Truth, Understanding, Insight

Time of the End

16th July 2003, hej


1) Time no longer’ (Rev.10)

From A Treatise on Revelation by Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

I would not have any discouraged by the difficulty and ill success that men have hitherto met with in these attempts. For it was revealed to Daniel that the prophecies concerning the last times should be closed up and sealed until the time of the end: but then, the wise should understand, and knowledge should be increased. Dan 12:4,9,10

And therefore the longer they have continued in obscurity, the more hopes there is that the time is at hand in which they are to be made manifest. If they are never to be understood, to what end did God reveal them? Certainly he did it for the edification of the church; and if so, then it is certain that the church shall at length attain to the understanding thereof. I mean not all that call themselves Christians, but a remnant, a few scattered persons which God hath chosen, such as without being blinded, led by interest, education, or humane authorities, can set themselves sincerely and earnestly to search after truth. For as Daniel hath said that the wise shall understand, so hath he said also that none of the wicked shall understand.

Let me therefore beg of thee not to trust to the opinion of any man concerning these things, for so it is great odds but thou shalt be deceived. Much less oughtest thou to keep to rely upon the judgment of the multitude, for so thou shalt be deceived. But search the Scriptures thyself and that by frequent reading and constant meditation upon what thou readest, and prayer to God to enlighten thine understanding if thou desirest to find the truth. Which if thou shalt at length attain thou wilt value above all other treasures in the world by reason of the assurance and vigour it will add to thy faith, and steady satisfaction to thy mind which he can only know how to estimate who shall experience it.

That the benefit which may by understanding the sacred Prophecies and the danger by neglecting them is very great and the obligation to study them is as great may appear by considering the like case of the Jews at the coming of Christ. For the rules whereby they were to know the Messiah were the prophecies of the Old Testament. And these our Saviour recommended to their consideration in the very beginning of His preaching and afterward commanded the study of them for that end saying

Luke 4:21: "Search the Scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me." And at another time severely reproached their ignorance herein, saying to them when they required a sign, "Ye Hypocrites can ye discern the face of the sky but can ye not discern the signs of the times." And after His resurrection, he reproved also this ignorance in His disciples, saying unto them, "O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the Prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. Thus also the Apostles and those who in the first ages propagated the gospel urged chiefly these Prophesies and exhorted their hearers to search and see whether all things concerning our Savior ought not to have been as they fell out. And in a word it was the ignorance of the Jews in these Prophecies which caused them to reject the Messiah and by consequences to be not only captivates by the Romans, but to incur eternal damnation. Luke 19:42,44

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!