol. III. These are followed by further repudiations on their part.
In the June 15 and July 1, 1924, Herald, the P.B.I. repudiation of our Pastor's understanding of the chronology as to the 70 weeks is set forth in detail. The year 455 B.C. for the beginning of the 70 weeks, the year 2 B.C. for our Lord's birth and the year 33 A.D. for His death are all repudiated. They follow some secular and nominal-church chronologers in giving 444 (usually 445) B.C., 4 B.C. and 29 A.D. as the years for these events; and to make the 486½ years from 444 B.C. stop at 29 A.D., they count each of these years as consisting of 12 lunar months without intercalating the 13th as needed to fix the Nisan new moon as the one nearest the vernal equinox 7 times every 19 years, and as required for the ripening of the first fruits for Nisan 16. Thus they make the time 15 such years short of the solar time. We have proven the complete unscripturalness of such a method of calculation of the Biblical years above, when answering
their first published chronological error—that on the year of Zedekiah's uncrowning; and it will not be necessary to take it up here again. In the article on Mr. Panin's Chronology we showed that Artaxerxes began to reign 474 B.C. and that his 20th year was 455 B.C. In this article we will briefly examine the reason that the P.B.I. alleges requires counting years of 12 lunar months to reach from 444 B.C. to 29 A.D. in 486½ years. They allege that the "word" went forth (Dan. 9: 25) to restore and build Jerusalem in Nisan (Neh. 2: 1); hence they reason that 386½ solar years (the 69½ weeks until Messiah was cut off) would end Oct., while the Scriptures teach that our Lord died Nisan 14—in April. Hence they conclude that these 490 years are years of 12 lunar months.
Facts of fulfilled prophecy refute the view of Biblical chronological years being 12 lunar months uniformly. We have, as indicated above, proved that the 70 weeks began in 455 B.C. and ended in 36 A.D. and that the middle of the 70th week was Passover, 33. But apart from this there is an acid test that demonstrates that the 490 years in question were in the long run equivalent to solar years: These 490 years were cut off from the first part of 2300 years of Dan. 8: 14. The 1810 years of the 2300 remaining after the "cut off" 490 years had passed by, cannot be made years of 12 lunar months and be made to reach 1846, when both the formation of the image began, and the cleansing of the sanctuary was ended. Moreover, this date is corroborated by the Pyramid measurements, 1846, Oct., being the date at the foot of the step near the Grand Gallery's South Wall. Even if the 1810 years were by the P.B.I. conceded to be solar years they would only reach from their new view of Cornelius' conversion in Oct., 32 (the right date being Oct. 36) to 1842—4 years before the Bible, the Pyramid and the fulfilled facts prove them to have ended. But if the first 490 of the 2300 years were of 12 lunar
months each, of course the remaining 1810 would be the same kind of years, and that would have made them end in June, 1790! Assuredly the Church class did not then receive the last cleansing from error previous to the Harvest! Hence the P.B.I. view that each of the 490 years consisted of 12 lunar months is wrong.
Furthermore, the fact that God has never indicated in any way that He uses lunar years of 12 months in the long run, and the further fact that all His years entering into general chronology and into the prophetic periods are in the long run equivalent to solar years, at once discredit the P.B.I. interpretation and prove that in Dan. 9: 25 the expression, "the going forth of the word," 'does not mean the act of Artaxerxes in commissioning Nehemiah to restore and build Jerusalem, but means the execution of the commission. If it meant the former, it occurred in Nisan— in the Spring (Neh. 2: 1-6); if the latter, it occurred five days before the first day of the seventh month—in the Fall (Neh. 6: 15). The former interpretation compels our saying that Christ died in the Fall; because Scriptural years in chronology, i.e., in the long run, are always, through the intercalated month required from time to time by the first fruits, the equivalent of solar years. But the fact of Christ dying in the Spring forces us to accept the second interpretation. Hence the expression, "the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem," means the execution, the going into realization of the commission—the completion of the walls which made Jerusalem a city; for a walled place, regardless of whether it contains houses or not (Neh. 7: 4) is a city—ir—according to the Hebrew. And Neh. 6: 15 shows that the walls of Jerusalem were completed on the 25th of Elul—the sixth month—five days before the Fall began, and that before any houses were built in it apart from the temple (Neb. 7: 4). Here then we are to date "the going forth [not the authorization, but the execution of the thing
authorized] of the word to restore and build Jerusalem"— the Fall of 455 B.C. It proves our understanding of the subject to be true, and refutes another P.B.I. attempt to corrupt a truth which they formerly saw.
They claim that Nisan 14 did not come on Friday in 33 A.D., and that the only Friday on which it came for many years before and after was in 29 A.D. This claim they advance as a proof that our Lord did not die in 33, but in 29 A.D. On this aspect of the question we have consulted many Bible Dictionaries, Religious and Secular Encyclopedias and other authorities, and they are quite unanimous in this that probably in both 29 and 33 A.D. Nisan 14 came on Friday. The reason why most incline to the 29 A.D. date is their assuming Jesus' birth to have been in 6 B.C. But authorities disagree on the basis of this: the date of Herod's death. Those followed by the P.B.I. assign his death to March, 4 B.C., on the supposed evidence of an eclipse, but the best authorities place Herod's death at I A.D., on the basis of Josephus' data as to the beginning and duration of his reign. This view does not necessitate dating Christ's birth earlier than 2 B.C.; and Cyrenius' governorship from Jan., 3 B.C. to Jan., 1 A.D. disproves the P.B.I. date 4 B.C. and certainly favors our dates, Oct., 2 B.C. for Christ's birth, Oct., 29 A.D. for the beginning, and April, 33 A.D. for the end of His ministry. The Scriptures and the clearly ascertained facts of secular chronology for the beginning of the seventy weeks, prove our viewpoint of these weeks to be correct, while the many disagreements and guesses among nominal-church writers, whose more generally accepted suppositional dates the P.B.I. largely endorses, make the latter's new views, a re-hash of unprovable nominal-church views, appear in their real character—darkness for light.
With the P.B.I.'s repudiating our Pastor's understanding
of the 70 weeks, they have nearly completed the repudiation of every time feature in Studies, Vols. II and III as there presented. The few remaining unrepudiated points are relatively unimportant and will in due time be cast overboard, to keep something like consistency in their views. Who says "A" must finally say "Z."
From the Aug. 15, 1924 issue to that of Nov. 15, 1924, the P.B.I. Herald has been publishing expositions of Dan. 11: 14-45 [they continued this much longer]. In these expositions its editors have repudiated our Pastor's entire viewpoint on this part of Dan. 11, and have substituted, as they acknowledge, the views of nominal-church writers, especially those of Sir Isaac Newton, who died in 1727, and of Bishop Thomas Newton, who died in 1782, 72 and 17 years respectively before the Time of the End began—facts that, in view of the angel's statement (Dan. 12: 4-12) that not until 30, and especially 75, years after the beginning of the Time of the End would clearness come as to the meaning of the prophecy in Dan. 11: 1412: 3, should have deterred them from accepting the interpretation of these two Newtons, so different from our Pastor's. Not only so, but for Dan. 11: 14-31 they give the Jewish view of these verses as correct. Like the usual errorist, seeking to palm off false interpretations under the screen of the plea that what is actually a true translation is a false one for which he has an alleged correct translation, they say that the expression of v. 14, "the robbers of thy people," is a false translation, and instead offer a series of translations intended to convey the idea that those who are referred to as "the robbers of thy people" are recalcitrant Jews and not the Syrians under Antiochus Epiphanes, the despoiler of the Jews, as our Pastor held (C 25, par. 2). The renderings they offer do violence to the text. Rotherham renders it in the text, oppressors, and in the margin, robbers, of thy people. Young renders it,
destroyers of thy people. The rendering that the P.B.I. offers makes an adjective of the noun in question and requires that the preposition min (from among) or be (among) govern the Hebrew words for "thy people," whereas neither of them nor any equivalent word is used. This shows their violence against the Hebrew, and proves their interpretation false.
In part they seek to work up prejudice against our Pastor's view by designating it as Adventist. Again, they ignore his application of v. 14 to Antiochus Epiphanes, alleging that their view is the only one on that verse, except that which applies it to the Romans. Thus through them Satan seeks to play one of his old tricks—getting men to combat one another on the extremes of error so that the Truth that lies between these extremes may be forgotten! They continue to apply vs. 14-31 to the squabbles between Syria and Egypt, utterly ignoring our Pastor's very reasonable and factual interpretation of vs. 16-29 as applying to the Romans. Vs. 29 and 30 do not, they say, apply to Napoleon! nor do they interpret vs. 31 and 32 as applying to the Papacy. They claim these verses apply to the Romans, who, they allege, set up the abomination that maketh desolate by erecting a temple to Jupiter on the site of the Jerusalem temple, despite the fact that this occurred over a hundred years after the latter ceased to be holy (Matt. 24: 15; 23: 38) consecrated to God! What a flat interpretation!
They cut out in a most arbitrary fashion all reference to our Lord in v. 22. To them the little help of verse 34 is not the Reformation Movement, but is the cessation of persecution of Christians through the union of Church and State under Constantine in the fourth century! Vs. 36-45 do not, they say, apply to Napoleon, but partly (36-39) to heathen and papal Rome and partly (40-45) to the Saracens, their and the Adventists' later "king of the South," and to the Turks, their and the Adventists' later "king of the
North." Disregarding "the desire of women," to them means papal prohibition of marriage to the clergy, monks and nuns! The strongholds of v. 37 mean to them canonized saints as protectors! The Time of the End does not to them mean the period from 1799 until the Kingdom is established after Satan's empire is overthrown, but "the later times" of the Gospel Age, which their interpretation implies began about 650 A.D. and is yet on! They claim that our Pastor's view that Napoleon is described in these verses, forces the conclusion that he died in Palestine! This absurd objection they think is taught by the words following those that according to our understanding describe his stay in Palestine: "yet he shall come to his end and none shall help him." These words say not a word as to where he would be made helpless and come to an end! They claim that our Pastor's view makes the entire prophecy reach its fulfilment a century ago. This is true of that part of the prophecy treated in chapter 11, but certainly not of that part of it treated in chapter 12. After impliedly claiming that the expression, "the time of the end," covers a period of over 1200 years, they have the effrontery to claim that from our viewpoint the expression of Dan. 12: 1, "at that time," i.e., during the Time of the End, forces the conclusion that Michael stood up while Napoleon was in Palestine!
For the hodge-podge that they present, whose leading features only we have given above, they have become willing to repudiate our Pastor's sober interpretations of Dan. 11: 14-45. How plainly do they show their folly in endorsing such silly interpretations and in repudiating the sober ones of our Pastor (2 Tim. 3: 8, 9)! Two general considerations overthrow their whole viewpoint. First, they themselves accept the thought that the 1260 days began in 539, when the real abomination was set up (Dan. 8: 11-13; 11: 31; 12: 11); hence the 1290 days and the 1335 days they
also admit end in 1829 and 1874 respectively. Hence they must admit that the Time of the End follows the end of the 1260 years (Dan. 12: 4, 6, 7, 9), and therefore must be from 1799 onward; for at Papacy's setting up (Dan. 8: 1, 3; 11: 31) the scattering of God's people began (Rev. 12: 6; Dan. 8: 11-13, 24; 12: 6, 7) and was to end at the beginning of the Time of the End (Dan. 12: 7). Therefore, their entire view on Dan. 11: 31-45 is wrong. But there is another, even stronger, proof of the utter error of their setting of things. It is this: The angel said that the prophecy as a whole and in most of its details could not be understood until from 1829 and 1874 onward (Dan. 12: 8-12), while the details of their views as well as their general setting they have, as they acknowledge, taken from Sir Isaac Newton, who died in 1727, and from Bishop Thomas Newton, who died in 1782years before the prophecy, according to the angel, could be understood. Therefore, their general view and most of its details are utterly erroneous. Thus is their folly made known to all (2 Tim. 3: 8, 9); and their attempt in the Dec. 15, 1924 Herald to give the meaning of guarding to the words "closed up" and "sealed" (Dan. 12: 4, 9), instead of concealing, is thoroughly contradicted by the whole discussion from v. 4 to v. 13, where the angel shows that the prophecy would not be understood until 30 and 75 years after the Time of the End would begin.
Truth is vitality, and if the mind
Be fed on poison, it must lose its power.
The vision that forever strains to err
Soon finds its task a habit; and the taste
That disowns something true or beautiful
Soon finds the Truth distorted as itself;
And the loose mind that feeds on appetite
For the enticements of erroneous thought
Contracts a leprosy that oversteals
Its senses, like a palsy, chill, and fast.