Category Archives: History

An American Da Vinci Code

211_Pearl_Street_Symbol[1]

This week I’d like to share with you a bit of intriguing Americana with an unusual religious twist. It’s a true story about a famous Christian soap maker of early America and his brick cipher which The New Yorker magazine called the “Mystery on Pearl Street”.

To give you a sense of this story, New York’s own Historic Districts Council called this brick symbol an “American Da Vinci Code”, The New York Times headline ran, “Three Cryptic Shapes Pose a Puzzle” and USA Today proclaimed “Symbol on NYC building a History Mystery”.

Our story begins with William Colgate, one of America’s early success stories. When you think of Colgate you’re probably thinking of toothpaste, but Mr. Colgate actually began his entrepreneurial endeavors as a soap and candle maker in Baltimore, Maryland. Eventually Mr. Colgate moved to New York and became one of the most influential and wealthy men of that era. But that is only the most well-known part of the story. Continue reading

The 13th Symbol is Now in Print!

 

Symbol_Cover600
For all of you who have so patiently waited I am pleased to announce that my novel The 13th Symbol has finally been published. Like Book I & II, this story is a unique blend of history and Bible prophecy intertwined in a thrilling action packed novel.

A Brief Synopsis:
When terrorists strike a US Border Patrol outpost in southern Arizona it is but the opening move in a complicate game of international chess which will change the face of American politics forever.

Half a world away Zane Harrison must face his greatest fear when he learns that he has become the focus of the greatest treasure hunt the world has ever known. Can he find the 13th Symbol and the billions in gold it represents before those he loves are destroyed? As events overtake him, Zane must come to terms with his desire for revenge and responsibility to do what is right.

The 13th Symbol: Rise of the Enlightened One is available at Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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          Sneak Peek: The 13th Symbol: Rise of the Enlightened One

          Prologue 

          Northern Virginia, 1666

          The ebony musket parted the emerald wall of leaves, its smooth octagon barrel invisible in the wet, shimmering foliage, the well-oiled steel securely cradled in a pair of oaken arms. A massive set of antlers filled the ancient weapon’s sights. The hunter paused, his breath held a moment as his bony finger increased pressure on the curved trigger. The finger froze.

          A whisper of wind escaped as Francis Pope released his breath and slowly withdrew his weapon from its leafy ambuscade. He waited and watched. Something intangible called to him from the quiet sylvan scene, something he knew better than to ignore.

          A minute later his quarry raised its stately antlers from where it had been peacefully grazing. Head erect, the stag looked into the forest opposite Francis and with an amazing leap bounded from the grassy glade where it had been eating its morning meal. A bird rose from the trees where the deer had looked.

          Another moment passed, and a line of bronzed figures emerged from the trees and paused at the edge of the clearing. With the same wild attentiveness as the deer, they surveyed the scene. After several minutes they continued, crossing the small park to the other side, where they again stopped. Their destination was an ancient gray crumbled finger of stone, which thrust its defiant tip toward the sun as if to challenge the trees for the right to bathe in its golden rays.

          A fire was kindled, a hole dug. Fascinated, Francis Pope watched as the Indians performed their ancient ceremony. He had been told when he purchased the land that it was once an ancient burial ground. Now, looking down from the hill where he was concealed, he knew this to be true.

          As he watched, a grizzled old man, whether medicine man or chief he knew not, began to dance and whirl in growing frenzy. Slowly, with ever increasing volume, the dancer wailed the ancient song of death and the afterlife. His body taut, strung tight by the resonant notes that cascaded from his lips, he gave a final leap and a mournful incantation, then silence once more descended upon the scene like a fog whose misty vapors conceal and cool.

          An object was placed in the hole, ashes sprinkled in the air. The hole was filled, the fire extinguished. All evidence of the party’s activities erased. One by one, the colorful entourage filed from the park and returned in the direction they had come.

          Francis remained fixed to his position, waiting. He had no intention of donating his scalp as an offering to the funeral party’s gods. Pondering, he considered the implications of what he had just witnessed.

          “Godless heathen,” he muttered under his breath. He’d bought this land and dedicated it to Mother Church. Yes, he would leave his mark on this land. The hill he stood on was one of seven, and he’d name it Rome; the creek yonder, the Tiber. He smiled to himself proudly. He was Pope Francis of Rome on the Tiber. He had a vision that the land upon which he was standing would be the nucleus for a great empire, that shining city on a hill for which mankind had so long searched in vain.

          Francis Pope turned his steps homeward. He was a canny man, and he had seen the future.

          * * *

          Ninety years later, a young man stood on Rome Hill, his intelligent eyes taking in the scene below him. His knowing gaze saw the potential of the land he was being paid to survey. His mind carved streets out of the wooded land which lay before him. His imagination painted stately buildings and grand thoroughfares. Lord Fairfax would be pleased.

          Withdrawing a notebook from his pocket, the young surveyor drew a detailed map and made notes. Pausing, he gazed out over the great trees and grassy parks, a premonition of the future rising, growing in his conscious mind, the sacred ground upon which he was standing once again exerting its invisible influence upon an unwitting visitor.

          Gathering his surveying equipment, the young man turned, unaware that this piece of land was part of his destiny. With a final backward glance, George descended Rome Hill ignorant of the fact that he was standing on the future capital of the most powerful nation the world had ever known, a city on seven hills which would someday be named in his honor.

          Chapter 1

          London, England, Present Day

          Reading the report for the third time, Rawlins Dewhurst felt his hands begin to tremble uncontrollably as realization swept over him. Slowly he placed the paper back on his desk, and reaching to loosen his nine-hundred-pound white-and-blue silk tie, he looked balefully out of the corner of his eye at a bar of gold which had been cut in half. Now sitting on his desk like a worthless paperweight, its dull gray core mocked him.  With unsteady hands he removed a handkerchief from the pocket of his suit and wiped away the bead of sweat forming on his ice-cold forehead. He was trapped. Trapped by his own ambition, the allure of Sir Peter’s gold, and a mistake.

          Rawlins’s pragmatic mind ran through his options. None of them were pleasant. The repercussions were incalculable and the costs damning.

          “Bloody hell,” he muttered as he folded his hands and placed them on top of his desk in an effort to stop their shaking. How could he have been so stupid? The bloody gold had ruined him.

          The irony was not lost upon him. Barrclays Bank had its origins in the goldsmithing business of James Barrclay in 1690. Now, over three centuries later, it would see its demise due to the single largest gold hoard in history. They had truly come full circle. All because he had been in a hurry to get Sir Peter Herschel’s gold into their London vault.

          He knew the axe would fall hardest on him. He had signed off on the partial audit of the gold in order to speed the transfer. His signature was the official Barrclays certification.

          As if it were some evil talisman, Rawlins touched the thirteen-pound bar. With effort he lifted the glowing metal and looked at the cut end. This one had been the first, part of the bank’s transaction and storage charge. As per their agreement, Peter Herschel was to pay their fees in bullion. When the bullion was transferred from Sir Peter’s holdings to the bank’s own accounts, a full audit was done on the transferred gold. Each of the gold bars had been tested and the one he was now holding found.

          Whoever had made the counterfeit gold bars had done a superb job. The bar he held had been cut in half, exposing its tungsten core. For years they had known about fake tungsten bars, but nothing like what they now held in the vaults below his feet. Gold bugs and conspiracy quacks had been claiming for years that the gold in Fort Knox and other central banks around the world held fake bars. Every time the price of gold dropped, they came out of the woodwork claiming that the powers that be were dumping their gold bullion on the market in an effort to suppress the price. Their ludicrous theory was that as long as central banks could keep the lid on the price of gold, the ignorant masses would keep using the worthless paper currencies of the world. In an effort to disguise their nefarious activities, the banks replaced their dumped gold bullion with fake gold bars, or so the story went.

          Rawlins sighed with resignation. “Looks like the conspiracy nuts will have their day in the sun after all,” he muttered.

          What made tungsten so attractive as a gold substitute was its density: compared to 24K gold, it was only a .26 percent difference. In small gold coins this discrepancy was visually apparent. A full-sized gold bar, on the other hand, only had a .0017 percent dimensional difference—visually indistinguishable. The best way to determine the real from the fake was by ultrasound.

          That was how the fake bar he was holding had been found—after he signed off on the certification of the gold bullion shipment. Due to the amount of gold Peter Herschel had placed under their custodianship and his desire to get it into their vaults as quickly as possible, he had authorized a limited spot check of several dozen bars. Everything had appeared legitimate.

          Now, a month later, he had followed the discovery of the first bar with a complete and final audit of the entire shipment of gold. One third of the bars were fake. Barrclays now had to guarantee several hundred billion dollars’ worth of fake gold bars. That was beyond the scope of any modern-day financial institution, let alone the one Rawlins Dewhurst oversaw.

          If this information got out, the gold price would spike as traders realized that billions of dollars in gold would have to be bought in order to make good on the fake gold held in Barrclays’ vaults. It would be a vicious cycle: what was several hundred billion dollars of paper loss right now could grow to multiples of that if anyone ever found out.

          To make matters worse, about the same time as the discovery, he’d received a phone call from the new president of Iran demanding to know the names of those present at the attempted opening of Sir Peter Herschel’s will. He claimed the new Persian nation had been defrauded by Peter Herschel, and he was going to contest the execution of the will. At first Rawlins had refused to give him any information, but then Darius Zarindast had threatened to leak the information about the gold to the press. How he knew about the fake gold Rawlins had no idea, but in an effort to keep a lid on the information until an audit could be completed, he e-mailed Zarindast the list. Zarindast had promised not to share the information, and to Rawlins’s surprise, he kept his word. But all that didn’t matter now.

          Rawlins turned his attention back to the paper sitting on his desk—the report detailing the results of the audit. It was the kiss of death for one of the most respected banking institutions in the world. In the current financial environment, the loss would likely cascade across the London banking industry and ultimately fall upon the shoulders of the British central bank and the Crown. London’s status as the world’s banking center would be no more. All because a greedy little banker named Rawlins Dewhurst had cut a corner. They’d be coming for him, that was for sure; bloody good it would do them.

          Rawlins set the fake gold bar back down on the report, leaving the fake side up. Leaning to one side, he opened a drawer in his desk. Calmly he removed a nickel-plated automatic pistol from under the papers at the bottom of the drawer; and placing it to his temple, Rawlins Dewhurst pulled the trigger.

           

          Defiled on the “Passover”

          Author’s Note: My recent article The 14th Sacrifice  looked at the gospel accounts pertaining to Yeshua’s Passover supper. That article concluded that Yeshua was not crucified on the 14th of Nisan but instead the most plain reading of  the New Testament record shows he was crucified on the feast day proper. (i.e. 15th Nisan, the 1st day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread) My next few articles will look at Yeshua’s Passover week chronology in light of some of the objections which are often raised by those who believe Yeshua was crucified on the 14th of Nisan.

          Roman_ConsulDefiled on the “Passover”

          In my previous article “The Feast Day”: Judas’ Betrayal we looked at the reason the disciples might have assumed Judas went to buy provisions for the “feast” day.  In this article we will look at a different aspect of the Passover week chronology. After the Passover supper Yeshua and his disciples go into the garden to pray and then Judas comes with a “multitude” to arrest him. Yeshua is taken to the high priest’s house where he is questioned and subsequently taken to Pilate’s judgment hall where he is questioned again. As John 18:28 explains the Jewish leaders refuse to enter the hall because they fear being defiled and thus preventing them from eating the “Passover”.

          John 18:28  28 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover.

          Here again we have a statement used by some to reject Yeshua’s crucifixion on the “feast” day (i.e. the 15th of Nisan).  Obviously if the “Passover” of John 18:28 is referring to the Passover supper then the day in question was clearly the 14th of Nisan.

          First we need to determine if this reference to the “Passover” is used in the specific sense regarding the Passover supper or a more general sense regarding the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (See my article The 14th Sacrifice for examples of the specific and general use of the term “Passover”.)  The answer to this question interestingly is found in the Old Testament. (Lev. 7; 11; 15 & Num. 19) In Leviticus and Numbers it states that if one is defiled by various means they are unclean – until – “even”. This reference of John 18:28 to eating the “Passover” then could not have been in reference to the Passover supper proper because the Jewish leader’s defilement would only have lasted until “even” and they would have been free to eat the Passover supper. This proves their concern must have been in regards to the events during the daylight hours of the 15th of Nisan and the “Passover” feast in general.

          At the Feast Day

          Further confirmation of the above is found in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, Johh18. In these passages it states that traditionally Pilate would release one prisoner every year “at the feast”.  Again taken at face value these verses show that Yeshua was tried on the feast day and that Pilate tried to release him “at the feast”. Remember the feast of “Passover”/Unleavened Bread did not begin until the 15th of Nisan.

          Matthew 27:15-17   15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.  16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.  17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

           Mark 15:6   6 Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired.

           Luke 23:16-17  16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)

          John 18:39-40   39 But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?  40 Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

           

          Authors Note: This chart shows the chronology described above. For those looking to search this out for yourself you will find Scriptural references provided for each event. I know this is a little different format than most are use to but it helped me organize the events in a way which allows me to take the New Testament events at face value in their most natural and plain reading.

          Click on the Image to enlarge:

          Yeshuas_Passover_Week1200_2014

          For more on Yeshua’s Passover Week chronology please see the following articles:

          * The 14th Sacrifice
          * “The Feast Day”: Judas’ Betrayal
          * Defiled on the “Passover”
          * The “Preparation” Day
          * The “3rd Day”

           

          Special Offer:
          Subscribe to my blog and you’ll receive a complimentary copy of the first book in my new series on the Messianic symbolism of the Bible:
          The 13th Enumeration: Key to the Bibles Messianic Symbolism

           


           

          The Exodus Day

          Moses-at-the-passage-of-the

          Moses and the Red Sea – Poussin

          You are probably wondering why I’d concern myself with writing about the day of the Exodus, especially when Numbers 33:3-8 spells it out so precisely:

          And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.  Numbers 33:3-8

           Truthfully, I like to explore these subjects simply because I enjoy trying to figure out the details of Biblical history, but in this case there is a lot more to the subject which intrigues me.

          Overthrow-of-Pharoah-Red_Se

          Destruction of Pharaoh’s Army – Poussin

          First of all, I wondered if it was possible to ascertain not the day of the month of the Exodus but the day of week. I realize this is a theoretical exercise because YHWH didn’t give Moses instructions for 6 days of labor and a day of rest until after the Exodus. In fact it was not until the middle of the 2nd month, in the Land of Sin, that YHWH instructed Israel on the Sabbath cycle.
          That being said I still wondered if we could not count the cycles retrospectively and still arrive a reasonable conclusion regarding the day of week upon which Israel left Egypt. After all, I figure that even though YHWH did not instruct Israel regarding the Sabbath cycle until after the Exodus, He did in fact set the example for 6 days of labor and one day of rest all the way back in Genesis. To my way of looking at it, if he had set this pattern up in the very beginning it was not beyond His abilities to later synchronize and continue that pattern at the Exodus.

          The second reason this subject interests me is that the New Testament describes Yeshua’s (Jesus’) death and resurrection as a “shadow” picture of the Exodus events. John the Baptist testified that Yeshua was:

          The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”.  

          The apostle Paul when describing Yeshua’s sacrificial atonement on our behalf stated: “
          So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.  For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” Heb. 9:28-10:1

          So if Yeshua’s death and resurrection is a “shadow” picture of the Exodus events, surely understanding the precise chronology of the Exodus might provide valuable context to the New Testament events.  With these interests in mind the following is what I believe is a reasonable outline of events based upon the Biblical record.

          1. Israel was commanded to kill the “Passover” lamb on the 14th day at “even”.  My article Even to Even explains that when the “even” of a day is mentioned it designates the end of that day and the beginning of the next. For example      when Lev. 23 mentioned the ninth day at even it was specifically designating the start of the 10th  day. In like manner the Exodus events show that the 14th day at “even” was in fact the start of the 15th day. I’ve included the passage from Exodus 12 at the end of this article.
          2. Israel was to eat the lamb in readiness to depart Egypt:
            And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is YHWH’s Passover.  For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night. Exo.12:11
          3. The Angel of Death passed over the land of Egypt that night. (the 15th)
            And it came to pass, that at midnight YHWH smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt,…” Exo. 12:29
          4. The following morning all Israel departed Egypt. This was the 1st day of the feast of Unleavened Bread.
             And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to YHWH….  Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; ….And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; …And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Exo. 12

          In summary, the above chronology clearly shows that Israel killed their Passover lambs on the 14th day at “even” just before sundown which began the 15th. The night beginning the 15th of Nisan they ate the Passover, leaving nothing of it until the morning, as they were commanded. When the morning of the 15th came, Israel, fully dressed, shod, and with much treasure from their Egyptian neighbors, departed Rameses.

          And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the 15 day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. Numbers 33:3-8 

          *    *    *

          Gathering-Manna

          Gathering Manna – Poussin

          Having established a reasonable chronology of the Exodus it is necessary to turn to Exodus 16 in order to establish a basis for the weekly Sabbath cycle.

           And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. Exodus 16:1

          After arriving in the land of Sin, one month after the Exodus, Israel was now fully aware of the reality of their new life. The certainty of servitude had been replaced with the uncertainty of a life which required faith.

           And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:  3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of YHWH in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.  Exodus 16:2-3   

          So YHWH sent them the “bread from heaven”. But the gift came with conditions. They were only allowed to gather the “manna” for 6 days. On the seventh day they were required to rest:

          22 And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread….. And he said unto them, This is that which YHWH hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto YHWH: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning…. And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto YHWH: to day ye shall not find it in the field.  26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. Exodus 16:22-26 

           So the people rested on the seventh day. Exo.16:30

          In summary, Israel came into the land of Sin on the 15th day of the 2nd month. The following morning YHWH gave them “manna”. For 6 days they gathered this bread of heaven and rested on the 7th day. So the 16th day of the 2nd month was the 1st day of the week.

          Now turning back to the Exodus chronology we can count these days of the weeks backwards to the 1st month.  By this reckoning the Passover lambs were killed just before sundown on the 5th day of the week (14th Nisan). A few hours later on the 15th of Nisan, the Feast of Unleavened Bread began with the Passover supper, thus beginning the 6th day of the week.

          Click on the image to enlarge:

          The_Exodus_Day

           

           

           

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          The 13th Enumeration: Key to the Bibles Messianic Symbolism


          Even unto Even

          A Biblical Definition of the Day

          Sun-Dial-6

          Living in a world which no longer keeps time according to a Biblical standard we sometimes inadvertently assume our own concept of timekeeping when interpreting certain passages of Scripture. In this article I would like to look at one of the most basic concepts of Biblical time. What is the definition of a “day” according to a Biblical reckoning of time? I’ve found that once I understood a Biblical “day” I was able to see some of the great events of the Bible from a different perspective.

          Today you and I understand a “day” as a period of 24 hours beginning at 12:00:01 am (midnight). This is the point when our calendar day changes. A Biblical day on the other hand begins at “even”. In the Bible the first definition of a day is found in Genesis 1:5.

           Genesis 1:5  5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

          Notice how the “first day” is ordered: “…the evening and the morning”. Evening is mentioned first.  The word “evening” used in this text represents the Hebrew word ereb.  It means evening, night, or sunset. Traditionally, it is understood that this means the day begins at sundown. Granted, Genesis 1:5 is not the most concrete definition of a day one might like to find, but it does provide at least a glimpse of how a “day” is ordered in the Scripture.  To get a more conclusive definition of a day we must turn to Leviticus 23. Here a very special day is described and delimited.

           Leviticus 23:27-32   27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto YHWH.  28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before YHWH your God.  29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.  30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.  31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.  32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. 

          The passage above gives specific instructions for celebrating the Day of Atonement also known as Yom Kippur. Notice verse 27 clearly states this day is to be observed on the 10th day of the 7th month. Verse 32 goes on to say this day was to be a “Sabbath of rest”.  Further it defines this special day as beginning on the 9th day at “even”, “from even unto even”.  This confirms for us that a “day” does indeed begin at ereb or sundown as first indicated in Genesis 1:5.  Further the text shows us that when “even” is used in connection with a Biblical calendar day it designates the end of the day mentioned and the start of the next day. The ninth day “at even”, in this case, clearly refers to the start of the 10th day.

          The chart below gives a visual of the above information. Click on Image to enlarge.
          10th_Day_7th_Month

           

           

          Special Offer:
          Subscribe to my blog and you’ll receive a complimentary copy of the first book in my new series on the Messianic symbolism of the Bible:
          The 13th Enumeration: Key to the Bibles Messianic Symbolism

           


           

           

          The Abomination of Epiphanes

          Recently Joel Richardson posted an interesting article entitled : Daniel 11:21-35: History or Future? In this article Joel explores the consensus opinion of scholars which claim that Daniel 11:21-35 applies to the historical Antiochus IV Epiphanes and Daniel 11:36-40 applies to a yet future Antichrist. I don’t intend  to explore his entire article here but one great point (of several) he made was concerning the “abomination which maketh desolate” mentioned in Daniel 11 & 12.

          Joel’s main point is that the angel in Daniel 12, when speaking about the abomination of desolation, is explaining the events as described in Daniel 11. So by this premise either Daniel 11 & 12 both speak of Antiochus Epiphanes or they speak of some other event. In my opinion, Joel rightly observes that this has great implications for our understanding of the future Antichrist and the Abomination of Desolation. If you get a chance I believe his article is worth pursuing. (see link above).

          Daniel 11:30-32 …….he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

          Daniel 12:11-12  11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.  12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

          *    *    *

           For those who would like to explore the subject a little deeper I would like to offer some additional historical context which lends support to Joel’s thesis. Historically speaking there are two main sources which scholars point to when they claim Antiochus Epiphanes was the character responsible for the Abomination of Desolation. Those sources are the book of Maccabees and Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews.  Though the book of Maccabees describes the Abomination of Desolation, it does not specifically mention it in the context of Daniel’s prophecies. Josephus on the other hand explicitly states the events were a fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies. I’ve reproduced the relevant passages below. It’s worth taking a moment to read. (I’ve abridged the passage for the sake of brevity)

          1 Maccabees 1:54   Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side;

           1 Maccabees 4:36-56  Then said Judas and his brethren, ….. So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in the law:  Who cleansed the sanctuary, and bare out the defiled stones into an unclean place…. Then they took whole stones according to the law, and built a new altar according to the former;  And made up the sanctuary, and the things that were within the temple, and hallowed the courts….. Now on the five and twentieth day of the ninth month, which is called the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and eighth year, they rose up betimes in the morning,   And offered sacrifice according to the law upon the new altar of burnt offerings, which they had made.  Look, at what time and what day the heathen had profaned it, even in that was it dedicated with songs, and citherns, and harps, and cymbals….

           Antiquities of the Jews 12:246-253   King Antiochus …. made an expedition against the city of Jerusalem; …. Now it came to pass, after two years, in the hundred forty and fifth year, on the twenty-fifth day of that month which is by us called Chisleu, and by the Macedonians Apellaios, in the hundred and fifty-third Olympiad, that the king came up to Jerusalem, and, pretending peace, he got possession of the city by treachery:….So he left the temple bare, and ….. he forbade them to offer those daily sacrifices which they used to offer to God, according to the Law. ….. And when the king had built an idol altar upon God’s altar, he slew swine upon it, and so offered a sacrifice neither according to the Law, nor the Jewish religious worship in that country.

           Antiquities of the Jews 12:319-326  So on the five and twentieth day of the month of Chisleu, which the Macedonians call Apellaios, they lit the lamps that were on the lampstand, and offered incense upon the altar [of incense], and laid the loaves upon the table [of showbread], and offered burnt offerings upon the new altar [of burnt offering].  320 Now it so happened, that these things were done on the very same day on which their divine worship had stopped, and was reduced to a profane and common use, after three years’ time; for so it was, that the temple was made desolate by Antiochus, and so continued for three years.  This desolation happened to the temple in the hundred forty and fifth year, on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Apellaios, and on the hundred fifty and third Olympiad: but it was dedicated anew, on the same day, the twenty-fifth of the month of Apellaios, on the hundred and forty-eighth year, and on the hundred and fifty-fourth Olympiad.  And this desolation came to pass according to the prophecy of Daniel, which was given four hundred and eight years before; for he declared that the Macedonians would stop that worship [for some time]…… And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it Lights .

          Antiquities of the Jews 10:272-276  Daniel wrote that he saw these visions in the plain of Susa; and he has informed us that God interpreted the appearance of this vision after the following manner….. and that from among them there should arise a certain king that should overcome our nation and their laws, and should take away their political government, and should spoil the temple, and forbid the sacrifices to be offered for three years’ time.”  And indeed it so came to pass, that our nation suffered these things under Antiochus Epiphanes, according to Daniel’s vision, and what he wrote many years before they came to pass. In the very same manner Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them.

          The Jewish War 1:32 He also spoiled the temple, and put a stop to the constant practice of offering a daily sacrifice of expiation, for three years and six months.

           

          So both the book of Maccabees and the Antiquities of the Jews indicate that the events of 168-165 BC were a fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel.  I must admit the events described sure look like they fit the prophecy. Josephus even goes so far as to say that Antiochus Epiphanes “forbid the sacrifices” for “three years’ time” according to the vision of Daniel. Josephus must be given credit for his zeal to prove Daniel prophesied the events which befell Jerusalem under Antiochus Epiphanes but there is a problem with Josephus’ math.

          The prophecy of Daniel 11 & 12 was not for 3 years time.  The prophecy was for 1290 days & 1335 days. Based upon a year of 365.24 days the 1290 days is equal to 3.53 years. Both the book of Maccabees and Josephus’ Antiquities state the cleansing of the Temple took place in the same month 3 years after the Abomination of Desolation.

          A Biblical lunar/solar calendar in use during the 2nd temple era would have had only 354.36 days. Once every third year or so an intercalary month was added which made for a year of 383.89 days. So even if one of the years between 168-165 BC was an intercalary year, at the most there were only 1092.61 days between the Abomination of Desolation by Antiochus and the cleansing of the temple by Judas Maccabeus.

           Bottom line: Judas Maccabeus’ cleansing of the temple was about 200 days short of fulfilling the 1290 days as described in Daniel 12. While the heroics of Judas Maccabeus were of great historical importance to the Jewish people they are by no reasonable rendering of the chronological record a fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel 11 & 12.

          *    *    *

          While I agree with Joel Richardson that the most reasonable rendering of Daniel 11 & 12 points to a yet future fulfillment, I think it only fair to note that no matter which type of calendar month one uses the 1290 or 1335 days does not equal the 42 months mentioned in the Book of Revelation.  The prophecy of Daniel 11 & 12 may run before, after, or during the 42 months of Revelation but it is a distinctly different period of time.

          1290 & 1335 days

          *    *    *

           I can’t help but mention one other statement by Josephus that I find ironic in light of today’s scholarship regarding the prophecies of Daniel.  As Joel Richardson noted in his article the “overwhelming majority of conservative commentaries” attribute the prophecy of Daniel 11:21-35 to Antiochus Epiphanes. This, as we have seen above, is in large part  based upon the historical account of Josephus in Ant. 10:272-276. Yet, those same scholars ignore the very same passage where it states the following:

          Antiquities of the Jews 10:272-276  Daniel wrote that he saw these visions in the plain of Susa; ……….And indeed it so came to pass, that our nation suffered these things under Antiochus Epiphanes, according to Daniel’s vision, and what he wrote many years before they came to pass. In the very same manner Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them. 

          Contextually the prophecy which “Daniel also wrote” could only be a reference to Daniel 9 and the 70 Weeks. It is the only prophecy of Daniel which could have been attributed to the Roman empire’s destruction of Jerusalem and Judea. After all, Josephus had witnessed its fulfillment first hand. Right or wrong, we have at least one Jewish eyewitness who believed the Roman desolation of Jerusalem was a fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy.

           Daniel 9:26   And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

          For those who would like to dig a little deeper into the chronology of Josephus and the Maccabees the chart below might help. References for each date are provided. Click on the image below for a larger size image or  download a full PDF version at the following link Chronology of the Old Testament. (You’ll find the chronology  you are looking for on page 8.)

          Red dates = BC
          Yellow (center) = Seleucus era
          Light blue = Olympiads
          Gray = A.U.C. (Roman year)
          White = Y.C. (year of Creation)

          Judas-Maccabees-Chronology

           

           

           

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          Generational Comparative of the 2nd Temple Era

          If you’ve read any of the articles on my blog you know I have an interest in the 2nd temple era. Several years ago I read a book entitled Esther And Ahasuerus: An Identification Of The Persons So Named by Richard Edmund Tyrwhitt (1868). I acquired this two volume work through a rare book service. Mr. Tyrwhitt’s premise was that Esther’s king had been misidentified by historians as Xerxes when if fact her true king was Darius “the Great”. This intrigued me and I set out to see if in fact the Biblical case was as strong as Mr. Tyrwhitt indicated. My articles Queen of Persia: Part I & Queen of Persia: Part II are a result of that research. In short, I found that Darius “the Great” Artaxerxes was in fact the most reasonable choice (from a Biblical perspective) for Esther’s king. When the reign of Darius is understood within the context of Esther, Daniel, Joshua, Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Zachariah, the entire 2nd temple era takes on new significance. (For more on the Biblical hero’s above just click on their name – linked in blue.)

          For those who would like to better understand this great era in Persian and Jewish history I have reproduced a chart showing a generational comparative of the Egyptian, Babylonian, Media, Persian, and Judean kings in relation to Hadassah, Mordecai and the priests of Judah.  This chart helped me wrap my mind around the chronology of this era. For those who share my love of Biblical history I thought you might find this helpful in your own research.

          Please note that this chart is based in part upon one first produced by Mr. Tyrwhitt in his book mentioned above. I have made several modifications to reflect what I believe to be a more accurate rendering of Ezra and Nehemiah’s chronology. I hope you enjoy the chart!

          (Click on the chart to enlarge)

          Generational_Comparative800

           

           

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