1917 and the Time of the Gentiles
Sceptics claim that "The fall of Jerusalem in 1917 to the invading British shows no outstanding probability factor. Indeed, when you understand how easy it is to ‘work’ with the figures, dates and time frames involved, we could link almost any event we like".
First of all, we would like to point out that GOD HAS HAD HIS HAND IN ALL OF HISTORY - nothing happens by coincidence. It is indeed HIS-STORY. It has been said that over one third of the Bible is prophecy. In Revelation, John wrote:
"And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (REVELATION 19:10). It is exciting when we see the fulfilment of prophecy IN HISTORY and we can share that as a testimony with others as evidence to the faithfulness and TRUTH OF GOD'S WORD.
We agree that there IS A DANGER that prophecy can be interpreted wrongly. The Bible itself says that NO SCRIPTURE IS OF ANY PRIVATE INTERPRETATION, and that is why we STAY CLEAR of many of the probability calculations.
However, when we see that there are MANY WITNESSES TO THE SAME EVENT, and that the "glove fits the hand" - then we can see that God's hand is in it.
The following prophecy was given regarding Jerusalem in the book of Isaiah:
"As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts DEFEND JERUSALEM; defending also HE WILL deliver it; and passing over HE WILL preserve it" (ISAIAH 31:5).
Many recognize that the deliverance of Jerusalem in 1917 was miraculous. The city was taken WITHOUT A SINGLE SHOT BEING FIRED, or without a building being damaged. This was without precedent in World War 1! It was one of the FIRST TIMES THAT AEROPLANES HAD BEEN USED in warfare and the way the city was delivered WAS BY THE PLANES flying over and dropping messages promising peace to the people. The Turks fled in panic!
It was not actually the INVADING BRITISH, BUT the AUSTRALIAN LIGHT HORSE who paved the way to victory by taking Beersheba! Winston Churchill wrote: "From the uttermost ends of the earth ships and soldiers are approaching or gathering in the eastern Mediterranean in FULFILMENT OF A DESTINY AS YET NOT UNDERSTOOD BY MORTAL MAN. The arrival of the ANZACS in Egypt created the NUCLEUS OF THE ARMY NEEDED TO ATTACK THE HEART OF THE TURKISH EMPIRE." 1
"Numbers of nations claim to have made the greatest cavalry charge in history, but what eleven Crusades had been UNABLE TO ACHIEVE, had been achieved by 800 young fresh-faced AUSTRALIAN Light Horsemen. GOD HAD USED ONE OF THE SMALLEST and YOUNGEST nations in the world as His spearhead to OPEN THE GATEWAY to His chosen city - Jerusalem. They had achieved the impossible!" The horses that night were watering at Abraham's "well of the oath" in Beersheba! "For the first time in 400 years, the road to Jerusalem was open, the Muslim stranglehold on the Holy Land was at last broken." 2
So we see that the WHOLE EVENT taking place in the deliverance of Jerusalem was significant IN MANY WAYS, which DRAWS OUR ATTENTION TO BIBLE PROPHECY, especially when it concerns Jerusalem. We also note that when men do things their way they fail, as in the Gallipoli Campaign, but when they stick to God's timing and plans we see miracles occur. Clearly GOD HAD PLANNED FOR JERUSALEM TO FALL IN 1917 all along. So we see from the scripture in Isaiah how God would deliver Jerusalem, but is there any indication of the day or the year?
Jesus Himself says when prophesying of Jerusalem's destruction:
"And they SHALL FALL by the edge of the SWORD, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (LUKE 21:24).
We read in Revelation: "
But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot FORTY AND TWO MONTHS. And I will give power unto my TWO WITNESSES, and they shall prophesy a THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND THREESCORE DAYS, clothed in sackcloth" (REVELATION 11:2-3).
So here we have a period of time that states how long the Holy City shall be trodden down. We see another interesting scripture in Revelation.
"A TIME, TIMES, AND A HALF" is used in REVELATION 12:14 as identical with 42 months and 1260 days, REVELATION 11:2-3; 12:6,14; 13:5, which expressions denote the period the Holy City was trodden down, the Two Witnesses Prophesied, the Woman was in the Wilderness, and the Revived Beast was on the Throne." 3
So here we have 3.5 times = 1260 days = 42 months (42 x 30) = 3.5 x 360 (days, or years, if we take a year for a day as according to NUMBERS 14:34 and EZEKIEL 4:6
"I have appointed thee each day for a year"). Thus 1 TIME = 360 days or years. See also DANIEL 12:7.
Yet another prophecy marks the 1917 liberation of Jerusalem. When we look at DANIEL 12:12, we read: "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED AND FIVE AND THIRTY DAYS." It is interesting to note that an "Egyptian coin of 1917 bears the Moslem 1335 date, given by God (DANIEL 12:12) in answer to Daniel's prayer (chapter 9) on behalf of Jerusalem and the Jewish people. In the Muslim year 1335 (A.D.1917) Jerusalem was delivered. Significantly, Jerusalem NEVER REACHED 1336, but from 1335 used the calendar of Anno Domini (the year of our Lord)" (see Figure 5). 4
(The date opposite 1917 is the Arabic for 1335)
Figure 5. The Coin of DANIEL 12:12
"EVEN THE DAY AND MONTH OF JERUSALEM'S DELIVERANCE was recorded by Haggai. He said it would be the 24th day of the Hebrew month Kislev, which for the year 1917 was 9 December.
God sent Haggai to deliver a proclamation to the civil and ecclesiastical representatives of the people, the Governor of Judah and the High Priest at Jerusalem. The prophet had to reprove the people through their leaders. They had been brought back from their 70 years captivity to the city where God had placed His name, and part of their FIRST DUTY should have been to rebuild and restore His house, in reverent thankfulness to Him for His mercy and grace.
Both leaders and people did heed the message, and commenced the rebuilding of the Temple to the glory of God. As a result, a second message, a message of blessing is brought to them from God by Haggai: it was given on the FOUR AND TWENTIETH DAY OF THE NINTH MONTH, and the importance of the date is bly emphasised; THREE TIMES OVER the word 'consider' is repeated. Unquestionably therefore, a SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE is meant to be placed on this date (HAGGAI 2:15,18). The ninth month of the Hebrew year is KISLEV (corresponding to part of November-December) and the Hebrew calendar being lunar, the date varies in relation to our calendar. Therefore we may recognise here AGAIN the finger of God in the deliverance of Jerusalem, WHEN WE FIND THAT IT OCCURRED ON THE EXACT DATE OF THE BLESSING FORETOLD THROUGH HAGGAI TWENTY-FOUR CENTURIES BEFOREHAND, for in 1917 the 24th Kislev fell on 9 December. Furthermore, ALL Hebrew days begin at the previous sunset, and from the beginning of the 24th Kislev (sunset on 8 December 1917) and all through the night, Turkish troops WERE EVACUATING THE HOLY CITY. By early morning, all had gone and soon after 8:00 am on 9 December (24th Kislev), the Mayor of Jerusalem, UNDER A WHITE FLAG, was seen coming from the city to surrender the keys..." 4
God's fingerprints are EVERYWHERE...
The following points are the main arguments against a prophetic understanding of what happened in Jerusalem 1917. Each will be answered in turn.
Question 1: The selection of starting dates for the calculation of the 7x punishment (2520 years) is arbitrary and gets adjusted as needed. Since 604 B.C. is convenient to arrive at 1917 A.D., this date is chosen. But why not choose 609 (first time a foreign "gentile" power took control) or 586 (Final destruction of Jerusalem)?
Answer 1: 604 B.C. is the date generally agreed for Jerusalem coming under Babylon's domination (King Jehoiakim IN CHAINS BEFORE NEBUCHADNEZZAR). IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DENY that there is a general pattern where periods of 2520 years EMERGE AS A SIGN of God's hand in the destiny of nations.
Question 2: The probability factor is not 1:2520, but depends on the dates available to start from. E.g. if there are 5 dates, the factor is only 1:504.
Answer 2: We are not too interested in probability calculations. HOWEVER, the FACT that several INDEPENDENT BIBLICAL PROPHECIES about the liberation of Jerusalem CAME TO PASS EXACTLY AS THE BIBLE DESCRIBES is undeniable.
Question 3: The seven times are not 2520 years, because
3a) the word 'time' doesn't occur at all; there is no time frame.
3b) Even if there were a time frame, several assumptions must be made: e.g. a year has to be 360 days, 1 day must be taken for 1 year.
Answer 3 (a&b): It is EASY to prove from Scripture that seven times represents 2520 years. Taking the following parallel scriptures we establish that time, times and a half is the same as 42 months:
"And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a TIME AND TIMES AND THE DIVIDING OF TIME" (DANIEL 7:25);
"And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue FORTY AND TWO MONTHS" (REVELATION 13:5). To conclude this, REVELATION 11:2-3 gives us the missing link to 1260 days:
"But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot FORTY AND TWO MONTHS. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND THREESCORE DAYS, clothed in sackcloth."
The maths makes a lot of sense - 42 months = 1260 days or prophetic years = 3.5 times. So 7 times represent 2x 1260 or 2520 years.
See also REVELATION 12:6,14.
Question 3(c): Why not take Nebuchadnezzar's seven times as seven years?
Answer 3(c): It seems exclusive to take this scripture as ONLY related to Nebuchadnezzar eating grass for seven years. The use of the term 'Times' implies that it ALSO HAS A PROPHETIC MEANING.
Question 3(d&e): The punishment in LEVITICUS 26 makes no reference to the 'times of the Gentiles' from LUKE 21:24. Neither is there a connection in LUKE 21:24 to the seven times punishment.
Answer 3(d&e): The two scriptures do relate to TWO DIFFERENT ISSUES. However, taking all the prophecies together, it becomes CLEAR that the end of the punishment coincides with the end of the time of the Gentiles (liberation of Jerusalem).
Question 3(f): Nowadays, the British do not have control over Israel, the Jews do - which destroys the whole argument.
Answer 3(f): Yes, that is true, but, AS WE KNOW, judgment is coming again upon Israel. (See EZEKIEL 38 & 39; ZECHARIAH 12:2). And this DOES NOT REALLY AFFECT the fulfilling of the promises in 1917 anyway.
Jesus said that JERUSALEM WOULD BE
"TRODDEN DOWN BY THE GENTILES" and in Revelation we read that that WAS TO BE FOR A SPECIFIED PERIOD OF TIME. From our study we see that the times of when the Mohammedan power took Jerusalem to when it was liberated ARE THE SAME. GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES!
"So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors" (MATTHEW 24:33). God has kept His plans, and there is NO NEED TO THINK OF AN EVENT AS COINCIDENCE OR WORK OUT PROBABILITIES.
Two excellent books on this subject are "As Birds Flying", by Andrew Adams and "800 Horsemen", by Col Stringer. These books detail the deliverance of Jerusalem and show the coin of 1917.
It is significant to NOTE THAT GOD USED HIS PEOPLE ISRAEL TO DELIVER THE HOLY CITY and that many Australians were used to pave the way for that deliverance. Indeed, "Many Australians have NO IDEA that over 200 Light Horsemen are buried in Jerusalem on Mount Scopus overlooking the Mount of Olives, the very spot to which Jesus Christ will return!" 5
"This Great South Land of the Holy Spirit HAS BEEN USED in liberating the city of Jerusalem, in the natural realm. Is it possible we will now be used the same way in the spiritual realm? First the natural, then the spiritual. There ARE PARALLELS." 5
- 1. Stringer, Col., 1998, '800 Horsemen: God's History Makers - Australia's Place in Bible Prophecy', p.62. Quote from: 'Winston Churchill - World in Crisis'
- 2. Stringer, Col., 1998, '800 Horsemen: God's History Makers - Australia's Place in Bible Prophecy', p.86.
- 3. Halley, Henry H., 1927, 'Halley's Bible Handbook - The Time Periods of the Book of Daniel'
- 4. a. b. Stears, J. M., 1991, 'As Bird's Flying'
- 5. a. b. Stringer, Col., 1998, '800 Horsemen: God's History Makers - Australia's Place in Bible Prophecy', p.170.