This is about the Vision of the ‘Seven Times’ of Daniel 4
Over a century ago, Dr. H. Grattan Guinness, a servant of God who was also an eminent astronomer, became convinced that God was fulfilling the time prophecy of Daniel 4. (It would be good if you would take a moment to read that prophetic chapter.)
Studied in the light of Daniel 1 to 3, this vision obviously takes on importance far higher than what has been assigned to it by average interpreters.
The original line of the kings of Judah had been brought to an end by God’s servant Nebuchadnezzar. This was a sentence of judgment due to the failure and unfaithfulness of Judah’s kings (and people) for over four hundred years.
Now God was determined to use a succession of pagan Gentile empires, as described in Daniel 2, to rule over Israel.
God ordained that the great Babylonian king took among his captives four princes of Judah – Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – as he subjugated Jerusalem in 607 BC.
These four men he soon set over the whole province of Babylon (Daniel 2:49), so that the government of the first of the four empires was on a righteous foundation.
Later he established Nebuchadnezzar as supreme among the surrounding nations such as Egypt and Tyre, so that his kingdom would be unchallenged and without competitors in the Middle East.
After appointing him as ‘head’ of this Gentile succession (Daniel 2:32,37), God gave Nebuchadnezzar a vision (Daniel 4:5-18) which was two-fold. Like Adam, the head of the human race before him, he would fall through pride, and secondly, the duration of his fallen state had been decreed by God (Daniel 4:23).
Clearly, on the basis of ‘each day for a year’ the seven times (that is 7 times 360 days) would pass over the great king and his kingdom until the time came for the kingdom to be given up to One called ‘the lowest’ or ‘most abased’ of men. Read Daniel 4:19-27 for Daniel’s interpretation, and Daniel 4:28-33 for its fulfillment. Then, for the fulfillment of the end of the interpretation in the repentance and restoration of the King, read Daniel 4:34-37.
It is obvious from Daniel 2, that God identified Nebuchadnezzar, the head of the statue, with the Gentile empires following him, in the line of Persia, Greece and Rome. Rome was ultimately to see Jesus, hanging bloodied and naked, outside Jerusalem; but after the final count the same Jesus will be manifested ‘in power and great glory’, as he returns to establish a Kingdom which ‘shall stand for ever’ (Daniel 2: 44-45).
After carefully pondering the scriptures cited above from Daniel 2 and 4, Dr. Grattan Guinness studied the history of the Captivity of Judah and measured off eras of 2,520 years from the many consecutive starting points in Biblical history when, first Israel, and then later Judah were swept away into captivity to Assyria and Babylon.
On the strength of his findings he confidently pointed ahead to the years 1917, 1923 and 1934 as bound to see movement relating to the restoration of Israel to her land. (If he had measured the last period of 2,520 years from the siege of Jerusalem in 588 BC when God actually gave up Judah to judgment – see Ezekiel 24 – he would have made the closing year of the series 1933, and not 1934).
As the result of these predictions, which were widely read over the thirty years previous to 1917, many thousands of Christians watched through the days of the First World War and then, surely enough, in 1917 came the first real sign that the time had come for God to do two things: firstly, to begin to restore the land of Israel to His ancient people, and, secondly, to allow a power to come into being which would in the end bring the great Gentile civilisation of the West tottering to its fall.
For in the winter of 1917 – as is well known – the Muslim domination of the Holy Land and Jerusalem ceased, and the famous Balfour Declaration was given by the British Government partly for the English Zionist leader, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, to Lord Rothschild. At the same time, the Bolshevik Revolution swept away the last of the Czars and Communism became a force which would presently dominate over vast areas of the earth.
In 1923 the passing into operation of the Palestine Mandate, under which Great Britain was the Mandatory power, formed a fitting end to the ‘seven times’ or 2,520 years from 598 BC, when the surrender of King Jehoiachin to Babylon virtually terminated the true Kingdom of Judah. As far as was then known, only some ten years remained to complete the predetermined era of 2,520 years which began with the fall of Judah in the days of Nebuchadnezzar.
But the hand of God had designed that these ‘seven times’ of years should run their course from yet later starting-points in Babylon’s history – not just points related to the going into captivity of the people of Judah – and these Dr. Graham Guinness was to learn as time went on.
To be continued …