85. JEREMIAH, A TYPE OF THE MESSIAH.
In many particulars Jeremiah was
a type of Christ. Sometimes by way of contrast (marked *). The
following passages may be compared:--
|11:18||Isa. 11:2. John 2:25|
|11:19||Isa. 53:7, 8.|
|13:17||Matt. 26:38. Luke 19:41; 22:41, 44, 45.|
|18:23*||Luke 23:34, 61.|
|20:10||Luke 11:54. (Cp. Ps. 55:12, 13.)|
|26:11||Matt. 26:65, 66.|
|26:15, 16||John 10:21. Luke 23:13-15.|
|29:26||John 7:20; 10:20, 39.|
|29:27||John 8:53. Luke 7:39.|
|1:12||John 1:29. Isa. 53:10.|
But, if ST. PAUL is correct in
adding ninety-three years to the period between the Exodus and the Temple
(making thus 573 instead of 479); and if the inter-regnum between Amaziah and
Uzziah, and the "gaps" clearly indicated in the sacred record and
shown on the Charts in Ap. 50 are recognized, then it is perfectly clear that
the majority of the chronologers are 110 to 113 years out of the true Anno
Mundi reckoning, and, instead of the Babylonian servitude commencing in the
year 606 B.C. (the fourth year of Jehoiakim and first year of Nebuchadnezzar),
the real Anno Mundi year for that most important event is 496 B.C., as
shown in Ap. 50.
3. This, no doubt, will be startling to some who may be inclined to suppose that certain dates and periods of time in the Scriptures have been irrevocably "fixed".
On the authority of certain well-known names, we are asked to believe that "profane history", and the annals of ancient nations, supply us with infallible proofs and checks, whereby we can test and correct the chronological statements of Holy Scripture.
But we need to be reminded that this is very far from being true.
Chronologists of all ages are, as
a rule, very much like sheep -- they follow a leader : and, once the idea
became current that the "correct" (supposed) dates of certain epochs
and periods in Greek (and other) history could be brought to bear upon and
override certain Biblical chronological statements, which presented
"difficulties" to these modern chronologers, then it soon became
almost a matter of course to make the figures of Divine revelation submit
and conform to "profane" figures, derived from parchment or clay,
instead of vice versa. (*3)
4. FYNES CLINTON, in his learned work Fasti Hellenici (Vol. I, pp. 283-285) has such an appropriate and weighty statement that bears on this subject, in the Introduction to his Scripture Chronology, that it is well to quote the testimony of one who is regarded as among the ablest of chronologers. He remarks :--
"The history contained in the Hebrew Scriptures presents a remarkable and pleasing contrast to the early accounts of the Greeks. In the latter, we trace with difficulty a few obscure facts preserved to us by the poets, who transmitted, with all the embellishments of poetry and fable, what they had received from oral tradition. In the annals of the Hebrew nation we have authentic narratives, written by contemporaries, and these writing under the guidance of inspiration. What they have delivered to us comes, accordingly, under a double sanction. They were aided by Divine inspiration in recording facts upon which, as mere human witnesses, their evidence would be valid. But, as the narrative comes with an authority which no other writing can possess, so, in the matters related, it has a character of its own. The history of the Israelites is the history of miraculous inter-positions. Their passage out of Egypt was miraculous. Their entrance into the promised land was miraculous. Their prosperous and their adverse fortunes in that land, their servitudes and their deliverances, their conquests and their captivities, were all miraculous. Their entire history, from the call of Abraham to the building of the sacred Temple, was a series of miracles. It is so much the object of the sacred historians to describe these, that little else is recorded. The ordinary events and transactions, what constitutes the civil history of other States, are either very briefly told, or omitted altogether; the incidental mention of these facts being always subordinate to the main design of registering the extraordinary manifestations of Divine power. For these reasons, the history of the Hebrews cannot be treated like the history of any other nation; and he who would attempt to write their history, divesting it of its miraculous character, would find himself without materials. Conformably with this spirit, there are no historians in the sacred volume of the period in which miraculous intervention was withdrawn. After the declaration by the mouth of Malachi that a messenger should be sent to prepare the way, the next event recorded by any inspired writer is the birth of that messenger. But of the interval of 400 (*4) years between the promise and the completion no account is given."
And then CLINTON significantly remarks :--
period of more than 400 (*4) years between Malachi and the Baptist is
properly the only portion in the whole long series of ages, from the birth of
Abraham to the Christian era, which is capable of being treated like the history
of any other nation.
"From this spirit of the Scripture history, the writers not designing to give a full account of all transactions, but only to dwell on that portion in which the Divine character was marked, many things which we might desire to know are omitted; and on many occasions a mere outline of the history is preserved. It is mortifying to our curiosity that a precise date of many remarkable facts cannot be obtained.
"The destruction of the Temple is determined by concurrent sacred and profane testimony to July, 587 B.C. From this point we ascent to the birth of Abraham. But between these two epochs, the birth of Abraham and the destruction of the temple, two breaks occur in the series of Scripture dates; which make it impossible to fix the actual year of the birth of Abraham; and this date being unknown, and assigned only upon conjecture, all the preceding epochs are necessarily unknown also."
This important statement deserves the most serious consideration; for CLINTON himself frequently transgresses its spirit in his Scripture Chronology : e.g. he "determines" the "captivity of Zedekiah to June, 587 B.C." And this he accomplishes by "bringing", as he says, Scripture and profane accounts to "a still nearer coincidence by comparing the history of ZEDEKIAH and JEHOIACHIN with the dates assigned to the Babylonian kings by the Astronomical Canon" (Fasti Hellenici, I, p. 319). In other words, this means that he "squares" the scriptural records of events some 200 years before the commencement of the period which he has before stated is alone "capable of being treated like the history of any other nation", by means of the Astronomical Canon of Ptolemy.
PTOLEMY'S Canon (cent. 2 A.D.) is
to CLINTON and his disciples what the monuments are to PROFESSOR SAYCE and his
followers. Both "necessitate" the accommodation of Biblical
chronology to suit their respective "Foundations of Belief" in dating.
5. But it is on the principle so excellently enunciated by CLINTON, and quoted above, that the dating of The Companion Bible is set forth : viz., that "the history of the Hebrews cannot be treated like the history of any other nation". If this is granted, the same argument must necessarily apply to the chronology of such a people. And it may be carried a step farther. The chronology of the history of the Chosen People is unlike that of any other nation, in that it has a system of reckoning by durations, and not, like other nations, by dates; and a system of registering events and periods of time by what it may be permitted to call "double entry". This is to say, not only do we find in the Bible a regular sequence of years, commencing with Adam and ending with Christ, and consequently a true and perfect record of Anno Mundi years in the lifetime of mankind during that period; but also, concurrently with this, we find another system of dealing with dates and periods concerning the Hebrew race alone. This system is used and referred to in The Companion Bible as being according to Anno Dei reckoning. (See Introduction to Ap. 50, pp. 40-42.)
And it may be strongly urged that
failure on the part of the majority of chronologers, and partial failure on the
part of others to recognize this, so to speak, double entry system of the
Bible dating has "necessitated", as we are told, the adjustment
of the Biblical figures to suit the requirements of Astronomical Canons
and ancient monuments.
6. But, to the candid mind it is incredible that the inspired Scriptures should be found so faulty in their chronological records and statements as many would have us suppose; or that it is "necessitated" that they should be "determined" from profane sources and un-inspired canons, whether on parchment or stone! (*5)
CLINTON'S Calendar of Greek dates, it must be borne in mind, only commences with the traditional date of the first Olympiad (*6) (776 B.C.). From that year on and backwards, everything in his Scripture Chronology is assumed to be capable of being arranged, and made to harmonize with that date.
But, it must also be remembered that grave suspicions have been entertained as to the correctness of this view.
SIR ISAAC NEWTON (1642-1727), for instance, in his Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, charges the Greek chroniclers with having made the antiquities of Greece 300 or 400 years older than the truth. The whole passage reads thus (Works, vol. v, p. 4 of the Introduction) :--
"A little while after the death of ALEXANDER THE GREAT, they began to set down the generations, reigns, and successions, in numbers of years; and, by putting reigns and successions equipollent (equivalent) to generations; and three generations to an hundred or an hundred and twenty years, as appears by their chronology, they have made the antiquities of Greece 300 or 400 years older than the truth. And this was the original of the technical chronology of the Greeks. ERATOSTHENES wrote about an hundred years after the death of ALEXANDER THE GREAT; he was followed by APOLLODORUS; and these two have been followed ever since by chronologers."
NEWTON then goes on to quote the attack on HERODOTUS by PLUTARCH (born about 46 A.D.), for chronological nebulosity (*7), in support of his contention as to the uncertainty and doubtfulness of the chronology of the Greeks. He further adds :--
the chronology of the Latins, that is still more uncertain ... The old records
of the Latins were burnt by the Gauls, sixty-four years before the death of
ALEXANDER THE GREAT : and QUINTIUS FABIUS PICTOR (cent. 3 B.C.), the
oldest historian of the Latins, lived an hundred years later than that
7. If NEWTON was right, then it follows that the Canon of PTOLEMY, upon which the faith of modern chronologers is so implicitly -- almost pathetically -- pinned, must have been built upon unreliable foundations. Grecian chronology is the basis of "PTOLEMY'S Canon"; and, if his foundations are "suspect", and this is certainly the case, then the elaborate super-structure reared upon them must necessarily be regarded with suspicion likewise.
EUSEBIUS, the Church historian and bishop of Caesarea (A.D. 264-349), is mainly responsible for the modern system of dating which results in squaring scriptural chronology with the Greek Olympiad years, and it is upon EUSEBIUS'S reckonings and quotations that CLINTON also mainly relies.
In his Chronicle of Universal History, the first book, entitled Chronography, contains sketches of the various nations and states of the old world from the Creation to his own day.
The second book of this work consists of synchronical tables with the names of the contemporary rulers of the various nations, and the principal events in the history of each from ABRAHAM to his own time. EUSEBIUS gets his information from various sources. He makes use of JOSEPHUS (A.D. 37-95), AFRICANUS (cent. 3 A.D.), BEROSUS (cent. 3 B.C.), POLYHISTOR (cent. 1 B.C.), ABYDENUS (about 200 B.C.), CEPHALION (cent. 1 A.D.), MANETHO (cent. 3 B.C.), and other lost writers -- equally "profane".
In his turn, he is largely used by moderns to "determine" scriptural dates; and it is mainly through his instrumentality that many of the so-called "received" datings of the O.T., from Abraham to the Christian era, have been "fixed".
In addition to these and other ancient records, and "systems" of chronology, we have notably the Canon of Ptolemy referred to above. PTOLEMY, an astronomer of the second century A.D., give a list of Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Egyptian, and Roman rulers, "from about 750 B.C. to his own time."
The Seder Olam is a Jewish chronological work of about the same date (cent. 2 A.D.).
Now to-day, we have what is called "the Witness of the Monuments", of which it may be remarked that frequently their testimony is accepted in preference to the scriptural record, and is often used to impugn the statements and chronology of the Bible. The result of recent modern explorations in Assyria, Babylonia, and Egypt, has been that we have almost every date in the O.T. redated, because we are told by some (as PROFESSOR SAYCE, quoted above) that this is "necessitated" by the Assyrian Canon.
The Assyrian Eponym Canon is a list, compiled from several imperfect copies (*8) on clay tablets of lists of public officials (called "Eponyms") who held office, one for each year. This list contains some 270 names, and is supposed to cover the period from soon after the close of Solomon's reign to the reign of Josiah. It is spoken of as showing "some slight discrepancies, (*9) but on the whole is held to be highly valuable". This is the Assyrian Canon which, according to PROFESSOR SAYCE, "necessitates" the redating of the Biblical events and periods!
The Babylonian and Egyptian Monumental Records also contribute their quota towards the "fixing" of scriptural chronology; but these are, it is acknowledged, more of less incomplete, and therefore, more or less untrustworthy.
So far as supplying interesting
sidelight details of the periods with which they deal, and that impinge
upon sacred history, these sources are all more or less useful. But, so
far as affording absolutely trustworthy material from which a complete
chronological compendium can be formed from the Creation to Christ, is
concerned, they are all more or less useless, for the simplest of all reasons,
viz. that they have no datum line or start-point in common.
They possess, so to speak, no "common denominator".
8. It must be remembered that the ancients, excepting of course the "Church" historians, had not the Hebrew Scriptures of Truth to guide them. They knew not at what period in the duration of the world they were living! The only knowledge they had of the origin of the world, and man's beginning, was derived from myth and fable. Had they possessed such knowledge as we possess in the Word of God, they would have undoubtedly have used it; and, instead of finding, as we do, their chronological systems, commencing (and ending) with floating periods, concerning which they had more or less reliable information, they would have extended their chronological hawsers backward, and anchored their systems firmly at "the beginning".
CENSORINUS (quoted in the note on p. 122) may be taken to voice the whole body of ancient chronologers when, in writing on chronological subjects, he says :--
"If the origin of the world had been known unto man, I would thence have taken my beginning ... Whether time had a beginning, or whether it always was, the certain number of years cannot be comprehended."
And PTOLEMY, the author of the famous "Canon", says :--
"To find observation upon the passages of the whole world, or such an immense crowd of times I think much out of their way that desire to learn and know the truth."
He means, it was a hopeless
matter to fix upon the original start-point for chronology!
9. An illustration may be permitted from the fundamental principles governing the engineering world. Suppose a line of railway to be projected, say, for the sake of argument, 4,000 miles more or less in length (*10). The line is run through countries of varied physical character, from flat plains to lofty hill districts. Preparatory to constructing the line, it is essential that an accurated survey of the whole length of territory though which it has to pass be made.
For this purpose two things are absolutely necessary to the engineer : viz. a "bench-mark" (or marks) and a "datum line".
The "bench-mark" is a mark cut in stone of some durable material in a fixed position, and forms the terminus a quo, from which every measurement of distance on the whole length of line is measured off.
The datum line is supposed
perfectly horizontal line extending beneath the whole distance between
the proposed termini; and from which all the levels are to be calculated.
The first bench-mark is the starting-point a line of levels for the
determination of altitudes over the whole distance; or one of a number of
similar marks, made at suitable carefully measured distances, as the survey
proceeds, in order that the exact distances between each, and ultimately between
the terminus a quo and the terminus ad quem may be ascertained before
the work is carried out.
10. To apply this to our subject :--
All are agreed that the FOURTH YEAR OF JEHOIAKIM, and the FIRST YEAR OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR form a point of contact between sacred and profane history of the utmost importance.
From this point of contact it is claimed that a "complete scheme of dates may be derived", as some put it; or, according to others, "from this date we reckon on to Christ and back to Adam."
The year of the point of contact is generally said to be 606 B.C. or 604 B.C.
It is perfectly justifiable to occupy this position; but, only if the dating of the point of contact can be demonstrated and maintained.
It is quite easy to say that this year of contact between the sacred and profane history is 606 B.C. or 604 B.C., and from this we can reckon "back to Adam and on to Christ".
But a question of paramount importance at once suggests itself, viz. What is the datum, or foundation, or bench-mark date from which the year, say 606 B.C., is obtained?
The answer usually received is
"we determine it from (the date of) the captivity of Zedekiah"
(CLINTON). Or, "the agreement of leading chronologers is a sufficient
guarantee that David began to reign in 1056-1055 B.C., and, therefore, that all
dates subsequent to that event can be definitely fixed." Or else we
are told that the Assyrian Cannon (and the "Monuments" generally)
"necessitate" the date of this year of contact as being 604 B.C.
11. But all this is only begging the question. The argument -- if mere ipse dixit assertions based on floating dates and periods, as acknowledged by CENSORINUS and PTOLEMY, can be truly called an argument -- when examined, is found to be quite unreliable; and, in the engineering world would be described as "fudging the levels!"
This exactly describes the
present case, because this date-level (i.e. 606 or 604 B.C.), so to
speak, makes its appearance in the middle of the supposed line (or, to be
more accurate, towards the end of it) without being referred back to
datum, that one definite "fixed" departure point or bench-mark
at the teminus a quo from which the years can alone be accurately
12. It is as though the engineer took a map showing the district through which it was intended to construct the last 600 or 700 miles of his line, and the proposed terminus, but without any absolute certainty as to where the actual position of that terminus should be; and should then say to himself, "from information received", and from the general appearance and apparent scale of this map, I "determine" the highest point of my line to be 606 miles from where I "conjecture" my terminus ad quem ought to be! From this point therefore, 606 miles from our supposed terminus, we will measure back 450 miles, and "fix" an important station (David); and then, another 569 miles back from David, we "determine" another important station (Exodus), and so on.
13. This system of "measuring on the flat", to use a technical engineering term, for fixing stations and important positions for his railway, would be charmingly simple for the engineer -- on paper. But "The Standing Orders" of the joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament would shut out those said plans from receiving one moment's consideration.
It would be impossible to find an
engineer who would be guilty of such folly. He would accurately measure
his distances from a fixed point at the terminus a quo, referring everything
back to that, and using his datum line to check his levels, otherwise he might
as easily find himself 100 miles or more out.
14. To apply this :--
In the chronology of the Bible we have given to us one primal fixed point (or bench-mark) and one only, from which every distance-point on the line of time, so to speak, must be measured, and to which everything must be referred back as datum!
That datum-point, or bench-mark,
is the creation of Adam, and is represented by the datum-mark 0 (nought)
or zero. And as the unit of measurement, in the illustration
suggested above, is one mile (*11), so the unit of measurement in the chronology
of the Bible is one year (whether sidereal or lunar matters not for the
sake of the argument).
15. Working therefore from our datum-point of first bench-mark 0 (zero), which represents the creation of Adam, we measure off 130 years on our line and reach the first station, so to speak, SETH. This gives us a second bench-mark from which to measure on to ENOS. Thus, by measuring onward, but always checking by referring back to datum, which is the primal station, we are able to mark off and locate exactly the various stations and junctions (junctures) all down the line, from the terminus a quo until we reach a point which some of the later stations themselves will indicate as being the exact position for the terminus ad quem. This may be either the Incarnation or the Crucifixion and Resurrection of our Lord.
If Holy Scripture had definitely stated the exact period in years between the creation of "the First Man Adam", and "the Last Adam", or had given us the exact date of the Incarnation or Resurrection of Christ, we should then have been justified in reckoning back from this fixed date as from the known and authoritative terminus ad quem.
But this is not the case, although we believe the period is clearly inferred and indicated, as the Charts in Ap. 50 show, which thus agree with USSHER'S conclusions, although not reaching them by USSHER'S methods, or figures. (*12)
We have therefore no alternative.
We must make our measurements, i.e. reckon our years, from the only terminus
we possess, viz. the start-point or bench-mark laid down for us in
"the Scriptures of truth", that is, the creation of Adam.
16. This is the principle adopted in the chronology of The Companion Bible : and, on this principle alone all the important "stations" on the chronological line have been laid down, or "determined" (to borrow CLINTON'S word), not by Astronomical or Assyrian Canons, but on the authority of the Biblical Cannon alone.
Acting on this principle we
recognize the fact that ST. PAUL'S period, from the Exodus to the Temple, is the
real period of 573 Anno Mundi years; while the 479 (480th) years of
1Kings 6:1 are to be taken as according to Anno DEI reckoning.
Thus, by accepting this, and admitting, instead of omitting, the
"gaps" so clearly indicated in the line of the later kings of Judah,
it will appear that the important chronological contact-point between sacred and
secular history, which Scripture calls "THE FOURTH YEAR OF JEHOIAKIM and
THE FIRST YEAR OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR", is to be dated 496 B.C., instead of the
usually "received" date of 606 B.C., or thereabout.
(*1) The uncertainty of the three years here is "necessitated", as Professor SAYCE says in another connection, by the absolute impossibility of avoiding overlapping owing to the use of both cardinal and ordinal numbers throughout in the successions of the kings.
(*2) Fasti Hellenici, Scripture Chronology, I, p. 313.
(*3) e.g. in The Variorum Aids to Bible Students we are told by Professor SAYCE, in a special head-note to his article The Bible and the Monuments, that the dates he gives throughout are necessitated by the Assyrian Canon (p. 78).
(*4) CLINTON, apparently in
these two passages, speaks of the 400 years as being a round number;
meaning that is was about 400 years from MALACHI to the birth of JOHN THE
BAPTIST, and therefore the Incarnation.
A reference to Ap. 50. VII, p. 67, VII (6), p. 69, and Ap. 58, p. 84, will show that the 400 years he speaks of are not a round number, but the actual number of years that elapsed between the prediction of MALACHI -- "the seal of the prophets" -- and the coming of "My messenger" (John the Baptist) followed by "the Messenger of the Covenant", 3:1 (Jesus Christ). From its internal evidence it is perfectly clear that the prophecy of Malachi -- "the burden of Jehovah" -- must be dated several years after the Restoration, and the Dedication of the Temple of Zerubbabel.
From the first Passover in Nisan 404 B.C. -- following immediately after the Dedication -- to the birth of John the Baptist in the spring of the year 4 B.C. was four hundred years (10 x 40), the Incarnation being six months later in the same year.
But the ministries of both the Baptist and Christ began thirty years later; i.e. in 26 A.D.
Four hundred years back from this date gives us 374 B.C., and 374 B.C. is of course thirty years after the recommencement of the Mosaic ritual dating from the Passover in Nisan 404 B.C.
It is therefore a fair inference that the "seal of the prophets" should have been affixed thirty years after the Restoration of the Temple services, and exactly four hundred years before the fulfillment (Matt. 3:1-3. Mk. 1:2, 3. Lk. 3:2-6. John 1:6-23) of Malachi's prediction in 3:1.
The language used by Malachi describes a condition of things that could not well have been reached under twenty or thirty years.
On the other hand the period could not have been longer. See Ap. 77, p. 113, and the notes on Malachi.
Another illustration of the principle of Anno DEI reckoning should be noted here.
The fourth year of JEHOIAKIM and first of NEBUCHADNEZZAR is dated 496 B.C. : that is, 492 years from the Nativity.
The Babylonian servitude, seventy years, and the succeeding twenty-two years, from the decree of Cyrus (426 B.C.) to the First Passover after the Dedication of the Temple (404 B.C.), are together ninety-two years. If this, the Great Lo-Ammi period (corresponding to the ninety-three Lo-Ammi years in Judges), is deducted we get again 400 years (496 - 92 - 4 = 400). Thus we have the scriptural Great number of probation (10 x 40 = 400) significantly connected with this fourth year of JEHOIAKIM. Cp. also Gen. 21:10. Acts 7:6; and see Ap. 50, pp. 51-53. There are other examples in the Scriptures.
(*5) See note on 2Kings 15:27.
(*6) His authority for this
date is given in the following sentences :--
"The first Olympiad is placed by CENSORINUS (c. 21) in the 1014th year before the consulship of ULPIUS and PONTIANUS in A.D. 238 = 776 B.C. ... If the 207th games were celebrated in July, A.D. 49, 206 Olympiads, or 824 years had elapsed, and the first games were celebrated in July, 776 B.C." That is to say, a date is taken, supposed to be A.D. 49 (Fasti Hellenici, Vol. I, Tables, p. 150), on testimony quoted from another ancient writer (SOLINUS, cent. 3 A.D.), that in that year the 207th Olympic games were held; and, as 206 Olympiads = 824 years, therefore the first games were celebrated in 776 B.C. This year 776 B.C. therefore has become the pivot upon which all chronology has been made to depend, and Scripture events to "fit" in!
(*7) HERODOTUS was in the same boat with CENSORINUS and PTOLEMY. See. p. 123.
(*8) No complete list is yet known.
(*9) See note on 2Kings 15:27.
(*10) And for comparison with the 4,000 years in question.
(*11) Of course, the real unit is one inch; but, for convenience, the mile is considered as the unit in such a case.
(*12) See his Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti (1650-1654).