Christian Churches of God
The Oracles of God
(Edition 3.0 19961214-20000624-20110625-20110823)
Some groups follow the rabbinical calendar and its dates for the annual Holy Days of the Bible because Herbert Armstrong decided the Jews have sole authority for the determination of these dates. This decision resulted from his inability to find any basis for the calendar in the Bible and from Paul's reference in Romans to the Jews being the keepers of the "oracles of God", which he assumed included the calendar. This paper examines these "oracles of God".
The Oracles of God
God chose to speak to humanity through His servants. The established chain of revelation went from Adam through the patriarchs to Noah and then to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God chose to establish a people through which He would enshrine His laws and through which His plan of Salvation would be revealed.
The system was revealed and followed by faith (Heb. 11:1-40). The elders received good report by faith (Heb. 11:2). By faith Abel’s sacrifice was accepted as more worthy than Cain’s offering. Enoch was removed so that he would not see death because he pleased the God (Heb. 11:5). God dealt with the patriarchs through faith and established His laws through Moses who was saved because his parents were not afraid of a king’s commandment (Heb. 11:23). Moses through faith chose not to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter but to suffer affliction with the people of God. He forsook Egypt and endured, seeing the glory of the invisible Messenger of God.
By faith the people and the aliens with them crossed the Red Sea and others were drowned. By faith they entered the Promised Land. By faith they were assisted by Rahab the harlot who did not perish with the disobedient (Heb. 11:29-30). By faith the judges and prophets conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched fires, escaped the sword, won strength from weakness, became mighty in war and put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection and some were tortured refusing to accept release so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and scourging, chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, sawn in two, put to the sword, dressed in skins of animals, and were destitute, afflicted and ill-treated. They wandered over deserts and mountains living in dens and caves. The world was not worthy of them.
All of these people, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect (Heb. 11:39-40).
God spoke through the patriarchs and the prophets and gave His laws and His commands and His plan to them but they did not receive of the promise, and only through and with us could they be made perfect.
The perfection of the patriarchs and prophets was given through the Church as the Church was given the Holy Spirit and the eldership of the Church and the people. The Scriptures, and particularly the law, are the oracles of God. The oracles were given to the people of God through the prophets and those prophets were of Israel. The end of the oracles of God in the first phase occurred with the prophets Ezra and Nehemiah. The Old Testament was finished with these people. God was silent from this end phase of the Old Testament revelation until He spoke through His ministering spirits to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist (Lk. 1:5-30).
God had spoken, through His servant Daniel, of the anointed ones of the building of the Temple. The prophecy in Daniel 9:25 is mistranslated in the KJV to refer to Messiah as the anointed one and the text is obscured. The text, in fact, refers to two anointed ones; one at the end of seven weeks of years and the other at the end of sixty-two weeks of years. The timing refers to the construction of the Temple and its cessation as the instrument of God. Daniel 9:25-27 says:
Daniel 9:25-27 Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. 26 And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off, and shall have nothing; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war; desolations are decreed. 27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he shall cause sacrifice and offering to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator. (RSV)
Note the true text here refers to the seven weeks of years from the order to construct the Temple to the anointed one. This anointed one, which is what the term Messiah means and hence the application to Jesus Christ (Christ being the Greek form meaning anointed one), is actually Nehemiah. He is seen by Jewish history as a second Moses. He restored the law and the testimony. He finalised the canon and his work is the last of the Old Testament. The time of the construction commences not from the reign of Darius I or Darius Hystaspes but from Darius II. Artaxerxes I stopped construction on the Temple (Ezra 4:23-24). The construction commenced in the second year of the reign of Darius II (Ezra 4:24 to 6:12). The Temple was finished in the sixth year of his reign (Ezra 6:13-15).
Seven weeks of years from the decree of this king takes us to the year of the provisioning of Nehemiah by Artaxerxes II (not Artaxerxes I as is commonly taught).
This period saw the end of the Old Testament canon in this sequence of the construction of the Temple. This was the restoration of the law under the last Old Testament prophet of God. He was the last anointed one of the Old Testament system.
The sequence of the construction and the history are dealt with in the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13).
The next anointed one, referred to in Daniel 9:25-27, refers to the anointed one after the sixty-two weeks of years. Thus seven weeks of years plus sixty-two weeks of years equals sixty-nine weeks of years. This period ends in 63 CE. The anointed one cut off but not for himself was James, bishop of Jerusalem and brother of Jesus Christ. He was martyred in 63 CE for the faith and from this year the final week of years commenced, leading to the destruction of the physical Temple. The end of the seventy weeks of years coincided with the forty years allocated for repentance to Judah. The nation did not repent and indeed, in this last week of years, the High Priests fought pitched battles in the streets for retention of power and the system was entirely corrupt.
From 63/4 CE the Church began to leave Jerusalem for Pella and beyond. The priesthood and the nation were entirely corrupt and God commenced to destroy the nation/tribe of Judah and send it into captivity. From 1 Nisan 70 CE Jerusalem was besieged and by 1 Nisan 71 CE the Temple and the city were destroyed. This destruction commenced exactly forty years after the death of Christ in 30 CE. This period equates, on a year for a day basis, with the warning to Nineveh. Nineveh repented and Judah did not repent. Christ said that the men of Nineveh would rise at the resurrection and condemn Judah because something greater than Jonah was with or sent to them and they did not repent (Mat. 12:38-41). The relationship of the sign of Jonah to the ministry of Christ is on a year for a day basis. The relationship is obscured by the false teaching of the three and a half years of Messiah’s ministry based on a complete misunderstanding of Daniel 9:25-27. The theology of the split week of years is also a false prophecy that has no basis in history or in fact. The seventy weeks of years went from the decree of Darius II to the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. It related to the closure of the canon and the restoration in the anointed one, Nehemiah, and the close of the period of grace of the physical Temple and of the nation of Judah at the end of the period in 63-70 CE. Judah was removed into captivity and their authority was removed.
The period of the week of years from 63/4 CE to 70 CE is mirrored also in the fall of the nations in the last days. This aspect is derived from the fall of Jericho (see the paper The Fall of Jericho (No. 142)) and is explained in the paper WWIII Part III: Commencement of Hostilities (No. 299C_1) and WWIII Part III: The Sequence of the Wars of the End (No. 299C_2). The implications are also to be found in the sign of Jonah and the seventy weeks of years. These signs or prophecies are quite far reaching. They affect the entire notion of authority as it applies to the priesthood and the nation of both Israel and of Judah. The transfer of authority was complete and, as we will see, it was affected from the nation of Israel to the Church. For this reason the rabbinical authorities supported the false teaching of the seventy weeks of years from the mistranslation of Daniel 9:25-27 even adopting the false teaching themselves in the account of the construction of the Temple in spite of the clear direction of Ezra. 1Esdras was seemingly written in support of such false interpretation but it was never included in the canon. Judah knew that the false teaching covered up the real sign of Jonah and the fact that they had been sent a prophet of God, in fact the greatest of the messengers God could have sent. They killed him and were destroyed for that fact. Whether Judah accepted that Christ was the Messiah or not is irrelevant to the fact that he was a prophet of God. The time frame of the ministry of John the Baptist and Christ, who acted as two witnesses against Judah, was on a year for a day basis to that of Jonah. The period for repentance given to Judah was the same as that given to Nineveh on a year for a day basis. The priests and the nation did not repent and they were destroyed for that fact. The true history of the reconstruction and the seventy weeks of years demonstrate that fact and they are without excuse. It suits Judaism and Trinitarian Christianity to disguise the real facts of the matter in this false scenario. The Church of God, over recent years, has aided and abetted false prophecy in spite of the clear words of Scripture and frustrated the truth and, hence, the possible conversion of Judah and Israel.
The Authority of Israel
Jesus Christ gave the law to Moses at Sinai (see the paper Pentecost at Sinai (No. 115)). From the giving of the law he also established a system of governance in Israel. This was effected through a council of the seventy called the Council of Elders or the Sanhedrin. Previous to that there had been elders present in Israel in Egypt (Ex. 3:16-18; Ex. 4:29; Ex. 12:21; 17:5-6).
Israel first exercised judgment when it was established from the Exodus. Jethro, priest of Midian and Moses’ father-in-law, sacrificed for the elders and Moses sat in judgment the following day. Jethro then gave Moses advice that the judgment should be handed to subordinates. This was done through the elders. The council of the elders held judgment at least from that day forward in Israel as the Sanhedrin. The elders were assembled as a council of seventy from Exodus 24:1,9. The seventy were accompanied by Nathan and Abihu and were in effect seventy-two. This number was to be constant in Israel. The seventy were referred to as the seventy but numbered in excess. The traditional number is often held to be seventy- one but we see from Exodus and also from Luke 10:1,17 that it was seventy [two] or hebdomekonta [duo] from the Greek text.
Exodus 24:1-18 And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. 2 And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him. 3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. 4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. 6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. 8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words. 9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: 10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. 11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. 12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. 13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. 14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them. 15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. 16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. 18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights. (KJV)
Thus the elders of the seventy were established before the giving of the law that they might exercise judgment with Moses. They did this with Moses in the case of Korah and Dathan (Num. 16:25). Moses was then given the law from Sinai. Thus the authority of the oracles of God was established in Israel and they were placed in its care.
The elders of Israel were responsible for laying their hands upon the bull of atonement of the sin offering for the sanctification of the congregation through transgression of the law (Lev. 4:13-21). This action symbolised that the responsibility of the law rested with the seventy even though the High Priest alone could enter the sanctuary. The seventy were also responsible for, and part of, the consecration of the priesthood (Lev. 9:1ff.).
The elders were given of the Spirit of the Lord which had been given to Moses and that Spirit which sanctified Moses was also used to set them apart in God’s service.
Numbers 11:16-17 And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. 17 And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone. (KJV)
We see the process involves also the seventy- two where Eldad and Medad were prophets who remained in the camp and prophesied there. Thus the Lord gave the symbolism of the seventy-two to Israel and shows that He reserved the basis of the two to Himself as prophets. However, the seventy were always understood to be seventy plus two from these earliest examples. Moreover, the basis of authority stems from the council as we have seen above. This is the case with the Heavenly Council of the Psalms also. The earthly Tabernacle was a shadow of the heavenly (Heb. 8:5).
Numbers 11:24-26 And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. 25 And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. 26 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. (KJV)
Thus the authority of Moses in the Holy Spirit rested with and was shared by the council of the seventy. Together with Moses and the High Priest, they were representative of God and Christ as the High Priest with the Council of the Elohim of Justice in the heavens. This was also a shadow of the relationship to come in Christ and the Church. The Church was the vehicle that would be given salvation because, as we have seen, the patriarchs and the prophets were not to attain to salvation by faith apart from us. Thus the authority of the Church is the power of God in the Holy Spirit which has been given to it by Messiah in the name of God from his ordination of the seventy (Lk. 10:1,17).
The Church as the Authority
The process of sharing the Spirit seen above for the Sanhedrin was a reflection of the relationship of the Church and Jesus Christ to God. The Spirit that rested on Christ was given to the elect who were ordained and set apart as the seventy from Luke 10:1,17.
Luke 10:1-20 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. 3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. 5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. 6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. 7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. 8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: 9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 10 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, 11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. 13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. 15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. 16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. 17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. 18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. (KJV)
These seventy [two] were established in the Church so that they were a council drawn out per year for two thousand years or over the last days and, with the prophets, numbered 144,000 (see the paper The Harvests of God, the New Moon Sacrifices, and the 144,000 (No. 120)). The Holy Spirit is that power which makes all of the elect Sons of God and one with the heavenly Host as Sons of God (see the papers Consubstantial with the Father (No. 81) and On Immortality (No. 165)). The seventy through this power had authority over demons and over the world systems concerning the Kingdom of God. Thus, the oracles of God were consigned to the Church from this transfer of authority.
This activity of Christ in ordaining the seventy was of specific prophetic import and of the transfer of power. The effective transfer was tied up in the sign of Jonah. Judah and the priestly authority were removed entirely over the period of forty years from 30-70 CE. This transfer of power and authority is seen in the example of the seven sons of Sceva, the Chief Priest. This example was given to show that the authority of the Church had succeeded that of Judah and Levi even to the highest levels.
Acts 19:11-17 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. (KJV)
The effective transfer of power was from the ordination. Judah was, however, given forty years to repent and did not repent. What would have happened if Judah had repented then? The answer is simple. They would have taken part in the carriage of the mysteries of God and the priesthood would have been extended then to include Levi as it is prophesied to do when they do repent at the end of the age. The oracles of God were transferred to the Church, as we see from the comments of the apostles. The oracles were lodged with Judah until the Church. This fact is acknowledged by Paul in his statement concerning the oracles.
The references in the New Testament Greek are in the plural (as we see from Acts 7:38; Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12 and 1Pet. 4:11; cf. Aristeas 177; Philo, Legation to Caius 31). The Old Testament references occur fifteen times and are in the singular from dabar meaning word of God and hence also Holy of Holies because the word of Yahovah was heard there.
The first occurrence of the term oracle or dabar is in 2Samuel 16:23 (other occurrences are in 1Kgs. 6:5,16,19,20,22,23,31; 8:6,8; 2Chr. 3:16; 4:20; 5:7,9; and Ps. 28:2). From the first text we see that prophecy is involved and we know that prophecy ceased from Nehemiah until Messiah and the last prophecy concerning Messiah was uttered by the High Priest concerning his death that year. After the death of Messiah there is no record of God speaking through Judah except as part of the Church. The oracle is mentioned separately to the Temple in the reference in 1Kings 6:5. The chambers were built around both the Temple and the oracle. It appears from this that the Holy of Holies is referred to as being the oracle (esp. from 1Kgs. 6:16,19,20). This probably stemmed, as we see, from the fact that the law was kept there and God revealed Himself through prophecy there. It was a cube of twenty cubits (cf. 1Kgs. 6:20). This is called the naos in the New Testament which refers specifically to the Church which naos we are.
1Corinthians 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (KJV)
The Church is thus the naos or Holy of Holies and, hence, the oracle of God. The oracle of God thus became the Church at Pentecost 30 CE. So we then see what Paul meant when he referred to the oracles of God in a broader and more correct context. Stephen had said that the oracles had been committed to Moses and the fathers to give to them by the angel who gave the law to them at Sinai. This being who spoke to Moses we know was Christ from his own testimony (Jn. 8:58). He committed the oracles to the elders of Israel and not specifically to Judah. Judah inherited the oracles solely from the captivity of Israel and from the restoration of Nehemiah. In this sense we see the specific intent of the comment of Paul at Romans 3:2.
Romans 3:1-3 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. 3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? (KJV)
Judah was also in factions. They interpreted the oracles differently. The Sadducees occupied Moses’ seat and had to be obeyed when they did so as they ran the Temple (Mat. 23:2). The Pharisees shared judgment with the Sadducees over the law, but did not run the Temple, except for nine years under Queen Alexandra. The Samaritans, as well as the Sadducees, rejected the Pharisaic interpretation of the law in the determination of the calendar. Often the New Moon was delayed incorrectly and the Samaritans lit their own beacons on the earlier correct days.
Not only the Jews but also Israel was given the covenant. Judah came into custody of the oracles for a specific time only. Paul was not here saying that they still had any authority. He was merely referring to their status and perhaps future conversion into the enduring faith of God. This view is borne out by other references to the oracles of God as being with the Church. The Church is the teacher of the oracles of God. That office no longer rests with Judah.
Hebrews 5:5-14 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek. 7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedek. 11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (KJV)
Revelation was committed to the Church alone, from God to Jesus Christ and recorded through John. It is the sole responsibility of the Church. Many have sought to remove Revelation from the Bible (see the paper The Bible (No. 164)). The Jews do not accept it at all and hence they cannot be acknowledged as having the oracles of God. The Church received the oracles of God as part of another priesthood stemming from our High Priest. Christ did not glorify himself to be made High Priest but rather in the days of his flesh (i.e. when he became a man) gave prayer and supplication in tears to He who could save him from death, namely God, and God heard him. Though he was a son he learned obedience by the things that he suffered and became a High Priest after the order of Melchisedek. A High Priest is of an order of priests by definition. The priesthood was then given to the elect as Christ holds it, without beginning of days or end of years regardless of lineage or genealogy or mother or of father, being made kings and priests forever (Heb. 7:3; Rev. 5:10 RSV).
Revelation 5:9-10 and they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth." (RSV)
Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth. (KJV)
The KJV is incorrect in this text seemingly to disguise this fact. Christ as High Priest necessarily must have an order of priesthood and this priesthood has been given the responsibility for the care and instruction of the oracles of God.
Hebrews 5:12-14 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (KJV)
1Peter 4:11 whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (RSV)
Thus the oracles of God are delivered to the Church and were understood as being so delivered by the writer of Hebrews, who if not Paul was certainly the authority for it and the drafter was one of his ministry, and also by Peter. Thus on the authority of Christ and as evidenced by the apostles Peter and Paul we see the transfer of responsibility to the Church.
False Assertions Regarding the Oracles
There are a number of false assertions made concerning the resting of the oracles with Judah. The assertions are usually made by people trying to justify the use of the Hillel calendar in the keeping of the Holy Days mentioned in the Old Testament. As most of mainstream Christianity does not keep these festivals the argument does not arise with them. In fact, to suggest that the Jews had responsibility for the oracles of God would be treated with derision because the New Testament is not acknowledged by Judah and hence not part of Scripture. As this proposition is quite absurd to any rational Christian it is not advanced. Judaisers in the Churches of God, on the other hand, use a series of false premises to justify the Hillel calendar which is not of itself any part of the oracles of God and determined from 358 CE, well after the removal of Jewish authority. For this reason the method of determining Nisan for purposes of Easter was never adopted by the mainstream churches because the system had been known for centuries before Hillel II and these late rabbinical determinations were viewed as incorrect and irrelevant.
Fixing of the Old Testament Canon
Another false premise is that the Old Testament canon was not fixed until the conferences of Jamnia. This view is proffered by Jews or Judaising Christians as evidence for the contention that authority for determination of the Bible was still extant after the dispersion. Jamnia or Yavneh was a city bequeathed by Salome I to Herod I but on her death it passed to the empress Livia and on whose death it seems to have become a private possession of Tiberius, as Schurer notes.
Schurer seems to think that the Jewish-Gentile friction, from the Jewish majority, was the reason Vespasian had to twice garrison the city (E. Schurer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, Vol. I, p. 333; Vol. II, p. 110). There was significant Jewish-Gentile friction there at the time of Caligula (ibid. I, p. 394). Jamnia did not become part of Jewish territory until Alexander Jannaeus. Pompey had separated it from the Jewish realm and Gabinius had rebuilt it (ibid. II, p. 110). Jamnia was captured at the time of Vespasian in the revolt (ibid. I, p 498; II, p. 110). After the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 CE, Jamnia became the centre of Jewish learning (ibid. I, p. 521). Its Jewish majority was the reason it became the centre of Jewish activity or learning after the destruction of the Temple. The academy at Jamnia became the Supreme Jewish Court (ibid. I, pp. 525-526). Jamnia was an attempt to reconstitute Jewish authority after it had been removed by God, with the destruction of the Temple, from the expiration of the Sign of Jonah in 70 CE.
The Old Covenant had been made with the Jews, which term generically seems to have embraced Israel as they also were of the Covenant of God (2Cor. 3:14; Heb. 9:15; see also the paper The Covenant of God (No. 152)). The New Covenant promised in Jeremiah 31:31 was extended to the Gentiles being made with Christians (1Cor. 11:25; 2Cor. 3:6; Heb. 8:6-13; 10:16-17; cf. Lk. 22:20).
The Old Testament canon was not finally fixed until approximately 321 after the restoration of Nehemiah, which was during the reign of Artaxerxes II. Until then, it has come to be seen as a collection of revered works taken as historical or prophetic. Secular Jewish history has taken the view, along with secular biblical criticism, that the Old Testament canon was not held as fixed and that Torah alone had been separated as divinely inspired from its recognition as such in 621 BCE to its separation from the other four books of the corpus in 400 BCE. Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings were separated from the Pentateuch in 400 BCE and were left as secular works (from the Babylonian Captivity) (see The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 1, article ‘Canon of the OT’, p. 507).
The modern scholars hold that this was for over a century but Nehemiah restored the entire system from his time (i.e. during the middle of the fourth century BCE). There were a number of edits and notations that were useful for understanding what has happened to the canon. Most agree that by 300-250 BCE the canonisation had occurred after what was held to be the rewriting of Samuel and Kings as 1 and 2Chronicles (ibid.). The conflicts between Samuel and Kings and the Books of Chronicles are listed by R. H. Pfeiffer in his text (ibid.). After 200 BCE and certainly before 30 CE, readings from the prophetic canon (the haphtarah) were evident in synagogue worship (Lk. 4:16-19; Acts 13:15; cf. Meg. 4:1-2; ibid., p. 509).
The writings or ketubbim were read traditionally on Passover, Pentecost and the 9th of Ab commemorating the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE. It was finalised by Ezra-Nehemiah and was fixed then. Pfeiffer says that it was generally believed that prophecy came to an end at the death of Ezra when the men of the Great Synagogue collected all the Scriptures. No book written later than Ezra or Alexander the Great can be deemed inspired (ibid.). According to the Seder Olam Rabba 30 the two are considered equivalent dates for Jewish chronology. As Alexander (b. 356 BCE) went to India circa 326 BCE and died circa 323 BCE, it is obvious we are talking of Artaxerxes II and not Artaxerxes I in the Book of Ezra. Moreover, we know from this comment that the Old Testament canon was complete and fixed from 323-321 BCE. The Old Testament was translated into the Greek in Alexandria (and became known as the Septuagint (LXX) under Ptolemy Philadelphus (283-246 BCE) by seventy-two qualified men, allegedly six from each tribe who finished the work in seventy-two days (Schurer, Vol. II, p. 312; Vol. III, pp. 474-476, 677-679). We see that even here the seventy were actually seventy- two in number. The LXX was condemned as a translation by R. Akiba in 130 CE but he substituted the translation by Aquila. We will see that this fact demonstrates that the Church had authority and not the reverse. Brenton in his translation of the LXX considers that Aquila's version was substituted by the rabbinical authorities for the original LXX because of its more literal Hebrew idiom. He considers this was done in a desire to negate the LXX passages used by Christians regarding the position of Christ. Brenton makes the note that the breastplate of the high priest referred to in Exodus 28:23-28 is actually rendered as "oracle" in the Complutensian and not in the Vatican or the Alexandrine manuscripts. The significance of the use of this word is that the breastplate represented the centre of judgment of the twelve tribes which is the central focus of the Holy of Holies in its relationship to God.
After the fixing of the canon there were a number of books written that were not recognised as canonical. They included the works of Maccabees, Judith, Tobit etc. and were apocryphal and, hence, became known as the Apocrypha. Attempts were made for some time to have them included or recognised in Jewish canon and resulted in the conference at Jamnia. After the Church left Jerusalem and the city fell, the Church produced its own excellent works or translations of the Bible. Most of the books of the Bible were translated by the Church translators most of whom were well educated Hebrews.
The three Greek translations of the Bible made in replacement of the LXX were by Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion. Symmachus was capable of using the Hebrew texts but was not himself a Jew. He was an Ebionite Christian according to Eusebius (Eccl. Hist. vi, 17). This is perhaps a classification which might be applied to the entire early Church by history as their writings are found. Aquila and Theodotion were allegedly Jewish proselytes. Aquila came from Pontes (see Acts 18:2) and Epiphanius names Sinope as the place (see Schurer, Vol. III, p. 494). Rabbinical tradition (yKidd. 59a) places him in the time of R. Eliezer, R. Joshua and R. Akiba, i.e. the first third of the second century. He issued a first and second edition according to Jerome (ibid., p. 495). He was said to have been the pupil of Akiba and had the greatest attention to detail. His text was approved by the most esteemed rabbinical authorities. His works were preserved in Origen’s Hexapla and were used by the other Church fathers who used the original edition of the Hexapla in Pamphilus’ library in Caesarea and partly through marginal notes of the Hexaplic LXX text. We are finding more and more fragments of this text as time goes by. He is identified with Onkelos, the producer of the Aramaic Targum of the Pentateuch (Schurer, ibid., p. 496). Mercati found a sixth century manuscript containing the Hexapla of some 150 verses of the Psalter including Aquila’s version. The find in the Genizah of the synagogue in Cairo indicates a Greek Hebrew Interlinear version (the upper line in Hebrew/the lower in Greek) was extant in the fifth or sixth century (Schurer, ibid.). Schurer holds that the LXX translation of Ecclesiastes recalls Aquila’s characteristic translation so much that he is tempted to assume that it is in fact Aquila’s work.
Jerome produced the Latin Vulgate and the Greek texts are as found in the various ancient forms available from the codices and fragments. Jerome was aware of the works of both Aquila and of Theodotion whom he says might have been an Ebonite, being a Jew by birth as was Aquila. Jerome says that he was only thought to be an Ebionite by some (Schurer, ibid., p. 499). Jerome used these works to produce the list which forms the current accepted canon’s order.
Origen’s Hexapla was arranged by columns. Aquila was placed next to the Hebrew text seemingly because it was most like it and Theodotion next to the LXX for the same reason. Symmachus’ translation is placed next to Aquila, which is puzzling to Schurer. Aquila is ascribed to the first decades of the second century; Theodotion is placed in the time of Commodus (180-192 CE); and Symmachus later, by Schurer, but Irenaeus lists Theodotion before Aquila and Schurer thinks this is irrelevant for the dates of translations (ibid., p. 500). Irenaeus was still alive in 190-191 CE and so the late date for Theodotion’s work is possible but it could have been earlier.
The real point in issue is that the Church was not reliant on the Jews for the oracles but indeed played the major role in translating them into Greek and Aramaic, and thence into other languages. The assertion that the canon was not fixed until after 70 CE at either the first (c. 90 CE) or second (118 CE) conference in Jamnia is a fiction. The fiction is supported by Jews and Judaising Christians. The purpose of Jamnia was to prevent the later apocryphal works from Ben Sirach onwards being added to the Jewish canon. These conferences had no effect on the Church which had recognised long before then that the canon was closed from the time of Ezra.
The fiction of Jamnia is advanced to support the fiction that the calendar as determined in 358 CE under Hillel II has some authority for the Church which it plainly does not have and never has had such authority. The Church in the early times believed and taught that the Old Testament canon was fixed in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah or immediately after the death of Ezra. This was taught by the Church and is seen from the writings of Tertullian, Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria (Interp. Dict., Vol. 1, p. 514).
The Greeks have never had any responsibility for the oracles of God or even for the establishment of the Greek texts. This is another fiction advanced by Judaisers to support their Jewish Oracle Theory.
The Prophecy of Haggai
The next fallacy in the armoury of some British-Israelites and the Judaising defenders of the Hillel system is that of the prophecy of Haggai at 2:1-23.
Haggai 2:1-23 In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, 2 "Speak now to Zerub'babel the son of She-al'ti-el, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehoz'adak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, 3 `Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not in your sight as nothing? 4 Yet now take courage, O Zerub'babel, says the LORD; take courage, O Joshua, son of Jehoz'adak, the high priest; take courage, all you people of the land, says the LORD; work, for I am with you, says the LORD of hosts, 5 according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit abides among you; fear not. 6 For thus says the LORD of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; 7 and I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the LORD of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD of hosts. 9 The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the LORD of hosts.'" 10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, 11 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: Ask the priests to decide this question, 12 `If one carries holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and touches with his skirt bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any kind of food, does it become holy?'" The priests answered, "No." 13 Then said Haggai, "If one who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?" The priests answered, "It does become unclean." 14 Then Haggai said, "So is it with this people, and with this nation before me, says the LORD; and so with every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean. 15 Pray now, consider what will come to pass from this day onward. Before a stone was placed upon a stone in the temple of the LORD, 16 how did you fare? When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten; when one came to the winevat to draw fifty measures, there were but twenty. 17 I smote you and all the products of your toil with blight and mildew and hail; yet you did not return to me, says the LORD. 18 Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the LORD's temple was laid, consider: 19 Is the seed yet in the barn? Do the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree still yield nothing? From this day on I will bless you." 20 The word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, 21 "Speak to Zerub'babel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, 22 and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders; and the horses and their riders shall go down, every one by the sword of his fellow. 23 On that day, says the LORD of hosts, I will take you, O Zerub'babel my servant, the son of She-al'ti-el, says the LORD, and make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you, says the LORD of hosts." (RSV)
The propositions made from this prophecy are:
1. The prophecy concerns the latter days.
2. The 24th of Chislev is a specific date in the future.
3. This date was the date according to the Hillel calendar on which Jerusalem was liberated in 1917 which was 9 December 1917 and allegedly the day on which Allenby entered Jerusalem.
4. The blessings mentioned by Haggai were then fulfilled.
5. This is, somehow, also seven time cycles from the fall of Jerusalem.
6. From these points it is then argued that the Hillel calendar is thus inspired and an oracle of God.
Firstly, regarding the fall of Jerusalem, Harper’s Bible Dictionary records that the Babylonians plundered the city in 598 BCE and the city was levelled in 587 BCE. Neither of these dates gives 1917 as equalling seven time cycles or 2,520 years. The first date would produce 1923 and the latter date would produce 1933.
Now this process is classic circular reasoning as we will see. It is evident from an examination of the history of the liberation of Jerusalem that the events were listed as they were to convey the impression that God had acted to fulfil Haggai because the people of the time saw that as a fulfilment of prophecy. Having contrived the 9 December 1917 date, the contrivance is then used to justify the Hillel calendar which formed the basis of the contrivance in the first place.
In 1917 the Holy Land was being liberated by Australian, New Zealand and British and other allied troops fighting Turks with German auxiliaries. According to the Official War Diary (H.S. Gullett, The Australian Imperial Force in Sinai and Palestine, Vol. II of the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18, Angus and Robertson Ltd, Sydney, 1937), Gaza and Beersheba had been taken by 31 October to 1 November 1917. The seizure of Palestine was inevitable. On 2 November 1917 the Balfour Declaration for the establishment of the Jewish Homeland was issued by the British Prime Minister Balfour as his first declaration (the second declaration was regarding the Commonwealth of Australia under British law). The capture of Jerusalem was not undertaken until December. The progress of the forces was:
Battle of Beersheba
31 October to 1 November
Tel el Khuweilfe
The breakthrough occurred (Sinai and Palestine 4-8 November)
The Great Drive was made
The Maritime Plain was cleared
The Jerusalem advance
Nahr Auja and El Buij
24 November to 1 December
Final assault for the capture of Jerusalem
The final assault was launched by Commonwealth troops on 7 December 1917. According to the true New Moon this was the actual date of the 24 Chislev (the Hillel calendar commenced the month two days later). The Turks and Germans began an immediate evacuation and by 8 December 1917 Jerusalem was freed. The infantry had dug in and established and by 10 December the Light Horse pushed along the Nablus road about eight miles. They drew heavy Turkish artillery fire. They were holding out towards the southern end of the Jordan Valley and were attempting to limit Allied access across the river to the Hejaz railway and thus limit Allenby’s operations on the right flank.
Nothing occurred on 9 December 1917 as Jerusalem had already been liberated from the attack on the seventh. Many American histories of Protestant origin seemingly try to claim that 9 December was the day Allenby entered Jerusalem and liberated it. The fact of the matter is that Allenby officially entered Jerusalem on 11 December 1917. Allenby was mindful of the bombastic pageantry with which the German Emperor Wilhelm (William) had entered Jerusalem in 1908. He deliberately made his entry a low key affair, entering on foot by the side entrance of the narrow old Jaffa gate. 100 troops from the contingents lined the Jaffa road, including English, Scots, Irish, Welsh, Ghurkas, Australians and Italians. The New Zealanders had ridden hard from Jaffa so that the Dominion might be represented. The only touch of colour was from a detachment of French infantry in pale blue uniforms. This was the twenty-fourth time that Jerusalem had been entered by a conquering force (Gullett, ibid., p. 523) but it was not on 24 Chislev 1917. By the Hillel calendar it was 26 Chislev but from the true New Moon it was 28 Chislev. Our troops had indeed entered on 24 Chislev, but by assault. That is based on the true conjunction with no postponements.
Jerusalem at the time of its capture presented no striking evidence of poverty but it was in an indescribable state of filth. It was so polluted by sellers of religious relics and false religion that were habitually unclean (aided by the primitive habits of the Turkish soldiers over three years) that Christians recalled their visit with horror (ibid., p. 522). After the occupation of Jerusalem the city faced food shortages and the British had to truck supplies in from the Mediterranean. Our advance from the south had been so rapid that the Turks had no time to lay the southerly colonies waste. They were to prove useful. The Zionist Commission under the President of the English Zionist Federation, Doctor Weizmann, was tasked, by authorisation of the British Government, with the reconstruction of Palestine. This task involved restoring the ruin of eighteen and a half centuries (The Times History of the War, Vol. XV, London, 1918, p. 179).
The propositions can thus be seen in the light of historical fact free of the fiction of an uninvolved Protestant British-Israelite propaganda emanating from the US.
1. It was not seven time cycles from the Babylonian entry. The application of the seven time cycles is examined in the paper The Fall of Egypt (No. 36): the Prophecy of Pharaoh’s Broken Arms.
2. Allenby did not enter Jerusalem on 9 December. He entered it on 11 December.
3. Commonwealth troops assaulted the city on 7 December 1917
4. The German and Turks had withdrawn by 8 December.
5. Consolidation of the defences was undertaken from 8-10 December.
6. The true date for 24 Chislev 1917 was 7 December 1917 and not 9 December 1917 as per the Hillel calendar.
However, we must remember in all this that Judah had not been blessed at this stage. It is perverse to imagine that God would have chosen this time to fulfil Haggai and still leave another prophecy yet to be implemented in which Judah would go through the worst horrors of its entire existence as a nation. Exactly seven time cycles from the levelling of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, the Nazi Party came to power in Germany and began the systematic persecution of the Jews. From 1942 to 1945 Germany undertook the most systematic genocide of the Jewish people or, for that matter, any nation in recorded history. To assert that this was God’s idea of blessing Judah, in the fulfilment of Haggai, is the most perverted form of reasoning imaginable. If Haggai is fulfilled in these activities we can conclude:
1. The Hillel calendar is wrong;
2. But more importantly, the Ashkenazim and indeed all European Jewry are totally outside of the blessings of God, having perverted the spirit and intent of the law and the festivals. No curse comes without its cause (Prov. 26:2).
It is not convincing, however, that Haggai is fulfilled.
We now continue the examination of the premise that Haggai was fulfilled in December 1917. A text that is used to support this premise is the text in Daniel 12:1-13. This text follows on from Daniel 11 regarding the wars of the kings of the North and the South. The text in Daniel 11:41-45 is also very important. For the 1917 date to be assumed, there are a number of preconditions that have to be met. The first is that this prophecy is fulfilled in its entirety before the scope of Daniel 12 can be fulfilled.
Daniel 11:41-45 He shall come into the glorious land. And tens of thousands shall fall, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall follow in his train. 44 But tidings from the east and the north shall alarm him, and he shall go forth with great fury to exterminate and utterly destroy many. 45 And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him. (RSV)
This text assumes that Egypt is captured together with Palestine and Trans-Jordan. The king of the North had to enter and capture Egypt and also occupy Palestine. During that time he also hears tidings from the east and north and goes forth to utterly destroy and remove many. This prophecy was not held to have been fulfilled until the Second World War with the Axis invasion of Africa and then Hitler’s invasion of Russia. However, the east and north of Palestine and Jerusalem is in Central Russia and this prophecy does not appear to have been as yet fulfilled. The text about pitching his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious Holy Mountain was held to have been fulfilled by the army in 1917 but they did not enter Russia or engage in wholesale operations beyond establishing Iraq as a pro-western kingdom.
Daniel 12:1-13 "At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." 5 Then I Daniel looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. 6 And I said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, "How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?" 7 The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven; and I heard him swear by him who lives for ever that it would be for a time, two times, and half a time; and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be accomplished. 8 I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, "O my lord, what shall be the issue of these things?" 9 He said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, and be refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but those who are wise shall understand. 11 And from the time that the continual burnt offering is taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he who waits and comes to the thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. 13 But go your way till the end; and you shall rest, and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days." (RSV)
This text deals with the Advent and the resurrection in the last days. It portrays a period or time scale of 1,290 days and 1,335 days. It also portrays a resurgence of the Holy Spirit where the wise shall instruct many in the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.
Because of the Messianic intent of this prophecy, many have identified Michael as Christ. For example, the Church of God located in the UK holds that Michael is Christ but denies that Michael is an archangel. Michael means Who is like God.
The logic is simply this. The being clearly has responsibility for Israel. From Deuteronomy 32:8, Messiah has responsibility for Israel as Yahovah – it being allocated to him by the Most High God. Therefore Michael must be Messiah. The conclusion does not need to follow as Michael may have been allocated to Israel to assist Messiah. Both are sons of God as we know from many texts. Angels were only decreed to have been created ex nihilo from the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 to deny the capacity of co-eternality to Satan because of the alleged Dualist heresy, allegedly among the Cathars in southern France among the Albigensians. Many branches of the Church of God made this logical jump over the centuries and it is indeterminate with the biblical evidence we have. Both Michael and Messiah are sons of God and, hence, share in the Holy Spirit of God as sons.
The next precondition is that it follows a time, times and a half a time and when the shattering of the power of the Holy people comes to an end then will the end come. The view in 1914-18 was that the 1,260 days was fulfilled in the 1,260 years of the Holy Roman Empire. Some USA groups held it finished in 1798, others in 1814. Both were wrong because of their poor understanding of the history of the empire and because of their desire for self-fulfilling prophecy. The empire commenced in 590 CE with the decree of Gregory I and ended in 1850 with the plebiscite in the Papal States (see M. Martin, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church, Secker and Warburg, p. 254ff.); (cf. also the The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170)).
This view assumes that the year for a day basis applies to the empire and not in duality. Also the assumption does not take into account the seven times problem in the proper and fullest extent. The seven times prophecy of Daniel to the Babylonians was measured from 605 BCE at the battle of Carchemish to 1914-1916 at the commencement of the First World War. However, Egypt was not invaded at that time and Egypt is also involved. The prophecy of Ezekiel 28-29 involves the fall of Egypt. The two arms involved two forty-year periods ending eighty years later with the invasion of Cambyses in 525 BCE. There were two forty year periods then and at the midway point Egypt re-established. This happened exactly seven times later in 1953 with the declaration of the Republic of Egypt under Gamel Abdul Nasser. Thus the full time frame does not end until 1996. In that year the fundamentalist Muslims have taken control to the extent that the government is in name only. The Egyptian Coptic Church is so persecuted that it has sought reunion with Rome after schism since Chalcedon in 451. These aspects were not taken into account.
The recent Revolution in Egypt is the extension of the final stages which will require NATO intervention to control fundamentalist Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood and the occupation of Gaza.
The next assumption is that the 1,290 years and the 1,335 years relate to another time frame. The text relates to the establishment of the abomination that makes desolate. The daily sacrifice was discontinued before the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. Applying Daniel 12 from this date is of no consequence (i.e 1360 CE). This prophecy was applied to 1917 by subtracting the lesser figure of 1290 from 1917 and assuming this is the figure for the beginning of the Muslim era (1917 – 1290 = 627).
This year is then related to the Muslim calendar. However, the Muslim calendar commences from the Hijra and is accepted as beginning from 15(16) July 622 CE. The lunar year peculiar to the Muslims was established on a solar base in 10 AH or 631 CE on the last pilgrimage of the prophet to Mecca (Qur’an 9:36 ff; cf. ERE, Vol. 3, p. 126).
The accepted formula for conversion is:
Hijra (A) - (3A ¸ 100) + 622 = Christian Year (ibid.)
The year 1290 AH commenced in 1911. December 1917 was 1296 AH. The year 1335 AH was 1956 CE.
The occupation of Jerusalem should also be understood to deal with some strange claims that are made regarding this time. Firstly, Jerusalem was taken by the Persians in 614. The Persian Chosroes II went to war with the usurper Phocas who had murdered the Roman emperor Maurice. Maurice was friend and benefactor to Chosroes. In 611 the Persians seized Antioch. Chosroes’ son-in-law Sharbarz besieged Jerusalem. In his camp were 26,000 Jews eager to destroy Christian sovereignty over Jerusalem. 90,000 Christians died when Jerusalem was taken (Cath. Encyc., Vol. VIII, article ‘Jerusalem’, p. 359). The Jews were allowed to do what they liked with the city but this did not last. In 622 Heraclius marched across Asia Minor driving back the Persians and invading Persia in 627. Chosroes fled and was deposed and murdered by his own son Siroes in 628 and that year they sued for peace at the expense of all their conquests. They evacuated Syria and Egypt, restoring the alleged relic of the cross they had taken from Jerusalem. In 629 Heraclius himself came to Jerusalem to venerate the relic (ibid.). This is the origin of the Catholic Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on 14 September.
As a result of the treason of the Jews, the old law of Hadrian was renewed forbidding them access to the city. The patriarch Theodosius restored the old round Anastasis there. There was no other building on the area of the Temple Mount. Heraclius rebuilt the walls and restored the ruined shrines. The patriarch Sophronius (634-638) was the next to see Jerusalem conquered.
Islam under the Caliph Abu-Bakr (632-634) invaded Syria. Abu-’Ubaidah had command of the army. He was an Ashab, one of the original band that accompanied the prophet from Mecca to Medina in 622. They took Bosra and then defeated Heraclius at Ajnadain near Emesa in July 633. In 634 they took Damascus and defeated the Roman Army again at Yarmuk and took Emesa in 636. Caliph Omar (634-644) was consulted as to whether they should march on Jerusalem or Caesarea. On ’Ali’s advice they marched on Jerusalem. It was attacked by an advance guard of 5,000 under Mo’awiyah Ibn-Abu-Sufyan and then besieged by the entire army under Abu-’Ubaidah. Jerusalem was defended by a large force of refugees from all over Syria and the veterans of Yarmuk. The city was assaulted every day for four months. The patriarch Sophronius finally asked for peace with the commander Abu-’Ubaidah. They were allowed to capitulate on fair and honourable terms. The Christians were allowed to keep their churches and no one had to accept Islam. The terms were ratified by the Caliph Omar, then at Medina. The Caliph Omar came to the wall on a single camel, signed the capitulation, entered the city and spoke courteously with Sophronius about the antiquities there (Cath. Encyc., ibid., p. 360).
Omar refused to say prayers in the Anastasis in case that became a future excuse for Islam to break the treaty. The Temple Mount at this time was bare and later became a rubbish heap. There were no buildings on the Mount other than the Anastasis. The Mosque of Omar was built on the place to which he retired for prayer. Under the Moslems, the Christians of Jerusalem were given the usual tolerance shown to non-Moslem Theists. Islam did not make Jerusalem the new centre of Palestine. This was at Lydda until 716; then at Ar-Ramal (Ramleh). Jerusalem is however the third most holy place after Mecca and Medina (see Quran Surah 17).
In the reign of the Caliph ’Abd-al-malik (684-705), the fifth Ummayid Caliph at Damascus, the Iraqis revolted and seized possession of the Hijaz. In order that the people had a substitute for the Haraman of Mecca and Medina, which they were prevented from visiting, he then began to adorn the place of the Temple with a mosque. Omar had visited the Mount and found it filled with refuse (ibid.). In his time he had erected a large square building for Islam and ’Abd-al-malik then in 691 erected, with Byzantine architects, the Dome of the Rock which still stands in the Temple Mount.
Thus the original building was not built on the Mount until well after 636 and the Dome of the Rock was not built until 691. From 636 the Temple Mount was used as a rubbish heap by so-called Christians. The Dome of the Rock (falsely called the Mosque of Omar) stands on the place of the altar of Holocausts of the old Temple.
The application of the prophecy in Daniel 12 to this period yields uncertain figures and the abomination that makes desolate could not be applied to Islam at this site from these dates. It was, of course, some 1,290 years if the sack by the Babylonians is taken into account in 598 BCE ending in 691 CE.
The dates in question if taken from 637 CE and then 1,290 years are added to it produce the year 1927 and not 1917. If we add the forty-five year period we arrive at 1972. That date is related to no significant event and there is certainly no peace in Jerusalem.
The construction of these prophecies as fulfilling Daniel in 1917 is on very shaky evidence and indeed seems to be contradicted by every construction of dates drawn from the known history in relation to the Temple Mount and to Jerusalem. It seems that this prophecy in Daniel 12 is related to some future event that deals with the period of the wars of the end and which requires the endurance of the saints. The power of the Holy People is broken at this time. Thus Judah and the nation of Israel must have their power broken before this prophecy is fulfilled. This did not happen in the First World War or the Second World War. The Holocaust is the nearest this prophecy has come to fruition.
The next step is to revisit Haggai for a further examination. Haggai is concerned with the construction of the Temple and the attitudes of the people to that responsibility.
Haggai 1:1-15 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet to Zerub'babel the son of She-al'ti-el, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehoz'adak, the high priest, 2 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: This people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD." 3 Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, 4 "Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? 5 Now therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider how you have fared. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages earns wages to put them into a bag with holes. 7 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider how you have fared. 8 Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may appear in my glory, says the LORD. 9 You have looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while you busy yourselves each with his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11 And I have called for a drought upon the land and the hills, upon the grain, the new wine, the oil, upon what the ground brings forth, upon men and cattle, and upon all their labors." 12 Then Zerub'babel the son of She-al'ti-el, and Joshua the son of Jehoz'adak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him; and the people feared before the LORD. 13 Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people with the LORD's message, "I am with you, says the LORD." 14 And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerub'babel the son of She-al'ti-el, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehoz'adak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month.
The text in chapter 1 is a plea to the nation of Judah to commence work on the Temple. The nation is not being blessed because they have placed their own self-interest above that of God. There are serious parallels in history with the behaviour of Judah and the neglect of the work of God. If this prophecy is referring to the last days, it must refer to the spiritual Temple which is the Church. The entities in this prophecy are Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel governor of Judah and Joshua son of Josedach the High Priest. The time is the second year of Darius II. This matter has been explained in detail in the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13). The names are of individuals at the time of the reconstruction of the second Temple (see also the paper Genealogy of the Messiah (No. 119)).
If this prophecy is of the latter days, we can only be speaking of the spiritual Temple and the types of Zerubbabel and Joshua as High Priest. The High Priest, Joshua, is Yehoshua or the Messiah. The typology with Jesus Christ is found in Zechariah in the judgment. Christ is both king and priest, fulfilling both typologies. The injunction in chapter 1 of Haggai is that the nation of Israel will not prosper until it undertakes the work of the Messiah in the restoration as part of the Temple of God. The curses on the land will increase until that happens (Hag. 1:10-11). The first instance is in the 24th of the sixth month. This happened with the second Temple. It is either in the past or it will relate to the future as an anti-type.
Thus, Haggai is concerned with the construction of the Temple and the blessing of Israel is consequent to that activity. It is thus impossible to relate the events in chapter 2 to an event that is not subsequent to the events in chapter 1. Thus, the 24th day of the sixth month saw the work on the house of God. As we saw above chapter 2 then commences from the 21st day of the seventh month or the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Last Great Day is the eighth day of the feast. See also the paper Commentary on Haggai (No. 21).
The dedication of the Temple was as though the Temple was greater than Solomon’s Temple. That was just plain nonsense. In fact, the prophecy in Daniel 9:25-27 shows it is to be built over seventy weeks of years. There is no doubt that the second Temple, and also Herod’s reconstruction of it, were nothing compared to Solomon’s Temple. The Temple here spoken of is a prophecy comparing the spiritual Temple under Messiah with that of the physical Temple and the former Covenant.
The Spirit of the Lord was to remain with the people and this only happened from the Church on a permanent basis. Haggai 2:6 is quoted in Hebrews 12:26-27.
Hebrews 12:26-27 His voice then shook the earth; but now he has promised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven." 27 This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of what is shaken, as of what has been made, in order that what cannot be shaken may remain. (RSV)
This is a direct warning from Messiah that this prophecy refers to the final shaking of the heavens and the earth so that what cannot be shaken will remain. This shaking commences with the Temple of God which is the Church, being the naos or Holy of Holies (1Cor. 3:17). Therefore, let us be grateful to God for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Heb. 12:28).
The time frame is the wars of the end and the return of the Messiah. The First World War was called the Great War for Civilisation because it was thought that it was in fact at the time of the end and 1914-16 was seen in prophecy as the completion of seven times from the Reign of Nebuchadnezzar commencing from the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BCE. However the actual 2520 years ended in 1916 with the major battles then. The wars of the end did indeed commence from this date but it was to be over a much more extended time frame and the prophecy necessarily involved the restoration under Messiah. The 24th of Chislev (the ninth month) involves the question of the Holy and the Unclean (Hag. 2:10-14). The nation is seen as unclean and the nation from this time is cleansed of its uncleanness. This point is then related directly to the placement of stone upon stone in the Temple. From that day forward is the laying of the foundation of the Temple and the Lord will then lay stone upon stone in the construction of the Temple. This sequence does not relate to physical things but to the conversion of the nation. From the construction of the Temple as living stones, the blessing of the nation will proceed. That is why the Holocaust occurred as it did – because the nation had not converted and the blessings of the Lord have not yet been given. There will be more wars and more disasters yet for both Judah and Israel until they are both repentant and cleansed of sin.
The Hillel calendar is without support by resort to either the argument from the oracles of God or from this form of manipulation of historical fact into prophetic fiction. The custodians of the oracles of God are the elect as the stewards of the mysteries of God. They are the naos or Holy of Holies and, as the naos is also the oracle of God; they also are the oracles of God being of the spirit of prophecy.