Truth, Understanding, Insight

Time of the End

16th July 2003, hej


2) Isaac Newton and The Time of The End:

In 1733, six years after Isaac Newton died, his personal notes titled Observations on the Prophecies of Daniel were published. Since 1998 it has been in print again. The work is Newton's personal investigation and as such is not exhaustive. The book confirms that Newton was no mystic, rather that he understood the political aspects of the prophecies and the involvement of the Creator in ruling the nations. It is interesting Newton said (opposite) that Daniel’s prophecy concerning the last times was ‘sealed’ in his day, for the ‘time of the end’ was not yet. Newton wrote in Observations:

At the time of the end the king of the South, (or the empire of the Saracens), shall push at him, and the king of the North (or empire of the Turks), shall come against him.

Newton could not correctly identify the King of the North and the King of the South in the late 1600’s, Looking in the right directions he could see the Ottoman Empire at its height to the North. Further North was merely the recently formed disorganised and struggling Tsarist Empire. The role of ‘Rosh’ became identifiable with the beginning of rise of Russia as a unified empire under Peter the Great and the victories in the 1700’s. But by 1800 Russia was among the great powers (the others being France, Austria and Prussia with Britain as the balance).

In the 1600’s Britain was struggling at home with religious dissent and struggling abroad. The East India Company and the Virgina Company had only just been set up to compete with the more powerful French in India and North America respectively. It was not until 1784 that the British Merchants ruled India and it was not until the 1800’s that Britain showed herself as the most powerful colonial and trading power, having acquired territory in “a fit of absence of mind”(Sir John Seeley, The British Empire, Time Life 1972). Britain’s role as the Merchants of Tarshish was not evident until the East India Company seized power. The British involvement with the King of the South was seen with the active role of Britain in the Middle East. By the 1800’s the players who fit Ezekiel 38 were in place and it is interesting that it is contemporaneous with progress of the Industrial Revolution in Britain.

That Newton’s work was the foundation of the knowledge that propelled the Industrial Revolution is of more than passing interest. For as Daniel said, the wise would understand in a time when ‘knowledge should be increased and many should travel to and fro’. And this era began with the steam engine of the industrial revolution in Britain in the 1800’s. Newton predicted the opening of understanding of all of the prophetic works ‘by the wise’ in this period. There seems evidence that he understood his role in bringing about this time.

Revelation 10:6 is the introduction to the beginning of the period of ‘the time of the end’, when there would be ‘time no longer’ and in Chapter 11 we are told of the great earthquake of the French Revolution of 1789. Historians note this date as the beginning of the modern political world. It was also the beginning of modern architecture. E.B.Elliott, who began writing Horae Apocalyptae in 1837, interpreted Newton as meaning that the understanding of the vision was ‘sealed’ until the time of the end (until he himself wrote). He notes that the French Revolution as the earthquake was the single event that allowed his ‘correct’ understanding of the whole of the structure of Revelation. This event, for him, was the beginning of the time of the end. The signs of the times were: the return of Jews to Israel, the spirits like frogs going out in the era of Revolution, the drying up of the Euphrates (the reduction in Turkish power) and the going forth of the gospel to all. He notes of his age that there was the increase in knowledge and the going to and fro required by Daniel and he sets the return of Jesus for 1866.

It seems unlikely that the meaning of the ‘sealing’ by Daniel was to prevent understanding of the passage. The scope of the action is understandable. We are also given much more information in Ezekiel and Zechariah and even hints in Isaiah. The language of Daniel and of Revelation is quite clear. In all ages there is evidence the true believers understood where they were ‘at’ in the prophetic time-line. Newton understood the symbols of the fulfilled sections up to his day. Based on the wide acceptance of Elliot’s thesis in the early 1800’s the French Revolution was recognised early as the ‘earthquake’. It seems then that the purpose of Revelation is fulfilled by contemporary understanding. The point then is that the ‘sealing’ in Daniel relates only to the fact the specific King of the North and the King of the South would not be acting as such until this time when knowledge would increase and people would travel to and fro. An examination of the text of Ezekiel would have always shown ‘who’ and ‘what’ and ‘how’, but it was not until the time of the end the two players, Russia and Britain would step in and take on their roles. And that in itself is amazing. If Newton could have studied Ezekiel with the depth he devoted to Daniel and had the courage to think the impossible, he could have predicted that the fledgling empire of Russia in his day would be involved with the King of the North and he could have predicted the rise of Britain as a Merchant Nation. But then, at the turn of 1700, who could have predicted the changes that eventful century produced? And, partly, it was Newton’s work that made that amazing century.

If we believe the Bible literally, we believe the impossible every day. The Bible speaks of a greater political revolution than the world has yet seen. The beginning after the End. And Time of the End could end tomorrow. It started, after all, 214 years ago!