The Seven Times or the 2520
PROPHETIC PERIODS. THE SEVEN TIMES, OR 2520 YEARS
The Second Advent Manual, 1843, pp 33 - 42 (verbatim),
by Appolos Hale (1807 - 1898)
The objections urged against this are, 1. That it should not be considered a prophetic period at all. 2. If it he so considered,-as the seven times occur four times in the text,-it should be understood as a period of four times seven times. 3. Admitting it to express only one period of seven times, which, understood prophetically, would be 2520 years, why should the period begin B. C. 677?
1. Why consider the seven times of Leviticus a prophetic period? Answer. That is the first meaning we should think of attaching to the text. If the word times did not occur in other parts of the word of God, when chronological arrangements are spoken of, there would be some show of propriety in demanding the reasons for so understanding it in this case. But when we read of the seven times in the history of Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. iv., in which case only one signification has ever been supposed; and of the time, times and half a time, repeatedly spoken of in the prophecies of the Old and New Testaments; and of the times of the Gentiles, Luke xxi. 21; and of the times of the restitution of all things, Acts iii. 21; and of the dispensation of the fulness of times, Eph. i. 10; and of the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which in his times ho shall show, 1 Tim. vi. 15, etc, etc., the text in Lev. is at once recognised as one of a most numerous and important class. The text is a part of the last communication which "the Lord spake unto Moses in Mount Sinia, (xxv. 1; xxvii. 34,) and was specially designed for the warning of the children of Israel," when they should "come into the land which God gave them"-a portion of truth which brought before them, in a most impressive manner, conditionally, their future history as a nation.
And this, if any doubt might exist, would confirm the idea that the text was intended to be understood chronologically. "And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins." "Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins." "And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins." Lev. xxvi. 18, 24, 27, 28.
"But does not the text mean to express that God would punish them in measure according to perfect justice?" That is a truth which it could hardly bb necessary to assert. None could doubt that his administration would be according to perfect justice; and to punish them seven times might be as perfectly just as to punish them for any other period.
If any class of expositors should be called upon to give special reasons, they should do it who understand the text in any other sense than its obvious, chronological sense. Besides Mr. Miller, we know the Rev. Mr. Duffield, and Mr. Campbell, and others in our country, understand the text to contain a prophetic period, which they all understand figuratively to be 2520 years-as it must be understood in the nature of the case. Among the European writers, Mr. Philip (I think that is the name) understands and applies the period exactly as Mr. Miller does. I refer to him because he could have no knowledge of Mr. M. (See "Morning Watch"-a rare work in this country.)
2. "If the seven times be understood as a prophetic period, does not the text contain four of those periods?" I may be excused for inserting a quotation, which shows at once the carelessness and "ignorance" upon questions which every man may decide who can read his Bible, which are so characteristic of many who fill the most important stations in the modern church. It is from the pen of the editor of the Protestant Banner, published in Philadelphia-a most efficient antagonist of nominal popery. The writer had made a display of his powers on that side of the question of "Millerism" so honorable at the present time, in which he had shown from "Mr. Miller's own terms," as he called them, that the seven times could not run out till "A. D. 9103," and then adds,-
"It will be in vain for any advocates of Millerism to evade this conclusion, from the premises which they assume; they dare not tell us that the seven times here spoken of are merely a repetition of the same period, because it is emphatically staled after each separate enumeration of the different judgments,-which are impending,-that they shall be punished seven times more, if they do not hearken."
Such a Protestant would not, of course, claim that kind of infallibility which might correct the written word; and if the reader will turn to the verses under consideration, it will he seen the word "more" occurs but twice at all; only once when the seven times are employed in stating their prospect of continued punishment, which is the first time the period is named, (v. 18,) and once when the measure of their punishment is compared with their sins-the only clear case of such comparison, (v. 21,) the second time the. seven times are used. I am sorry that so many of our able opponents art; willing thus to expose such an utter want of every essential qualification for scriptural discussion, as to take such a position, and then "dare the advocates of Millerism" to take that view of a text which every one, who is at all acquainted with the Bible, must see at once is the most consistent and obviously correct view of it,-"that the seven times here spoken of are merely a repetition of the same period," with the exception, perhaps, of the second case referred to above. I have yet to see "the advocate of Millerism," who is so ignorant of his Bible and so regardless of its contents, as to "dare" to make a statement like the above by the Rev. Mr. B--.
Surely, it can be no strange thing to suppose that God may have made "a repetition of the same" thing in the revelations he has given us of his designs and will, especially when the matter is one of such moment to the recipients of the revelation. God saw fit to make known to Pharaoh the seven years of famine by "a repetition" of dreams, which Joseph dared to tell the monarch were "one;" and, in explanation, adds-"And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice, it is because the thing is established of God, and God will shortly bring it to pass." Gen. xii. 32. In the predicted subjection of the Jews and other nations to the king of Babylon, we have "a repetition of the same period" four or five times by different prophets, (Isaiah xxiii. 15-17; Jer. xxv. 11, 12,) and I do not know that it has ever been considered an evidence of any particular form of courage to suppose this "repetition" to speak of only one period of "seventy years." So invincible were the prejudices of Peter, and so important was it that he should understand the truth in the case, that there was "a repetition of the same" thing, three times, Acts. x. 9-16. John is remarkable for "a repetition of the same period:"-the forty-two months, or its equivalents, are named fives times, Rev. xi. xii. xiii.; and the one thousand years are named six times certainly, chap. xx.; and yet I believe there are very few who suppose that the repetition, in each case, refers to more than one period.
The mystery of the seven times is, therefore, explained by the very natural and scriptural supposition of "a repetition of the same period."
One important feature of this prophecy, however, appears to have been overlooked. The language implies, and the history of the Jews proves, that these predictions of national judgments were conditional; not merely in the sense that the conduct of the Jews would determine whether they should begin or not,-that is too plain to be mistaken, vs. 14-18; but after they had been inflicted in part, and the different forms of the threatened punishment had begun, the remainder of it might have been suspended or remitted; for after the first threatening of the punishment, it says, vs. 23, 24, "And IF ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you YET seven times for your sins,"-implying that, after the judgments had begun, if they would hearken and do his commandments, he would not punish them to the full; but if not, then he would punish them yet seven times,-the full punishment of the first threatening shall be poured out upon them. So the prophets understood the subject, and in accordance with it they addressed their countrymen, until they finally rebelled by rejecting their Lord, and the wrath came upon them to the uttermost. Jer. iii. 7-20; iv. 1, 2; vii. 5-7; xvii. 19-26; xxii. 1-4.
3. Why commence the seven times at the captivity of Manasseh, B. C. 677?
1. The prediction itself points to that event. The first form of their punishment stated in connection with the first mention of the period is,-"And I will break the pride of your power." If their kingly form of civil government is here referred to, it was never "broken" until the captivity of Manasseh. Although it was the case, after the division of the Hebrews into the ten tribes and two tribes, that they were several times made tributary to foreigners, still one division remained independent while the other was subdued and tributary until his captivity; but at this period the ten tribes had lost their king, (2 Kings xvii. 1-18,) and as soon as Manasseh, the king of the remaining division, was carried into captivity, their "power," as an independent people, was gone. Manasseh was the pride and the ruin of the Jews.
Again; the prediction specifies the particular sins on account of which this evil should befall them.
Some of these sins are as specifically charged upon Manasseh and the Jews as the direct cause of their calamity. Compare Lev. xxvi. 14, 18, 27, with 2 Kings xxi. 9-13; and Lev. xxvi. 1, 2, with 2 Kings xxi. 2-8; 2 Chron. xxxiii. 2-11.
2.Those texts which speak of the instruments of Providence in effecting this judgment, all point to his captivity as the time for the commencement of the period. Compare Isaiah x. 5, 6, with 2 Kings xxi. 10-14. 2 Chron xxxiii. 10, 11. Neh. ix. 32.
3. The sacred historians refer to Manasseh's sins as the cause of their captivity and sufferings long after his captivity. 2 Kings xxiii. 26, 27; xxiv. 1-4; Jer. xv. 1-7.
4. Although Manasseh was restored to his throne, and there were a few other kings of the Jewish nation after him, they have never been an independent people "from the day of the kings of Assyria unto this day." Neh. ix. 32. Nebuchadnezzar brought the kingdom, in its subjected form, to an end; when Babylon was conquered by Cyrus, the Jews passed under the power of the Medes and Persians; then under that of the Greeks; in the division of Greece, they were connected with Egypt; as a part of Egypt, were conquered by Syria; they prospered awhile under the Maccabees, and the protection of the Romans, who eventually "took away their place and nation." Since the destruction of their city, they have been "wanderers among the nations,"-a hissing and a by-word,-pitying none, pitied by none.
5. The prophets,
who lived long before the captivity of Manasseh, point to that event
as the time of the passing away of the Jewish independence, by
connecting it with other events. One of them gives the date. Hosea,
more than a hundred years before, had said,-"And the pride of Israel
(the ten tribes) doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel
and Ephraim (the principal tribe of the ten) fall in their iniquity;
Judah (the other division) shall also fall with them." Hosea v. 5.
Isaiah, in the year 742 B. C., according to date in the margin, had
said,-"And within three-score and five years shall ephraim be broken
that it be not a people." vii. 8.
explanation of the quotations from Hosea and Isaiah, and for the
most authentic history of the period before us, we add the
"The same year that this happened in Egypt, by the death of Tirhakah, the like happened in Babylon, by the death of Mesessimordacus. For, he leaving no son behind him to inherit the kingdom, an interregnum of anarchy and confusion followed there for eight years together, of which Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, taking the advantage, seized Babylon, and, adding it to his former empire, thenceforth reigned over both for thirteen years; he is, in the canon of Ptolemy, called Assar-Adinus. And in the scriptures he is spoken of as king of Babylon and Assyria jointly together.
"In the 22nd year of Manasseh, B. C. 677, Esarhaddon, after he had now entered on the fourth year of his reign in Babylon, and fully settled his authority there, began to set his thoughts on the recovery of what had been lost to the empire of the Assyrians in Syria and Palestine, on the destruction of his father's army in Judea, and on that doleful retreat which thereon he was forced to make from thence; and, being encouraged to this undertaking by the great augmentation of strength which he had acquired by adding Babylon and Chaldea to his former kingdom of Assyria, he prepared a great army, and marched into those parts, and again added them to the Assyrian empire. And then was accomplished the prophecy which was spoken by Isaiah, in the first year of Ahaz, against Samaria, 8 that, within threescore and five years, Ephraim should be absolutely broken, so as to be from thenceforth no more a people. For this year, being exactly sixty-five years from the first of Ahaz, Esarhaddon, after he had settled all affairs in Syria, marched into the land of Israel, and there taking captive all those who were the remains of the former captivity, (excepting only some few, who escaped his hands and continued still in the land,) carried them away into Babylon and Assyria; and, to prevent the land from becoming desolate, he brought others from 9 Babylon, and Cutha, and from Avah, and Hamath, and Sepharvaim, to dwell in the cities of Samaria in their stead. And the ten tribes of Israel, which had separated from the house of David, were brought to a full and utter destruction, and never after recovered themselves again.
he had thus possessed himself of the land of Israel, sent some of
his princes, with parts of his army, into Judea, to reduce that
country also under his subjection; who, having vanquished Manasseh
in battle, 10 and taking him, hid in a thicket of thorns, brought
him prisoner to Esarhaddon, who bound him in fetters and carried him
"Year of the world 3327. Julian period 4037. Before Christ 677. This year also was fulfilled the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah, (chap. vii. 8,) in the beginning of the reign of Ahaz, "Within sixty and five years, Ephraim shall be broken in pieces so that it shall be no more a people." For although the greatest part of them were carried away by Salmaneser 44 years before, and the kingdom utterly abolished, yet among them which were left there was some show of government. But now they left off to be any more a people by reason of the great multitude of foreigners which came to dwell there. New colonies or companies were sent out of Babel, Cuth, Hava, and Sepharvaim; and this was done by Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, as is easy to be understood, by the concession of the Cuthites, mentioned Ezra iv. 2, 10.
"At which time, also, as it should seem, and in the same expedition, whereby these things were done in the land of Israel, some of the chief commanders of the Assyrian army made an inroad into Judea, and then took Manasseh the king, as he lay hid in a thicket; after binding him with chains of brass, carried him away to Babylon. Jacobus Capellus hath noted in his Chron. that the Jews in Sedar Olam Rabba, and the Talmudists, cited by Rabbi Kimchi upon Ezra, chap. iv., do deliver, that Manasseh, 22 of his reign, was carried away captive into Babylon, and that he repented him of his sin thirty-three years before his death."-[Usher's Annals of the World, p. 75. Lond., 1658. See also Newton on Prophecy, pp, 98, 99. Rollin, B. iii., chap. 2.]
From all the light we have upon the event to which this prophecy refers, and from which the seven times should commence, no other date could be named for the event-no other point for the starting-point, any more than we could fix upon any other date than 1776 for the date of American Independence.
disposed of the difficulties; connected with this first and most
important detailed prediction of the history of the Jews, so far as
it relates to the prophetic period it contains, we will close our
remarks by showing that it must terminate in 1843; and by referring
to those texts which assure us that the coining of Christ, and the
end of all things, in their present state, also come at its
termination. God has explained a "time" to be a period of 360 days,
(Rev. xii. 6, 14.) In seven of those periods there are 2520 days,
which, understood as years,-for they cannot be understood
literally,-and commencing B. C. 677, end A. D. 1843.