Biblical Prophetic Periods and the Identification of Israel
Questions have come our way recently after the BIWF-UK magazine, Covenant Nations (vol. 1, no. 2), printed two conflicting dates for the birth of our Savior. The importance of this is not just an academic exercise, because prophetic time periods are involved, as well as the fulfillment of biblical prophecies. Even more importantly, an understanding of the prophetic periods of the Bible has a bearing on the question of the identification of Israel in the world today.
One of the leading systems of thought in Christendom today is dispensationalism, popularized by the “Scofield Reference Bible” and a host of modern writers such as Hal Lindsay. Make no mistake about it, the foundational basis of dispensationalism is the belief that the Jewish religious adherents constitute all of Israel in the world today and inherit all of the Abrahamic promises. Dispensationalists rail vociferously against the idea that Caucasian Christians (or any other race) could inherit any part of the patriarchal promises even on a Spiritual basis. Yet their system fails them when it comes to demonstrating that the modern Jewish people and the Israeli state fit into the prophetic time periods of Scripture.
As an example, dispensationalists teach that the Seventy Weeks of Daniel chapter 9, verses 24 through 27 are broken down as follows: Sixty-nine prophetic weeks (69 x 7, or 483 years) run from 445 B.C. to Christ’s crucifixion, while the seventieth week of prophecy is completely cut off in time and floating off into the future. Firstly, this makes the idea of a seventy week “period” a misnomer (if not a falsehood), because in normal thinking a time-period is one inclusive block of time. Would it be honest to promise to do something for me within two weeks, and secretly decide that the “second week” will actually be six months from now? If a person were honest, he would admit that the time period was six months, not two weeks! Do we really believe that the Bible treats prophecy using such a deceptive ruse?
Secondly, try as they might, dispensationalists cannot get the sixty-nine prophetic week period to fit the historic facts. The time-period from “the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” (Dan. 9:25) which they incorrectly date at 445 B.C., until the crucifixion of Christ is not 483 years. Some of them have tried lunar years, solar years, or other strange calendar systems, all to no avail. Yet it is of utmost importance to them to somehow end the sixty-nine prophetic weeks at the crucifixion so that they can cut the seventieth week of the prophecy off in time and save it to tie in with the establishment of the Israeli state.
An excellent study we prepared on “the seventy weeks prophecy” is posted on the CBIA website at www.israelite.ca, so all of that information will not be repeated here, except to say that it is a complete period of time constituting 490 years from 458 B.C. until the crucifixion which took place in Spring, 33 A.D. (Note that there is no year zero in calendar dating.)
There is no “seventieth week” awaiting the future. For many years, the rationale for the floating seventieth week was that “God’s time clock does not run while the Jews are out of their land,” and so the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948 was of great prophetic significance to them. Dispensationalist ministers in the late 1940’s to early 1950’s proclaimed that Christ’s return would be in 1955, seven years after the establishment of the Jewish state. When that date passed uneventfully, Hal Lindsay and others insisted that one generation, forty years, from 1948 would mark Christ’s return.
Some of you may remember the great amount of preaching on this in the 1980’s by radio ministers, including the Baptist Reverend Edgar C. Whisenant. His book, “Eighty-eight Reasons Why Christ’s Return Will Be In 1988” reportedly was distributed in the millions of copies. They had good intentions, and there was a method to this madness. They were wrong, however, because their foundational premise concerning Israel was wrong.
It is a profound truth that Biblical prophecies do not stand alone, but tie in with each other and with other important historical dates. Biblical scholars have determined that our Lord was crucified in his 33rd year of life, so if we take Passover in the Spring of 33 A.D. as the date of the crucifixion and subtract 33-1/2 years, we come to a birth year for Christ in the fall of 2 B.C. (Note again that there is no year zero in calendar dating.) This dating ties in with the fact that our Lord was born in the fall of the year, not the middle of winter, for we are told that shepherds were in the fields with their flocks. (Luke 2:8) The flocks were taken into the fields to graze in March and brought back to shelter in November.
The historic dispute within the British-Israel movement on this subject was dealt with in the “Bible Question Box” for Winter, 2008, which is sent to those on the CBIA mailing list. It was discussed therein that perhaps the leading Pyramidologist of the Twentieth Century, Adam Rutherford, found that the Great Pyramid’s divine design incorporated the life of Christ, showing that our Lord’s birth was in 2 B.C. according to pyramid chronology. In his classic four-volume work, “Pyramidology,” Rutherford devoted a great portion of his second volume to the life of Christ as shown in the Great Pyramid. (These volumes are still available from ARTISAN SALES, BOX 1529, MUSKOGEE, OK 74402 www.artisansales.com)
To quote Adam Rutherford: “It is important to investigate this matter of the correct date of the birth of Christ. Co-ordination of all the known facts reveals 2 B.C. as the correct date and this is in harmony with the Pyramid’s unerring chronograph...Furthermore the commonly accepted 4 B.C. date for Our Lord’s birth is not confirmed by any of the ancient historians or earliest Fathers (prior to Jerome, who lived in the fourth and fifth centuries, C.E.), none of whom place Christ’s birth earlier than 2 B.C.; indeed, most of them place it in that very year, which it will be noted is the precise date revealed by the Great Pyramid for the Nativity.” (Pyramidology II:308-9)
This is in accord with the research of the late great British-Israel scholar, W.E. Filmer, whose well-researched study, “The Year Of Christ’s Birth” is posted on the CBIA website. The knowledge of these facts is of multiple significance for us. At the very least, it disproves the dispensationalist understanding of their foundational Scripture passage in Daniel chapter 9, and the resulting argument that the Jews constitute the whole house of Israel in the world today.