It is not proof for our positions on the sanctuary sources outside our ranks that we endeavor here to present. The Bible is the great sourcebook. However, it is most interesting to note how Bible expositors corroborate the conclusions set forth by Seventh-day Adventists in our publications on prophecy. And such statements do have weight with many. First, let us note a few statements on the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's commentary, a Church of England authority: "Seventy weeks—viz., of years; literally, Seventy sevens;. . . 490 years."
This is good Seventh-day Adventist teaching. See Uriah Smith's volume Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation.
Date of the seventy weeks
Again commenting on Daniel 9:24: "The 70 weeks date 13 years before the rebuilding of Jerusalem; for then the reestablishment of the theocracy began, viz., at the return of Ezra to Jerusalem, 45 7 B. C." Here again we have the date of Bible chronology upon which Seventh-day Adventists so confidently stand, likewise vouched for by this Anglican authority. This is no mean evidence by way of corroboration of a position so vital to the doctrines held by us as a people. Certainly no one would say the learned Anglican divines were in any way influenced by our teachings.
Termination of the 70 weeks
These same authors in endeavoring to explain Daniel 9:27 say: "In the midst of the week. The 70 weeks extend to A. D. 33." Thus again we find our position confirmed. The usual date given for the termination of the 70 weeks is A.D. 34; but this, be it remembered, is arrived at in reckoning that the decree of Ezra 7 did not come till past mid-year, thus running each succeeding epochal date of the series over into the following year. Thus A.D. 26 extends to A.D. 27, A.D. 33 to A.D. 34, and 1843 to 1844.
Emphasis on Ezra, chapter 7
Seventh-day Adventists point the reader of Daniel 9 to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, especially emphasizing the decree referred to in Ezra 6:14, and the time in Ezra 7, namely 457 B.C. The decree or commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem is the decree Daniel refers to. In the same commentary before mentioned, the following striking statement is made: "Ezra's placing of Daniel in the canon immediately before his own book and Nehemiah's was perhaps owing to his feeling that he himself brought about the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy, Daniel 9."
Seventy weeks "determined"
Perhaps there is no more vital fact of agreement between this commentary and Seventh-day Adventist teaching than the following note on Daniel 9:24: "Determined. Literally, cut out, namely, from the whole course of time, for God to deal in a particular manner with Jerusalem."
Two important points in this short comment should be noticed. First, these authorities say determined means "cut out." For three quarters of a century, Seventh-day Adventists have never swerved from this interpretation. In fact, this was the view held by William Miller and his associates. Second, this commentary says that the 70 weeks were cut out of the whole course of time. The original, it is stated, indicates that the 70 weeks were cut out of a longer period. The relationship of the 70 weeks and the 2300 days as Seventh-day Adventists understand it, was not, of course, seen; but it is a striking confirmation of our position that this commentary recognizes that the 70 weeks were so cut out.
Albert Barnes (Presbyterian), another noted authority, in his Notes on Daniel, says on this same text: "Are determined. The meaning would seem to be that this portion of time—the 70 weeks—was cut off from the whole of duration, or cut out of it, as it were, and set by itself for a definite purpose." How remarkable is the correspondence of prophetical interpretation between the learned authorities quoted and our early pioneers in this message! On the Hebrew word rendered "determined" in Daniel 9:24, Hengstenberg says that in "the very fact that, although Daniel might easily have found other, and much more common words, if he had merely wished to express the notion of determination words which he actually does employ on other occasions and even in this section he employs a word not used elsewhere, we have an apparent proof that the word is used here with some reference to its primary meaning, and is intended to represent the 70 weeks as a period accurately defined and sharply 'cut off,' in distinction from a mere determination of time."
The renowned Sir Isaac Newton, noted philosopher and mathematician who died in 1727, wrote much on the prophecies of Daniel. The clearness with which he wrote is remarkable. Of the 70 weeks and their beginning he declared: "Seventy weeks are cut out upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression.
"Here, by putting a week for seven years, are reckoned 490 years from the time that the dispersed Jews should be reincorporated into a people and a holy city, until the death and resurrection of Christ. . . . Now the dispersed Jews became a people and city when they first returned into a polity or body politic; and this was in the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, when Ezra returned with a body of Jews from captivity, and revived the Jewish worship; and by the king's commission created magistrates in all the land, to judge and govern the people according to the laws of God and the king. Ezra 7:25. There were but two returns from captivity, Zerubbabel's and Ezra's; in Zerubbabel's they had only commission to build the Temple, in Ezra's they first became a polity, or city, by a government of their own. Now the years of this Artaxerxes began about two or three months after the summer solstice, and his seventh fell in with the third year of the eightieth Olympiad; and the latter part thereof, wherein Ezra went up to Jerusalem, was in the year of the Julian period 4257 (i.e., 457 B.C.)."
A Church of England minister, H. Grattan Guinness, in commenting on this, says: "On the three eclipses in the reigns of Cambyses and Darius, by means of which Sir Isaac Newton determines the date of the seventh year of Artaxerxes (the starting point of the '70 weeks'), we cite the testimony of Ptolemy, by whom 'a foundation has been laid for chronology sure as the stars.'" And this same writer makes the year A.D. 1844 to be the terminal point for the 2300 years. On page 433 of his book The Approaching End of the Age the following sequence appears: [See pdf version for image]
Is not this truly remarkable that the same dates are fixed upon by this and other authors for the same time periods that Seventh-day Adventists so long held despite the ridicule and opposition of the popular churches? These numbers are of divine origin. God has led in the great Advent movement. Men may deny, oppose, and ridicule our position on these mystic numbers of prophecy, but Heaven is leading us on to the termination of the greatest of events in heaven and earth. Let us never be as "fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken."
To sum up the evidence, we would say:
1. That many learned Bible writers, along with Seventh-day Adventists, teach that the 70 weeks are weeks of years, namely, 490 years.
2. That many notable authorities be sides Seventh-day Adventists teach that the 490 years began in 457 B.C., when the decrees mentioned by Ezra went forth.
3. They also teach that the 70 weeks terminated when the gospel was sent to the Gentiles, about A.D. 34.
4. Careful, learned men also teach, with us, that the 70 weeks are cut out (or off) from a longer period; thus the correspondence of teaching is remarkable.
5. And last, we present one out of many authorities outside our ranks to substantiate the fact that the longer period from which the 490 years are cut out is the 2300 years of Daniel 8:14, and that the 2300 years terminated in 1844.