Catalogue Entry: THEM00193

Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John (London: 1733)

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John (London: 1733).

[1] 2 Chron. xxxiii. 5, 6, 7.

[2] 2 Chron. xxxiv.

[3] 2 Chron. xii. 2, 3, 4, 8, 9. & xv. 3, 5, 6.

[4] 2 Chron. xiv. 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12.

[5] 2 Chron. xv. 3, 12, 13, 16, 18.

[6] 2 Kings xvii. 27, 28, 32, 33.

[7] 2 Kings xvii. 34, 41.

[8] Gen. xxxvi. 31.

[9] Chap. ii. 41, &c.

[10] Chap. vii. 4.

[11] Chap. vii. 5.

[12] Chap. vii. 13.

[13] Chap. vii. 11, 12.

[14] Procop. l. 1. de Bello Vandalico.

[15] Galli Arborici: whence the region was named Arboricbant, and by contraction Brabant.

[16] Apud Bucherum, l. 14. c. 9. n. 8.

[17] Rolevinc's Antiqua Saxon. l. 1. c. 6.

[18] Chap. vii. 8.

[19] Ver. 20, 21.

[20] Ver. 24.

[21] Ver. 25.

[22] Sigonius de Regno Italiæ, ad Ann. 726.

[23] Sigonius ib. ad Ann. 726, 752.

[24] Sigon. ib. Ann. 750.

[25] Sigon. ib. Ann. 753, 754, 755.

[26] Sigon. ib. Ann. 773.

[27] Sigon. de Regno Ital. ad Ann. 796.

[28] Vide Anastasium.

[29] Sigon. de Regno Ital.

[30] Confirmationem recitat Sigonius, lib. 4. de Regno Italiæ, ad An. 817.

[31] See the Annals of Baronius, Anno 381. Sect. 6.

[32] Populos Galliciæ.

[33] Hormisd. Epist. 24. 26.

[34] The words, sine auctoritate, seem wanting.

[35] Vide Caroli a S. Paulo Geographiam sacram, p. 72, 73.

[36] Greg. M. lib. 1. Indic. 9. Epist. 16.

[37] Apud Gratianum de Mediolanensi & Aquileiensi Episcopis.

[38] Greg. M. lib. 3. Epist. 26. & lib. 4. Epist. 1.

[39] Greg. lib. 5. Epist. 4.

[40] Greg. lib. 9. Epist. 10 & 67.

[41] Greg. lib. 11. Epist. 3, 4.

[42] Ambros l. 3. de sacramentis, c. 1.

[43] Sigonius de Regno Italiæ, lib. 5.

[44] See Baronius, Anno 433. Sect. 24.

[45] Greg. M. lib. 3. Epist. 56, 57. & lib. 5. Epist. 25, 26, 56.

[46] Epist. 25. apud Holstenium.

[47] Dan. vii. 20.

[48] Ver. 25.

[49] Ver. 26.

[50] Ver. 27.

[51] Chap. viii. 3.

[52] Ver. 22.

[53] Ver. 23.

[54] Chap. viii. 9.

[55] Chap. viii. 9, 10.

[56] Ver. 11.

[57] Ver. 12.

[58] Ver. 13, 14.

[59] Dan. xi. 1, 2.

[60] Ver. 3.

[61] Dan xi. 31.

[62] Chap. xi. 33, &c.

[63] Chap. ix. 24, 25, 26, 27.

[64] Cut upon. A phrase in Hebrew, taken from the practise of numbring by cutting notches.

[65] Heb. to seal, i.e. to finish or consummate: a metaphor taken from sealing what is finished. So the Jews compute, ad obsignatum Misna, ad obsignatum Talmud, that is, ad absolutum.

[66] Heb. the Prophet, not the Prophecy.

[67] Heb. the Messiah, that is, in Greek, the Christ; in English, the Anointed. I use the English word, that the relation of this clause to the former may appear.

[68] Jerusalem.

[69] Jerusalem.

[70] See Isa. xxiii. 13.

[71] Iren. l. 5. Hær. c. 25.

[72] Apud Hieron. in h. l.

[73] 1 Kings xi. 7.


The antient solar years of the eastern nations consisted of 12 months, and every month of 30 days: and hence came the division of a circle into 360 degrees. This year seems to be used by Moses <138> in his history of the Flood, and by John in the Apocalypse, where a time, times and half a time, 42 months and 1260 days, are put equipollent. But in reckoning by many of these years together, an account is to be kept of the odd days which were added to the end of these years. For the Egyptians added five days to the end of this year; and so did the Chaldeans long before the times of Daniel, as appears by the Æra, of Nabonassar: and the Persian Magi used the same year of 365 days, till the Empire of the Arabians. The antient Greeks also used the same solar year of 12 equal months, or 360 days; but every other year added an intercalary month, consisting of 10 and 11 days alternately.

The year of the Jews, even from their coming out of Egypt, was Luni-solar. It was solar, for the harvest always followed the Passover, and the fruits of the land were always gathered before the feast of Tabernacles, Levit. xxiii. But the months were lunar, for the people were commanded by Moses in the beginning of every month to blow with trumpets, and offer burnt offerings with their drink offerings, Num. x. 10. xxviii. 11, 14. and this solemnity was kept on the new moons, Psal. lxxxi. 3, 4, 5.    1 Chron. xxiii. 31. These months were called by Moses the first, second, third, fourth month, &c. and the first month was also called Abib, the second Zif, the seventh Ethanim, the eighth Bull, Exod. xiii. 4.    1 Kings vi. 37, 38. viii. 2. But in the Babylonian captivity the Jews used the names of the Chaldean months, and by those names understood the months of their own year; so that the Jewish months then lost their old names, and are now called by those of the Chaldeans.

The Jews began their civil year from the autumnal Equinox, and their sacred year from the vernal: and the first day of the first month was on the visible new moon, which was nearest the Equinox.

Whether Daniel used the Chaldaick or Jewish year, is not very material; the difference being but six hours in a year, and 4 months in 480 years. But I take his months to be Jewish: first, because Daniel was a Jew, and the Jews even by the names of the Chaldean months understood the months of their own year: secondly, because this Prophecy is grounded on Jeremiah's concerning the 70 years captivity, and therefore must be understood of the same sort of years with the seventy; and those are Jewish, since that Prophecy was given in Judea before the captivity: and lastly, because Daniel reckons by weeks of years, which is a way of reckoning peculiar to the Jewish years. For as their days ran by sevens, and the last day of every seven was a sabbath; so their years ran by sevens, and the last year of every seven was a sabbatical year, and seven such weeks of years made a Jubilee.

[75] I observe, that Christ and his forerunner John in their parabolical discourses were wont to allude to things present. The old Prophets, when they would describe things emphatically, did not only draw parables from things which offered themselves, as from the rent of a garment, 1 Sam. xv. from the sabbatic year, Isa. xxxvii. from the vessels of a Potter, Jer. xviii, &c. but also when such fit objects were wanting, they supplied them by their own actions, as by rending a garment, 1 Kings xi. by shooting, 2 Kings xiii. by making bare their body, Isa. xx. by imposing significant names to their sons, Isa. viii. Hos. i. by hiding a girdle in the bank of Euphrates, Jer. xiii. by breaking a potter's vessel, Jer. xix. by putting on fetters and yokes, Jer. xxvii. by binding a book to a stone, and casting them both into Euphrates, Jer. li. by besieging a painted city, Ezek. iv. by dividing hair into three parts, Ezek. v. by making a chain, Ezek. vii. by carrying out houshold stuff like a captive and trembling, Ezek. xii, &c. By such kind of types the Prophets loved to speak. And Christ being endued with a nobler prophetic spirit than the rest, excelled also in this kind of speaking, yet so as not to speak by his own actions, that was less grave and decent, but to turn into parables such things as offered themselves. On occasion of the harvest approaching, he admonishes his disciples once and again of the spiritual harvest, John iv. 35. Matth. ix. 37. Seeing the lilies of the field, he admonishes his disciples about gay clothing, Matth. vi. 28. In allusion to the present season of fruits, he admonishes his disciples about knowing men by their fruits, Matth. vii. 16. In the time of the Passover, when trees put forth leaves, he bids his disciples learn a parable from the fig tree: when its branch is yet tender and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh, &c. Matth. xxiv. 32. Luke xxi. 29. The same day, alluding both to the season of the year and to his passion, which was to be two days after, he formed a parable of the time of fruits approaching, and the murdering of the heir, Matth. xxi. 33. Alluding at the same time, both to the money-changers whom he had newly driven out of the Temple, and to his passion at hand; he made a parable of a Noble-man going into a far country to receive a kingdom and return, and delivering his goods to his servants, and at his return condemning the slothful servant because he put not his money to the exchangers, Matth. xxv. 14. Luke xix. 12. Being near the Temple where sheep were kept in folds to be sold for the sacrifices, he spake many things parabolically of sheep, of the shepherd, and of the door of the sheepfold; and discovers that he alluded to the sheepfolds which were to be hired in the market-place, by speaking of such folds as a thief could not enter by the door, nor the shepherd himself open, but a porter opened to the shepherd, John x. 1, 3. Being in the mount of Olives, Matth. xxxvi. 30. John xiv. 31. a place so fertile that it could not want vines, he spake many things mystically of the Husbandman, and of the vine and its branches, John xv. Meeting a blind man, he admonished of spiritual blindness, John ix. 39. At the sight of little children, he described once and again the innocence of the elect, Matth. xviii. 2. xix. 13. Knowing that Lazarus was dead and should be raised again, he discoursed of the resurrection and life eternal, John xi. 25, 26. Hearing of the slaughter of some whom Pilate had slain, he admonished of eternal death, Luke xiii. 1. To his fishermen he spake of fishers of men, Matth. iv. 10. and composed another parable about fishes. Matth. xiii. 47. Being by the Temple, he spake of the Temple of his body, John ii. 19. At supper he spake a parable about the mystical supper to come in the kingdom of heaven, Luke xiv. On occasion of temporal food, he admonished his disciples of spiritual food, and of eating his flesh and drinking his blood mystically, John vi. 27, 53. When his disciples wanted bread, he bad them beware of the leven of the Pharisees, Matth. xvi. 6. Being desired to eat, he answered that he had other meat, John iv. 31. In the great day of the feast of Tabernacles, when the Jews, as their custom was, brought a great quantity of waters from the river Shiloah into the Temple, Christ stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth in me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water, John vii. 37. The next day, in allusion to the servants who by reason of the sabbatical year were newly set free, he said, If ye continue in my word, the truth shall make you free. Which the Jews understanding literally with respect to the present manumission of servants, answered, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, ye shall be made free? John viii. They assert their freedom by a double argument: first, because they were the seed of Abraham, and therefore newly made free, had they been ever in bondage; and then, because they never were in bondage. In the last Passover, when Herod led his army thro' Judea against Aretas King of Arabia, because Aretas was aggressor and the stronger in military forces, as appeared by the event; Christ alluding to that state of things, composed the parable of a weaker King leading his army against a stronger who made war upon him, Luke xiv. 31. And I doubt not but divers other parables were formed upon other occasions, the history of which we have not.

[76] Joseph. Antiq. lib. 3. c. 10.

[77] Chap. xi. 2, 3, 4.

[78] Chap. xi. 5.

[79] Chap. xi. 6, 7, 8.

[80] Chap. xi. 10, &c.

[81] Chap. xi. 13-19.

[82] Chap. xi. 20.

[83] Chap. xi. 21, &c.

[84] 2 Maccab. iii. 5, 8. & iv. 4.

[85] Chap. xi. 25, &c.

[86] Chap. xi. 29, 30.

[87] Chap. xi. 32, &c.

[88] Chap. xi. 36, &c.

[89] Chap. xi. 40, &c.

[90] Lib. 4. c. 28, 29.

[91] In vita Constantini, l. 4. c. 28.

[92] Epist. 10.

[93] L. 32. de Episcopis.

[94] Chap. xi. 38, 39

[95] Orat. de vita Greg. Thaumaturg. T. 3. p. 574.

[96] Vide Hom. 47. in. S. Julian.

[97] Epist. 27. ad Eustochium.

[98] Edit. Frontonis Ducæi, Tom. 1.

[99] Ad. an. 381, Sect. 41.

[100] Hist. Eccl. l. 2. c. 23.

[101] L. 4. c. 24.

[102] Hom. 66. ad. populum, circa finem. & Hom. 8, 27. in Matth. Hom. 42, 43. in Gen. Hom. 1. in 1 Thess.

[103] Exposit. in Psal. 114. sub finem.

[104] Dem. Evang. l. 3.

[105] Vid. Pamelium in notis ad Tertull. de Præscriptionbus, n. 215 & Hieron l. 1. contra Jovinianum, c. 14. Edit.Erasmi.

[106] Areth. c. 18, 19.

[107] Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 23.

[108] Chrysost. ad Theodorum lapsum.

[109] Hieron. in Epist. ad Gal. l. 3. c. 6.

[110] Apud Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 28. Edit. Valesii.

[111] Epiphan. Hæres. 28.

[112] Hieron. adv. Lucif.

[113] 1 Pet. i. 7, 13. iv. 13. & v. 1.

[114] Apoc. xiii. 8.

[115] Apoc. xxi.

[116] Apoc. i. 6. & v. 10.

[117] Apoc. xx. 6.

[118] Apoc. xx. 4, 12.

[119] Apoc. xvii.

[120] Dan. viii. 15, 16, 27. & xii. 8, 9.

[121] ἀσελγειασ, in many of the best MSS.

[122] Apoc. xiii. 7, 12.

[123] Apoc. xiii. 1, 5, 6.

[124] Apoc. xviii. 12, 13.

[125] Apoc. xix. 20.

[126] Apoc. xxi. 3, 4.

[127] Apoc. ix. 21. and xvii. 2.

[128] Apoc. xiii. 6.

[129] Apoc. xviii. 3, 7, 9.

[130] μοιχαλίδος.

[131] Apoc. ii. 14.

[132] Apol. ad Antonin. Pium.

[133] Hæres. l. 1. c. 20. Vide etiam Tertullianum, Apol. c. 13.

[134] Euseb. Chron.

[135] Cyril Catech. 6. Philastr. de hæres. cap. 30. Sulp. Hist. l. 2. Prosper de promiss. dimid. temp. cap. 13. Maximus serm. 5. in Natal. Apost. Hegesip. l. 2. c. 2.

[136] Lactant de mortib. Persec. c. 2.

[137] Hom. 70. in Matt. c. 22.

[138] Apud Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c. 25.

[139] Euseb. Hist. l. 2. c. 25.

[140] Arethas in Proæm. comment. in Apoc.

[141] Euseb. Hist. l. 4. cap. 26. Hieron.

[142] Euseb. Hist. l. 4. c. 24.

[143] Hieron.

[144] Dan. x. 21. xii. 4, 9.

[145] Dan. xii. 4, 10.

[146] Apoc. i. 3.

[147] Isa. vi.

[148] Apoc. v.

[149] Apoc. vii

[150] Buxtorf in Synogoga Judaica, c. 18, 21.

[151] Ezek. ix.

[152] Apoc. ii. 4, &c.

[153] Apoc. ii. 9, 10.

[154] Ver. 14.

[155] Numb. xxv. 1, 2, 18, & xxxi. 16.

[156] Apoc. iii. 10, 12.

[157] Apoc. iii. 16, 17.

[158] Apoc. viii. 7, &c.

[159] Apoc. xvi. 5, 6.

[160] Apoc. ix. 13, &c.

© 2018 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL -

Privacy Statement

  • University of Oxford
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • JISC