*The next vital 2 Keys (Keys 3 & 4) are less well known and are the reason Bible Chronology is not generally well understood. We now have the overall structure of time as God has planned it and sees it - the WEEK of 7 DAYS of 1000 years. In 6 DAYS He is working to set up His KINGDOM. In the 7th DAY, He will enter into rest having accomplished this. We will now see that God has also built SALVATION into the very structure of Time.
*REDEMPTION CHRONOLOGY. To know Bible Chronology we must fully understand the Divine Framework of Time by which God sovereignly controls the course of time. This is called the REDEMPTION CHRONOLOGY, for as we shall see it measures the progress of His Plan of Redemption. When we understand how God reckons Time on His REDEMPTION CHRONOLOGY we will be able to put all the pieces together to demonstrate the perfect chronology of the Bible. Keys 3 and 4 contain the vital revelations required to understand God's REDEMPTION CHRONOLOGY.
*CALENDARS and CHRONOLOGIES. There is a key difference. A Calendar (say for your life) will give all the events of your life on their dates. There is essentially just one Calendar, even if it is presented in different ways. A Chronology is any way of counting time. There are many chronologies (ways of counting time) depending on the principle you use in how you are counting time (what you are measuring).
*For example: Your work-life chronology: “I work a 40 hour week.” “I have worked 200 hours on this.” What does this mean? A solid 40 or 200 hours? Unlikely. Times when you are not working or sleeping are not counted. This is a chronology.
Let us say you contracted and were paid for doing 50 days of work. Those days may may be spread out over 70 days if you don't work weekends and perhaps more if you take some days off during the week (this corresponds to Key 4: Unreckoned Time that will be discussed in the next chapter). Now let us imagine that you have completed 49 days with just one day left to fulfil the contract, when you are told that you had now completed the 50 days! Why? One of those days was a bank holiday, a day of grace where you did no work, but it was counted to you as if you worked and got paid anyway. Then although you worked for 49 days it is counted as 50 days on your work-chronology (there is an additional day of grace added into your work chronology as far as your pay is concerned). This is a good analogy to Key 3: the Jubilee Principle which is essential to understand the Chronology of Redemption.
So there are many ways of counting time. The key issue for us is how does God count time as far as His overall Plan is concerned. We know He has measured out 7000 years until time ends, but how does He count it. The next 2 keys reveal that He does it according to a master CHRONOLOGY that is all about REDEMPTION.
KEY 3: THE JUBILEE PRINCIPLE.
*Discovered by Sir Edward Denny. Irish baronet 1796-1886. He discovered Redemption Chronology -the Backbone of Bible Chronology. Denny took his findings to the Brethren leaders but they rejected them. “If men reject it, its OKAY. It is God with whom I have to do.” He would say “God knows what I have written is true because the Heart of Love has revealed it to me.” As he went back to the Lord, He told Denny “The time is not yet”. In this book of 1818 he said that the Jews were coming back to the land (130 years before it happened). Of course he was laughed at. It would seem that the Lord has kept the full revelation of time until the end-time so we can understand the times we live in and fulfil our purpose before the Lord returns. Daniel 12:9: “Go thy way Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” Although his work was largely forgotten, it came into the hands of a team of men under a Bible Teacher called Mr A. E. Ware who built on the foundation built by Denny from 1933 through the War.
Leviticus 25 contains the instructions for Israel’s observance of TIME - the Sabbath Year and Jubilee.
*The Sabbath Principle (the first fundamental key to the measurement of time)
7 is the number that marks God’s structuring of time, denoting SPIRITUAL PERFECTION. In Hebrew the word for 7 (shevah) is derived from the root (savah), to be full or satisfied, have enough of, hence 7 means fullness and completion. So God rested on the 7th day because Creation was full, complete, good and perfect. Nothing could be added to it or taken from it without marring it. So the cycles of time God uses come to completion on the seventh. The Hebrew word Shabbath which means (the day of) rest from exertion is from the same root. The word for ‘week’ is closely associated with the word for ‘7’. A ‘WEEK’ = A ‘SEVEN’, the ‘Sabbath’ = the ‘SEVENTH’ when the ‘week’ reaches its completion. For that reason it is a period of rest at the completion of the cycle.
As well as marking every 7 days God told them to mark every 7 years (Leviticus 25:1–7). The 7th year is a year of rest for the land. So, God measures time in ‘weeks’ of years. The sabbath principle applies to the rhythm of our lives. Jesus said: “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath””, meaning that a day’s rest in every seventh, a day holy to the Lord is for our good. That’s how God has made us and He has built it into the structure of time. The Sabbath completes one week but also renews you and prepares you for the new week. We have seen that the Sabbath Principle also operates on God’s large-scale measurement of time (of 7 DAYS of 1000 years).
*The Jubilee Principle (Leviticus 25:8–13), the next major key to the measurement of time, also applies to God’s large-scale structure of time.. God tells the Jews not just to mark every 7 years but also every 7 x 7 years (49 years) in a special way: “you shalt number 7 SABBATHS of years unto thee, 7 times 7 years, and the space of the 7 Sabbaths of years shall be unto you 49 years.” Leviticus 25:8. This period of 49 years is called a Jubilee Cycle.
“Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the 10th day of the 7th month, in the Day of Atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow (set apart) the 50th year and PROCLAIM LIBERTY throughout all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a JUBILEE unto you, and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A JUBILEE shall that 50th year be unto you.” Leviticus 25:9-11.
PUZZLE: We have a 49 year repeating cycle and a special 50th Jubilee year.
What is this year?
Is it the 49th year? No-it is called a 50th year.
Is it the year after the 49th year? No - that’s year 1 of the next cycle. This would break the continuous cycles of 7 years revealed in the Sabbath principle, making the sabbath and jubilee cycles go out of phase, but the 49th year is always a Sabbath (v8). The Sabbath cycles and the Jubilee cycles operate in phase together, with 7 Sabbath cycles making 1 Jubilee Cycle.
A paradox like this in the Bible always hides a key revelation. Denney saw it!
*To man the Jubilee cycle is 49 not 50 years long (v8). Once one cycle ends the next one begins. But God calls the Jubilee year a 50th year, but it is not the 49th year or the next year!. The Key is in verse 9: “Then shalt you cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound ON THE10TH DAY OF THE SEVENTH MONTH IN the DAY of ATONEMENT shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.” It started half-way through the 49th year and ended halfway ‘into’ the next year. Hence it overlapped the 2 years. It was a year of grace to seal off the old (forgiveness for the past, release from bondage) and also bring in the new (blessings released for the future)
It did not form an addition to man’s time. It was no ordinary year, a special year of grace, set apart to God, a year belonging to God, thatGod alone possessed in which He chose to pour out His Grace, based on blood. God marked it out from man’s years by calling it a 50th year (5 is the number of grace). v10 “ye shall hallow the 50th YEAR”. v11 “A Jubilee shall that 50th year be unto you.”
God counted the Jubilee year as a 50th year although it was not an addition to time on man’s calendar! To man only 49 years had passed, but God counted the Jubilee as a 50th year.
Every Jubilee cycle man counted 49 years,
but GOD COUNTED as 50 YEARS in His Redemption Chronology!
49 years to Man = 50 years to God.
98 years to Man = 100 years to God.
490 years to Man = 500 years to God.
980 years to Man = 1,000 years to God.
1960 years to Man = 2,000 years to God.
This is the Jubilee Principle!
Thus each Cycle consisted of 49 years (of man) plus 1 Jubilee year (of God). God from His perspective sees 50 years as having passed while man from his point of view only sees 49 years. Thus man counts the 49 years that are his and God counts the 50 years that are His. God gives it to man as a free-gift (like the bank-holiday). God owns all time but allows man to have it too. However as the Lord He receives the Jubilee year as purely His own, it belongs to Him alone. Hence man cannot count the 50th year – as it is not his.
Thus in God's Redemption Chronology, before the Cross, when man had completed 49 years, God counted it as 50 years. However, after the Cross, the Jubilee has now been fulfilled in Christ and so the situation is different. There are now no special Jubilee years in the Redemption Chronology for the Church and Kingdom Age, for God's people are now constantly living in the Year of Jubilee (2Corinthians 6:2). Thus as well as Jubilee being stamped on the structure of Divine Time, the radical change made by the Cross in fulfilling Jubilee is also revealed in the very structure of time.
* THE JUBILEE PRINCIPLE:
In God’s Redemption Chronology 50 YEARS TO GOD is 49 YEARS TO MAN.
The result is that in God’s counting time is divided into 500 year cycles, in man’s time they are 490-year cycles (exactly 10 Jubilee Cycles!).490 years = A GREAT JUBILEE CYCLE. God told Israel to measure time in Jubilees showing that how His measurement of time was linked to His plan of salvation. Now because of the Jubilee Principle we see the very large-scale structure of time is also stamped by Jubilee. This confirms that God’s master chronology of time is governed by redemption. The JUBILEE is the central Gospel message of the Bible, revealing His salvation by grace. This revelation of Jubilee is so important and so central in Redemption that God has stamped the mark of the Jubilee on the Structure of Time. This confirms that God’s time structure is based on and is a revelation of His Plan of Redemption. God measured time in Jubilees. Thus the Birth of Abraham occurred on the 40th Jubilee from Creation. The death and resurrection of Jesus occurred on the 80th Jubilee. Time declares God’s Redemption because its very structure is based on Redemption. God’s Purpose from eternity was man’s Redemption so He planned the course of time for this very purpose. Within this Time Frame God progressively reveals and develops His great Plan, so we call the controlling Chronology Redemtion Chronology.
*Let’s apply this Jubilee Principle to the Chronology of Time before the Cross:
These 490 year cycles are confirmed in the history of Israel. Matthew 18:21, 22 “Then Peter came and said to Him “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven (7) times?”” .Jesus said to him “I do not say to you, up to seven (7) times, but up to SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN (70 x 7 = 490).” From this passage we see that 490 is the number of forgiveness. Thus the Great Jubilee Cycle of 490 years is also known as a Great Forgiveness Cycle. God has marked the structure of time with the revelation of His Forgiveness through blood.
THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL - ITS FOUR GREAT JUBILEE CYCLES
Israel had a national Jubilee every 490 years. Thus we expect the start and end of these Great Forgiveness Cycles to be a Jubilee in nature of Israel as a nation. So, we would expect the intervention of God at these times in grace and power, forgiving the past, restoring them and giving them a new start. Thus this Great Jubilee would seal off the previous 490 years and open up the new cycle of 490 years. The outpouring of grace demonstrated God’s forgiveness of the past and blessing for the future. God set apart 4 distinct units of 490 years, and determined these 4 Forgiveness Cycles to form the history of Israel. Through these Great Cycles He would fulfil his purpose through them. The Grace given at these key times were Sovereign interventions of God in Israel’s history with special blessing. Thus the very time structure of Israel’s history demonstrates God’s Sovereign Grace.
*Great Jubilee Cycle 1: Birth of Abraham to the Exodus (Israel’s first Great Jubilee). 490 years.
ABRAHAM-ISAAC-JACOB-JOSEPH & EGYPT - 12 TRIBES - Exodus 50th from Creation.
*Great Jubilee Cycle 2: The Exodus to the Dedication of Solomon’s Temple (which became the centre of their spiritual and national life). 60th Jubilee.
40 years in the Wilderness - Joshua-Judges-Samuel-Saul-David-Solomon.
*Great Jubilee Cycle 3: The Dedication of the Temple to the Decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem.
The Kingdom divided (Judah and Israel). Captivity to Assyria and Babylon. Times of Gentiles begin. At the close of the 490 years was a DECREE by the Persian Emperor Artaxerxes to Rebuild and Restore Jerusalem (Ezra 7). In response to this decree were the efforts of Ezra and Nehemiah to return and rebuild the city and Israel become again self-governing nation , albeit subject to the Persian Empire. Thus at this Jubilee they were restored to make a fresh start as a nation.
*Great Jubilee Cycle 4 Daniel’s 70 Weeks (9:24-27)
-from the Decree to Rebuild Jerusalem to the Great Atonement (the Cross).
This is the final cycle for Israel before Messiah comes to establish His Kingdom.
“Seventy weeks are determined upon your People (Israel) and upon your holy city (Jerusalem)”- Daniel 9:24. Literally it reads “Seventy Sevens” i.e. 70 x 7 = 490.
It is generally agreed that years are intended – the evidence is clear:
(1) It could and did not happen in 490 days.
(2) If days would have been intended so that these are “weeks of days” or “sevens of days” then it would have been put this way as inDaniel 10:3 “till three whole weeks were fulfilled” is literally “till three sevens of days were fulfilled”.
(3) Moreover years had been the subject of Daniel’s prayer (Daniel 9:2) which precipitated the revelation. Daniel had been praying about the end of a period of 70 years and the angel also gave him revelation about a further (7 x 70) years to come.
(4) Daniel 9:25-27 divides up the 490 and the last week in v27 desribing the antichrist could not be days. In fact it is divided into 2 3.5 year periods (Daniel 7:25, 12:7, Revelation 11:2,3, 12:6,14; 13:5).
Thus the whole period is 490 years – One Great Jubilee Cycle.
*“determined” = “cut off”. They constitute a single exact pre-determined time period. The 490 years are determined upon Daniel’s people – Israel. God reckons redemption time in relation to His people. From Adam God always measured time according to the people through whom Messiah would come.
*It is Daniel 9:24 that clearly reveals on the surface of scripture the principle that God measures time in Great Jubilee Cycles of 490 years. This confirms the Jubilee Principle, for Daniel’s 70 Weeks are 10 Jubilees and they end in the supreme Jubilee event, the fulfilment of all Jubilees through the Messiah (His death, resurrection and kingdom), the 80th Jubilee from Creation. As Jubilee was on the Day of Atonement so the blessings of this final Jubilee are based on atonement.
v24 “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city,
to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, (sealing off the past) to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy (bringing in the new Kingdom).
Verse 25 gives the starting point for this Cycle:
“Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment (decree) to restore and to build Jerusalem …” 458 BC.
Thus this Cycle starts when the last Cycle ended.
*At the end of the 490 years the Messiah died and rose again at AD 33!
The Jubilee had come to Israel on time. If Israel had received Christ they would have received the Messianic Kingdom as promised. But only the first three points of Daniel 9:24 were fulfilled because Israel rejected Him, so the Jubilee was not completely fulfilled.
Hebrews 9:26: “ now ONCE IN THE END OF THE AGES” has He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Here we see that the cross took place at an appointed time.
Daniel 9:24 must be fulfilled exactly – in God’s counting of time for Israel there are 490 years before the Cross and the estaablishment of the Messianic Kingdom! One popular dispensational view puts the Cross after 483 years. This divides the 490 years but it is a unified period of time and the Cross and Resurrection must occur at the fullness of time, on a Jubilee – on the 490th year. Daniel 9:24 clearly refers to the work of the cross at the end of the 490 years. It must be at the end of the 4th DAY of human history (not 7 years before).
“Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem UNTO MESSIAH THE PRINCE shall be seven weeks (sevens), and threescore and two weeks. The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.” Daniel 9:25a. The 490 years (Seventy Sevens), are divided up into three parts. The Time of Messiah covers the last Week AD 26-33, the ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus.
The phrase “UNTO Messiah the Prince” refers to the start of something. If I say “There is one hour UNTO the film” I mean that there is an hour until the start of the film, not the middle and not the end of it. Thus “unto Messiah the Prince” refers to the time when Jesus is first introduced to the nation as the Messiah. This was done by his forerunner John. Daniel’s 70 Weeks predict that 7 years before the Kingdom was established there would be a 7 year preparatory Time of Messiah.
v26a “ And after the 62 weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself (or: His kingdom unrealised).” We will study the fulfilment of Daniel’s 70 Weeks in greater detail in the advanced seminar. But the key points for now is that it is the final Great Jubilee Cycle for Israel (458BC - AD33). The Great Atonement happened at its close, releasing God’s favour and forgiveness upon God’s people. However it also implies the Kingdom could not be established because of Israel’s rejection. As a result Israel came under judgement (v26b): “And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.” In Israel’s Chronology, God then cancelled the last Week and He will rerun it as the Tribulation under antichrist (graciously giving Israel a 2nd chance to receive Him).
v27 Then he (antichrist) shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the weekhe shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolator (at the 2nd Coming).” Thus on Israel’s Chronology the Kingdom will be established after 490 years, Israel’s Great Jubilee!
There are 490 years from:
(i) Birth of Abram to the Exodus.
(ii) Exodus to the Dedication of Solomon’s Temple.
(iii) The Dedication of Solomon’s Temple to Decree to Restore Jerusalem.
(iv) Decree to restore Jerusalem to the Crucifixion of Christ.
Each Cycle ends with a Divine Intervention of Grace, moving God’s Plan into its next major phase.