Albert Barnes, Various Comments on Psalm 25

On Affliction and the Remembrance of Our Sins

On Psalm 25:7- Remember not the sins of my youth – In strong contrast with God, the psalmist brings forward his own conduct and life. He could ask of God (Psalm 25:6) to remember His own acts – what “He himself” had done; but could not ask him to remember His conduct – His past life. He could only pray that this might be forgotten. He did not wish it to come into remembrance before God; he could not ask that God would deal with him according to that. He prays, therefore, that he might not be visited as he advanced in life with the fruits of his conduct in early years, but that all the offences of that period of his life might be forgiven and forgotten.

Who is there that cannot with deep feeling join in this prayer? Who is there that has reached the period of middle or advanced life, who would be willing to have the follies of his youth, the plans, and thoughts, and wishes of his early years brought again to remembrance? Who would be willing to have recalled to his own mind, or made known to his friends, to society around him, or to assembled worlds, the thoughts, the purposes, the wishes, the “imaginings” of his youthful days? Who would dare to pray that he might be treated in advancing years as he treated God in his own early life? Nay, who would venture to pray that God would treat him in the day of judgment as he had treated the friends of his childhood, even the father who begat him, or the mother who bore him? Our hope in regard to the favor of God is that he will “not” summon up the thoughts and the purposes of our early years; that he will “not” treat us as if he remembered them; but that he will treat us as if they were forgotten.

On Psalm 25:17- O bring thou me out of my distresses – Alike from my sins, and from the dangers which surround me. These two things, external trouble and the inward consciousness of guilt, are not infrequently combined. Outward trouble has a tendency to bring up the remembrance of past transgressions, and to suggest the inquiry whether the affliction is not a divine visitation for sin. Any one source of sorrow may draw along numerous others in its train. The laws of association are such that when the mind rests on one source of joy, and is made cheerful by that, numerous other blessings will be suggested to increase the joy; and when one great sorrow has taken possession of the soul, all the lesser sorrows of the past life cluster around it, so that we seem to ourselves to be wholly abandoned by God and by man.

On Psalm 25:18- And forgive all my sins – The mind, as above remarked, connects trouble and sin together. When we are afflicted, we naturally inquire whether the affliction is not on account of some particular transgressions of which we have been guilty; and even when we cannot trace any direct connection with sin, affliction suggests the general fact that we are sinners, and that all our troubles are originated by that fact. One of the benefits of affliction, therefore, is to call to our remembrance our sins, and to keep before the mind the fact that we are violators of the law of God. This connection between suffering and sin, in the sense that the one naturally suggests the other, was more than once illustrated in the miracles performed by the Saviour. (See Matt 9:2)

The Great Deformation

How Technological Society Deformed the Traditional Church

Industrialism has affected every individual and altered every institution of society. The church is no exception. The ills of this deeply troubled institution have been blamed on many causes, but any analysis that does not take into account the effects of industrialism must fail to give an accurate picture. Let’s look at some of the more obvious effects of the technological society in the church.

“When a human society moves from traditional to technological society, a basic principle changes in the organization of the social structure. The organization shifts from a social pattern in which relationship is the most fundamental consideration to a social pattern in which functional accomplishment is the most fundamental consideration. An overall systemic change occurs in the structure of human society, and this change reshapes everything in human life. Because the change is systemic, many elements change in a subordinate way. ” (Man and Woman in Christ, Stephen B. Clark, p.472)

In our last installment, we saw that the strong traditional family has been reduced to the modern “nuclear” family, or conjugal unit. This radical alteration and weakening of the basic unit of society alone would have adversely affected the church if nothing else had. The church has been weakened by the weakness of the family. The church is modeled after the family, and so any fundamental change in the family must either clash with the traditional pattern of familial life in the church, or the church must adapt to the changed family, and become weakened by doing so. If the love of a man for his brother and sister in the extended, consanguineal family (the pattern for relationships in the church) becomes weak, then the exercise of brotherly love in the church will be correspondingly reduced. If the pattern of respect for the aged and care for the infirm in the family is destroyed, then how can it be retained in the church? When a man’s wife works in the office or factory, supervising the work of men, how can she be expected to accept a subordinate role in the church?

It is bad enough that the family has been pushed to the brink of destruction. One effect of this has been the complete detachment of many individuals from families, and the effective replacement of the family as the fundamental unit of society by the isolated individual. The church suffers from the presence of people who have been torn away from the support of committed relationships, who do not know how and/or are unwilling to commit to anyone. Work, the mortgage and the car payment are often their primary commitments. Church and especially the community life are way down the list. In addition, these atomistic individuals, lacking the support structures that should be supplied by committed relationships are often emotionally damaged and unstable.

Another effect of technological society upon the church is in the area of charitable works. As the family, the church and other more personalized institutions that have traditionally taken care of the poor, the incompetent, orphans and the sick begin to crumble, the care of social needs shifts from the realm of stable personal relationships to the realm of specialized, impersonal social welfare institutions. Either the church accepts a reduction of its sphere of activity and influence, or it accepts regulation by the state in order to maintain its role as a care provider.

In the technological society, the nature of all government moves from personal to bureaucratic. This means that leaders are chosen more for the skill and training they bear than for their personal qualities. Also, the means used to control people and effect changes in their behavior become bureaucratic and technological means. Clark observes:

“As forms of government change, so do the ways of exercising authority or “social control” (a sociological term derived from the leadership models of technological society). In traditional society, a, leader relies primarily upon the direct exercise of personal authority within a personal relationship. A different mode of social control emerges in technological society. Rather than exerting direct authority, the leaders of mass institutions prefer to establish policy, make regulations, and influence opinions. In short, the governing institutions regulate and propagandize. The people in technological society are very susceptible to such control because they are all individuals isolated from one another and unconnected to stable groupings which loyally hold and carefully pass on other values. Moreover, much of this type of social control affects people on a less than conscious level. People are often unaware that they are being controlled, and will accept this control willingly while reacting against anything that looks like a direct exercise of authority. For example, most modern Americans resist and dislike clear commands and directions, but they submit with readiness to various forms of control through opinion formation. The exercise of social control in technological society can be at least as thoroughgoing as in traditional society, and perhaps more so.”

When people take amiss the exercise of personal authority that the Bible establishes in the office of the elder, how is one to correct them? If the elder is faithful in his discharge of the duties of his office, and deals out admonition or rebuke, he will be sure to offend the man who is used to being asked by his boss to do his job. Such indirect means will not do, however, to get him to repent of sin. One must be pointed and specific, and must uphold the judgments of God’s word when dealing with sin. This he will not tolerate, for he will feel that he is being abused.

Clark highlights another symptom of functionalism influencing the church:

“… functional and relational groupings differ from one another in the way they approach change. Functional groupings tend to prize innovation and flexibility, whereas relational groupings value stability.”

The accelerating rate of change in the broader culture is affecting the church, for as it adapts to technological society, it must be able to change quickly, and in unpredictable ways. The direction of those changes is however, predictable. Gradually, as efficiency considerations replace relational considerations in the society at large, the church will re-define itself in functional terms. Both man’s relationship with God and with his fellowman will become secondary to projects and goals. Officers will be evaluated for their energy and ability to “get things done”, rather than for piety, integrity, experience.

As in every institution, tradition and truth will give way to pragmatism as a source of authority. Modernistic assumptions about reality will penetrate in countless small but significant ways long before they are consciously recognized and accepted in theology. Modest dress has already been re-defined in cultural-relative terms. The church organization will be gone over, and modern educational theory increasingly applied. Youthful, professional “pastors” with a thorough grounding in Liberal theology will replace sober, godly men with “out-dated” ideas.

Human beings must have some place in their lives for relaxation, spontaneity and the expression of emotion. Formerly, these expressions of humanness were not separated from the other activities of life. The European peasant might work a long day, but he might stop for an hour to have a beer with a friend who passes by, or to intervene in a family crisis. He might sing aloud as he worked. The modern tendency is to divorce purposive, goal-oriented activities from expressive activities. Workers rightly resent the regimentation of the factory system, and often spend a large part of their private time reacting and compensating. This has clearly influenced many churches, which try to provide a relaxed and spontaneous setting. Too often, worship becomes an emotional exercise governed by irrationality and sentiment.

Sometimes, the cult of efficiency has a more direct effect. The church services become wholly functionalized in terms of education, fund-raising, recruitment of workers and other functional goals. The corporate relationship with God: the celebration of the privileges and blessings of his covenant, and the gathering of the church in His presence to commune with him ceases to be the focus. Expressive activities are muted. The celebration of the Lord’s Supper, since it is not a functional and purposive activity, is infrequent. What matters is learning how to serve God and doing his work.

I have only scratched the surface of this subject. It deserves a much fuller treatment. My aim is to at least alert the Christian community to the encroachment of technological society in ways that have gone largely unobserved before. Here is Clark’s summary of the effects of functionalism:

“The basic units of technological society are the individual and the mass collective rather than a set of relational groupings, and this affects both government and social services. Achieved positions are valued more than inherited positions. Commitments become partial and functionally-specific. The realm of personal relationships and human expressiveness is separated from the functional realm, resulting in relationships based primarily on emotion, preference, and an anti-structural anti-purposive bias. These changes amount to a radical transformation in the shape of human society.” (Man and Woman in Christ, Stephen B. Clark, p.490)

It is time to take stock of the damage this “radical transformation in the shape of human society” has quietly — but effectively — wrought in our churches. Only then can an equally radical reformation take place.

Howard Douglas King, March 27, 2019

Originally published as “The Modern Church”, part 4 of “A Christian Agrarian Critique of Technological Society” in Foundations 1:4, May 28, 2002

Kinist Separatism Reproved

An Open Letter to Joe Putnam

Concerning his Article

“Sitting Among Strangers”

Hey, Joe!

I greet you, brother, in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ!

I hope you don’t mind the length of this letter. When I sat down to write it, I had no idea that I would end up writing a book.

I have read with interest your essay, “Sitting Among Strangers”. You have not asked for my comment; but since you sent it to me, I assume that you want me to read it, and that you are open to discussion.

I have lived my allotted fourscore and ten years; and I write to you as an older man to a younger. As the Scripture says, wisdom belongs to age – not because we are any smarter – but because we ancient ones have lived along enough that we have had to recognize and pay for our errors.

Brother, I agree with you on the fundamental doctrines of the faith, and I also appreciate your critique of Christianity in the technological society. We are living in the most unnatural way, and the way that we live – even us who are Christians – is far, far from the way of traditional agrarianism, the way of our forbears. The order which God established at the creation of the world has no significance for the people who created this mess that we have to live in.

Have to live in, Joe. We cannot escape the world in which the Providence of God has placed us. We cannot change the powers that rule it. We cannot reform it. We must be in it, even though we are not of it.

We must respect authorities; while retaining the right to disobey them when they tell us to disobey God. We are bound to live within the authority structure that Jesus Christ and his Apostles ordained for us two thousand years ago. And that authority structure is as the bones to the body of the living Church of Jesus Christ.

That church is one comprised of believers the whole world over. Jesus our Lord has built the church, and is building it, stone by living stone. He has selected each one of us individually, to fill a specific place: and every one of us has been been washed, clothed in robes of pure white, and given a place at the royal table with all the saints! Bless God for His infinite grace!

And here’s the thing, Joe. We are – all Christians, “brethren”. It does not diminish this relationship that it is spiritual; for the spiritual is superior to the earthly.

The unity and diversity of the church is illustrated by the Apostle Paul:

“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (1Co 12:12-13)

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal 3:26-29)

To divide the church into family units would contradict the teaching of these texts.

We are bound together with a bond stronger, more lasting, and more important than kinship. Our kinship to Jesus Christ himself is the thing that matters, as he said in unequivocal language:

“While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Mat 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35)

“And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (Mat 19:29)

“And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luk 14:25-27)

And there can be no living relationship with Him unless we are willing to accept as brethren and beloved all those others who are in his family, to love them fervently, to love them as we love God:

“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” (1Jn 3:11-18)

We are to do good to all men, but especially to those of the household of faith:

“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Gal 6:10)

In your paper, you state your opinion that Kinism, etc. is the most important criterion in deciding what church you should attend:

“This incident once again got me to thinking about Kinism, genealogy, and regional culture. It is of utmost importance.” When I was sitting at that last IFB church in my home county, *I was sitting amongst strangers*. Most of them (including the pastor) were not my people, and had no connection to my people and culture.”

You say that believers of a different bloodline and/or culture are no more to be regarded than “strangers”. You say that they are “not [your] people”. Joe, do you hear yourself? Does this agree with the Scriptures that I have quoted above? If it does, please tell me how your opinion can be reconciled to the words of Jesus our Lord and Master.

But this is not all. You go on:

“Local churches should be composed predominantly of *local* people -those of the same race and regional culture.”

“…those of the same race and regional culture”? Can you give me chapter and verse? Or is this merely your own theological construct? I can’t find it in the Bible.

“Doctrine alone is not enough to make a cohesive church, as evidenced literally from the beginning, with the Jew versus Gentile disputes recorded in the New Testament.”

Truly, sameness of doctrine alone is not enough to make a cohesive church. But your attempt to prove this is weak. Yes, there were ongoing conflicts between apostate Jews and Gentile Christians (but also Jewish Christians) until the Jewish wars, when the Jews lost their connection to the power and influence of Rome: which made it virtually impossible for them to persecute Christians; being now a proscribed sect themselves. This is a matter of history.

But the enmity between Jews and Gentiles evident in Paul’s epistles that affected the church did not come from within the church: it was caused by self-righteous Jews who in their arrogance thought that they must straighten out these uncircumcised, heathen followers of Messiah Jesus.

But your claim that there cannot be a cohesive church composed of Jews and Gentiles is incorrect. You err in this, Joe, because it is evident that the church in Jerusalem, composed of Jews and Gentiles, was so “cohesive” that “…the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common”! (Act 4:32) They were, in truth, a family — the family of God. They treated each other as if they were an extended family.

“And going to a church of local folk that teaches false doctrine is also not acceptable. The correct answer is that one should seek out (or found) a proper doctrine teaching church in ones own area, filled with ones own people.”

Are you really sure of that, beyond all doubt? Is this really “the correct answer”or just your answer?

“When one goes to a local church made up largely of outsiders, that speaks of “church family” being more important than your actual kin and neighbors, one is setting themselves up for manipulation, cult-like thinking, and public scandals.”

But such evils as you name have occurred in every church, even the churches planted and overseen by the Apostles! Witness the letters of Paul. That is why there are official overseers, and why there is church discipline. I know of a church composed along the lines that you advocate. The pastor, also one of the extended family, said that his greatest difficulty is just teaching people to “get along”. Family infighting can be brutal, Joe! Alas! Your formula will not solve the problem of human sinfulness – or the constant activity of the Evil One.

“My strong focus on kith and kin is at odds with what could be termed “proposition only modern Christianity”, and with the IFB movement. After 400 years of gospel witness in America, why would one seek out a church pastored by an outsider, and peopled principally by outsiders? It will not work out long term.”

Why? For a number of reasons. First, the church, as you say, ought to be really local. The members of a church family, must live close enough to each other that they can fulfill the commandments as to daily social life: the “one another” rules of the New Testament that make real “the communion of saints”. This, in the case of urban churches, at least, will inevitably result in a mixture of people. Even a family-based rural church of any size will, if it is evangelistic, have to eventually include many “outsiders”. Will you exclude them from the social life of the church? Or will you reckon them your brothers and treat them as family? Will you allow them to intermarry with “your people”? How far is this separatism to go?

“And, you may get a surprise if the ruling clique covers-up the sins of their friends, family, or ministry colleagues. Cops are rumored to occasionally cover up for their corrupt brothers in blue, and professional preachers are no different.”

I know it. I have been the victim of it myself. The exercise of authority always leads to abuses and self-protection. Fathers fail in their duties to their family because they are sinful men “of like passions as we are”. They chasten us according to their pleasure”, as Paul states in Hebrews. It is an evil that cannot be wholly eradicated, and therefore must be tolerated. As an aside, the Presbyterian form of government, as well as that of Lutherans, Anglicans, and other “connectional” churches are better equipped than autonomous local churches like the IFB to hold tyrannical pastors accountable.

“Who are you sitting beside in the pews? Are they part of your people, with multi-generational ties to your area and culture? You know their name, but do you know them? Probably not. I will never again sit in a church of strangers.”

Wow! I guess that means me. Never? Your experience seems to have affected your judgment, Joe. It looks to me that you had a shocking experience that made you afraid for your family and have over-reacted. Would you have us all live in suspicion of each other?

And if those “strangers” should turn the tables and treat you as a stranger, how would you feel about that? Would you leave, or open your heart to your spiritual brothers and sisters? Would you split the church and take your people elsewhere? Then would your church isolate itself from all the churches composed of “strangers”? So much for inter-church relations!

I beg you to re-consider, and with an open heart and mind, review the Scriptures that I have set before you. You have people that respect your opinion and Scripture knowledge. Don’t let it go to your head. What if you change your mind someday and find that you have led people astray? You can tear up the body of Christ with your “correct answer”, that you are so sure of, Joe.

I wish you all God’s best, Joe!

Yours in Christ,

Howard Douglas King

Do We Worship Donald Trump?

Some say that we “deplorables” (I wear the name with pride) worship Donald Trump – that we have made an idol of him. Perhaps we have rested our hopes too much on the man: if we have, we must repent of it. But I rather suspect that our love for him has a different basis. Every movement must have a leader. The peaceful protests of the people of Hong Kong, and the “Arab Spring” of the Iranians failed because they had no leader.

Donald Trump is a true, capable leader, and absolutely dedicated to the cause. We follow him, not only because he advocates and defends our precious freedoms; but because, as President, he proved his genuineness by keeping the promises he made to us.

I am on record that we cannot hope to save our country unless God intervenes in a mighty way. Our leader’s removal from office underscores the point: political means will be ineffectual unless God acts in our favor. Accordingly, we must humble ourselves, as Mr. Trump has been humbled. Give God all the glory for the good our Donald has been able to accomplish!

Biden and his puppet-masters will try to undo all the good he has done. Our prayers invoke a higher power to frustrate them. They cannot succeed unles he permits it; but God uses means; and Donald Trump is evidently the man He has given us. It may be that all our efforts will fail because God has determined that it is time to require the blood of innocent babes, and to judge America for her sins. But we do not absolutely know that. God would have delayed his judgment on Sodom for the sake of ten righteous men in the whole city! We must not presume to say that God’s forbearance is exhausted; while at the same time we say that we are praying in faith for it to continue.

So we must continue to hope while we pray; and to resist the tyranny of the high and mighty Globalists and Communists who now hold the seats of power. Do not cower before their seeming invincibility. Think of that corrupt career politician who has usurped the Presidency as another Pharoah, secure on his throne; but in truth, ready to be cast down and crushed by the power of the God he proudly refused to acknowledge!

It is our duty to resist while we can, regardless of the outcome. We will be judged by our character and our deeds, no matter whether we fail or succeed. The stalwarts whose brave, yet futile stand at the Alamo are rightly held in honor! The Greeks who gave their lives to hold back the vast horde of Persian invaders at Thermopylae, without hope of final victory, are justly remembered two thousand years after for their indomitable courage! And all the martyrs of the Christian church “failed” when their lives were snuffed out; but they live and reign with Christ, and in God’s judgment their failure was the ultimate victory!

So take heart! It is not a man that we worship; but the God who gave him to us in His mercy, when the kingdom was threatened by the dismal specter of an Athaliah on the throne! May that same mercy preserve what is left of our republic, and establish “the rule of law, not of men”, in answer to our fervent, believing prayers! It seems impossible; but our Lord Jesus delights in delivering His people just when their cause is lost, and deliverance seems impossible! Then the glory will go to the True and Almighty Deliverer; not to us, who are at our best merely His instruments.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Howard Douglas King

January the 26th, in the year of our Lord 2021

The People’s Republic of America

Welcome to the People’s Republic of America

Welcome to the new People’s Republic of America, the latest satellite nation of the People’s Republic of China, complete with its own supreme leader, Chairman Joe. With the last national election (the fairest, most honest, and most accurate in history) we have advanced beyond the divisive two-party system to a one-party state. This will be more efficient, since people will no longer need to decide who to vote for.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Truth media network will now remove the necessity for the people to know anything at all about the candidates, or waste precious time debating issues; since they will all be told what to think and what to say. Other, unauthorized media outlets will no longer spread the unhealthy opinions of the political right: its lies and disinformation that confuse the people and threaten the unity of the State.

Papa Joe and the Party will see to it that everyone’s time is better employed in this new extension of the workers’ paradise. The problem of unemployment that has plagued our country will be solved by instituting universal employment. The elderly will receive for their years of service a generous pension, sufficient to buy a loaf of bread every week and a bottle of whiskey; if they can find any to buy.

Medical care will be the same for all who cannot afford to bribe the hospital staff.

Every thing in the People’s Republic is owned by the people; which means free housing, free education, free transportation, free medical care, and free recreation. Therefore, the people have little need for money. Excessive wages would only tempt them to engage in the many vices that flourished under Capitalism.

The inequality of pay between men and women is a thing of the past. Now every worker will receive the same reasonable wages. The pernicious discrimination against those who work with their hands in favor of so-called “professionals” will no longer be tolerated. In a democratic state, there can be no room for any discrimination: there must be complete equality. Of course this rule cannot be applied to the political class, (who, due to their responsibilities and their exhausting labor of love in caring for the workers) require and deserve greater compensation.

The Party is pledged to guarantee the free exercise of religion and freedom of atheist propaganda. All religions will be treated the same, without any discrimination between them. Special locations will be set aside for their residence, where they will be able to live in harmonious communities as they joyfully share in the labor required for the maintenance of the ACP and the State. Medical services beyond any available in the old America will now be provided in these communities. Organ donations will be strongly encouraged; so that there will be no shortage when someone needs a transplant.

The measures required for efficient population control have been known for many years; but no one has ever had the courage and political will to implement them. But now, with our brave Leader at the helm, these and other measures to prevent over-population will be taken, including the termination of inexpedient pregnancies, the culling of young, and the easing of misery – for the terminally ill, and those who have a poor quality of life. The population will incidentally be further controlled by the liberal use of capital punishments.

There are some perverse and violent criminals who will, for reasons that cannot be fathomed, resist the wholesome changes introduced by the Party. These rebellious swine are not entitled to the protection of the laws which are designed for the peace and order of society. Nevertheless the state will always respect their humanity, and will treat them as comrades who have gone astray. Whenever they are found, they are taken to hospitals, which have resources and expertise to treat the criminally insane, the unsocialized, the mis-educated, and other rightists. Only those who – despite the best efforts of their caregivers – cannot be cured, will be permanantly prevented from reentering the society for which they are unfit.

Welcome, Comrade Zhi! We are sure that everything will be found to your liking.

Thanks to Obama, China is Beating us at Cyber-warfare

As if we were not in enough trouble — as if Obama had not done enough damage to our country — now this.  If this is true, it explains the audacity of the Marxists in this country that we have witnessed in the last year.  They think that they are invincible.  And they may be right.  Yet one more reason that President Trump must remain our president. We can’t let “China Biden” assume the highest office! Our Donald is the only one with the courage and smarts to take on the CCP!

Call your Senators and Congressmen and let them know how angry you are about the Congress’ failure to stand by our great President in a time of unprecedented crisis.  Tell them that you will never accept the results of the most corrupt election in our history.  If they are Republicans, if they are RINOs, call them out and shame them!  Demand action!  Tell them that you will remember their malfeasance at the next election.  Every voice counts!

A Tribute to Donald Trump

In my fifty years as an American voter and an observer of national affairs, I have never been so proud of any President of my country as I am of this President, Donald John Trump. I loved and admired President Reagan. I was proud that I had played a small part in the election that put him in the White House. But by the end of his first term, I was disappointed in him for doing so little to fulfill the hopes of the cultural conservatives – and in particular, the evangelical Christians – whose support had been crucial to his electoral victory. This I attributed to bad counsel; but that is really not an adequate excuse.

President Trump, on the other hand, has not disappointed me.

I am still amazed whenever I stop to consider what he has done for this nation. A list of his triumphs, leaving out any comment, would fill several pages. He has kept, or sincerely tried to keep, every one of the promises which he made to us when he wanted to secure our votes. This is not only rare in elected officials – it is unheard of in a modern President. That he has achieved so much while suffering so many indignities for so long – a constant, protracted flood of abuse, insults, incitements to violence and attacks upon him, his fellows, and his family – a persecution also unprecedented in modern times, almost seems a miracle.

Who else of us could have born it and kept calm enough to work every day, rising up early to attack – not his enemies, but – the problems of the nation, and of the people that he governs? There have been some men of iron like him in history. Limiting ourselves to the last half a millennium, and to secular men, the nearest likeness that I could draw would be between Donald Trump and Oliver Cromwell. You, my reader, may have other ideas; and you are entitled to them, but this is my own.

Not to press a point, Cromwell was a despised “puritan” (or more accurately, what was then called an “independent”) who became a Member of Parliament, then a general and at length, Commander of the Parliamentary army, and finally “Lord Protector”, the supreme power in his England; only because he believed himself to be called of God to do so. He thought that his country needed such a man as himself to guide her through turbulent, perilous times; and finding no other man able and willing to assume that role, he was forced to do it himself. After the war, having led the army to victory, he found it necessary to deprive himself of a well-deserved, peaceful retirement to his country home; in order that he might attempt to rule and unite an almost ungovernable nation torn by party strife. He sacrificed his own affairs and his health to the needs of his nation until the day he died. That, I conceive, is the kind of man we now have as our President. I almost feel that it is unfair of us to ask our Donald to endure another four years in office for our sakes; but to whom else can we turn? He is a man with feet of clay, to be sure; but what a man! What a fighter! Like the great Englishman, he has hitherto been unconquerable!

The time is past when we can afford to bear with the misrule of the two-party political establishment with its “good cop/ bad cop” swindle. That avaricious pack of wolves has been fiddling while America burns (or rather burning it down to warm themselves at the fire) long enough! Enough! I say. Who else but Donald Trump has ever opposed that monstrous combination of pillagers, liars and self-serving hypocrites! Who else has not only opposed, but led a successful attack against those people who had presided over America’s decline that they might fill their own pockets!

Trump is a fighter! We might have preferred a man who displays the same social graces in public as he does in his private life. We would rather have had someone without his history. I would have chosen an orator – not a man who speaks the language of ordinary Americans. But God gave us what we needed – not, (at least in every respect) what we wanted. We do not need, in these times, a soft-spoken man, a man with the manners of an aristocrat, who is yet no more than a reed shaken by the wind. We need a Cromwell, who though possessing the rude manners of a seventeenth century country squire, was a soldier of indomitable will. We need someone who fears God and not man.

What America needs now is a patriot. We need a man that sincerely and passionately loves his country; and that is willing to sacrifice his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor for the nation and the people that he loves. Our Donald is such a man. He has defended us from foreign threats and put an end to the bellicose foreign policy that has involved us in endless and unproductive wars waged chiefly for the benefit of the arms industry. He has made peace between hitherto irreconcilable nations, and extended the olive branch to those who intended us harm. He has used economic warfare – the enormous power America possesses by virtue of its wealth and its markets – to discourage our enemies. But there is an iron fist in this velvet glove. Our military supremacy is such that few, if any, would wish to provoke America to bare its mighty arm! Yes, upon full consideration, I think that I am fully justified in saying that Donald Trump is a true patriot.

There was a day (a long time ago it seems; but many of us will remember it for the rest of our lives) when we went to bed thinking that a certain woman would be the next President of the United States. We could not bear to watch the results of the election come in. We resigned ourselves to the depressing and dreadful prospect that there would be a continuation, probably an escalation, of the ruinous course pursued so ruthlessly and relentlessly by the previous President. America was doomed, we thought. Our hope of a change of course was dashed to pieces. It was over!

But we were wrong! How we exulted, how we danced for joy when we woke up to the news that the improbable had occurred – that the darling of the Left had failed! Some of us had cast our votes against the felonious female who had called us “deplorables” rather than for Mr. Trump. Still, there was some hope in the man who had promised to put America first, and to rebuild our country instead of tearing it down! Perhaps he had meant it. Time would tell: we would wait and see. At least, the worst had been avoided; and we were thankful.

We were soon to be pleasantly surprised. In his inauguration speech, he condemned the former Presidents who sat near him on the dais to their faces! He promised us once again, in no uncertain terms, a radical agenda that would make America great again. And he hit the ground running.

The reforms came thick and fast. He had charted his course, and would persevere in it against all opposition: he meant to keep his promises. And he has. But he has just begun.

There is no need to enumerate the changes that he has made. You will remember a few, though the fake news media have tried to keep them from us. You may be surprised if you will review the partial list of them found here and here and here. There are more than a hundred of them in one of the lists. America has been, to a great extent, renewed. There are limitations to what can be achieved by politics; and our President’s agenda is not identical to our own. But we cannot expect too much. There has been too much damage to repair in a day. Still, there has been an excellent beginning! The crumbled foundations are being repaired. It is truly wonderful to see what he has accomplished in so short a time!

It would be too cold an expression to say that I like the man: I am not ashamed to say that I love him. I do not worship him. But I respect him. I admire him. And I believe in him. If he can overcome the perpetrators of a fraudulent election and claim the victory that should by right be his, he will continue to bring real hope and change to America, as he has done so far.

While very many of America’s people have been corrupted by a Statist education and brainwashed by the organs of propaganda (the media that Trump has branded with the infamous and perfectly true epithet, “fake news”); the large majority of patriotic Americans are behind our President. He has our loyalty and our love. Our word to him is, “Never give up! Never give in! Never concede that the crooked and illegitimate process that the Left call an “election” was won by your opponent. You won the vote; and we know it. You are the legitimate President. They must not prevail!”

I feel the inadequacy of my words. I beg the reader’s pardon. But I ask for your consideration; for I speak out of the fullness of my heart; in sincerity and with conviction. I felt bound to write this – by the bonds of duty and gratitude. I thank God for Donald Trump; and I pray that God would deliver him from the wicked men who lie in wait to destroy him.

God bless Donald Trump!

God bless America!

YouTube’s Hypocrisy and the 2020 U.S. Election

Why does Youtube allow ads from snake-oil salesmen (such as doctors who claim that they can cure or prevent almost any disease) and other obvious frauds; and at the same time seem to be concerned about so-called “false or misleading statements” that are really not obviously false or misleading? Why do they insist on putting the label at the top of conservative Youtube channels or news stories that criticize (or even just question) the validity of the 2020 election with the misleading statement that the “AP has already called the election for Biden”? What this implies is that there is no legitimacy in any opinion not sanctioned by the AP; when in fact what the AP or any other news organization says has no authority to declare the result of the election. Any statement they make at this time is no more than editorial opinion.

Until the votes are certified, the electors chosen and their votes cast, the election process is not over. Only by condemning or ignoring the legal challenges that are being made can they pretend to have any basis for censuring those who claim that the definitive results of the election are yet to be determined. But it is unarguable that the election is not over until it can be determined which votes are legitimate and which are illegitimate; and then the legitimate votes counted and the illegitimate votes discarded. Isn’t this obvious?

Many are of the opinion that this procedure is not necessary; but they cannot give a real reason based upon evidence to support their opinion because they do not know (or will not acknowledge) the facts. That there was election fraud has been acknowledged by no other authority than the chairman of the Federal Elections Commission; and the Attorneys General of many states concur. The results have not even been certified by some of the crucial or “battleground” states because so many and varied irregularities have been found. There have been at least eight or nine discrete kinds of cheating documented, some on such a large scale that they could affect the results of the election in several states.

These irregularities (including improper and illegal procedures in vote counting centers: votes having been counted without the verification of names, addresses, or signatures, the same vote having been counted more than once, the votes of dead people having been counted and the exclusion of Republican poll watchers from the process they were empowered by law to verify) are documented in the affidavits of many hundreds of eyewitnesses who have sworn, on penalty of perjury, that they are telling the truth.

So there is no doubt that fraud occurred; and as a country of laws, we must know the extent of fraud and who committed it. There is no reasonable or responsible or honest alternative. One suspects that the reason Youtube and other organizations are pushing for President Trump to immediately concede is – given their track record of promoting Socialist opinions and censuring those of Constitutionalists on their platform – because they do not want the facts to come to light.

The hypocrisy of presenting ads that make false and misleading claims while censuring statements that – according to American law and tradition – are defined as “free speech” while claiming to be a neutral platform that only censures content that is likely or demonstrably fraudulent, is plain and easy to see.

Howard Douglas King

Why I Hate the New Technology

I had a heck of a night. I was up ’til 3 am trying to install a security program on my phone. I started working on it at 10pm. I guessed that it would take 5 or 10 minutes; but it soon became obvious that I could never do it, given any amount of time. You see, there is a whole new smartphone language that requires a translator. The apparently simple instructions are really a code for what you are actually supposed to do. I couldn’t break the code. I gave up trying to do it on my own about midnight and contacted the security software company.

That’s when the real fun began. They boast of 24/7 Technical Support. Well, I admit it’s technical; but it’s a stretch calling it support. There is no phone number to call and get a real live person, like the old days. You have to look at a list of problems that doesn’t include the problem you have; and then, when that inevitably fails, you resignedly check the “no” box to the question they ask you, “was this helpful’. You want to shoot someone (or get someone to shoot you) at this point.

But don’t despair! You can “chat’ with a technician. This means typing your name and phone number and then trying to find the terms to describe your problem to a simpleton. That’s not fair – it’s just that he doesn’t comprehend standard English: his language is “Technese” – an apparent simpleton, then. Now, if and when (think in terms of hours rather than minutes) you finally manage to get your problem across, you will find that this person cannot solve it for you. You are about to be referred to a “specialist”.

You sit on hold so long that you may forget what you were trying to achieve; and then someone comes on to whom you will have to repeat everything you just said to the first technician. The “specialist” will say, “I’ll be glad to help you. What is it that you are trying to do?” and then you explain – again. By now, you would choose strangling rather than life.

But, with a little bit of luck and another fifteen minutes of your time, you begin to make progress. It begins when you are asked “will you confirm that you are trying to do thus and so?” and you think ,”Dammit! I’ve been trying to tell you that!” but you just say “yes”. It saves time, you see. And you greatly fear that he will hang up on you and make you go through the nightmare all over again. Always say yes.

So now, it’s way past bedtime. You vainly hope, in your naivete that you will soon achieve success! Poor soul! You don’t know that you are just beginning. (Perhaps it’s better that you don’t know. You might climb into a bathtub and slash your wrists if you knew.) The next thing you get from your wise guide is something like this: “Just do this and then that.” You want so much to say, “I have been trying to do this and then that for hours, and couldn’t; else why would I want to chat with a tech like you, moron?” But it’s important to be polite, so you type, “I did this, but I don’t know how to do that.”

Then follows an explanation you can’t understand and you have to learn another part of the code before you can understand each other. Next you learn that you have to do something else before you can do either this or that. How, you ask, do I do the other thing? On a good day, you will be told, and the solution will actually work the first time you try. On a good day. There are not going to be many of them. The odds are about 125 or 130 to 1. Still, there are people who win the lottery, aren’t there? So you plod on.

Now, you can do this; but you find you can’t do that. You get a cryptic error message that you have seen several times before and you are back to square one. “What does it mean?” you type. Your expert explains, and you think you know what it means: You have to log into something; so you need to create a password. But “strong” passwords with special characters, etc. are hard to type in exactly. After a couple of attempts you succeed and you finally get to the home stretch. Breathless with excitement, flushed with relief, on the brink of ecstasy, you are about to take the first step – when you feel a sudden check in your spirit.

From here, a modicum of experience, logic and luck will probably be all you need to take you all the way home; but now every move is made with fear and trembling. What if you screw up, and all the progress goes up in a puff of smoke? You can’t bear to think it; so before even doing the obvious, you check with the tech.

“Can I download it now?”


“Should I install it now?”

“You can.”

“What do I do next?”

“Do this.”

“Is there anything else I should do?”

“You have successfully… ” “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

You think for a second and then type, “You can call the looneybin and have them come and get me!” And you collapse.

To Christians Who Will Not Vote

My dear brother Joe,

I find that I agree with much you say; but I am alarmed to hear you say that you will not be voting. To say nothing of your duty as a citizen of our country to vote, or of the privilege of voting; you seem not to understand what is at stake in this election.

You are, of course, correct in saying that there can be no political solution to a spiritual problem. Obviously, a large part of the population is spiritually and morally decadent; but not all. And of those, most are either brainwashed or following corrupt leadership. But there are still very many Americans who are conscientious, decent people just trying to live honestly and take care of their families. We would not approve of their ignorance or worldiness, but we ought to wish them well. And we ought to take care for their welfare to the extent that we can. (Gal. 6:10) The only lasting solution is a spiritual awakening; but just now, while we are praying for revival, we must still take care of the urgent need for their safety and temporal welfare.

Are you not aware that a Communist revolution is underway? Don’t you see that there is a conspiracy of almost all the institutions of society, and the governments of the largest cities — all ruled by Marxists — against our freedom? It matters, Joe, whether this conspiracy succeeds or fails. Are you too young or too unaware to have seen what atheistic communism has done in the past century and is still doing in China today? Are you eager to shed your own blood? Do you want to leave the heritage of slavery and tyranny to your children? What will you say when all this comes to pass and you will remember that you did not do a simple thing to try and prevent it from happening? Can you live with that?

Your vote alone will not matter; but by all accounts this will be a close election, and Christians like you (tens of millions) who do not vote could make the difference.

There is no reason why decent men who will maintain the peace, provide for the common defense, and maintain the rule of law — even Christian statesmen — cannot be elected. If Protestant Christians exhibited the same solidarity that Jews and Blacks do, instead of only acting as uncommitted individuals, we might have Evangelicals instead of Papists on the Supreme court. If the last generation had done that, we may not have had the Federal government complicit in the murder of the unborn and the legalization of sexual perversity. But you say that you will not try to make the world better by participating with the rest of us mostly white Protestant Christians in the one simple thing that we can do to influence our governments?

You claim that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats, and I understand your point of view. If you look only at Washington D. C., there is a culture of the elite which captures most of the men we send there. But this is not true of State and local governments — at least to the same degree. There are many honest, able and patriotic Americans who identify themselves as Republicans and work for the increased power and influence of the party. Furthermore there is such a marked difference between what Obama did to subvert and destroy us and what Donald Trump has done to rebuild and strengthen us that I marvel at how an intelligent person like you cannot see the difference!

Under what administration was homosexual marriage legalized? What president made the support of abortion and contraception a part of our medical insurance? And by the way, who attempted, in the name of “reform” to socialize our healthcare system? And having failed to do that, imposed chaos upon a system already unsustainable by the unaffordable care act? Who weaponized the DOJ against his political enemies? Who assailed our religious freedom? Who did his utmost to support planned Parenthood? Who refused, arbitrarily, to enforce our immigration laws?

On the other hand, if you will take a few moments to review the things our President has done: to destroy Obama’s legacy, to end our stupid wars, to negotiate deals with other nations that make our world safer, to protect our rights to keep and bear arms, to freely exercise our religion, and the right to life — you must see the stark difference. It is like night and day.

Is President Trump a perfect human being? Who is? The question is, does he conscientiously discharge the duties of his office according to the oath he took; and does he keep the promises he made to the American people, on the basis of which we elected him? The answer is a resounding yes. As far as I can see, no one in my lifetime has been a better president, based on these criteria.

What about the “lesser of two evils” argument? It sounds pious. But the fact is we will always, in a choice between two men, be forced to choose the lesser of two evils, for all men are evil. All men fail in many ways when they are given responsibility. Even if one man is a professing Christian and the other an infidel, the infidel may be the better man for the job. Every job requires a man who not only means well; but who is competent to do well. We would be foolish to choose only on the basis of a profession of faith, even in church matters. Being a good Christian does not, by itself, qualify one for the eldership.

Americans are in the process of choosing a man who will faithfully execute the laws and defend our country from its enemies – foreign and domestic. President Trump has done that, and he will do that.

Joe Biden and his Marxist handlers will encourage and enable the revolutionaries, criminals, and the citizen infiltrators of our institutions. He will (if he can) destroy the family, and what remains of our freedoms. He makes no secret of his policies, or what he intends to do if he gains office. His election would be a disaster from which I believe we would never recover. I will even go this far: from what I can see, if Biden is elected, America is finished.

Joe, I beg you to consider these things and take the time to register and vote for Donald Trump. It can do you no harm; and it may do great good.


Howard King

The Sacred Stewardship of the Soil

If we valued the earth’s resources according to their utility in sustaining and enriching our lives, then air and water would be joined in the same class by topsoil. If we honored men according to the value of their contribution to the well-being of society, the farmer would be among the upper classes. This alone shows how upside-down the values of the popular culture are.

We Americans who have been born since the Second World War have never known hunger, but that is no guarantee that we will not. If God is still the moral governor of the world, then it is all but certain that we shall experience hunger before long — in spite of our present domination of the world, and in spite of the apparent security which our wealth and influence provide. And it is likely that we will be ourselves the cause of it. For we are on a suicidal course of destroying the productive capacity of the earth.

G. T. Wrench, in his book, The Restoration of the Peasantry documents the history of Roman agriculture, and shows that mighty Rome could not sustain its agricultural output because the productive lands passed out of the hands of the farmers into the hands of urban moneylenders and thence to the effete aristocracy. Thus, the lands were only an additional source of income to the owners, and not their very lives. They were neglected or else exploited, and soon lost their fertility. Rome relied in the end on North Africa to feed its millions. This is not the only cause of the decline of Rome, but it is one that few are aware of today. We are on a similar course, with multinational corporations and bankers owning most of the productive soil in America, rather than freehold farmers.

Man was made from the ground, and his natural environment is the fertile land and the open air. Nothing can change this — it is how we are made. Moreover, the Creator gave mankind in the beginning a stewardship over the soil. Coordinate with dominion is responsibility — a steward is accountable for what he does with his Master’s resources. Modern man has failed miserably in this regard, and when he is called to account, he is likely to lose all that he has or ever hopes to have. For history shows nothing even approaching the rate of destruction of productive land that we achieved in the last century, and are continuing apace in this new millennium.

We have sown the land with death, rather than life. Millions of unexploded bombs and shells and land mines defile the land in the war zones of modernity. In southeast Asia, making prosthetics for people who have stepped on mines is a major industry. How shall we answer to God for this new abomination of desolation?

We are making progress in other areas, as well. The EPA notwithstanding, pollution continues but slightly abated. The Chesapeake Bay is cursed with a tiny but deadly creature called physteria, which attacks fish and man. The cause seems to be the runoff from chicken “factories”. The chickens live in a cruel captivity out of the fresh air, and their droppings are piled up to compost outside, and then be mixed with cattle feed for extra protein. (Remember that next time you want a hamburger.) The cattle eat it — they have no choice. But large quantities of the droppings wash into the water and nourish physteria, which are threatening the fishing industry around the bay.

Landfills that leak toxins, farming practices that deplete the soil and kill beneficial microbes, massive erosion, mega-mining, nuclear testing and accidents, indiscriminate paving, large-scale cutting of forests, oil spills — the list is endless! These things are often condemned, but they go on because of the money behind them. Some people don’t care if they kill us all, as long as they can have more — and ever more — to waste on their own useless selves.

It is chiefly with the soil that this essay is concerned. Rates of erosion were already high enough in the twenties that government took action and formed a bureaucracy to deal with it. Now it is much worse. Whence these unprecedented floods of the great rivers all over the world? It’s very simple. Precious soil eroded from the lands cleared but not protected by vegetation fills up the riverbeds, leaving little room for the water that fills them during the rainy seasons. These floods will continue to devastate the lives of millions of the world’s peasant farmers, and increase, for each flood carries more soil away — unless there is drought. Drought is equally destructive — the soil dries up and blows away.

What is it going to take for us to abandon this suicidal course? Judgments of God may depopulate the earth and end our capability to destroy. Or a true revival of biblical faith and subsequent reformation may come in the mercy of God, and change man into a preserver and life-giver instead of the most destructive beast on the planet. But something must end it. It is God’s earth, after all — and He will act — we can be sure of that. Are we going to be on His side then? Or will we be the ones opposing His purpose?

Howard Douglas King

On The Seventy Weeks of Daniel

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:24-26)

This remarkable prophecy is the only one in the entire Old Testament that tells us when the Messiah would appear. Modern interpreters, almost without exception, compromise the perfect accuracy of the prediction by accommodating its interpretation to agree with certain merely human historical resources. This is a grave error, for the Bible itself provides all the information that is required to demonstrate that it was fulfilled exactly as stated, to the very year!

The Occasion

The occasion of this remarkable prophecy is as follows:

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. (Daniel 9:1-2)

Daniel was carried away to Babylon as a youth, and now he was an old man. In the course of his studies, he had become aware of the promise of Jeremiah, written specifically to him and the other captives in Babylon:

Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon… Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon… For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. (Jeremiah 29:1-14)

Jeremiah alone predicts the period of time for the captivity, but says nothing about restoring the desolations of Jerusalem. However Daniel knew from another “book” that more was promised than just the return of the captives. The book of Isaiah shows that the return of the captives would be accompanied by a comprehensive restoration of national existence:

Thus saith the LORD …to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof …That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.(Isaiah 44:24-28)

Thus it is clear how Daniel “understood by books” that “the desolations of Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:2) were to be ended when the captives returned after seventy years. But what was explicit in Isaiah was implicit in Jeremiah. After all, what would the captives have had to look forward to, if the temple, the city, and national life were not to be restored as well? We will revisit this thought later.

Accordingly, having a promise in hand, and seeing that the time of its fulfillment was near, Daniel sought the Lord with his whole heart for its performance:

O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.

Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name. (Daniel 9:16-19)

Daniel’s prayer is for the city and temple to be restored as the center of worship and of government of the Jewish nation. It is for the restoration of the people of God to their proper place, role and privileges; for it would be unthinkable for him to desire any less. This prayer was soon to be granted. But Daniel did not yet understand that the Mosaic Covenant was to be eventually superseded by a new and better covenant of international scope. No doubt he even thought of the coming days of Messiah in terms of Jewish dominance. But God was about to disabuse him of his illusions. He sent the angel Gabriel with a revelation concerning the restoration of Jerusalem, the last days of the Jewish nation, and the second desolation of Jerusalem that would follow the appearance of Messiah.

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (Daniel 9:25)

Please note that the Hebrew word translated “weeks” is literally “sevens”. The word means a unit composed of seven sub-units, a heptad. It is commonly used to denote an ordinary week of days; but here it denotes a seven-year period, or heptad of years.

The seventy heptads are divided into three parts: the first of seven, the second of sixty-two, and the third of the final heptad. which is of special significance. The first seven constitute the period when the city and temple would be restored. The succeeding sixty-two cover the long age of prophetic silence from Malachi’s last word to John the Baptist. The last heptad is distinguished because it is the one in which Messiah appears and accomplishes the six things promised in verse 24 that comprise the spiritual redemption of the Israel of God:

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24)

What is Predicted

What are the details of the prophecy?

First, regarding the starting point of the prophecy; that there would be a “commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem”(v.24).

Second, that the city of Jerusalem and its temple would be restored within the first seven heptads (49 years) of the prophecy (v.25).

Third, that the Messiah would appear after 62 more heptads (434 years) had gone by (v.25).

Fourth, that shortly thereafter, in the 70th heptad (years 484 through 490) Messiah would be “cut off”(v.26a), and would thus complete all the things predicted in verse 24, within the period of seventy weeks.

And Fifth, that the city and temple would be destroyed by foreign armies some indeterminate time afterward (v. 26b).

The Starting Point

A question much debated by scholars and chronologers of Scripture is “When did the seventy weeks begin?” and the related question, “What was the commandment to which Gabriel here refers?” Scripture leaves no doubt that the decree of Cyrus in the first year of his reign is the one meant. Those who rely solely on scriptural authority will avoid the confusion that has ensnared so many!

First, there is the most intimate connection between three events: the release of the captive Jews at the end of seventy years, the restoration of the temple and its worship, and the re-building of Jerusalem. Daniel’s prophecy distinguishes the first seven weeks of his prophecy; and it so happens that all of these events took place within those 49 years. The Old Testament was also completed with the writing of Nehemiah and Malachi at the end of this period.

Many commentators want to limit the scope of Cyrus’ decree to the re-building of the temple, as if it had nothing to do with the re-building of the city of Jerusalem and its wall. Yet the Scripture could not be more explicit about the role of Cyrus in the restoration of the nation Israel. The Lord spoke these words through the prophet Isaiah, 200 years before the event:

Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.(Isaiah 44:24-28)

John Gill comments on verse 28:

and shall perform all my pleasure; concerning the deliverance of the Jews from Babylon, and the encouragement of them to go up to their own land, and rebuild their city and temple…

even saying to Jerusalem, thou shalt be built; these are not the words of the Lord, as before, but of Cyrus, giving orders that Jerusalem should be built:

and to the temple, thy foundation shall be laid; with great propriety this is said, since only the foundation was laid in his time; the Jews being discouraged and hindered by their enemies from going on with the building in his reign, until the times of Darius, king of Persia. (See Ezra 1:1)

And this is not the end of it. Isaiah goes on to say:

Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things… I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts. (Isaiah 45:1-13)

These Scriptures absolutely establish Cyrus as God’s agent in the release of the captives, the restoration of the temple, and the re-building of Jerusalem. It follows that the “commandment” mentioned in Daniel 9:25 refers to the decree of Cyrus in the first year of his reign, which is recorded (perhaps in summary form) in Ezra 1:1:

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:1-4)

Notice, “that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled” – Jeremiah, not Isaiah. This has reference to the seventy years of Jeremiah mentioned above. This prophecy could only have been fulfilled by Cyrus in his first year.

It is objected that this decree of Cyrus says nothing about the building of the city. I answer, First, that this may well be a summary, rather than a full statement of the decree. In any case, the building of the city is implied. To what end would they re-build the temple if they could not live in the city? It was necessary, in order for Jehovah’s worship to be restored, (which was the principal thing aimed at by Cyrus) and for the temple to mean anything, that the city be re-built to accommodate such of the former captives as would reside there (priests, Levites, rulers) and worshipers at the major feasts. It should also be obvious that the treasures of silver and gold and precious stones and the priceless artwork of the temple would need to be protected. It is absurd to think that Cyrus did not intend the city to be made defensible.

Second, the words of Isaiah quoted above are explicit that Cyrus would command the building of the city. When did he do so, if not in this famous decree? Furthermore, Isaiah said that he would in some sense actually build the temple and the city. What can these words mean, if not that his personal action secured the result? For 17 years elapsed between the death of Cyrus and the completion of the temple; and at least 27 years elapsed between his death and the finishing of the wall by Nehemiah. But Scripture tells us that it was out of respect to Cyrus’ decree that the construction of the temple was begun, and then, after it had been stopped, resumed under Darius:

Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written: In the first year of Cyrus the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid… Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence: Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place…

Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shetharboznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily. And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, [even] Artaxerxes, king of Persia. (Ezra 6:1-14)

This same Darius was the one who, seventeen years later, authorized Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem and oversee the restoration of the city, including, but not limited to, finishing the building of the walls. It is clear from his narrative that Nehemiah was made the highest civil authority, “the Tirshatha” in Jerusalem by the direct authority of the King Darius. He was not merely given a commission to build the walls and gates; but to set things in order so that Cyrus’ decree would be fully realized. Does anyone think that his original request to Darius only had respect to the city’s fortifications, without respect to its overall well-being? This King, like Cyrus before him, wanted the God of the Jews, whose marvelous works on the behalf of his people were a matter of public record, on his side.

Third, the Jews set about re-building the walls long before Nehemiah came to Jerusalem. He completed what they had begun. They had already laid the foundations and started construction of the walls when the temple work was suspended, as we shall now see.

The pretext made use of by Israel’s enemies in the land by which they had persuaded the King before Darius to suspend the construction of the temple was that it would be unwise for the Persian king to allow this city to be rebuilt, because it had a long history of rebellion:

Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations. Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings… therefore have we sent and certified the king; That search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time: for which cause was this city destroyed. We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river. (Ezra 4:12-16)

As a result of this letter, this king of Persia commanded the work to cease. It is important to remember that the laws of the Medes and Persians could not be changed, even by the king. The decree of Cyrus was not revoked, or even consulted – just forgotten. So, later, when once it was made known, Darius had no legal option but to support the decree.

This should be sufficient to show that there is not only no sound reason for rejecting Cyrus’ decree as the starting point of the seventy weeks; but that there is no biblical possibility whatever that another, later decree of some other Persian king was intended in Daniel’s prophecy.

Finally, the decree of Cyrus is the only one that makes sense as a starting point for the seventy weeks. Ezra gives us the four kings who reigned in Persia while this was going on in Ezra 4:5-7 [see appendix:The Four Persian Kings of Ezra 4:5-8]: the first is explicitly Cyrus. The last one is Darius Hystaspes, called “the Great”. The temple was finished in his second year. He was still in power when the wall was repaired under Nehemiah. There is no record of him making a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem; only one made for the enforcement of Cyrus’ decree after a lapse of some years:

And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written: In the first year of Cyrus the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid… Now therefore… Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.

Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king’s goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered. And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail: That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.

Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this. And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed. Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shetharboznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily. (Ezra 6:1-13)

Thus we read:

And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, [even] Artaxerxes king of Persia. (Ezra 6:14)

Notice the phrase, “the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius”. These are the only two commandments recorded in Scripture that relate to the restoration of Jerusalem. There was no third decree by some other Persian ruler named Artaxerxes; for, again, the work was completed under Darius. Any decree by any later Persian monarch to rebuild the city would be ludicrous, since it was already finished when Darius closed his reign! And the king called “Artaxerxes” who is mentioned in Ezra 4:7-24 is the one who caused the work to cease until he was succeeded by Darius! Obviously, he cannot be the Artaxerxes of Ezra 6:14. Hence, the word “and” must be understood as “even”. Darius is sometimes called Artaxerxes, and sometimes, Ahasuerus. Both were titles used by the Persian monarchs, as Pharaoh was used by the Egyptians, and Caesar by the Romans.

Part 1: The Restoration of Jerusalem

The first prediction concerns the restoration of the city of Jerusalem and the temple. This was Daniel’s immediate concern, and the subject of God’s promise through Jeremiah, so we should not be surprised that it receives the first place in the revelation of Gabriel to Daniel. What was the condition of Jerusalem at this time? These passages contain the principal specifics of its ruined condition:

But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched. (Jeremiah 17:27)

And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem: And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire. And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about. (2 Kings 25:8-10)

And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. (2 Chronicles 36:19)

The gates, the palaces, and all the great men’s houses had been burned; the wall had been broken down on all sides, and all the valuable furnishings of the houses and the temple had either been destroyed or carried off. It was a complete ruin, and would not be restored as a worshiping, functioning city without years of labor.

Add to this that Jerusalem had been uninhabited for seventy years. And now there were in Palestine less than 50,000 semi-pagan Jews, most of whom no longer spoke Hebrew, who had imbibed many of the customs and attitudes of the heathen societies of which they had been a part, who had no experience of liberty and self-government, who were ill-equipped to restore a system of government, civic order, and of worship that none of them had ever seen in action or experienced before! Many of these were going to be occupied with restoring their ancestral homes and villages scattered throughout Israel.

This was bad enough; but there were bitter and powerful enemies beside. This is hinted at in the expression “in troublous times”. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah document the opposition that the builders faced; and the book of Esther uncovers the Satanic plot that nearly succeeded to destroy the entire Jewish people worldwide, soon after the temple and the wall had been rebuilt. These were “troublous times” indeed!

The biblical history records that, despite all these obstacles, the restoration of Jerusalem did take place within the seven heptads.

Part 2: The Appearing of Messiah

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks…

The restoration of Jerusalem as a worshiping community was uppermost in Daniel’s mind; but God knew that Daniel’s ideal would never be fully realized. He had something else far better in mind, the new covenant of which Jeremiah had spoken, and a holy nation of Jews and Gentiles under the headship of Messiah. This was the real thing to be hoped for; of which Jerusalem was only a type. So the Lord not only answered Daniel’s prayer; He took this occasion to speak of things beyond Daniel’s immediate concern.

There can be no doubt about the year of Christ’s appearing, for His baptism is dated in the most specific terms in Luke’s gospel, chapter 3:

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins… Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. (Luke 3:1-3;21-22)

This is, beyond doubt, the year we call 26 AD.

Likewise, the scriptural chronology dates the decree of Cyrus at 3589 Anno Mundi. Add 69 times 7, or 483 years “to Messiah”, and we get an AM date of 4072 for the baptism of Jesus. Therefore, 26 AD is the same as 4072 AM. Subtract thirty years for the age of Jesus at His baptism (Luke 3:23), and the result is 4042, the correct AM date for the birth of Christ. [In the Gregorian calendar that we use, the birth of Christ is four years too late. He was really born in the year we call 4 BC (30-26=minus 4)].

The discrepancy that puzzles so many chronologers results from accepting a dating scheme for the Persian period drawn from questionable sources outside of Scripture. There are many good reasons for rejecting the received system, which we cannot go into here; but those who are interested will find this view concisely and powerfully argued by Phillip Mauro in his book, The Wonders of Bible Chronology. It is enough for our purpose to state that any scheme which contradicts the chronology given in the inspired Scriptures must be false.

The phrase used to describe the coming prince of this prophecy is “the Messiah”, which means “the anointed”. Accordingly, I believe that Daniel’s prophecy references the year of his baptism, of His anointing with the Holy Spirit, which was also the beginning of his public ministry. Some chronologists think that the year of Christ’s birth, or that of his crucifixion is meant, instead. But there can really be no doubt on this point; for in the terms of the prophecy, Christ appears after sixty-nine weeks, and all the redemptive work of Christ must be accomplished within the seventieth week:

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24)

We have seen that the sixty-nine weeks terminates with the appearing of Christ, and yet His ministry must be completed within one more week. This appearing cannot possibly be His birth, unless He commenced His public ministry as an infant.

Others, with more plausibility, explain it of His crucifixion. On this theory, He died at the end of the sixty-ninth week, and the seventieth week must have passed without any significance with respect to any of the things prophesied. Dispensationalists generally take this view, because it allows them to separate the final week from all the rest, and postulate a “parenthesis” of indeterminate length between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth; intending to support their dogma of the postponed kingdom by perverting the plain sense of the prophecy, in defiance of the rules of language and logic.

But the prophecy states that it will take seventy weeks to accomplish all the things spoken, not sixty-nine. The prophecy also seems to make a distinction between His appearing at the end of sixty-nine weeks and His cutting-off, some time “after” the sixty-nine weeks have elapsed:

And after [the first seven and the] threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself… (Daniel 9:26)

If the baptism of Messiah took place at the end of the sixty-ninth week, then His redemptive work and His “cutting off” must have been completed about halfway through the seventieth, which suits well with the stated terms of the prophecy. Everything is then fulfilled within the seventy heptads, as predicted.

Part 3: The Second Desolation of Jerusalem

…and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:26-27)

We now come to the most difficult part of the prophecy. For there can be no doubt that this last prophecy was fulfilled in the thoroughly documented wars of the Jews and the Romans, and the complete destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 AD. And yet this appears in the “seventy weeks” prophecy, which I claim ended in 33 AD or 4079 AM. How can this be reconciled?

In a word, while it is included in the “seventy weeks prophecy”, it is not included in the seventy weeks of the prophecy. If we attend to the terms of verse 24, there is nothing in it about the second desolation of the city. Notice the 6 things that are mentioned as occurring within the seventy weeks:

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24)

There is nothing here to suggest the second desolation of the temple. So I say that it is not in the seventy weeks of the prophecy. However, as we see in verses 26 and 27, it is in the prophecy. But it is almost an addendum, attached at the end, as something important suggested by and connected to the fulfillment of the prophecy.

Why was Jerusalem laid waste by the Romans? Because the Jews killed Jesus Christ. The mention of Messiah being “cut off” would suggest many questions to a Jewish mind like Daniel’s, “What happens next?” “How can Messiah be cut off when His kingdom lasts forever?” “Who is going to kill him?” It cannot have been out of place to anticipate such questions at this time.

Besides, this became an important part of the prophecy to the believing Jews at the time of Jerusalem’s destruction; for it is the source of the term, “the abomination of desolation” cited by Jesus in His Olivet Discourse:

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: (Matthew 24:15-16)

They heeded the warning and fled to Petra, and not a hair of their head perished, as Christ foretold, and which Eusebius records.

The conclusion is, that it is therefore erroneous to posit a hidden gap in the seventy weeks prophecy between the death of Christ and the second destruction of Jerusalem, as some have done. There is simply no need to violate the integrity and continuity of the prophecy. The seventy weeks cannot be separated: they stand as a unitary whole.

Concluding Thoughts

What a series of shocks Daniel had to endure, as God unfolded to him what would befall the Jews in the future! First, he learned from the dream of Nebuchadnezzar that there would be a succession of four Gentile empires – not just the Babylonian – before Messiah’s kingdom would finally be established (Daniel 2).

Then he was shown a vision of four beasts, in which the fourth (Rome) was a terrifying creature that became a persecuting power and “made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom”(Daniel 7:21-22).

Then he finds out that there will be another great persecuting power under the third world empire (Greece):

And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. (Daniel 8:23-24)

Then he is given this prophecy of the second desolation of Jerusalem.

Finally, he is given a sketch of the bloody centuries of incessant wars among the Gentile powers that surrounded Israel, with yet more details about Antiochus Epiphanes, his persecutions and his desecrations of the temple (Daniel 11).

But among all these dire revelations were found the precious promises of God’s over-ruling providence and the eventual triumph of His kingdom.

Appendix: The Four Persian Kings of Ezra 4:5-8

4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, 5 And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. 6 And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. 7 And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue. 8 Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king… (Ezra 4:4-8)

In verses 5-7, four successive kings of Medo-Persia are distinguished. The first, Cyrus, was the founder of the Empire, and the one who gave commandment in his first year as sole king that the Jews be released and Jerusalem and its temple be rebuilt. He reigned from 3589 to 3596 AM.

The second mentioned is Darius, the one who authorized the resumption of construction after his predecessor had halted it at the request of Israel’s enemies in the land. He was the fourth in order, for it is said that:

Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.(vvs. 4-5)

So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. (v.24)

This was Darius the Great, also called Hystaspes, who reigned from 3605 to 3641 AM. He was the king in power when the temple and the city were rebuilt during the first seven of the “seventy weeks” prophecy of Daniel:

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (Daniel 9:25)

Between Cyrus and Darius, two kings reigned. It is important to understand that Ahasuerus, Artaxerxes, and Xerxes are titles – not personal names (just as Pharaoh and Caesar were titles given to many rulers of Egypt and Rome) – so they are not very helpful for identifying the particular persons designated by them. But history tells us that the successor of Cyrus was Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, who reigned until 3603 AM. He must therefore be the “Ahasuerus” mentioned in verse 6. At the time Ezra wrote, this would have been the title associated with him. He received accusations against the Jews, but would not halt the work which his father, Cyrus, had lawfully decreed. The laws of the Medes and Persians could not be changed (Daniel 6:8; Esther 1:17).

The next king was an imposter, called “Pseudo-Smerdis”, who reigned less than a year, in 3605. Cambyses had secretly murdered the real Smerdis, his brother and rival. This left an opportunity for an imposter to appear and challenge Cambyses for the throne. He was successful for seven months, until Darius assassinated him. No doubt the enemies of the Jews saw an opportunity for their anti-Jew agenda when Cambyses died, and they successfully pressed their suit with the new king, as recorded in verses 7-24:

And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia…

Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations. Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings. Now because we have maintenance from the king’s palace, and it was not meet for us to see the king’s dishonour, therefore have we sent and certified the king; That search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time: for which cause was this city destroyed. We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river.

Then sent the king an answer…

The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me. And I commanded, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein… Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me. Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?

Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

This letter and its reply were mainly concerned with the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s fortifications. Accordingly, the building of the wall was suspended until much later, when Nehemiah appeared.

But the building of the temple only ceased for a little while before the Jews determined to go on with the work. After all, the decree of Cyrus was still in force, for the laws of the Medes and Persians could not be changed. Besides, they were sure it was God’s work, and that it would finally succeed. We have the record of this in Ezra 5:1-3:

Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them. Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them. (Ezra 5:1-3)

Then they were challenged by the authorities, and here is the answer that they gave:

We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up. But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon. But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God. And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor; And said unto him, Take these vessels, go, carry them into the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be builded in his place. Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now hath it been in building, and yet it is not finished. (Ezra 5:11-16)

These authorities requested verification of the Jews’ story, and it was found to be true, when a copy of Cyrus’ decree was discovered. Darius accordingly authorized the resumption of the work in these words:

Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.

Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king’s goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered. And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail: That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.

Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this. And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed. (Ezra 6:7-12)

Thus the work went on and prospered until the temple was finished:

Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shetharboznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily. And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, [even] Artaxerxes, king of Persia. And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. (Ezra 6:13-15)

In the second year of Darius (3606), the work officially resumed, and in 3609 the Jews celebrated the temple’s completion:

And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat, And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel. (Ezra 6:21-22)

Darius is here called “the King of Assyria”. Israel lay in that part of the Persian empire that had formerly been the Assyrian Empire; but which had been taken over, first by Babylon, then by the Medes and Persians. Darius had many titles. He is called “Artaxerxes” again in Ezra 7:1, “King of Kings” in 7:12, “King of Babylon” in Nehemiah 13:6. He is also called “Ahasuerus” in the book of Esther, as Anstey abundantly proves:

“That the Ahasuerus of Esther is Darius Hystaspes and no other – although as Kitto says, “Almost every Medo-Persian King from Cyaxares I (B.C. 611-571) to Artaxerxes III Ochus (B.C. 358-338), has in turn been advanced as the Ahasuerus of Esther ” – is abundantly clear, and would never have been doubted but for the mis-dating of the events of the Persian period, and the mistaken notion that the same Persian monarch could not be described by two or three different names.

“This is (that) Ahasuerus which reigned from India even unto Ethiopia over 127 provinces” (Esther 1:1). Darius Hystaspes invaded and conquered India B.C. 506 (Herodotus, Books 3 and 4). Darius inherited the conquests of his predecessor Cambyses, in Egypt and Ethiopia; all Egypt submitted to Cambyses in the 5th year of his reign, B.C. 525, and he subdued the Ethiopians (Herodotus, Book 3).

“And King Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land and upon the Isles of the Sea” (Esther 10:1). The Fleet of Darius took Samos, Chios and Lesbos, and the rest of the Islands, in the year B.C. 496 (Herodotus, Book 6). Herodotus gives a list of the nations which paid tribute to Darius Hystaspes in his history, Book 3, Chapters 89-97. These include Egypt and India, the Island of Cyprus and the Islands of the Erythraean Sea. After adding up the total, Herodotus says, “Later on in his reign the sum was increased by the tribute of the Islands and of the nations of Europe as far as Thessaly” (Herodotus, Book 3, Chap. 96). Amongst the peoples who paid no settled tribute, but brought gifts to Darius Hystaspes, he mentions “The Ethiopians bordering upon Egypt, who were reduced by Cambyses” (Herodotus, Book 3, Chap. 97).

Susa or Shushan was built by Darius Hystaspes (Pliny vi, 27) or rather embellished with magnificent palaces by him (Elian, De Animal. xiii, 59). It was there that he resided and kept all his treasures (Herodotus, v, 49).

Thucydides (Book 1) and Plato (Menexenus) tell us that Darius Hystaspes subdued all the Islands in the Aegean Sea, and Diodorus Siculus (Book 12) tells us that they were all lost again by his son Xerxes before the 12th year of his reign, but it was after the 12th year of the reign of Ahasuerus that he imposed his tribute upon the Isles, and the successors of Xerxes held none of them except Clazomene and Cyprus (Xenophon, Hellenics, Book 5).

From all which it is clear that the Ahasuerus of Esther cannot be Xerxes, in fact that he can be none other than Darius Hystaspes, for his predecessors Cyrus and Cambyses never took tribute but only received presents. Polyenus (Stratagem, Book 7) says Darius was the first that ever imposed a tribute upon the people. For this reason Herodotus tells us (Book 3, Chap. 89) the Persians called Cyrus a father, and Cambyses a master, but Darius kapylon, a huckster, “for Darius looked to making a gain in everything.”

Evidently Haman knew the weakness of his master, when he offered to pay him 10,000 talents of silver for his pogrom or massacre of the Jews (Esther 3:9). Esther touches the same spring when she hints at the damage which the King’s revenue would suffer if the pogram were carried into effect (Esther 7:4). And in Esther 10:1 we have the direct mention of the fact that “he laid a tribute upon the land and upon the Isles of the Sea.”

In the Apocryphal Books the Ahasuerus of Esther, and the Artaxerxes of Ezra 7:1, are both identified with Darius Hystaspes. In 1 Esdras 3:1-2, we read, “Now when Darius reigned he made a great feast unto all his subjects and unto all his household, and unto all the princes of Media and Persia, and to all the governors and captains, and lieutenants that were under him, from India to Ethiopia, in the 127 provinces.” This is word for word from Esther 1:1-3, with the name Ahasuerus replaced by the name Darius who is afterwards identified with Darius Hystaspes, in whose sixth year the Temple was completed (1 Esdras 6:5; Ezra 6:15).

In the Rest of the chapters of the Book of Esther, and in the LXX. through-out, Ahasuerus is everywhere called Artaxerxes. It was Artaxerxes whom Bigthan and Teresh sought to lay hands on (Rest of Esther 12:1-2). It was the great King Artaxerxes who wrote “to the princes and governors who were under him from India unto Ethiopia, in 127 provinces (Rest of Esther 13:1).

Archbishop Ussher was a profoundly well read scholar, and he identifies Darius Hystaspes with Artaxerxes, and with Ahasuerus, and this is in entire agreement with everything contained in the Old Testament, and with all trustworthy ancient testimony.

But since Scaliger, the first modern Chronologer, introduced the new fangled notion that Ahasuerus must be Xerxes, most modern scholars have adopted his error, which rests on no more substantial ground than that of philological conjecture and supposed congruity of character…”

The reader is directed to Philip Mauro’s small book, The Wonders of Bible Chronology for a summary of Martin Anstey’s chronology; and in particular, of the errors of the received chronology in dating the Persian period.

Howard Douglas King

Revised September 16, 2014