Saturday, September 12, 2015

Less than it seems, Part Deux

Leavest thou me out of this.
So last week I promised that we would return to Sir Isaac Newton whom, it is alleged in the prior video, named the present month/year as a date of some prophetic importance.  However, unlike Adam Clark, Newton did not specifically note 2015. Instead, Newton separated the "seven and sixty two weeks" of Daniel's Seventy Weeks prophecy into first and second comings, and from there we infer 2015.  Kind of.

I just happen to have a copy of Newton's commentary on Daniel and Revelation*. In Chapter 10, Newton writes the following concerning the 70 Weeks:
Know also and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to cause to return and to build Jerusalem, shall be seven weeks.  The former part of the prophecy related to the first coming of Christ, being dated to his coming as a prophet; this being dated to his coming to be prince or king, seems to relate to his second coming.
Newton then goes on to explain that some prophecies apply to both the first and second coming, and notes that this may very well be one of them. So Newton seems to relate the period of "seven weeks" to Christ's second coming.  So how do we get from that rather vague aside to 2015?

To get there, we must jump over to a book called Petrus Romanus by Thomas Horn and Chris Putnam, from which C.Ervana read in a prior video, and which I also happen to have in my library.  We read on p.287 of a fellow named T.W. Tramm, who did a bit of fancy math in still another book. Tramm concluded that:
If one counts exactly forty-nine (360 day) prophetic years (17,640 days) from the June 7, 1967 date of Jerusalem's recapture, we arrive at September 23rd, 2015, -- the Day of Atonement. Coincidence?
I'll leave the reader to decide whether something is a coincidence.  But I would like to lay out the assumptions necessary to conclude that Sept 23rd is a date of prophetic importance according to Newton:
  1. Newton was correct that the "seven weeks" of Daniel's Seventy Weeks prophecy applied to the Second Coming, and not just the first as most scholars take it.**
  2. The "seven weeks" count began the day Israel re-captured Old Jerusalem in the Six Day War of 1967.
  3. The "seven weeks" are "seven weeks of years," i.e. 49 years.
  4. These years are not "calendar" years, but lunar years of 360 days.
So if those assumptions all hold true and correct, then September 23rd could be a heck of a day.  But as with Clarke's naming of 2015 for the expiration date of Daniel's "little horn," if one link in the chain fails, then it's likely to be just another day.

My primary problem with the claim lies in assumption number 2, kicking off the 7 weeks in 1967. Newton himself noted that, "Here, by putting a week for seven years, are reckoned from the time that the dispersed Jews should be re-incorporated into a people and a holy city, until the death and resurrection of Christ..."  In other words, Newton began the clock on the date the Jews were "reincorporated into a people". The best modern parallel to that is 1948, the establishment of the state of Israel. One can argue that the recapture of old Jerusalem in 1967 is just as meaningful (i.e. put the emphasis on "and a holy city"). But I am unconvinced that it's more significant than re-establishment of a Jewish state after 1800+ years of diaspora. It just looks like someone was playing with numbers to find a coincidence.

But I have another problem related to the first: the parlor trick of switching to 360-day years halfway through the prophecy. Newton used, as far as I can tell, calendar years. So does everyone else, and Horn and Putnam note that if you use calendar years here, the seven weeks end in 2016. Calling a shortened year a "prophetic" year does not really help the prophetic case other than finding a coincidence between two dates. If one were to apply a 360-day year consistently, it would throw off the first coming / resurrection prophecy by 7 whole years, or an entire "week."  Obviously, that's weak sauce.

So the short version is that Newton never "called" 2015, nor specifically September 23rd, as any sort of meaningful prophetic date. Tying his reputation to this date does the man an injustice. And it would probably piss him off as well.  In fact, Newton wrote (as I mentioned before):
"This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail."
So either something really awesome will happen in 11 days, or it won't.  Here's to hoping it does.  If you're really convinced it will and it doesn't, just remember that God is a better mathematician than you are, especially as you're double-checking his numbers through a glass darkly.

Oh, and stop setting dates. You're making God look bad. And Newton as well.

* It's actually a reprint of Thomas Jefferson's personal copy of Newton. Jefferson was not so disinterested in things biblical as is generally imagined.
** "Most" here includes Newton, who uses it in his 490 year calculation from the Captivity to Christ's first coming.

3 comments:

Stormhound said...

Heh...someone edited his post, I see.

Frankly, I expect 9/23/15 to be a work day much like any other. And I figure all these "rash conjectures" come from "fanciful men" whose primary desire is to look important.

But, as has been remarked more than once, there's a sucker born every minute...

El Borak said...

someone edited his post...

Only 100 times.

Doom said...

Absolutely!

I know the end is coming. Actually many ends. The economy of my nation, and the world, has been tinkered with to destruction. Is that the end times? Maybe, though just as likely just another 'fall of Rome'. I will die. In the end times? Maybe, but given the odds of all those who have lived and died, unlikely. And my nation will fall. As has every nation that has ever existed. Again, an unlikely end time. Though... with nukes... falling nations and economies become a bit more end-timish possible.

If Christ couldn't know, assuming He wasn't lying and I believe Him personally, then we can't know. Nothing in the bible was unknown to Him, and much beyond it. Remember, Christ was before the bible, New and Old Testaments. What He didn't "write" through quotes, he wrote, of the N.T., mostly, through teaching and experience from doing His ways or watching Him.

Funny thing is, I just realized? While we do suffer out of God's presence, that Christ hasn't returned means we haven't failed enough for that. He will return only when man is, pretty much, at an end. While He could come tomorrow, a year from now, or a thousand years or more from now, that He hasn't come yet... really does mean something. So... slog on. Though our efforts may be meager, meek, mild, timid, they... seem to be enough. His grace is still with us knuckleheads, and we have kept evil at bay... to point.