IN our issue of May 15th we called attention to the pretentious claims of some teachers to give a "Bible chronology," though really they merely attempt to force the Bible's time-records into harmony with the secular records, which are admittedly broken, pieced and wholly uncertain. We showed, moreover, that the claim that any chronology from Adam to Christ can be proved by astronomy down to the fraction of a minute, or in any degree, is purest nonsense; because, although eclipses, etc., past or future, can be calculated by astronomy, no facts of Bible history and chronology are so stated as to permit astronomy to be applied to them; and no other chronological history goes back connectedly or reasonably half way—3,000 years. We also pointed out years of miscalculation in their minute-exact "proofs."
Furthermore, we called attention to the foundationless predictions of Mr. Totten concerning the period from 1892 to 1899, all of which, up to the present date, are of course absolute failures. The holy spirit was not withdrawn in the Spring of 1892, the predicted man -Antichrist did not arise then and deceive the Jews into worshiping him and building him a temple at Jerusalem, he did not sit as God in that temple in 1895; Mr. Totten and his faithful followers were not taken up to heaven at that date; and his man -Antichrist has not been holding high carnival on earth and fulfilling Rev. 13:15-17, and consequently he will not continue the carnival and complete it in the spring of 1899.
We have since heard from Mr. Dimbleby, who writes in a kindly manner, which is convincing that, notwithstanding his errors, his intentions are good. He claims that he used cycles, transits, etc., in a manner common to all astronomers. We are ready to admit probably all that Mr. Dimbleby would claim on this line: our contention is, and the verdict of all unbiased astronomers would be, that these cycles cannot be used as measures of history unless there be astronomical facts noted in the history. If Genesis told the exact location of the stars, or if it very particularly described an eclipse, its very minute, etc., when Adam was created, then astronomy would measure the chronology; or if such a minute record were given in the account of the end of the flood, when Noah entered the 601st year of his age, we could locate that date and use the Bible history back of that to Adam. But Mr. Totten's absurd claims about "Joshua's long day" (which neither Mr. Dimbleby nor any other astronomer could endorse) furnishes not one shred of evidence upon which to base an astronomic calculation. There are absolutely no astronomical facts noted in Bible history; consequently astronomy can neither prove nor disprove Bible chronology.
Mr. Dimbleby notes our criticism of the slip of his pencil implied in his statement that 2520 solar years exactly correspond to 2595 lunar years. He claims that in our showing of a difference of over five years we neglected some fractions. We reply, that we took his statement of 354 days to a lunar year as the basis of our calculation, supposing that he had so calculated. Mr. Dimbleby's tract reads thus: "A Solar Year is 365-1/4 days. A Lunar Year is 354 days." But, allowing for all the fractions, Mr. Dimbleby is two years and one hundred and nineteen days astray,—entirely [R2064 : page 271] too much for an astronomical "proof," exact to the minute.
In 2520 solar-years there are therefore 79,523,453,520 seconds; and this number divided by 30,617,316.04 (the seconds of a lunar-year) shows that 2597 lunar-years, 119 days, 36 minutes and 4.12 seconds are the equivalent of 2520 solar-years and not exactly 2595 years, as Mr. Dimbleby stated.
Mr. Dimbleby wrote in good spirit. Without endeavoring further to urge the exactness of his chronological beliefs, he rejoiced with us that the end of all things pertaining to "this present evil world" is near; and that the Kingdom of God is at hand; and expressed [R2064 : page 272] the hope that we should soon stand shoulder to shoulder in the Kingdom; a hope which we heartily share.
We have also heard from Mr. Totten, but evidently he wrote in a very different spirit, what is unworthy of a reply: He endeavors to draw attention away from his errors, which we have pointed out, by making a furious attack upon the Bible Chronology which we present, interlarding it with sarcasm and personal abuse. We have no disposition to contend along lines of personal abuse, seeing the Lord has given us more important work to do.
The Bible chronology of MILLENNIAL DAWN rejects all the claimed outside corrections of the Bible, and makes no attempt at minute-exactness, but accepts the Bible record, wherein we trust that the Lord has provided a true chronology whose laps and shorts balance each other; indeed, we have found none other so clearly stated.
We force this chronology upon no one, and make no absurd and deceptive claims concerning it. Those who come to the Word of God in simplicity and sincerity, disentangled from preconceived ideas, find in it a very substantial basis for faith respecting the times and seasons of the divine plan of the ages;—especially when they observe that it is abundantly and beautifully corroborated by the prophecies, the Jubilees, Israel's Double, the Times of the Gentiles, the Days of Waiting, the signs of the times; all harmonious and easily understood by even the "common people" of the consecrated class, who hear gladly. And these God evidently intended should hear and be assured by proofs within the range of their comprehension. We submit the chapter and verse for every figure down to the end of the seventy years desolation of the land in the first year of Cyrus—the well established and generally accepted date, B.C. 536.*
Mr. Totten neither denies nor acknowledges his gross errors and false predictions;+ unless it be in the words,—"We shall not...attempt to explain the occasional presence of dead flies in some of the early samples of our ointment." The dead flies (untruths) he indirectly and very unjustly lays to the charge of Mr. Dimbleby, and still he refuses to pick out even those flies admitted to be dead. The fact is that these "dead flies" (errors) are the very essence of his compound, and if all were taken out, nothing of the "Totten Ointment" would remain.—See Eccl. 10:1.
Following our rule, we made no personal attack upon Mr. Totten: we merely obeyed our conscience as to duty in calling the attention of the Lord's people to those "dead flies;" because some, not noticing the "flies" (errors) nor the bad odor (bad spirit), were in danger of using Totten's "ointment"—"as advertised"—as the eyesalve commended by the Lord in Rev. 3:18.