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The Truth Shall Make You Free



CHAPTER XVIII

"SEVEN TIMES"

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AT THE overturning of Israel's typical Theocracy in the year 606 B.C. by King Nebuchadnezzar Babylon became the third world power noted in Bible history, Egypt and Assyria having preceded the Babylonian empire. The Supreme Power, the Most High God, then used Nebuchadnezzar as His instrument to execute upon the backsliding Israelites the judgments whereof he had long warned them by his faithful prophets. Almighty God, who can use even the inanimate, unintelligent forces of creation to carry out his purpose, thereby used Nebuchadnezzar as his servant. (Jeremiah 25:9; 27:6; 43:10) The first siege Nebuchadnezzar laid against Jerusalem was eleven years before its destruction, and at that time he carried many captives away to Babylon, including the faithful young men Daniel and Ezekiel. Both men became prophets and hence witnesses of Jehovah. Daniel, because of his wisdom from God, became Nebuchadnezzar's chief consultant and adviser. Though God used this Gentile king as his instrument, this does not mean that Jehovah was the God he worshiped. Nevertheless, because of the vast imperial rule which Nebuchadnezzar exercised by

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Almighty God's permission, Jehovah used him as the basis or background by which Daniel could deliver prophecies of the highest importance concerning the setting up of Messiah's kingdom.

Therefore the king wrote: "Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation." (Daniel 4:1-3) Accordingly, to men and women of "all people, nations, and languages" who desire peace to be multiplied to them, it is of deepest interest to consider the revelation which an earthly king, so high and mighty, saw good to relate, as follows:

He had a dream that troubled him. None of the religious wise men and counselors of his court could explain it. Remembering how Daniel had recalled and interpreted the king's forgotten dream concerning the terrible image and its destruction, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Jehovah's witness and related to him the dream:

"Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and, behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: the leaves

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thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; he cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: nevertheless, leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men." —Daniel 4:10-17.

Daniel interpreted the dream to foretell that seven years of madness would overtake Nebuchadnezzar, during which he could not personally carry on his imperial government but would become wild like a beast and live out in the open fields. After that his sanity would return, and he would be restored to his kingdom, which, like that banded tree stump in the ground, was held

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pending his return. By this experience he would know that the Most High God is all-powerful and has ordained who will reign in the Government over man.

Twelve months later Nebuchadnezzar gave way to boasting over great Babylon which he had built. Then there fell upon him a voice from heaven speaking the same message as in the dream, and he was instantly seized with mental unbalance and brutishness. He was let loose in the field to live and eat like a brute beast. When seven years had passed over him in this debased condition, God had mercy upon him and let his reason return, and he praised the Most High God. Then he resumed his throne. By such dealings Jehovah God, who had forewarned him by the prophetic dream and by Daniel, used him both to make a picture in miniature fulfillment of the dream and so to illustrate the great and complete fulfillment thereof.

About 150 years before this strange occurrence Isaiah was inspired to declare a prophetic "proverb against the king of Babylon". Isaiah likened him to a great tree, and then said: "How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, ... I will be like the Most High." (Isaiah 14: 4-14) At Eden the Most High God made the beautiful, shining spirit creature, Lucifer, to be the invisible overlord over the earth and its creatures. To Lucifer the prophecy

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says: "Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; . . . Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: ... Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." (Ezekiel 28:13-15) Therefore the great tree reaching unto heaven that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon saw pictured Lucifer's heavenly office, namely, the invisible overlordship over Adam and Eve and the lower animal creatures. That overlordship was then righteous.

When Lucifer gave way to iniquity and revolted against the supreme rule of the Most High God, he forfeited the right to be God's representative in the overlordship, and God debased Lucifer, who had become Satan, or God's opposer. God sentenced Satan to destruction, but permitted him to remain alive for a limited time till the controversy over Jehovah's name and supremacy should be fought out and finally settled. True, Satan continued in control over man, but not over righteous man, neither as God's righteous overlord over men. The office of righteous overlord no longer operated or grew, but was in suspension or abeyance until He should come who would prove right thereto, and then the Most High would give it to him, even though he be esteemed by this world as the "basest of men". This situation, therefore, was now as in the dream picture when the great tree was cut down and the earthly creatures were cleared out from under it, and only the stump of

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the tree was left in the ground, with bands of iron and brass about it.

The tree was not a dead issue. Its living stump testified that it would shoot forth a new stem and would grow up again, when God's due time should come and he would release the binding restraints from it. Likewise the invisible heavenly righteous overlordship over humankind would be revived or made operative again. This means that the kingdom of God, The Theocratic Government, would be set up over humankind, but only when God released the restraints in his appointed and declared time. When?

Not before "seven times" had passed over the symbolic tree stump could God, according to his own decree, establish the kingdom over men in the hands of a righteous invisible overlord. The prophetic dream does not indicate that the "seven times" began at Eden immediately with the rebellion of Lucifer and his loss of the right and authority of righteous overlordship. The facts in fulfillment show they did not begin then. The dream merely announces that in the tree stump's experience there would pass over it a period of "seven times" and that this would immediately precede the unhanding of the stump and its free growth again. In the miniature fulfillment of the dream upon Nebuchadnezzar he became like a beast, without human understanding, for seven years, after which he regained sanity and exercised his lordship over the empire.

This makes it clear that the "seven times" began with Nebuchadnezzar's overturning of Jeho-

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vah's typical Theocracy at Jerusalem, in 606 B.C. As long as the typical administration of God at Jerusalem operated at all, even imperfectly, in his name, that long there was some measure of national sanity and a partial exhibition of right rule among nations on this earth. But with the overthrow of the typical Theoc-

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racy there was then no restraint at all to the unreason and bestiality of human governors and humankind. The Gentile powers or governments were now exclusive in the field. God's covenant people no longer held any national sovereignty in the midst of this world, independently of the Gentile nations. What ruling nations then functioned were Gentile nations, with Babylon supreme on earth. Thus wholly "Gentile" times began. These must therefore be what Jesus Christ referred to, at Luke 21:24, as "the times of the Gentiles". Beginning in 606 B.C., and being seven in number, when would these "times" end and the righteous over-lordship of God's kingdom be established?

At Revelation 12: 6,14 there are 1,260 days referred to, after which the same period of days is described as "a time, and times, and half a time", or three and a half times, which is the half of seven times. Hence "seven times" would be twice 1,260 days, or 2,520 days. In the ark during the flood Noah counted the 150 days that the waters prevailed upon the earth before subsiding as 5 months, averaging 30 days to a month. (Genesis 7:11,24; 8:3,4) Therefore, 2,520 days would equal 84 months, which equals 7 years. This agrees with the miniature fulfillment of the dream where Nebuchadnezzar's madness of "seven times" was seven years long.

In the major or complete fulfillment the "seven times" must be larger than 2,520 literal days. Ezekiel, who prophesied at the same time as Daniel, was likewise inspired to give some

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time measures, and he gave this divine rule for calculating the time: "I. have appointed thee each day for a year." He also was banded until the time measures were up. (Ezekiel 4:6,8) Hence each of the 2,520 days, according to prophetic calculation in Daniel's prophecy, equals one year, solar time. By the same rule the "seven times", or "times of the Gentiles", amount to 2,520 years. In Nebuchadnezzar's time the year began counting from the fall of the year, or about October 1, our time. Since he destroyed Jerusalem in the summer of 606 B.C., that year had its beginning in the fall of 607 B.C. and its ending in the fall of 606 B.C.

Inasmuch as the count of the Gentile "seven times" began its first year at the fall of 607 B.C., it is simple to calculate when they end. From the fall of 607 B.C. to the fall of B.C. 1 is exactly 606 years. From the fall of B.C. 1 to the fall of A.D. 1 is one year, do not forget. Hence from the fall of B.C. 1 to the fall of A.D. 1914 is 1,914 years. Add now 606 years and 1,914 years, and the sum total is 2,520 years, ending in the fall of A.D. 1914. By this method Jehovah, who is an accurate Timekeeper as to his purposes, symbolically foretold that the "times of the Gentiles", that is, the "seven times", would continue and extend to the fall of A.D. 1914. Before that date, therefore, the true Theocratic Government of Messiah, which was foreshadowed by the typical Theocracy at Jerusalem, could not be set up.

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Said Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar in interpreting the meaning of the banded tree stump: "And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule." (Daniel 4:26) This pictured that God had not abandoned his original purpose to have a righteous overlordship over righteous men. Instead, the actual operation of the invisible overlordship by His appointed one was held in suspension until the "seven times" of Gentile domination of the earth had run out. Then Jehovah God's new appointee would assume the vacant overlordship in place of the unfaithful Lucifer and would start its operation. This would mean that the "kingdom of heaven", or God's kingdom by his anointed King, had been established and had come, regardless of whether the Gentile powers discerned and recognized that fact or not. It would mean that the time had come for them to get out of power and to give place to the Theocracy's rule over all the earth.

To whom does Jehovah give the heavenly overlordship over all men of good-will in A.D. 1914? Daniel 4:17 answers: "To the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men." "One low among men he setteth up over it." (Roth.) God has not given the "kingdom of men" to totalitarian and religious dictators, who are wicked, demonized men. Jeho-

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vah God has given the heavenly kingdom of the new world to the one whom politicians, commercial traffickers and religious clergy despise as the "basest of men", namely, Christ Jesus, who was nailed to a tree between two thieves. (Isaiah 53:1-12) This One foretold that at the end of the world, beginning in A.D. 1914, his true followers "shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake". Jehovah's witnesses are now so hated. (Matthew 24: 9) Concerning the government of the new world of righteousness the prophecy of Revelation 11:15-18 came true in A.D. 1914, at the end of the "seven times":

"The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign for ever and ever. . . . We give thee thanks, 0 Lord God, the Almighty, who art and who wast; because thou hast taken thy great power, and didst reign. And the nations were wroth, and thy wrath came." (A.R.V.) Now, therefore, we can understand why Christ the Messiah did not set up God's kingdom at his first advent or at once after ascending to heaven.



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