BIBLE STUDY SERIES #638, 639 and 640

15 February, 2004

LET THERE BE LIGHT - PART XII

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

On our last several programmes we have been considering matters of a somewhat longer perspective in the concourse of history. We had seen how The Almighty has inserted within His Creation a design pattern such that certain time periods of great significance, but quite outside the control of mere man, have set the stage for acceptance of God's supremacy. Today we will continue our study by picking up something more of our subject, from the book by Howard Rand, from which we drew in our last Study, and which will again reference the patterns of which we speak.

We had set the stage with a quotation from the last chapter of Daniel, and it might be well to read these again to grasp the import of our discourse. With Daniel's people in their time of greatest distress, Daniel 12:1 had begun our discussion, with these words:

1. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

Most, if not all, Christian Ministers and Pastors have copies of the words of such passages of Scripture at their finger-tips; some, indeed, in multiple versions of varied and indeterminate value, with which they conjure in order to express their aura of received theological wisdom. If questioned concerning such passages, most, I believe, would, if asked for the authoritative theological explanation or contextual meaning in the light of the totality of Received Scripture, move immediately into regurgitative mode. They would, I believe, draw from all-too-brief and often misleading theological college notes or the wisdom of theological authorities in books without number, as commended by their respective denominational instructors. I think that, in the midst of such varied opinion, I might venture to suggest a source of truth that most will have either misinterpreted, overlooked, or condemned without examination.

The late Howard B. Rand, an author of prophetic literature, wrote a book on the subject "Study in Daniel", and in Part II of this work, which he sub-titled "Daniel's Visions", there is a chapter in which he investigates the vision of The Ram and He-Goat. This chapter is titled "The Wonderful Numberer", and I thought that today we should continue to read from this chapter as it falls in line with what we were previously considering. He writes as follows:

"All those who have tried to confine the activity of the little horn seen by Daniel in this vision to the few years during which Antiochus Epiphanes was active have completely overlooked the significance of the chronological factors involved and have also failed to note the instruction given to Daniel that the events related to the "far future."

The Numberer of Secrets
Before the Angel Gabriel gave Daniel the interpretation of the vision, certain chronological factors were presented. After witnessing the rise of the little horn and watching its career as it prospered, Daniel stated:

"Then I heard one saint [angel] speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint [Hebrew: Palmoni, the numberer of secrets, or the wonderful numberer] which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation [making desolate], to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?" (Dan. 8:13.)

An understanding of the comprehensiveness of the subject covered by these questions is most important. Because of the failure in the past to recognize the full scope of the prophecy to which the angel referred in the questions he asked, prophetic students have failed to recognize their significance. Again, let us closely examine other translations. Moffatt translates this as follows:

"Then I overheard an angel speaking, and another angle said to the speaker, 'How long is this to last, this that we see, the daily sacrifice stopped, the appalling sacrilege, the tramping down of the sanctuary and the starry hosts?'"

Ferrar Fenton renders it:
"Then I heard a Saint speak, and ask another Saint, 'Can you say for how long the Vision is, and the desolation of the wicked is granted, during which the Holy Army will be trodden down?'"

There are three main questions involved:
- 1st) What will be the length of time covered by the events seen in the vision?
- 2nd) What is the duration of the period of desolation?
- 3rd) How long will the Sanctuary be trodden under foot?

The Unnamed Angel
These questions were asked of the Saint who is called "the numberer of secrets, or the wonderful numberer." This Being is unnamed and is evidently the same Angel who appeared to the father of Samson and is there called the Angel of the Lord. Manoah, Samson's father, asked: "What is thy name?" The Angel of the Lord replied, "Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?" It was to remain a secret until the coming of Jesus Christ, for He was the Personage who, as the Angel of the Lord, was speaking. So this Wonderful Numberer, who was able to set forth the number of secrets, is none other than the One to whom Isaiah gives the name "Wonderful" as the first in a list of names by which our Lord will be known: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."(Isa. 9:6.)

Under the name "Wonderful," the Angel of the Lord answered the question asked by the attending angel: "And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed." (Dan. 8:14.)

Two thousand three hundred prophetic days, i.e. years, is thus assigned by the Wonderful Numberer to the period during which the answers will be given to all the questions asked by the attending angel. Since the vision began in the time of the Medo-Persian Empire, we are given a starting point defined by the second and third questions, referring to the desolation of Palestine and the treading down of the Sanctuary. At some period during these 2,300 years the little horn was to make its appearance. Can we locate the year when this 2,300 year period commenced?

Cleansing of Sanctuary
We believe it is the year 3542 A.M., or 457 B.C., when Artaxerxes Longimanus, King of Persia, instituted an investigation of the records and took under advisement the request of Ezra which led to the issuance of the famous Decree the next year, followed two years later by Ezra's mission to Palestine. From the date of the inauguration of the preliminaries which led to the issuing of this Edict, there extends 2,300 solar years to 1844 A.D. Now January 22, 1844 to January 11, 1845 A.D. was the 1,260th year of the Hegira, when the first Edict of Religious Tolerance was wrung from the Porte. From that date forward the power of the Turks began to decline until by 1917 A.D. they lost Jerusalem and Palestine, 1,335 lunar years from Mohammed's flight in 622 A.D. - the year which was the beginning of the Hegira.

It is well here to note the importance of the year 1844 A.D. It was the end of the period defined as "an hour, a day, and a month, and a year" in Revelation 9:15, or 391 years from the capture of Constantinople when the Ottoman Empire took the City in 1453 A.D. (see Study in Revelation, page 95.)

After Artaxerxes had examined the record, the following year (456 B.C.) the Edict was issued that sent Ezra and others to Jerusalem. Sixty-nine weeks of years later (483 solar years) Jesus Christ began His ministry (Dan. 9:25)."

While there remain about eight pages more of the continuance of the account in the chapter from which I have extracted the above material, I think that I ought to allow some of the remaining passages to occupy space in one or two further follow-up discourses. We have probably covered more than enough for the present to back up the assertions that I have previously made concerning that great structure of divinely planned time-intervals. I have spoken of the pre-destined strands of God's Great Plan woven through the tapestry of time in the concourse of time and space, which stretch through history, sometimes for thousands of years. It is those remarkable spans of meaningful times of minutes, hours, days, years, centuries and millennia that are in God's hands alone, for He only knew, from the beginning, how the world's history would unfold. His total oversight ought to prove beyond any question that in the affairs of men and nations, things "don't just happen" by caprice of individuals or the machinations of national governments. Moreover, we must add to our realisation of the facts of the dated historic events being bound together by such time measures something of even greater import, which we can then appreciate in an overriding Revelation. It is found in the Majesty of the Being Who held such omniscience and omnipotence in His total control behind the scenes, yet Who also expressed a predetermined act of supreme love towards the creatures of His handiwork. It was manifest in that He, Himself, was capable of designing and moreover, was willing to project, His Incarnate express image through His Son Who faced The Cross, Death, Resurrection and Ascension, in order to demonstrate in the most astounding manner, His Love for that which was His Creation. We shall have to honour this relationship by expressing our love to Him. The wise shall understand, as the Angel was careful to instruct The Prophet Daniel, and as Daniel has recorded for our understanding in our own time.

22 February, 2004

LET THERE BE LIGHT - PART XIII

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

On our last several programmes we have been considering matters of a somewhat longer perspective in the concourse of history. We had seen how The Almighty has inserted within His Creation a design pattern such that certain time periods of great significance, but quite outside the control of mere man, have set the stage for acceptance of God's supremacy. Today we will continue our study by picking up something more of our subject, from the book by Howard Rand, from which we drew in our last Study, and which will again reference the patterns of which we speak.

We had set the stage with a quotation from the last chapter of Daniel, and it might be well to read these again to grasp the import of our discourse. With Daniel's people in their time of greatest distress, Daniel 12:1 had begun our discussion, with these words:

1. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

We have been looking at a chapter called "The Wonderful Numberer" in the book "Study in Daniel, written by the late Howard B. Rand, and today we will continue our study by picking up something more of our subject, from that book from which we drew in our last Study, and which will again reference the patterns of which we speak. The vision of The Ram and The He-Goat is the subject of our immediate focus. We had learned that a span of time (2,300 years), starting in 457 B.C. when Artaxerxes Longimanus, King of Persia, instituted a search of the records which eventuated in Ezra's request being granted, had terminated at the year 1844, the initiating date marking a process which eventuated in the release of Jerusalem from the Turks in 1917. 1844 was the end of the period defined as "an hour, a day, and a month, and a year" (i.e. 391 years) in Revelation 9:15, starting in 1453 A.D., and during which the Turks occupied Constantinople, until The Decree of Religious Tolerance.

After Artaxerxes had examined the record, the following year (456 B.C.) the Edict was issued that sent Ezra and others to Jerusalem. Sixty-nine weeks of years later (483 solar years) Jesus Christ began His ministry (Dan. 9:25)."

We pick up the account at this point, under the heading "Chronological Verifications." The chronological importance of the year 457 B.C. - when preparation was made to issue the famous Edict regarding Palestine and Jerusalem - is worthy of close study. It not only is the beginning of the 2,300 prophetic years - during which time the events set forth in the vision seen by Daniel were to take place - but it was also a Jubilee Year upon the regular scale. Sixty-nine weeks of years later John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord," and all Jerusalem and the people of the surrounding countryside began to go out to hear him. In answer to the question concerning the length of time the fulfillment of the vision would require, the duration of the period of desolation and treading down of the sanctuary, the Angel replied it would be 2,300 days. This defines in prophetic year-days the period from 457 B.C. to 1844 A.D." (I might insert the explanation that prophetically each "day" equals a solar year in the last statement.) "The significance of this terminal year is further confirmed by chronology, for 1844 A.D. is 2,520 lunar (2,445 solar) years from 3397 1/2 A.M. (603-2 B.C.) when Nebuchadnezzar was made associate King of Babylon. The bisectional date of this period of 2,445 solar years gives us the date of the beginning of the Hegira or rise of Mohammedanism (622 A.D.)."

At this point, the author of the book has inserted a table for clarification showing the various spans of years which link the 603-2 year which marks the beginning of the Babylonian Empire to the beginning of Mohammedanism with the Hegira and of equal length (1,260 lunar years either side) onward to 1844. 2,300 years before 1844 was 458-7 B.C., the date marking the start of those "69 Weeks of Years" leading to the preaching of John the Baptist. The Hegira also marks the start of 1,335 lunar years which terminate in 1917 when British Empire forces under General Allenby took Jerusalem from the Turks. Also shown on this chart is the span of 1290 years which separates 634 A.D., the date when Omar came to power, from the date of the end of the Caliphate in 1924. We again pick up the author's words with his heading "Little Horn Identified":

The little horn seen by Daniel in his vision, therefore, depicted the rise of the power of Mohammedanism, and this identification is further confirmed by the fact that the little horn was to rise out of the territory of one of the four subdivisions of the Grecian Empire. Mohammedanism did arise in the Eastern Empire of Rome prior to the fall of Constantinople and extended its conquests to the south (Egypt and northern Africa), towards the east (into Arabia and eastward to Persia), and toward the land of Palestine, which came under the full domination of the Ottoman Empire. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 A.D. brought the Eastern Roman Empire to an end and completed the establishment of the Empire of the Ottomans.

Sanctuary Demolished
During the 2,300 years from the time the Edict was issued sending Ezra back to Jerusalem, the Temple was built and later destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Mohammed's flight dates from 622 A.D., the beginning of the Hegira or Mohammedan Era. In 634 A.D. Omar came to power and with an army of fanatics began building his Empire. Jerusalem was taken in 637 A.D. and the Mosque of Omar was built upon the Temple site, thus fully establishing the "abomination that maketh desolate," fulfilling the prophecy as rendered in Moffatt's translation: "Deprived him of the daily sacrifice, demolishing the place of his sanctuary."

Period of Great Fury
History reveals the extent of the destroying power of this scourge for the followers of Mohammed did prosper and destroy many people in their ravages and the conquests of Christian peoples:

"Othman had established himself as chief in the north of Asia Minor. He invaded Nicomedia and founded the Ottoman Empire in 1299 A.D. By 1353 A.D. the Ottomans were established in Europe. ... The city of Constantinople was besieged and captured in 1453 A.D. This ended the Greek Empire when this eastern seat of Imperial Rome was taken by the Ottomans. ... All Asia Minor had been subjugated by the Caliphs and now the eastern seat of Imperial Rome was infested by Mohammed II on the 6th of March 1453 A.D. and fell to him on May 29th of that same year. With the fall of the Eastern Empire, which the Saracens could only torment, but not destroy, begins the period of great fury and bloodshed as the Ottomans established themselves in Europe and Africa." (Study in Revelation, pages 94-95.)

Daniel saw all this in his vision as he witnessed the power and aggressiveness of the little horn which, like the little horn seen in his first vision, was also emblematical of an ecclesiastical-political power. In the first vision it was the Papacy that rose to power, but now the little horn represented Mohammedanism and the line of the Caliphs. Full and unrestrained aggression was assigned to the leaders of the Mohammedans whose understanding of dark sentences refers to the type of revelation their leader secured and the inspiration he received (see Study in Revelation, pages 86-87).

Daniel Instructed
Daniel sought the meaning of the vision and the Unnamed Being (the Wonderful Numberer) instructed Gabriel to give Daniel the interpretation of what he had seen: "And he said [to Daniel], Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be." (Dan. 8:19.)

Moffatt translates this as follows: "I will let you know what is to happen during the closing days of the wrath divine, for the vision relates to the crisis at the close."

Period of Indignation
The period of indignation, or "wrath divine," is the 2,300 years from 457 B.C. to 1844 A.D. Thus we know that, beginning with the Medo-Persian Empire, the vision as seen by Daniel extends to the time of the end and the 2,300 years defines the period during which those forces of evil triumphed over the Israel peoples.

Daniel is therefore told:
"And in the latter time of their kingdom [when the Romans governed the Eastern Empire], when the transgressions are come to the full [in the face of the continued ravages of the Mohammedans an apostate Church and worldly Christendom continued on in unbelief. See Study in Revelation, pages 98-99], a king of fierce countenance, understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power [not because of hereditary background or powers derived from predecessors]: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people [righteous ones of the holy ones - spirit-filled men and women who refused to bow to Islam]. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes." (Dan. 8:23-25.)

We shall conclude the chapter on our next Bible Study.

29 February, 2004

LET THERE BE LIGHT - PART XIV

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

On our last several programmes we have been considering matters of a somewhat longer perspective in the concourse of history. We had seen how The Almighty has inserted within His Creation a design pattern such that certain time periods of great significance, but quite outside the control of mere man, have set the stage for acceptance of God's supremacy. Today we will continue our study by picking up something more of our subject, from the book by Howard B. Rand, from which we drew in our last Study, and we will again reference the patterns with which we are concerned.

We had set the stage with a quotation from the last chapter of Daniel, and it might be well to read this again to grasp the import of our discourse. With Daniel's people in their time of greatest distress, Daniel 12:1 had begun our discussion, with these words:

1. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

We have been looking at a chapter called "The Wonderful Numberer" in that book "Study in Daniel, written by the late Howard B. Rand, and today we will continue our study by picking up something more of our subject, from the book from which we drew in our last Study. The vision of the Ram and The He-Goat is the subject of our immediate focus. We had learned that a span of time (2,300 years), starting in 457 B.C. when Artaxerxes Longimanus, King of Persia, instituted a search of the records which eventuated in Ezra's request being granted, had terminated at the year 1844, the initiating date marking a process which eventuated in the release of Jerusalem from the Turks in 1917. 1844 was the end of the period defined as "an hour, a day, and a month, and a year" (i.e. 391 years) in Revelation 9:15, during which the Turks occupied Constantinople, starting in 1453 A.D.

In our last Study we were looking at a number of long-term "time-lines" which have at their initiating and terminating dates (and sometimes at set divisions within them), remarkable episodes of related events. This pattern of time-related threads is laced through the whole long history of mankind, and these threads are both definitely real, and definitely far too long and far too complicated for mere man to have organized or perpetuated a plan to reveal their message through thousands of years. Remember that in Daniel 12:8-10, the Scripture speaks thus:

8. And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
9. And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
10. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

Thus we may say that this is proof to the wise, that The Almighty God Who created the universe and fore-knew all of history transpiring therein held the power to reveal His total comprehension of the course of time and space as it unfolds. Time forms a tapestry, in which each of us plays a part within the context of our own lifetime. Our fore-known personal inclinations and choices weave within the tapestry, patterns far beyond our own comprehension, but God has granted veiled statements in ancient days, provided through His Biblical prophets, which let those at the last times understand what has been outworking in such a manner through history.

Perhaps I shall later have more to say concerning the whole picture to which I have made a brief allusion here. The whole concept of free-will (of which "love" is one ever-present component) is embedded within the inexorable unfolding to reveal the present moment. Picture it, if you will, as a scroll of future time. The tapestry of history is, as we might express it, a rolled-up "future" textile, which is being exposed nanosecond by nanosecond and moment by moment as time passes. Within each tiny segment of time, countless numbers of free-will episodes of choice by every particle of living matter continue to be expressed. Their patterns are exposed as, with inexorable and determined pace, this scroll of time unrolls to expose the present, that then becomes our history, moving off to the past. Yet the whole must, if God can foretell the pattern, even to the extent that is revealed in Scriptural pronouncements, have been known from the beginning, before that tapestry was prepared. This is called "predestination", and it is not a concept to be feared, but a course of challenges to be run by all who are alive, as if in an Olympic race.

Now let us return to Howard Rand's book:

Peace or Death
The Mohammedan religion is called Islam, an Arab word meaning submission, from salama, to be free. Mohammed always offered peace, either on terms of accepting the teachings of Mohammed or by paying tribute. In the meaning of Islam, to be free is peace. This fact sheds additional light on the passage, "And by peace shall destroy many," which could be read, in view of the above, "And by Islam shall destroy many." The alternate offered to all nations by the conquering Mohammedans was Islam (submission and peace) or death.

Broken Without Hands
In his stand against the Prince of princes, Mohammed did not deny that Jesus Christ was a prophet but he did deny that He was of the Godhead and refused to accept his sacrifice and work of atonement, setting himself up as a superior prophet. The Record goes on to state, "But he shall be broken without hands (verse 25)." Moffatt renders this, "By a stroke from no human hand shall he be shattered." What does history reveal?

From 1844 A.D., when Great Britain compelled Turkey to grant religious rights to minorities, until the beginning of the 20th century, the waters of this Euphratean plague continued to recede. Turkey had become indeed the 'Sick Man of the East.' Arabia was in constant revolt, with trouble in Macedonia. Foreign capital was gaining control in industry, The Young Turks movement triumphed in 1908 A.D. Italy complained of Turkish disorder and neglect in Tripoli and declared war against Turkey in 1911. The following year Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Montenegro entered the War and all European territory, except Constantinople and a small amount of land on the west side of the Bosphorus, was lost to Turkey." (Study in Revelation, page 239.)

World War I found the Young Turks allied with the Central Powers, resulting in the loss of Palestine and Jerusalem in 1917 A.D. This date (1917 A.D.) was the end of 1,335 lunar years from the beginning of the Hegira in 622 A.D. A Turkish Republic was declared October 29, 1923 and the Caliphate was abolished March 6, 1924. The power of the Caliphate had completely dried up and was no more - just 1,290 years (number of desolation) after Omar came to power in 634 A.D. But the doctrines of Mohammedanism were still strong, with a powerful following in the Middle East and throughout Arabia: "In one view Cairo may be considered the capital of Islam, as it is the seat of the great university, from which its priests go forth to all parts of the Mohammedan world." (From Egypt to Japan, by H. M. Fields.)

Egypt is destined to play a most important part in World War III. (see Documentary Studies, pages 199-200). Issues involving Mohammedans throughout the world are to become acute in the troubles that will afflict the Middle East as the present age reaches its climax. Thus, the importance of Cairo as a center of Islam is of considerable interest. All false religions and beliefs will also come to judgment: Catholicism, Judaism, Mohammedanism, apostatized Protestantism, and all heathen doctrines and cults are to be judged and condemned by the Ancient of Days who sits upon His Throne. Then will all peoples be set free from the doctrines and creeds which have deceived and enslaved them.

As we read these words, we might think they were prepared within the context of recent concerns over the fall of the twin towers and the rise of anxieties pursuant thereto. It is, therefore, the more amazing to realise, when we read Howard Rand's words, that he wrote them many decades ago. The book was printed in April 1948! That was the time when Britain was yielding Palestine over to the United Nations. Let us pick up some further insights therefrom:

Gabriel announced to Daniel:
"The vision of the evenings and the mornings which has been told is true. But keep the vision a secret, for it relates to the far future." (Dan. 8:26, Moffatt Trans.) We are living in the day of revelation and that which was sealed in Daniel's time is now being made known, for the time appointed is now at hand.

The whole of the prophecy has not been properly understood in the past. It is definitely intended that in the last times this prophetic writing will speak to those wise enough to lend an ear, and give it some attention. It is, indeed, for our own day, and we owe it to ourselves to wrest the meaning of it from the veiled words of the angel out of the centuries past.

I would sincerely recommend that you obtain a copy of Howard Rand's book, "Study in Daniel." I believe that our book room may still have some copies for sale. We will continue next week.

RETURN TO BIBLE STUDY
RETURN TO B.I.W.F. HOME PAGE