Sir Isaac Newton's 300-Year-Old Interpretation of Daniel for Our Day
by Jim Bramlett
If Sir Isaac Newton was correct in his interpretation of Daniel, the prophet to whom God gave specific timing, then the return of the Lord Jesus Christ will be very, very soon, indeed! We will soon know.
Newton, who lived 300 years ago (1642-1727), was one of the greatest geniuses in all history -- perhaps the greatest. He is called the father of modern science and the industrial revolution. He discovered many scientific laws. God chose Isaac Newton to impart many of His deepest secrets.
Newton is also said to be a devout believer in Christ and Bible scholar, fluent in ancient languages, and who translated directly from the Hebrew. He was unusually drawn to the prophet Daniel, which he began studying at age 12 and continued until he died at age 85. In fact, The Columbia History of the World, a secular history book, remarks, "At the end of his days he spent more time studying and writing about the prophecies in the Book of Daniel than he did in charting the heavens." Did God Himself put in Newton's heart this burning desire to study Daniel, then give him the key to the timing of Christ's return? Could this be the final profound secret the Lord revealed to this godly genius near the end of his life -- a secret "accidentally" discovered in the Library of Congress and republished just in this very decade -- a secret so simple that most have missed it?
Newton's understanding of one key passage in Daniel chapter 9 is fundamentally different from that of most common interpretations. In about 550 B.C., God gave the prophet Daniel a view of history to the end. From Daniel 9:25, scholars usually add the "seven weeks (of years, or 49 years) and 62 weeks (434 years)" to get 483 years and calculate the time of Messiah's First Coming. However, Newton says there is no linguistic basis for adding those two numbers (49 and 434), and to do so is "doing violence to the language of Daniel." Newton says the two numbers separately speak of both the First and Second Coming, both being counted from the "going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem." Some commentators agree.
Newton says the "62 weeks," or 434-year part was fulfilled at the First Coming, and the "seven weeks," or 49-year part will apply to the Second Coming. And three centuries ago he saw in the Scriptures and wrote about the rebirth of Israel at a time when such a thought was preposterous. By faith, he foresaw a "friendly kingdom" someday again issuing the "commandment to restore and build Jerusalem." Now, centuries later, that "friendly kingdom" may have been the United Nations, which decreed Israel's rebirth in November, 1947, causing Israel to be reborn in May, 1948. However, Israel did not officially declare Jerusalem its capital until January 23, 1950, some believe the beginning of the 49-year countdown until the Jubilee year (50th anniversary), which will conclude at the end of Jewish year 5760 on September 30, 2000.
Here is another interpretation of Newton’s understanding. Newton understood the "weeks" to be periods of Jewish "sabbath" weeks, or seven-year periods counted from entering the land, according to Leviticus 25:1-4. According to Newton, if we count these seven weeks from Israel’s birth year 1948 (or 1950, see above) we will know the year of Christ’s return. With Israel "entering the land" again in its rebirth in 1948, one would start the seven-year count in either 1948 or 1949, with the first "land sabbath" year in 1954 or 1955, and the "seven weeks" or seven land sabbaths would end in A. D. 2003 or 2004, if this is the correct understanding of Newton’s intent and Jewish calendar reckoning. If instead the count starts in 1950 as mentioned above, the seven land sabbaths would end 2-3 years later.
If this is correct, Newton seems to say that Christ will return in power from A.D. 2003 to 2007, after the tribulation. This is closely compatible with the Bible calculations of other astute students that place the event in this approximate time frame. Depending upon one’s understanding, this could place the rapture of the church anytime before then. (I have discovered that a few prophecy students have arrived at this same interpretation of Daniel 9:25 before they discovered it was also Newton's idea.)
It was formerly thought that Newton merely meant to add 49 years to the declaration of Israel’s rebirth in 1947 or 1948, causing us to arrive at 1996 or 1997 for the Lord’s return, but that was obviously incorrect. A recheck of his book on Daniel revealed that Newton was referring to sabbath years.
2. "Just as it was in the days of Noah" is how Jesus described His return (Luke 17:26, NIV). If "just as it was," could this possibly also mean that there will be a God-given 120-year warning as many interpret was given in Noah's day (Genesis 6:3)? Ancient Noah was recently brought to my attention with this verified story of another Noah. Noah Troyer was an Amish minister, born in 1831. Troyer became ill, causing him to have repeated periods of unconsciousness, during which time he would stand and prophesy. He spoke almost the same basic message over and over again, someone counted 19 times. His wife called friends and family members to witness what he was saying. There was even secular newspaper coverage of the phenomenon. Basically, the message was that just as with Noah before the flood, God was warning him, also Noah, that He was giving America 120 years to repent before it will be destroyed. These words were spoken by Noah Troyer in 1878. And 1878 + 120 years = 1998.
This could mean that 1998, or the Jewish year beginning in 1998 and ending in 1999, was the last year before the Tribulation and judgment.
3. Oddly, I was given the story about Noah Troyer on the same day I received in the mail a Christian newsletter devoted to Noah and a 120-year warning. Coincidence or confirmation?
4. More on 1878. After I heard the above story about Noah Troyer, I asked myself, "Could we really now be in such a 120-year countdown? If so, when did the countdown really begin?" Then I remembered that Israel is "God's time clock." Israel is the key to prophecy. I wondered, "Could there have been some significant historical event about Israel in 1878 that might confirm such a countdown beginning in that specific year?" Then I remembered a certain book on my shelf that lists all significant historical/biblical events, by exact year, since recorded history began. I grabbed the book and anxiously flipped to 1878, curious if there would be any entry at all. To my shock, it read: "1878 -- Establishment of Petah Tikvah in Judea and Rosh Pinnah in Galilee. These were the first Jewish villages in Palestine in our times." This was the planting of modern Israel, God's time clock -- in 1878! Coincidence or confirmation?
5. Still more on 1878. Later, I was studying about the "times of the Gentiles" as spoken of by Jesus (Luke 21:24). I discovered that some Bible scholars believe the "times of the Gentiles" actually began in 606 B.C. when Babylon captured Jerusalem, and would extend for 2,520 years, based on God's promise to punish Israel seven times (Leviticus 26: 18,21,24,28), with "times" meaning 360 years (7 X 360 = 2,520), and/or based on Nebuchadnezzar's madness for 2,520 days. If true, 606 B.C. + 2,520 biblical years (if such a conversion is valid) = yes, exactly 1878! I later discovered that respected scholar and author Grant R. Jeffrey had written that 1878 did, indeed, signal the beginning of the end of the Gentile Age and the beginning of a 120-year countdown. If the year conversion is not proper, there is another interesting possibility. Adding 2,520 years to 606 B.C. = 1914, the beginning of World War I. Scholars say the "nation against nation" phrase Jesus spoke of as a sign of the end of the age is an idiom for world war, the first of which began in 1914, possibly signaling the beginning of the end. Is all this coincidence or confirmation?
1. Some argue strongly from Scripture that Jesus' words about no one knowing the "day or the hour" of His return was to His disciples only and not to end-time believers who would be alive when Daniel's vision would be unsealed.
2. Prophecies, visions and other personal revelations are Scriptural (e.g., Acts 2:16-18); nevertheless, any mystical experience needs to be prayerfully and cautiously judged.
3. Ancient dating must also be carefully judged. Nevertheless, I believe we are currently in a window of extremely strong possibility for the final end-time events, such as the rapture, the tribulation, and Christ’s return in power, with the possibility growing stronger with each year.
4. Information on Sir Isaac Newton came from Newton's Prophecies of Daniel, republished in 1991 by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, 2251 Dick George Road, Cave Junction, Oregon 97523.