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    08 INTERMEDIATE AND CLOSING DATES OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS

    FROM the seventh of Artaxerxes Longimanus, B.C. 457, the point from which we have found that the seventy weeks are to be dated, we drop the plummet down through following years to ascertain whether, measuring our lines according to the prophecy, we strike the other events which the prediction brings to our view.STTHD 82.1

    The first line is forty-nine years in length; for, says the prophecy, there shall be seven weeks (49 symbolic days, or 49 literal years), during which the street and wall shall be built in troublous times. Daniel 9:25. This brings us to the time when the work of building was completed; and this was finished in the last act of reformation under Nehemiah, in the fifteenth year of Darius Nothus.STTHD 82.2

    Forty-nine years from B.C. 457 bring us to B.C. 408.STTHD 82.3

    The fifteenth year of Darius Nothus was B.C. 408.-Prideaux, Bliss, Hales.STTHD 82.4

    Thus at our first testing-point, the event answers to the prophecy, as the shadow answers to the face in the mirror.STTHD 82.5

    Three other events remain by which to test the application of this prophecy: 1. Sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years, were to extend to the Messiah the Prince; 2. Sixty-nine and one-half weeks, or 486 1/2 years, were to extend to the cutting off of the Messiah; and 3. The seventy weeks, 490 years, were to extend to that point when the Jews should no longer be the peculiar people of God. If, reckoning from B.C. 457, we find the measurements to reach the events specified, the correctness of the application will be assured beyond the least shadow of uncertainty.STTHD 83.1

    The word Messiah means “the anointed;” and the expression “to the Messiah the Prince,” must point to the time when Christ was manifested to the world as the anointed of God. This was not at his birth, as some have imagined, but at his baptism, as is proved by Acts 10:38; 4:27; Luke 4:18, etc.STTHD 83.2

    We have therefore to inquire (1) at what point, according to the foregoing dates, the baptism of Christ should have occurred; (2) at what point it did occur; (3) to ascertain the length of Christ’s ministry; (4) the date of the crucifixion; and (5) the time when the blessings of the gospel ceased to be especially offered to the Jews.STTHD 83.3

    1. From some point in the year B.C. 457, the period of sixty-nine weeks or 483 years to the Messiah the Prince would carry us to a corresponding point in the year A.D. 27. This is the answer to the first point of inquiry; and if the first date is correct, here we should find the baptism of the Saviour.STTHD 84.1

    2. When Christ entered upon his mission, immediately after his baptism, he came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled.” Mark 1:14, 15. This must mark the fulfillment of some definite period, or it would not be asserted that “the time is fulfilled.” The time here fulfilled can be none other than that given in Daniel 9:25: “Unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks,” 483 years. We are therefore correct in saying that this is the period that reaches to his baptism. Can we now ascertain in what year his baptism occurred?STTHD 84.2

    Christ was six months younger than John the Baptist, and is generally considered to have entered upon his ministry six months later; both of them commencing their work, according to the law of the priesthood, when they were thirty years of age. Of Christ, Luke says expressly that at the time of his baptism he began to be about thirty years of age. Luke 3:23. Now John entered upon his ministry, as Luke informs us (3:1), in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar. Tiberius was the successor of Augustus, who reigned to A.D. 14. The date of Augustus’ death is indisputably fixed by means of the great lunar eclipse soon after, Sept.27, which served to quell the mutiny of the Pannonian legions, and to induce them to swear fidelity to Tiberius, as recorded by Tacitus, Anal.1:28, and Dio.lib.57, p.604. But the reign of Tiberius is to be reckoned, according to Prideaux, Dr. Hales, Lardner, and others, from his elevation to the throne to reign jointly with Augustus his step-father, in August, A.D. 12, two years before the death of the latter. The fifteenth year of Tiberius would therefore be from August, A.D. 26, to August, A.D. 27. If John commenced in the spring in the latter portion of the fifteenth year of Tiberius, it would bring the commencement of Christ’s ministry in the autumn of A.D. 27, the very point where the 483 years of Daniel 9 expire.STTHD 84.3

    3. The length of Christ’s ministry. This may be quite accurately determined by enumerating the passovers which he attended. There were but four of these as recorded in John 2:13; 5:1; 6:4; and 13:1. At the last of these he was crucified.. This would make the duration of his ministry three years and a half. Thus, if he commenced in the autumn of A.D. 27, he would preach six months before his first passover in the spring of 28. His second passover would be in the spring of 29, his third in the spring of 30, and his fourth in the spring of 31, when he was crucified.STTHD 85.1

    This would correspond exactly to the prophecy; for he was to confirm the covenant with many for one week, seven years, and in the midst, or middle, of the week, he was to be cut off, and cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease. This he did when he expired upon the cross, three and one-half years from the commencement of his ministry; and during the remainder of the week he confirmed the covenant through his apostles. Hebrews 2:3. Dr. Hales, vol. i. p. 94, quotes Eusebius, A.D. 300, as saying: “It is recorded in history, that the whole time of our Saviour’s teaching and working miracles was three years and a half, which is the half of a week [of years]. This John the evangelist will represent to those who critically attend to his gospel.”STTHD 86.1

    4. The date which this gives us for the crucifixion, A.D. 31, is confirmed by abundance of testimony.STTHD 86.2

    The crucifixion was attended by a preternatural darkening of the sun, for the space of three hours. Matthew 27:45. “A total eclipse of the moon may occasion a privation of her light for an hour and a half, during her total immersion in the shadow; whereas a total eclipse of the sun can never last in any particular place above four minutes, when the moon is nearest to the earth and her shadow thickest.”—Hales, vol. i. p. 69.STTHD 87.1

    This darkness was observed at Heliopolis in Egypt, by Dionysius the Areopagite, afterward the illustrious convert of Paul at Athens, Acts 17:34, who in a letter to the martyr Polycarp describes his own astonishment at the phenomenon, and that of his companion, the sophist Apollophanes. “These, O good Dionysius,” exclaimed Apollophanes, “are the vicissitudes of divine events.” To which Dionysius answered, “Either the Deity suffers or he sympathizes with the sufferer.” And that sufferer, according to tradition, recorded by Michael Syncellus of Jerusalem, he declared to be, “the unknown God, for whose sufferings all nature was darkened and convulsed.”—Id., vol. iii. p. 230.STTHD 87.2

    “Hence it appears that the darkness which ‘overspread the whole land of Judea’ at the time of our Lord’s crucifixion was preternatural, ‘from the sixth until the ninth hour,’ or from noon till three in the afternoon, in its duration, as also in its time, about full moon, when the moon could not possibly eclipse the sun. The time it happened, and the fact itself, are recorded in a curious and valuable passage of a Roman Consul, Aurelius Cassiodorius Senator, about A.D. 514. ‘In the consulate of Tiberius Caesar Aug. v. and AElius Sejanus (U.C. 784, A.D. 31), our Lord Jesus Christ suffered, on the 8th of the Calends of April (25th of March): when there happened such an eclipse of the sun as was never before nor since.’ In this year and in this day agree also the Council of Caesarea, A.D. 196 or 198; the Alexandrian Chronicle, Maximus Monachus, Nicephorus Constantinus, Cedrenus; and in this year, but on different days, concur Eusebius, Epiphanius, followed by Kepler, Bucher, Patinus, and Petavius, some reckoning it the 10th of the Calends of April, others the 13th.”—Id., vol. i. pp. 69,70.STTHD 87.3

    The common Bible chronology placing the crucifixion in A.D. 33, was, according to Dr. Hales, assumed on no earlier authority than that of Roger Bacon, in the 13th century, who, finding by computation that the paschal full moon fell on Friday in the year 33, was led by that circumstance to suppose that that must have been the year of the crucifixion. But this very circumstance Dr. H. claims as proof that that was not the year; for the true paschal full moon should come not on the day of the crucifixion, but the day before, when Christ ate the passover with his disciples.-Id., p. 100.STTHD 88.1

    We have thus thirteen creditable authorities locating the crucifixion in the spring of A.D. 31. And all the evidence on this point tends also to establish the date of Christ’s baptism in the autumn of A.D. 27; for, according to the prophecy, the Messiah was to be cut off after three years and a half from the time of his manifestation; and, according to the evangelists, his ministry continued just that length of time, three years and a half. If, therefore, he was crucified in the spring of A.D. 31, he was baptized and commenced to preach three and a half years before, in the autumn of A.D. 27.STTHD 89.1

    And right at that point the sixty-nine weeks ended, reckoned from B.C. 457, and in A.D. 31 we reached the middle of the last or seventieth week, where the Messiah was to be cut off, and cause the sacrifice and oblation (the Jewish sacrifices and offerings) to cease by the offering of himself,, as the great antitype of them all, upon the cross.STTHD 89.2

    So far, we find the most striking and indisputable harmony. We now go forward three and a half years to the terminal point of this grand prophetic period of seventy weeks, and inquire what then occurred. On this point we quote again from the learned Dr. Hales:—STTHD 90.1

    “Eusebius dates the first half of the passion week of years as beginning with our Lord’s baptism, and ending with his crucifixion. The same period precisely is recorded by Peter, as including the duration of our Lord’s personal ministry: ‘All the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of [or by] John, until the day that he was taken up from us,’ at his ascension, which was only 43 days after the crucifixion. Acts 1:21, 22. And the remaining half of the passion week ended with the martyrdom of Stephen, in the seventh or last year of the week. For it is remarkable that the year after, A.D. 35, began a new era in the church, namely, the conversion of Saul, or Paul, the apostle, by the personal appearance of Christ to him on the road to Damascus, when he received his mission to the Gentiles, after the Jewish Sanhedrin had formally rejected Christ by persecuting his disciples. Acts 9:1-18.”—Vol. i. p. 100.STTHD 90.2

    Thus at precisely the right point we find events which fitly mark the termination of that period which was allotted to Jerusalem and the Jews: Stephen is martyred, Paul is raised up an apostle to the Gentiles, the Jews formally reject Christ and the gospel in the persons of the first disciples, and the apostles turn from the Jews to other nations. Surely a fulfillment of prophecy so plain cannot be questioned.STTHD 91.1

    And with these facts all established by the clearest evidence, and the dates of the prophecy all thus harmonized, we have in our hands the key which will draw every bolt, and give us free entrance into all departments of the larger prophecy and longer period of the 2300 days.STTHD 91.2

    From this point, the way is short and clear to the end of the argument respecting the time.STTHD 91.3

    If we have a period of ten years, in reference to the location of which we wish to inform our friends, we need not tell them where the whole period terminates, to convey to them the desired information. It would be sufficient to say, We will tell you all about the first five years of that period, where they begin and end, with intermediate dates and events. Then they could easily ascertain the termination of the whole period. After the first five years, five more would remain, and adding them to the date where the five terminated, they would have the true date of the termination of the ten.STTHD 91.4

    Just this course inspiration has followed with the 2300 days. It is as if the angel had said to Daniel, I have not come to give you the year in which the 2300 days will end; but a portion of this period belongs to your people and your holy city, Jerusalem; and this period, comprising seventy weeks which are the first 490 years of the 2300, I will tell you all about, giving you the time when they will commence, and the chief events which will mark intermediate dates, and finally their termination. And the angel well knew that he who had interest enough to inquire, could then easily find the termination of the whole period.STTHD 92.1

    Thus four hundred and ninety years taken from twenty-three hundred, leaves eighteen hundred and ten. Briefly expressed in figures it stands thus: 2300 - 490 = 1810. And this number, eighteen hundred and ten, added to the date where the four hundred and ninety terminated, will give us the termination of the period of twenty-three hundred. But we have found that the four hundred and ninety ended in the autumn of A.D. 34. This gives us the following numerical statement: A.D. 34, autumn, + 1810 = A.D. 1844, autumn. In the autumn of A.D. 1844, we thus have the termination of the longest and most important prophetic period revealed in the Bible.STTHD 92.2

    But some may fall into perplexity over the calculation of this period from another standpoint, and query how, if the 2300 days commenced B.C. 457, they can extend to A.D. 1844, since if we take 457 from 2300 we have only 1843 remaining. Did they not therefore terminate in 1843? So Adventists reasoned previous to that year; and this is the reason why that year was first set for the coming of the Lord. But further thought showed that they must extend into the following year. For it would take 457 full years before Christ, and 1843 full years after Christ, to make 2300. Therefore if the days commenced with the very first day of 457 B.C. they would not terminate till the very last day of 1843. But we have evidence to show that they did not commence with the first day of 457 B.C., but that some portion of that year had elapsed before we are to begin to reckon.STTHD 93.1

    It is evident from the wording of the prophecy that the actual commencement of the work at Jerusalem marks the commencement of the seventy weeks, inasmuch as the first seven weeks are allotted to the building of the city, which we could hardly begin to reckon, consistently, before the work of building was actually begun. But Ezra did not arrive at Jerusalem till the fifth month of the seventh year of Artaxerxes (B.C. 457). Ezra 7:8. And after he had reached the city the large company that went up with him were to be provided with homes, and arrangements made for their living, etc., before they would be ready to take hold of the work of rebuilding the wall and the city proper. Two months would certainly be short enough time to allow for this work, which would bring us to the seventh month, or the autumn of the year. Now whatever portion of the year B.C. 457 had elapsed before the 2300 years began, just that portion of a year we must add to 1843 A.D. to make out the 2300 full years; for if only 456 years and a fraction are to be reckoned before Christ, we must have 1843 and a fraction after Christ to make out the number. For taking 456 years and five months from 2300 years, we have remaining 1843 years and seven months, which seven months carry us so far into the year 1844. Thus are we brought again to the autumn of 1844, as the point where the 2300 days terminated.STTHD 94.1

    The same argument will apply to the date of Christ’s baptism. How do we make that date to be A.D. 27, when 457 years before Christ and only 26 after Christ make out the 483 years which were to reach to Messiah the Prince? In the same way as above presented. For if any portion of B.C. 457 had elapsed before we should begin to reckon, a corresponding portion of A.D. 27 must be taken to fill out the specified number of full years. And the events associated with this, in the prophecy of the seventy weeks, are such as to show conclusively that the days terminated in the autumn of the year. At the beginning of the seventieth week the Messiah was to be manifested, that is, commence his ministry as the Anointed One. In the midst, or middle, of that week, which would be three years and six months from its commencement, he was to be cut off. This cutting off can refer to nothing else but his crucifixion. But his crucifixion, in whatever year it may have occurred, was in the spring; for it was at the passover. Then, as we go back from the crucifixion of Christ three years and six months to find the commencement of his ministry, we are brought to the autumn; and as we go forward from the crucifixion three years and six months, to the end of the seventieth week, we are again brought to the autumn. But, as has already been shown, A.D. 31 has been established beyond dispute as the year of the crucifixion; and as this was the middle of the seventieth week, the last half of the week, three and a half years more, brings us to the autumn of A.D. 34. But if the first 490 years ended in the autumn of A.D. 34, the remaining 1810 years just as conclusively ended in the autumn of A.D. 1844.STTHD 95.1

    We are thus particular upon this point, because this is the important one of all the prophetic periods; and it is desirable that all points in the argument should be clearly understood.STTHD 96.1

    And what were some of the circumstances which rendered 1844 a memorable date in the history of the church and the world? We then reached, if we may so speak, the climax of the world’s great prophetic era. Within the forty-six years preceding, five of the seven prominent prophetic periods of the Bible had terminated.STTHD 96.2

    1. The 1290 years had ended in 1798.STTHD 96.3

    2. The 1260 years had ended in the same year,, and marked the commencement of the “time of the end.”STTHD 96.4

    3. The 391 years and 15 days of Revelation 9, had ended Aug.11, 1840, and marked the fall of the Ottoman empire as an independent government; for since that time it has existed only by the sufferance of the so-called Christian powers of Europe.STTHD 97.1

    4. The 1335 years had expired in 1843, and marked the manifestation of such a “blessing” as the disciples at Christ’s first advent were themselves permitted to enjoy. Daniel 12:12; Matthew 13:16, 17.STTHD 97.2

    5. And now in 1844, the great period of 2300 years was finished, which marked the commencement of the work of the cleansing of the sanctuary.STTHD 97.3

    God has never left his church without faithful watchmen, and in such an important epoch as the one we are considering, we cannot suppose that they would be asleep. And they were not asleep. A warning message to the world, which commenced some years before, had now swelled into a mighty cry. A movement such as the world had never before witnessed, now reached the height of its power. The impending second advent of the Son of God was the burden of the proclamation.. Sublimer theme never engaged the attention of man. In different parts of the world, men simultaneously called of God to this work were heralding it abroad. It went to every missionary station on the globe. Treasure was poured out like water in its promulgation. An army of able and devoted men appeared, who freely gave their time, talent, and strength to its vindication. The spirit of revival everywhere followed the proclamation of the message. God was in the movement; and Christendom was shaken from center to circumference.STTHD 97.4

    What did all this mean? It meant that the first division of this three-fold warning which was to precede the coming of Christ was going forth. Revelation 14:6-12. It meant that the mighty angel standing on the sea and on the land had uttered his solemn oath that time (prophetic) should be no more; Revelation 10:6; for the time had come for the longest and latest prophetic period to meet its termination.STTHD 98.1

    A grievous disappointment was experienced in that movement, and a mistake had somewhere been made, yet it becomes us not hastily nor rashly to decide in regard to the nature of that work. As was asked respecting the baptism of John, we ask respecting this movement: Was it of Heaven or of men? And the same difficulties are involved in the answer: If it was of Heaven, we cannot give it up; but how then can we account for the mistake connected with it, without compromising its heavenly origin? But if it was of men, how shall we solve the still harder problem of accounting for the presence and power of God that so manifestly attended it?STTHD 98.2

    Now if in 1840, 1843, and 1844, the last prophetic periods did end, that fact would be a sufficient reason why God’s hand should be in the movement based upon that fulfillment of his word, even though we might have adopted wrong views in reference to the event to occur, as did the disciples of our Lord, when in fulfillment of his word, they escorted him into Jerusalem, as their immediately expected King, shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Matthew 21:4-9.STTHD 99.1

    With this view, therefore, that the prophetic periods did expire, but the mistake was in relation to the event, we are not obliged to repudiate and throw away that great work. We can give it its place in prophecy, and gratefully acknowledge the wonderful work of God connected with it.STTHD 99.2

    But if we take the ground that the prophetic periods did not then expire, the whole work falls to the ground as wholly false and unscriptural. For if the termination of the prophetic periods is yet future, another like movement is to transpire, and the one we have had was a counterfeit and a fraud. Then we must attribute to fanaticism that work which gave every evidence of being wrought by the Spirit of God, and admit that in this important age, marked as the time of the end, when the world is to be warned of coming Judgment, the most devoted and intelligent students of prophecy, and the most consecrated servants of Christ, were left to enter upon a false movement, and make an unpardonable mistake, which was calculated to destroy the confidence of the world in all prophetic investigation. But such a conclusion cannot for a moment be entertained by any candid and consistent mind. Hence we must look for the mistake, not in the prophetic periods, the evidence for which, as we have seen, remains unshaken, but in the views then entertained of the event to take place at their termination.STTHD 99.3

    We need not pursue this line of thought to any greater length. The evidence is now before the reader that the calculation of the time was correct; that Daniel 9 is an explanation of Daniel 8; that the seventy weeks are a part of the 2300 days; that they are correctly dated from B.C. 457, and that, consequently, the 2300 days terminated in 1844. With the utmost assurance, we therefore say that those who endeavor to account for the disappointment of 1844 on the supposition that the mistake was made in the time, and not in the sanctuary question, are entirely wrong.STTHD 100.1

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