Author Topic: NO YEAR ZERO  (Read 684 times)

Brother John

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NO YEAR ZERO
« on: November 30, 2015, 10:22:13 PM »
In his books "The False Prophet" and "Islam in the End Times", Ellis Skolfield is fairly persuasive in arguing that "a time, times and half a time" is to be interpreted as a period of 2500 years, at least in the book of Daniel. He suggests Daniel's visions are perfectly fulfilled as follows in the restoration of Israel:

552 BC + 2500 = 1948 AD
533 BC + 2500 = 1967 AD

However, there is a minor problem that he has overlooked. Indeed, it seems to be a problem in all the date calculations on this website which transcend the birth of Christ, and most prophecy websites make the same error. This is not a criticism but a correction, because it is a point I also once overlooked.

The issue is that there is NO YEAR ZERO in the calendar. The year 1 BC is followed by the year 1 AD. That means that from, say, 100 BC to 100 AD, there are only 199 (not 200) years. It means for the above prophecies to be fulfilled after a precise 2500 years, it is necessary to push back the 1st year of Belshazzar and the 3rd year of Cyrus by one year. (This is not unreasonable given the small uncertainty that exists in fixing the first year of kings of the time.)

We cannot use Hebrew inclusive counting to fill the "missing year" because the time units for counting are millennia, not years. So, perhaps this website (and eventually the books) need to be updated to reflect these dates:

553 BC + 2500 = 1948 AD
534 BC + 2500 = 1967 AD

PeteWaldo

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Re: NO YEAR ZERO
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2015, 03:56:41 AM »
However, there is a minor problem that he has overlooked. Indeed, it seems to be a problem in all the date calculations on this website which transcend the birth of Christ, and most prophecy websites make the same error. This is not a criticism but a correction, because it is a point I also once overlooked.

It's generally best to pose things as questions, rather than all caps emphatic declarations, when the subject is Ellis Skolfield's knowledge. If you had ever engaged in lengthy discussion with him you would have no doubt whatsoever about his knowledge of scripture, languages, Christian apologetics, history, archaeology and his scholarship, so let me help you get to know him.
Besides a lifetime of independent study, after his being raised in the scriptures on his mother's knee as missionaries in the Philippines (his father captained the "Gospel Ship"), he was also a pastor trained at Columbia Bible College, who led a flock earlier in life. He was also working in the world for a considerable portion of his life as an internationally recognized and award winning graphic designer/printer.

Over the 35-40 years of Ellis teaching on the math this is not the first time the "zero year" came up. Ellis not only didn't overlook it, but rather addresses it along with its irrelevance, in several places. It is settled by the fact that scholars accept 1-2 years of leeway in dating of the Babylonian period (as you indicated yourself). Voila, "zero year" discussion is rendered moot and both years you list are recognized.

Ellis avoided increasing the complication of his books, by excluding subjects like a zero year, since no shortage of folk's eyes glaze over simply at the mention of mathematics. Another example is, in "Hidden Beast" he included a chapter on bifids and chiasms, but dropped it from his later books because he didn't want to discourage or otherwise wear out the reader, with such technical information. At first blush, it might seem to you and I that later readers got gypped out of that essential information (which was of course still available in PDF on his site), but over the years I learned to trust in Ellis' conspicuously Spirit-guided judgment.

Additionally, when I present the dating on my websites and elsewhere, I usually include a range as in Belshazzar 553-552 BC and first year of Cyrus 537-536 BC, which has the added benefit of additional web search results that confirm the dating as supportable.

Before going off further in critique on the dating, you might want to glance at a fairly lengthy chat I had with an atheist who put a lot of effort into disbelieving the dating, that forced me a little deeper into more specifics:
http://www.brotherpete.com/index.php?topic=4691.msg17839#msg17839

In conclusion, since the verses work out so stunningly well textually, do we really need to quibble over a year much less look to some liberal scholar's dating, or trust the word of God and the math to determine the dating?

Brother John

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Re: NO YEAR ZERO
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2015, 03:12:15 AM »
Yes Pete,
 
I would have done better to put my point about no year zero as a question. It is a few years since I read "The False Prophet", and I recall now that Ellis did provide an explanation for why he ignored the missing year. It does depend on who one is writing for, and how the Spirit leads. My own practice is to factor in the missing year, and try to ensure the reader understands what I am doing. Ellis was writing for the general public, and I respect his decision to simplify the calculations.

It was nice to learn something about his life serving our Lord.

Yours in Christ,
Brother John

PeteWaldo

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Re: NO YEAR ZERO
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2015, 07:57:00 AM »
Yes Pete,
 
I would have done better to put my point about no year zero as a question. It is a few years since I read "The False Prophet", and I recall now that Ellis did provide an explanation for why he ignored the missing year. It does depend on who one is writing for, and how the Spirit leads. My own practice is to factor in the missing year, and try to ensure the reader understands what I am doing. Ellis was writing for the general public, and I respect his decision to simplify the calculations.

It was nice to learn something about his life serving our Lord.

Yours in Christ,
Brother John

I was going to say I wasn't sure the subject was broached in TFP, but before I did, I used a ctrl+f search and found it at the bottom of page 37.
http://www.beholdthebeast.com/69_weeks.htm#37

As it went over the years, there were very few times that I would question Ellis about something that concerned me, but would be given a response that would set my concern aside.