shedding new light on stories of old

The Book of Days - Preview 7

Long before the modern obsession with time, The Bible declared its importance in the plan of God

A Prophecy of Days

A Time for Everything

Time is a funny thing, it is said. Time is fleeting, we are told. Time—“ticking away the moments that make up a dull day,” sings Pink Floyd, the seventies British progressive rock band. “And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run; you missed the starting gun.”1 Everywhere one turns, there is an obsession with time—time is up, time to go, time is money. Clocks chime, watches beep, phones chirp. Everywhere some kind of device is reminding us of what time it is. Even so, long before the modern world became obsessed with the concept of time, The Bible declared its importance in the plan of God. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under Heaven—a time to be born and a time to die, a time for war and a time for peace.”2 The prophet Isaiah referred to the “time” of God’s favor.3 Daniel spoke of the “set times” of the Lord,4 and twice he spoke of the “appointed time.”5 Jesus spoke to His disciples about the importance of His doing things at the “right time.”6 Paul, too, spoke to the Corinthians about an “appointed time,”7 and to the Romans, he described how at just the “right time” Christ died for us.8

No wonder that when God spoke to Adam and Eve about restoring them to their original state in Paradise, He designed His rescue effort in accordance to a timeline of His own choosing. The first thing God did, as depicted in The First Book of Adam and Eve, was to explain: “I have ordained days and years for you and your descendants, Adam, until those days and years are fulfilled; and when those five and a half days are fulfilled, I will send the Word to save you.”9 Of course, when Adam heard about this prophecy of The Great Five and a Half Days, he had no idea what God meant. At first, he thought the Lord was saying that the end of the world would be taking place in just five and a half days, so he begged God to explain this to him.10 That is when the Lord informed Adam that the five and a half “days” He was referring to actually represented 5,500 years, after which, “One would come and rescue him and his descendants.”11

Now, at this point, I imagine that certain ones reading this still might insist on objecting to such a prophecy on the grounds that no comparable prophetic timelines can be found in the canonical record. There are, you may point out, prophecies regarding future events, say, ones predicted by Jeremiah, which involve a year-oriented prophecy, as in seven times seventy “years.” But nowhere have biblical scholars ever mentioned anything similar to this one regarding The Great Five and a Half Days. At which point I would have to strongly object; because there is, in fact, a clear precedence in the realm of biblical scholarship with regard to such a day-oriented prophecy. Let me explain what I mean.

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A Sliver of Hope

Contained in The Old Testament is a story that has, for centuries, perplexed biblical scholars who have sought to understand its meaning. It is the story of the prophet Hosea. Although classified as one of the Minor Prophets, due to its subordinate relationship to others like The Book of Isaiah and The Book of Daniel, the book bearing his name is actually one that plays a major role in terms of its prophetic significance. The most intriguing thing about Hosea, though, is that his prophecies have clearly been overshadowed by the peculiar life that he led as a result of God not merely giving him a series of prophetic utterances to deliver but instructing him to live out the very message he was inspired to preach. To drive home the full impact of how God felt about His people’s penchant for idol worship, Hosea was instructed to marry a prostitute. Then, via the choice of names for their children, God dramatically revealed His attitude toward the people of Israel. The first child, a son, was called Jezreel, because God was going to scatter the inhabitants of the land and thereby put an end to the northern kingdom of Israel. The second child, a daughter, was called Loruhamah, because God was going to withdraw His love from the House of Israel to the north and only care for the House of Judah to the south. And finally, the third child, another son, was called Loammi, because the northern kingdom would no longer be treated as God’s people, and He would no longer be considered their God.12

To a lesser degree, the same thing happened when God inspired Isaiah to walk around Jerusalem—naked and barefoot—as a “sign of things to come.” In this case, the “thing” that would be happening to the inhabitants of the land was that they, too, would walk naked and barefoot as they were being led into captivity because of their trusting the Egyptians rather than the Lord.13 Similarly, to foretell the imminent destruction of Jerusalem, God instructed Ezekiel to shave his head and beard, and to divide the hairs into three piles. One pile was to be burned, one was to be struck by a sword, and one was to be scattered to the wind. Yet from each pile, a few strands of hair were to be tucked away in the folds of Ezekiel’s garment—all this to typify the coming destruction of the majority of the population, while but a remnant was to be spared by God.14

Just like Isaiah and Ezekiel, then, Hosea was forced to dramatize the message he was entrusted with so that the recipients of his message would not only have to hear it but would be forced to live it, too. Fortunately, though, for the northern kingdom of Israel, Hosea did foresee a sliver of hope in the catastrophic events that lay ahead, because no sooner did he proclaim the abandonment and scattering of the kingdom to the north than Hosea prophesied a much different outcome in their distant future. Notwithstanding the period of desolation and humiliation that the Israelites were to endure, Hosea foresaw the day when “the Israelites would be as the sand of the sea on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted, and in the very place where it was said of them, ‘You are not My people,’ they will be called the ‘children of God.’”15

In many ways, this period of alienation and restoration of the House of Israel constitutes a unique parallel in biblical history with that of the House of Judah. Just as Jeremiah prophesied seventy years of desolation upon the Judahites to the south, followed by their eventual return to Jerusalem, Hosea pronounced a similar sequence of events as they pertained to the Israelites to the north. And so it is with this unique relationship of events that connect the prophetic timelines of both the northern and southern kingdoms—which comprise the totality of the nation of Israel—that we are now able to bring all these apparent loose ends of our discussion to a point of convergence. Let us review to this point.

So ends this Preview of THE BOOK OF DAYS. To read more, please click on one of the following links:

To continue with this series, read an Excerpt to see how a unique language of imagery, symbolism, and meaning is the key to understanding The Bible.

Read the Next Preview to ask, if Jesus never spoke in iambic pentameter, then why do Bible translators depict Him doing so?

Read the Next Excerpt to see why the depiction of a character’s dialog is the paramount hurdle for an author.

Read the Previous Preview to see how typology expounds that certain events, persons, or statements in The Old Testament pre-figure Christ.

Read the Previous Excerpt to ask how can the traditional picture of Isaac as an ignorant son qualify as a type of the devoted Son of God?

To read this series from the beginning, go to the First Preview to discover a work that sheds light on long-lost truths that most modern-day Christians know nothing about.

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Selected Bibliography

1. Time, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright; Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd., 1972

2. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 8

3. Isaiah 49:8

4. Daniel 7:25

5. Ibid. 8:19; 11:29, 33

6. John 7:6

7. First Corinthians 4:5

8. Romans 5:6

9. First Adam and Eve 3:1-2

10. Ibid. 3:3-5

11. Ibid. 3:6

12. Hosea 1:4-8

13. Isaiah 20:1-6

14. Ezekiel 5:1-17

15. Hosea 1:10