When Nebuchadnezzar is told by Daniel in the interpretation of the king’s wonderful dream that seven times should pass over him, and a beast’s heart should be given him until he should learn that the Most High ruleth in the heavens and on earth, we judge that seven literal years are intended, and so it is generally held. But when God declares in respect to the national life of Israel that He would punish them yet seven times if they continued to disregard his will, we judge that a much longer time is intended, by so much as the life of a nation is longer than that of an individual, extending even to a cycle of seven years of years or 2520 years.
This view is wonderfully sustained when we come to apply the facts of history to the career of Israel; for, if we take 1776 as the close of her long life of captivity and oppression in one form or another under the iron heel of the Gentiles, we find that the commencement of this cycle carries us back to 744 B.C., the very time when Israel began to be carried captive by the Assyrians under Pul and Tiglath-pileser, and their places supplied by a foreign population.
Again, in Daniel’s interpretation of the king’s dream respecting the image, as recorded in chap. 2:31, which relates to four great kingdoms which should dominate the world to the time of the end (which is more fully set forth in another vision in chap. 7 under the symbols of four great beasts rising out of the sea), Nebuchadnezzar is represented by the head of gold of this great image; in other words, that the Babylonian kingdom was the first of these four kingdoms, the last of which should be the Roman, represented by the feet and toes of the image.
If we are right in supposing this larger cycle expresses the duration of the oppressions of Israel, there is additional reason for applying these same “seven times” in their larger range to the duration of the four kingdoms symbolized by the image, at the head of which stood the Babylonian kingdom; and if we apply the facts of history as before, we have another wonderful confirmation of our supposition that the “times of the Gentiles” covers a like larger cycle of years of years.
Now, if we reckon back from 1794, which we have assumed to be the end of the 1260 years of the Roman domination of the saints, we are led back to 726 B.C., the very year in which Nabopolassar, the satrap of Babylon and father of Nebuchadnezzar, threw off the yoke of Assyria and established the kingdom of Babylon on a sure basis.
We also see in this larger cycle of 2520 years just the other half of “times ,times, and the dividing of time”– the 1260 years of Daniel and the Apocalypse – which limit the duration of the “man of sin” as the last expiring relic of Gentile oppression over spiritual Israel. Thus we behold the hand of God reaching back into the dim ages of the past and pointing out on the dial plate of time the sure fate of nations for thousands of years.