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patriarchs was 25 years. The life of Abraham consisted of
seven such periods. Three times twenty-five years extended
from his birth to his call ; twenty-five years from his call to
the birth of Isaac ; and three times twenty-five years from
that event to Abraham's death.

The presence of the septenary principle in Patriarchal chronology is
further illustrated by the lives of Enoch, Lamech, and Noah. Enoch,
the seventh from Adani, was translated. The period of his life was
remarkable, 365 years, or as many years as there are days in the solar
year. The year-day ratio traceable in the law and the prophets here
appears in patriarchal times. The translation of Enoch in the days of
the patriarchs, of Elijah in Jewish times, and the future translation of
" those who are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord " in this
Christian age, are analogous events connected with the three great dis-
pensations measuring the course of history.

The age of Lamech, the last of the antediluvian patriarchs, at his
death tj'j years, presents a triple septenary period, and forms a striking
contrast with the triple sixfold 666 of the Apocalypse, connected with
the Antichristian power, whose duration terminates with the Second
Advent prefigured by the Noahic flood ; and suggests a chronological
fulfilment of the latter on the scale of centuries. The age of Noah at
the flood was sixfold and unsabbatic — 600 years — the first year of the
seventh century of his existence introduced the new order of things in
the new world, when the older world had passed away.

And lastly, in the year of the flood itself, the seventh day and the
seventh month are both prominent The year of the flood both opened
and closed with a seven days' period. Of the former of these we read :
"For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty
days and forty nights " ; " and it came to pass after seven days, that the
waters were upon the earth " ; and of the latter, that when Noah had
sent forth the raven, " he stayed yet other seven days " and sent forth the
dove, which returned in the evening, bearing "an olive leaf plucked
off," a sign that the waters were " abated from off the earth." " And he
stayed yet other seven days, and sent forth the dove, which returned
not again unto him any more." ' These periods confirm the antediluvian
origin of the week of days.

* Gen. viL 4, 10; viii. 10, 12.

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It is remarkable that " the ark rested in the seventh month^' ^ a sabbatic
event occurring in a septenary period. If, as seems probable, the year
of the flood began in autumn, at or about the time of the autumnal
equinox, the 17th day of the 7th month, when the ark rested (14 days +3
days), must have been on or near the i6th of Nisan (the third after Pass-
over), on which, long centuries later, our Lord rose from the dead.

With the Exodus of Israel began a new order of times.
"This month (that of the Exodus) shall be unto you the
beginning of months : it shall be the first month of the year to
you'^ * The most notable and important fact here is that the
institution of the Passover ordinance, and contemporaneous
Exodus of Israel from Egypt — the greatest of all the types
of Redemption in the Old Testament — were providentially
placed in the spring of the year, at or near the time of the
vernal equinox, and on the 14th of Abib or Nisan, the date
of our Lord's crucifixion.

The times of the three greatest events in the New Testa-
ment, the death of Christy His resurrection, and the advent
of t/ie Spirit, were annually prefigured in the types of the
Levitical calendar for sixteen centuries before their actual
occurrence, and have been unwittingly commemorated by
the whole Jewish nation in their annual observances, during
the eighteen centuries which have elapsed since the founding
of Christianity.

The order of the feasts in the Levitical calendar regulated
the annual journeyings and assemblings of the Jewish people
in relation to the service and worship of God, and con-
sequently controlled, to a large extent, the journeyings of our
Lord in the days of His flesh, and especially during the
period of His ministry. The Exodus witnessed the first of a
series of important Passover celebrations, including the Pass-
over of the Eisodus, or entrance into the Promised Land ;
the great Passovers in the times of Hezekiah and Josiah,

* Gen. viif. 4. * Exod. xii. 2.

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associated with national reformation movements ; the Post-
Captivity Passovers, connected with the going up to Jeru-
salem both of Ezra and of Nehemiah ; and the Passovers in
the life of our Lord, coinciding with His first appearance in
the temple as a youth among the Jewish doctors ; with His
cleansing the temple when He cast out the buyers, sellers,
and money-changers ; with His teachings addressed to
Nicodemus on the mysteries of Redemption ; with His dis-
course on the bread of life " which came down from heaven,"
in which He first taught the necessity of eating His flesh and
drinking His blood ; with the atoning death of Christ and with
the institution of the Lord's Supper, that sacred ordinance
in which, for eighteen centuries, the whole Christian Church
has continued to commemorate and show forth His death, and
the redemption it accomplished, according to the prophetic
declaration, "As often as ye eat this bread and drink this
cup, ye do show the Lord's death //// He corned

The convergence of Levitical and Prophetic times, and
their meeting in Christ, and especially in His* death, is a
witness to the divinity of His mission. The Levitical and
Prophetic times form an ascending series, the seven years
and forty-nine years of the former being increased tenfold in
the 70 and 490 years of the latter. The seven " times " of
prophecy are the Levitical week of years, increased according
to the year-day scale.

In "seven times," or 2,520 years, the year-day ratio which
connects the Levitical week of days with the Levitical week
of years (a year for a day) prevails on a higher scale. The
year-day ratio is common to the Law and the Prophets, and
its employment in the " seventy weeks " of prophecy, fulfilled
as 490 years, is a seal on its divinity.

While the "seventy weeks" of prophecy extend to the
First Advent, the "seven times" apparently extend to the
Second Advent, and include in their course the duration of

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the four great Gentile empires which hold dominion during
the period of Jewish depression and desolation.

The prophetic times of the Apocalypse, as revealed after
the fall and passing away of the first three Gentile empires,
relate to the fourth, or Roman empire, and the subsequent
manifestation of the kingdom of God.

While the introductory pre-Messianic portion of the
"seven times" contains the seventy years and "seventy
weeks " of prophecy — the Captivity and Restoration periods,
associated with the history of Israel under the first three em-
pires, those of Babylon, Persia, and Greece — the central and
later portions of the ** seven times" include the septenary
time order of the Apocalypse, connected with the history of
the Christian Church under the fourth or Roman empire.

The seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials of the
Apocalypse present a progressive septiform order of times,
harmonious with the system of weeks prevailing in the
chronology of the Law and the Prophets. As the year-day
ratio employed in the mystical " seventy weeks " and " seven
times " of prophecy was adapted to the partial and temporary
concealment of their exact measures — measures concerning
which it is expressly stated " none of the wicked shall under-
stand " — so the tri-septiform order of the seals, trumpets and
vials of the Apocalypse is adjusted to the gradual develop-
ment of a knowledge of the Divine purposes in relation to
the course and duration of the present Christian age.

The prefigurative week connected with the capture of
Jericho, on the entrance of the literal Israel into the land of
promise, adumbrated the Apocalyptic order relating to the
antitypical Israel. During seven days Israel compassed
Jericho, and on the seventh day seven times. Thus the
seventh Seal contains the order of the seven Trumpets, and the
seventh trumpet that of the seven Vials. The seven trumpet
blasts in the type and in the prophecy agree ; and the fall of
Jericho in the one with the fall of Babylon in the other.

C. C. 19

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The transition in the Apocalypse from the 1,260 "days,"
42 "months," and 3^ "times," relating to the present
apostate age, to the plain and simple "thousand years" of the
future millennial reign, marks the advance from the kingdom
of God in ** mystery " to the same in open manifestation.

The repetition of the solemn oath of the revealing angel in
the prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse, in relation to
the terminal times, invests their measures with peculiar and
pre-eminent importance. Standing in the one case "upon
the waters of the river," and in the other " upon the sea and
upon the earth," the cloud-clothed, rainbow-crowned angel,
whose face was as the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire —
none other than the Angel Jehovah, the Angel of the everlast-
ing Covenant — lifting up "his right hand and his left hand
unto heaven," "swARE BY Him that liveth for ever
AND ever," that the scattering of " the power of the holy
people " by the predicted desolator should be " for a time,
times and an half," when " all these things shall be finished " ;
and that from the date of the (Reformation) vision of the
sixth trumpet, that of the "little book open," to the end,
"there should be A TIME no longer " (pTi. xpovo^ ovKkri, earai)^
" but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he
shall begin to sound, t/ie Mystery of God should be finished, as
He hath declared unto His servants the prophets/' ^ " The
speaker is the same, for in each case the context proves
decisively that it is no other than the Son of God. The
subject is the same ; and there are only two passages where
the solemnity of an oath is connected with the sacred times.
The form of the appeal is the same ; only that in Revelation
it becomes still more august and full than in the former
prophecy. Finally, the substance of the oath corresponds
also. The oath in Daniel solemnly announces that events
there predicted in the close of his prophecy shall last three

* Dan. xii. 7 ; Rev. x. 6, 7.

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times and a half, and that afterwards the restoration of Israel
will follow. The present oath, at a later period, resumes the
same subject. After the six trumpets have been blown, and
the remnant continue stubborn and impenitent, the mighty
Angel descends and announces with a solemn oath that not
one single tifne remains to run out before the predicted
season shall be accomplished, and the Mystery of the Gentile
Church and IsraePs rejection shall be completed!*

" Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever : for wisdom
and might are His: and He changeth the times and the
seasons : He removeth kings, and setteth up kings : He
giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that
know understanding : He revealeth the deep and secret
things : He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light
dwelleth with Him."^

* Dan. ii. 20-22.

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(III.) Scientific Basis of the Chronology of
THE Four Empires.

The preceding section dealt with the Analogy of Times,
but not with any particular dates. Before entering on the ad-
justment of Natural Times to Revealed, it will be necessary
to fix some of the leading dates in the chronology of the four
empires of Prophecy, and to indicate the probable date of
our Lord's Passion.

Astronomical Canon of Ptolemy}

The uncertainty which attaches to remote periods of secular
chronology disappears at the date of the accession of Nabon-
assar, with whose reign the times of the four Gentile empires
commence. From this time forward we are able to verify
the chronological records of the past ; and the dates of
ancient history are confirmed by astronomic observations.

The astronomical records of the ancients, by which means
we are able to fix with certainty the chronology of the earlier
centuries of the "times of the Gentiles," are contained in the
" Syntaxis," or " Almagest " of Ptolemy,

In the existence of this invaluable work, and in its preser-
vation as a precious remnant of antiquity, the hand of Provi-
dence can clearly be traced. The same Divine care which
raised up Herodotus and other Greek historians to carry on
the records of the past from the point to which they had been
brought by the writings of the prophets at the close of the
Babylonish captivity ; — the Providence which raised up
Josephus, the Jewish historian, at the termination of New
Testament history, to record the fulfilment of prophecy in
the destruction of Jerusalem, — raised up also Ptolemy in the
important interval which extended from Titus to Hadrian,

* Abbreviated from the Author's work, " Light for the Last Days."

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that of the completion of Jewish desolation, to record the
chronology of the nine previous centuries^ and to associate it
in such a way with the revolutions of the solar system as to
permit of the most searching demonstration of its truth.

Ptolemy's great work, the "Almagest," is a treatise on
astronomy, setting forth the researches of ancient observers
and mathematicians with reference to the position of the
stars, the exact length of the year, and the elements of the
orbits of the sun, moon, and planets. This work was written
in Greek, and subsequently translated into Arabic, Persian,
Hebrew, and Latin, etc. ; it became the text-book of astro-
nomic knowledge both in the East and in Europe, and re-
tained that high position for about fourteen centuries, or till
the time of Copernicus, the birth of modern astronomy,
three centuries ago.

The chronological value of the "Almagest" is owing to
the fact that it interweaves a series of ancient dates with a
series of celestial positions. It contains a complete catalogue
of the succession of Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman
monarchs, from Nabonassar to Hadrian and Antoninus, to-
gether with the dates of their accession and the duration of
their reigns. Its astronomic events are referred to definite
historic dates, and by this connection there is conferred on
the latter the character of scientific certainty.

This important feature of the "Almagest" is described as
follows in the " Chrono-astrolabe," by James B. Lindsay, a
work published in 1858, demonstrating the authenticity of
Hebrew, Greek, and Roman chronology, etc., by astronomic
methods :

" The * Syntaxis ' of Ptolemy contains an account of many
historic events, and blended with them is a multitude of as-
tronomic observations. The astronomic and historic cannot
be separated, and they must both stand or fall together.
The astronomic can be rigidly verified^ and the truth of tlte
historic is a legitimate deduction**

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In the "Almagest," "a celestial phenomenon is coupled
with a terrestrial event An eclipse of the moon or an ac-
ronic of Mars is assigned to a given year and day of a king's
reign. The celestial mechanism, though complicate, is in-
telligible ; the motions are calculable, and we can verify or
falsify the recorded observations."

With reference to Ptolemy's Canon, or chronological list
of the monarchs of the four great empires, Lindsay says :

' " The complete harmony that is to be found in this canon with the
dates previously determined by eclipses, entitles it to our highest confi-
dence. ) That Ptolemy was its author, and not Theon, is confirmed by
the fact that it is not continued beyond Antoninus, in whose reign our
author dates most of his observations. We have had abundant evidence
that he was ^CK6novo^ and ^Ckakr\Br\i^ a lover of labour and a lover of
truth, and are fully warranted to regard this canon as giving to ancient
history mathematical exactness. . . . The motions and phases of the
luminaries are visible every day, and with these alone we have been able
to authenticate the whole of the * Almagest.* Even the errors of Ptolemy
augment, if possible, the evidence for the authenticity of the * Syntaxis,'
and a foundation is laid for chronolo^ sure as the stars. The external
evidence for the text-book is most abundant. It is mentioned in terms
of the highest approbation by Greek, Hebrew, and Arabian historians.
In the ninth century the celebrated caliph, Al Mamun, caused it to be
translated into Arabic. Persic and Hebrew versions engaged the atten-
tion of oriental savants in our middle ages, and at the dawn of printing
Latin translations were abundantly diffused. . . . It is to Ptolemy
that our modern astronomy is almost wholly due ; but those who enjoy
the benefit have forgotten the benefactor. The name of Ptolemy, who
was certainly not inferior, perhaps superior, to Newton, is seldom men-
tioned but to be covered with pity or with ridicule. • Even men of science
have not given to Ptolemy the honour that belongs to him. Delambre
has fancied that he was a mere copyist of Hipparchus, and that to the
latter the excellences found in the *Syntaxis' are all to be attributed.
Far be it from us to deny the greatness of Hipparchus, but Ptolemy was
greater. His account of the ancient eclipses^ and of their connection with
historic facts ^ is more precious than gold^ astd guarantees a translation of
the * Almagest^ into every language. In the want of modem instruments
he may have made an error in the observation of the equinoxes, and all
facts then known sanctioned the earth's stability. Veritas prevalebit
and the worth of Ptolemy is again appreciated."

In order to obtain a safe and scientific foundation for his

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mathematical calculations as to solar and lunar movements,
including his valuable astronomical tables^ Ptolemy compares
three carefully selected, well-attested ancient eclipses, ob-
served at Babylon in the reign of Mardocempadus, with three
other eclipses which he had observed at Alexandria in the
seventeenth, eighteenth, and twentieth years of the reign of
Hadrian. He similarly compares three eclipses which took
place in the fourth century after Nabonassar, referred to by
the celebrated Greek astronomer Hipparchus, with three
other eclipses recorded by the same astronomer, which
occurred two centuries later.

In this comparison Ptolemy deals with no less than four
groups of ancient eclipses^ Babylonian, Grecian, and Roman,
containing three in each, twelve in all. These eclipses have
been frequently verified by modern astronomers, and they
combine to fix the chronological dates with which they are
connected with the. utmost certainty. If a single eclipse is
sufficient to attest an ancient date, how conclusive the con-
current evidence afforded by four groups of eclipses ! But
these are not all the astronomic phenomena which Ptolemy
records. There are no less than eighty-five solar, lunar, and
planetary positions, with their dates, given in the ** Alma-
gest" which have been verified by modern astronomers.
These include four vernal equinoxes, eight autumnal, four
summer solstices, nineteen lunar eclipses, nine lunar observa-
tions, and forty-one planetary observations, sixteen of Mer-
cury, ten of Venus, five of Mars, five of Jupiter, and five of

The time of the occurrence of these astronomic phenomena
is measured by Ptolemy from noon of the first of the
Egyptian month Thoth, in the first year of Nabonassar.
The verification of the time of any of these events is the
verification of the initial date from which the wltole series is
reckoned, Thoth i Nab, i is thus abundantly determined to
be noon February 26th, B.C. 747.

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In addition to this primary Babylonian date, these astro-
nomical records fix directly the times of the Babylonian
monarchs Mardocempadus and Nabopolassar, the Persian
monarchs Cambyses and Darius, the Grecian dates employed
by Hipparchus, and the dates of the Roman emperors Domi-
tian, Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius ; while indirectly
they enable us to determine the dates of all the intermediate
reigns recorded in Ptolemy s ASTRONOMICAL CANON, a list of
fifty-five successive reigns, extending over a period of 907
years, from Nabonassar of Babylon to the Roman emperor
Antoninus Pius.

This invaluable Canon, representing the unbroken imperial
rule administered by successive dynasties of Gentile empires,
is divided by Ptolemy into four distinct parts.

1. Babylonian kings, twenty in number.

2. Persian kings, ten in number, terminating with Alex-
ander the Great, of Macedon, eleven names in all.

3. Grecian kings, twelve in number.

4. Roman emperors, twelve in number.

The sum of years given in the calendar is divided into two
parts : first, 424 years, from Nabonassar to Alexander of
Macedon ; and secondly, 483 years, from Philip Aridaeus to
Antoninus Pius. The agreement between t/ie historical and
chronological outline given in the canon of Ptolemy and that
set forth in tlie fourfold image of Nebucttadnezzar^s vision^
described and interpreted by Daniel, is most striking and

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Ptolemy's Canon of Kings of
THE Assyrians and Medes.

1 Nabonassar ,

2 Nadius . . .

3 Khozirus and Porus,

4 Jougaius . . .

5 Mardocempadus .

6 Archianus . . .

7 First Interregnum

8 Belibus ....

9 Apronadius . .

10 Regibelus . . .

1 1 Mesesimordachus

12 Second Interregnum

13 Asaridinus

14 Saosduchinus .

15 Khuniladanus .

16 Nabopolassar .

17 Nabokolassar .

18 Ilvarodamus .

19 N er ikassolassar

20 Nabonadius .

Persian Kings,

21 Cyrus . . .

22 Cambyses . .

23 Darius L . .

24 Xerxes . . .

25 Artaxerxes L .

26 Darius IL . .

27 Artaxerxes IL

28 Ochus . . .

29 Arogus . . .

30 Darius III. .

31 Alexander of Mace-


Each, Sum.
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20 100
22 122

21 143
43 186

2 188

4 192

17 209

9 218

8 226

36 262

21 283

41 324

19 343

46 389

21 410

2 412

4 416

8 424

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Kings after

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THE Death of King




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Philip, after Alexan-

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Kings of the Greeks ]

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Ptolemy Lagus . ,




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— Philopator . .




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— Epiphanes . ,




Ilr. ^iXofirjTOpos

. Xf



— Philometor . ,

Online LibraryHenry Grattan GuinnessCreation centred in Christ → online text (page 28 of 49)