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Looking Unto Jesus

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    19 THE YEAR-DAY PRINCIPLE

    IN the exposition of the symbols thus far given, the field of vision is laid out clearly before us. The first symbol, Persia, covers a period of two hundred and seventy years; the third, which we have seen to be Rome in both its phases, pagan and papal, from B.C.162 to its division into ten parts previous to 483 A.D., continued six hundred and forty-four years; and if we come down to the close of papal supremacy in 1798, we have the long period of nineteen hundred and fifty-nine years; and if we come still forward to our own time, for this power is not yet broken without hand, we have the surprising period of nearly twenty-one hundred years covered by this symbol.LUJ 163.1

    Putting these periods together, we have from the commencement of Persian supremacy, B.C.538, to the complete division of Rome into its final ten kingdoms, 483 A.D., ten hundred and twenty-one years; to the temporary overthrow of papal Rome, 1798 A.D., twenty-three hundred and thirty-six years; to our own time, a hundred years more. So vast is the sweep of this vision, which we are now considering!LUJ 163.2

    This fact has an important bearing upon the subject of the time, which the way is now open to examine. One point alone remains unexplained in Daniel 8, and that is the 2300 days of verse 14. On this we now inquire:-LUJ 163.3

    1. Does the word “days,” which in the margin is rendered “evening morning,” mean days as commonly understood by that term?LUJ 164.1

    2. Have we the correct reading, 2300?LUJ 164.2

    3. Are the days literal or symbolic? and can we tell how long a period they denote?LUJ 164.3

    On the first of these inquiries, we present the following testimony from Dr. Hales:-LUJ 164.4

    “The earliest measure of time on record is the Day. In that most ancient and venerable account of the creation, by Moses, the process is marked by the operations of each day. The evening and morning were the first day, etc. Genesis 1:5 etc. Here the word ‘day’ denotes the civil or calendar day of twenty-four hours, including ‘the evening.’ or natural night, and ‘the morning,’ or natural day; while the sun is either below or above the horizon of any place, in the course of the earth’s diurnal rotation between two successive appulses of the same meridian to the sun: corresponding, therefore, to a solar day in astronomy. It is remarkable that the ‘evening’ or natural ‘night’ precedes the ‘morning’ or natural day, in the Mosaic account. Hence the Hebrew compound [ereb boker] eqv-vfr, ‘evening-morning’, is used by the prophet Daniel to denote a civil day, in his famous chronological prophecy of the 2300 days. Daniel 8:14.” 1“Sacred Chronology.” vol. 1. p. 10LUJ 164.5

    Again he says, when speaking on this text, in vol. ii, p. 512, note, “The evening-morning was a civil or calendar day.”LUJ 164.6

    The first question, then, is sufficiently answered: the word “days” (evening-morning), in Daniel 8:14, is such as is used to designate days as commonly understood, and hence is correctly translated.LUJ 164.7

    On the second inquiry, Is 2300 the correct reading? we quote again from the same author:-LUJ 164.8

    “There is no number in the Bible whose genuineness is better ascertained than that of the 2300 days. It is found in all the printed Hebrew editions, in all the MSS, of Kennicott and De Rossi’s collations, and in all the ancient versions, except the Vatican copy of the Septuagint, which reads 2400, followed by Symmachus; and some copies noticed by Jerome, 2200, both evidently literal errors, in excess and defect, which compensate each other and confirm the mean, 2300.” 1Id., vol. II, p. 512LUJ 164.9

    These points being thus established, that the expression is the proper one to denote a civil day, and that the reading, 2300, is correct, we next inquire, Are these days literal, or symbolic? If they are literal, they give us (dividing by 365) six and one-third years, as the extent of the whole period. If they are symbolic, each day signifying a year (Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34), they bring to view a period 2300 years in length. Which of these two views is the more consistent with the rest of the prophecy?LUJ 165.1

    The question was, “How long the vision?” The question certainly covers almost the whole, if not the whole, duration of the vision; and that, as we have seen, extends over a period of over twenty-four hundred years. Now if, in reply, the angel singled out a period only six and one third years in length, there is no correspondence either between this answer and the vision in connection with which it was given, or between the answer and the question which directly called it forth. These days, if taken literally, would be far from covering the duration of any one of the kingdoms of the prophecy taken singly, how much less of them all taken together!LUJ 165.2

    This is symbolic prophecy; it would be natural therefore to conclude that the time introduced would be of a like nature. Twenty-three hundred days would not be out of proportion to the lives of the beasts shown in the vision, if all should be taken literally; but as these short-lived beasts are symbols, representing long-lived kingdoms, so the days are symbols representing the years of their continuance.LUJ 165.3

    The Bible observes this rule of chronological proportion in a general way. In Ezekiel 16, the Jewish nation is symbolized under the figure of a youthful woman, the youthful age of the woman, and the comparatively short period of growth to womanhood, representing the youthful period of the nation, and the years during which it was coming to maturity. (See Elliott’s “Horae Apocalypticae,” vol. iii, p. 241.)LUJ 165.4

    But more than this, the Bible gives the exact proportion between literal and symbolic time. Ezekiel, during the selfsame Babylonish captivity in which Daniel’s prophecies were delivered, symbolizes years by days. He was commanded to make known to his fellow exiles by the river Chebar, near the Euphrates, the fate of Jerusalem, with her last king, Zedekiah, and also God’s reason for it. For this purpose he was to lie prostrate with his face toward the city, on his left side three hundred and ninety days for Israel, and on his right side forty days for Judah, restricted all the while to a famine diet, like the Jews he represented, shut up in the siege. And God said, ” I have appointed thee each day for a year.” Ezekiel 4:6.LUJ 166.1

    In this representation Ezekiel himself became a symbol. He was acting a symbolic part, an individual representing a nation, the days in which he was acting his part symbolizing the actual years of the punishment of those whom he represented.LUJ 166.2

    Another instance, not so evidently symbolic in its nature, but equally definite in showing how God uses short periods of time to represent longer ones, and the proportion to be observed between them, is found in Numbers 14:34, “Forty days, each day for a year.”LUJ 166.3

    It is objected against this principle of interpretation, that it is novel, not having been known in the church from the days of Daniel to those of Wycliffe, and, secondly, that those who adopt the year-day principle are in confusion among themselves respecting their interpretations of prophecy.LUJ 166.4

    The first of these objections is shown by Mr. Elliott not to be well founded; as this principle of interpretation, though not the exact application of this prophecy, was adopted by Augustine, Tichonius, Primasius, Andreas, the Venerable Bede, Ambrosius, Ansbertus, Berengaud, Bruno Astensis, etc.LUJ 167.1

    As to the second objection there certainly is no more confusion among year-day interpreters than among those who take the day-day view; and it is not strange that there should have been discordant views in days past, since the prophecy was closed up and sealed till the time of the end (Daniel 12:4); but the intimation is given that then the seal would be broken, the wise understand, and knowledge be increased on these things. Verses 9, 10. And right here the year-day principle has been brought out and especially defended as a key to the interpretation of the prophecies.LUJ 167.2

    But that which demonstrates beyond question the correctness of the year-day principle, is the fact that we, living down in the last years of prophetic fulfilment, are now able to trace out in history the accomplishment of these predictions; and we find that the seventy weeks of Daniel 9; the 1260, 1290, and 1335 days, of Daniel 7 and 12, and the 1260 days and forty-two months of Revelation 12 and 13; and the five months of Revelation 9:5; and the hour, day, month, and year of Revelation 9:15, have all been exactly fulfilled, a day for a year.LUJ 167.3

    The 2300 days of Daniel 8:14, are therefore 2300 literal years. Thus the field of inquiry is fast narrowing down; for the only question now left on time, is, Where do these days begin? and where do they end?LUJ 167.4

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