SOME writers on chronology have had not a little to say, first and last, on a supposed prophetic period which they introduce under the name of “the seven times,” and interpret to mean a period of 2,520 years. Marvelous is the arithmetical and historical jugglery then resorted to to find a starting point and an ending place for this important and far-reaching period.

The latest in this line is a long article in one of our March monthly exchanges, in which the writer finds four points from which to begin, and the same number at which to end, them. The table of these times he introduces with this Latin flourish, containing a marvelous combination of singular and plural: “Termini a quo and ad quem of the Seven Times.”

It is claimed that this period is found in Leviticus 26:18, 21, 24, 28. The only trouble with this is that there is no such period brought to view in that chapter, nor anywhere else in all the Bible. When the Lord through Moses declared to the children of Israel, “If ye will not for all this hearken unto me, …. I will chastise you seven times for your sins,” the language employed was not an adjective and a noun, indicating duration, but simply an adverb indicating degree. It is not in the Septuagint, ἑπτὰ καιροὶ, a noun and its adjective, seven times, as in Dan. 4:16, but ἑπτάκις, an adverb, seven times or sevenfold. Neither is it in the Hebrew a noun and its adjective, as in Dan. 4:16,  וְשִׁבְעָה עִדָּנִין, but simply an adverb שֶׁבַע. Under this word Gesenius says: “The form שֶׁבַע is also: a a) Adv. seven times, Lev. 26 :18, 21.”

It strikes us that it would be far better for people to spend their strength in trying to ascertain the correct application of the prophetic periods that are given in the Bible, rather than figure so laboriously to find a place to begin and end those which are not given; and so avoid being like the man who in reading the parable of the talents, Luke 19 :21, “For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man,” read it, “an oyster man,” and entered into an elaborate argument to show the fitness of such a comparison!

James S. White, President
Adventist Review and Sabbath Herald, April 1, 1880

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Review and Herald 1880-04-01