"The Babushka Doll Principle" by Tricia Tillin (6)
To round up this set of pages on Daniel's prophecy of the "seventy weeks" and other things, I'd like to review the basic Babushka Principle introduced on page one and see how it has governed the understanding of scripture.
As indicated on the first page, biblical prophecy can be multi-layered. Instead of forcing a single interpretation, we can justifiably use the Babushka Principle to extract more than one (and in some cases many) complete and valid fulfillments from the word of God without violating biblical interpretation.
The importance of the principle
Where this principle becomes important for us today is the interpretation of the endtimes prophecies. To be honest, as fascinating as bible prophecies are, we are all interested in when the Lord is returning and how it will affect us.
By allowing more than one complete fulfillment of (for example) Daniel's prophecy of the "Seventy Weeks of Years" it's possible to avoid much of the confusion and debate over its meaning for today. Some argue for a fulfillment in history, some in the future, and there has been disagreement - sometimes intense and disrespectful - between the various camps, as follows:
Rabbinic - happened in AD70, or in the first century BC
Preterist - happened in 1st century after Christ, even including the Second Coming (Full Preterism)
Historicist - fulfilled in history since Christ, Revelation beasts (etc) are Roman Catholic Church
Futurist - similar to above, but a future role for the Jews and Revelation/Daniel are future prophecies
Premillennialist - will happen before the Second Coming but hazy on how or when
Amillennialist - non-literal, allegorical interpretation; Church replaced Israel
Dispensationalist - cannot happen until all Church is removed; strictly pre-trib
Otherist - a variety of other beliefs including mid-trib, post-trib, no-trib, third-day, world jubilee and so on
Cut to the chase
To bring this all down to a simple formula, it seems as if readers of the bible thought in terms of "either-or" instead of "this and that". The undeniable historic fact of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem does not need to be argued as the final date for Daniel's seventy weeks. (preterist) Nor does it need to be excluded! (futurist). The full seven years of the final "week" does not need to be held over as in the gap theory of dispensationalism, but nor does it need to happen in a continuous historical sequence as the Jews and others believe.
If we let the scriptures speak to us as God intended, we can be unafraid of seeing multiple fulfillments (just as Jesus did speaking of John the Baptist as Elijah - is it a contradiction of scripture that John himself denied that he was Elijah, but Jesus said that he was?).
History repeats itself
The lessons learned through this study have been that the initial understanding that Gabriel gave to Daniel was indeed mainly for Daniel's people and the future of Israel. But that did not exclude the coming of Jesus as the Messiah and the redemption he gave us. Then, the fulfillment of Gabriel's word indeed came to the Jews in AD70 (which they themselves understood) but did not exclude a further outworking of the same prophecy in later times.
Similarly, when Jesus spoke of the "abomination of desolation" and warned believers to flee the city when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies, his words were rightly taken as a warning to flee the Romans in AD70. But by this did Jesus mean to say there would be no other abomination in the future? I think not.
in seeing how the biblical numbers, especially three, seven and seventy, consistently tell the same story we can deduce the overall pattern behind successive prophecies. They are a significant pointer to prophetic principles.
Computer database expert A. Colin Day, in his reference book Roget’s Thesaurus of the Bible (1992), categorizes by subject matter much of the biblical text. On pp. 77–78 of this resource, it has fourteen lines of entry for the expressions “three days” and “third day” in the Bible and eighteen lines of entry for “seven days” and “seventh day” in the Bible. But it has only one line of entry for “two days” and “second day,” one line for “four days” and “fourth day,” no lines for “five days” and “fifth day,” two lines for “six days” and “sixth day,” and one line for “eight days” and “eighth day.” Many Bible readers find this disparity startling.
During this study I have shown how the three days of darkness or trial culminate in release and rescue halfway through the next day (which according to your way of counting the dates is either "the third day" or the fourth.) In the Exodus plagues there are "three days of darkness"; Lazarus is raised after the third day in the tomb, as was Jesus, and also Jonah in the great fish.
Seven days divided
Yet alongside these instances, we see the repeating motif of the "middle of the week", the "week" being the SEVEN - either years, days, months or other time period.
Just as the Jewish law commanded that a man be cleansed both on the third and the seventh day, so the three and a half, sub-divided week of seven can be shown over and over in scripture. For instance, Jonah was cast out of the belly of the great fish after three days, but then undertook a three-day journey to Ninevah to complete his mission.
Also, in approaching the Jordan to cross over into the Promised land we also see two sets of three days. The people were commanded to prepare themselves, "for in three days you will cross the Jordan". (Josh 1:10). Previous to this, Joshua had sent spies into the land who, by the help of Rahab the Harlot, hid for three days in the mountains to avoid capture. (Josh 2:22)
Extending the type
These numbers were also extended by considering the important sequence of dates surrounding the 15th (14th-18th) showing how they confirm and illustrate the three-day sequence. All of this goes to show that starting at the smallest "doll" of the babushka set is only the first step in understanding bible prophecy and we must continue to unpack the meaning until the whole is revealed.
What of the future?
One almost incidental (yet vital) fallout from this study has been the number of times that the near return of the Lord has been indicated, both by the prophecies themselves and by the coincidence of recent events relating to them.
The Jubilee table in part five showed that we are now living in the era of the 70th Jubilee grand cycle. (There is the number 70 again.) The number sequences in the additional page to part five indicated important astronomical events for Israel in both 2014 and 2014. The very fact of Israel's existence from 1947/48 indicates one of those prophetic numbers in 2017/2018 (70 years.)
The Jubilee of 49 years may be counted from the victorious Six Day War in 1967 when the Jews finally came into possession of Jerusalem, and 2016 after which the 50th year is 2017.
To this I would add a personal note, based on my studies on the opening of the seals (see here), that if the seven-year gap holds true then we are likely to see the next major watershed event leading to the endtimes in 2015. Of course it may occur earlier.
Unexpected but not unanticipated
Speculation on the endtimes and prophecy has kept the Church busy for centuries but never has the final exact date of the rapture or the Lord's return been exactly calculated. There are very good reasons for that!
- The devil is to be kept in the dark about God's plans for rescuing his people, just as when Jesus was born.
- Believers are commanded to be "always ready" and not complacent.
- People need to exercise faith about the Lord's coming which would be pointless if the date were known.
- Mankind could make plans to sabotage God's plan or to use propaganda against it in advance.
- Judgement needs to be swift, unexpected and therefore unavoidable.
Just before the first coming, there were certain people in Israel [like Anna Luke 2:36] who were eagerly expecting the birth of the Messiah, and God had prepared the hearts of some to expect his coming. So in this day and age God is also alerting people to his coming. We should expect to be seeing more and more relevant scriptures and receiving more clear revelation from the Holy Spirit as the months and years go by. Even though we cannot know exact dates, we can certainly know in general.
Unfortunately, people like Harold Camping muddy the waters for us all by date-setting and making a laughing stock out of the Church. Others see much in scripture but are blind when it comes to the rapture so they always deduct exactly seven years from any important date, and end up giving false hope, like those who confidently predicted 2010 as the rapture date.
As you know, I do not see a seven-year "tribulation" in scripture - for one thing, the Lord in his mercy said he would cut those days short - and I believe the pattern in scripture is that believers are removed just prior to the destruction.
I conclude this study by expressing the hope that others will study, meditate and think deeply about all that scripture says, laying one thing against another, until we come to a full understanding of truth. Although that cannot happen on earth, we can all contribute to the sum total of understanding in our own way. That is, by respecting the research of others even in areas that we once considered out of bounds or untouchable.
We need to be bold enough to consider new teaching in case it has some grains of truth that we can glean (or even much truth that might overthrow our own.) God is the only one who can inspire us to know his word. No MAN or woman can teach us, and I recognise that I may have made many errors in these articles.
Throughout, I have been grateful to the wisdom, research, hard work and dedication of many unknown people who have posted their conclusions to the Net. In almost every Christian website there is something to be gleaned and I have used some of their research, but in saying that, I do not necessarily endorse the religious beliefs or teachings of those to whom I have linked, and I am not associated with them in any way.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.... Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. Then the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
When the trumpet sounds and God's voice is heard, I pray you may be ready.
- Page One: Introduction and the different cycles
- Page One: Additional (Three attacks compared)
- Page Two: The first fulfillment of Daniel
- Page Three: Fulfilled in Christ
- Page Four: Future Fulfillment
- Page Four Additional (1): Charts of the sevens
- Page Four Additional (2): The third day explored
- Page Four Additional (3): Third day plus 14-18
- Page Five: Jubilees and our own era
- Page Six: Conclusion and summary