The Effects of Judged Time Upon Israel
In Chapter 1, we defined Judged Time as indicative of late obedience and dominated by 434-year cycles. Israel entered the Promised Land 38 years late (Deut. 2:14), and thus, their history is marked by three periods of 434 years. The first extends from the time Israel refused to enter the Promised Land to the year of king Saul’s death (2450 + 434 = 2884). This time cycle links the two events, showing that Saul died on Judged Time. (See the chart on page 65.) But Israel’s Judged Time also affected king David, as we shall now see.
How Judged Time Affected King David
Israel actually had two Judged Time cycles running almost concurrently. The first affected Saul, the second affected David. The first began when Israel refused to enter the Promised Land (2450). The second began when Israel actually entered the Promised Land late (2488). The two events are 38 years apart, and so their end points are likewise 38 years apart.
Saul died in 2884, the end of the first 434-year period.
David’s test came 38 years later, toward the end of his reign when he numbered the people. Israel’s entry into Canaan on Judged Time meant that God would balance the ledger in 434 years—in the 38th year of David. The story is found in 2 Samuel 24 and in 1 Chron. 21. The Scriptures do not tell us specifically when David numbered the people. All we know is that this occurred toward the end of his reign. Once we are familiar with the way Judged Time works, we can see that this event occurred 434 years after Israel crossed the Jordan river. 2 Sam. 24:1 reads,
1 And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
We are not told why God’s anger was kindled against Israel. Many have offered their speculations. It is easily explainable once we understand the principle of Judged Time. The people were on Judged Time, because they had refused to enter Canaan on the 50th Jubilee from Adam. Had they been obedient, they would have fulfilled the Feast of Tabernacles, and they would have received the glorified bodies which were lost through Adam’s sin. To enter the land late meant that they would receive an alternative “rest.” Their inheritance would be the land of Canaan—real estate—rather than the glorified body. They would not be perfected. Consequently, they could not keep the rest years and Jubilees in the way God required, even if they had tried.
Each rest year that passed simply added another year of “debt” to the nation’s account. Finally, God foreclosed on Israel’s “national debt” (sin) after 434 years had passed. By that time, Israel owed God 62 land-rest years plus 8 Jubilees, for a total time debt of 70 years.
This explains why God’s anger was kindled against Israel in the 38th year of David. They had never observed a land-rest year and had never declared a Jubilee. They owed God 70 years, and it was time to foreclose on their time debt. But before God could do this, He had to move David to number the people. Why? Because Israel was still under God’s protection on account of the previous census that Moses had taken just before Israel went into the land.
Many preachers and teachers today teach from this story of David. Unfortunately, they usually do so without a basic knowledge of God’s law. And so, they put forth unscriptural theories about how David sinned. Many say that God judged David for the sin of “pride.” Well, certainly, there is pride in all of us, including David; but God never seems to judge anyone specifically for their pride. Their pride causes them to sin, and then God judges them for their sin. Moreover, the Bible specifically makes God responsible for motivating David. If He moved David to number the people by instilling “pride” into his heart, then there are other theological difficulties with which we would have to wrestle.
Others tell us that it was a sin for David to number the people. No, it was not a sin. Moses did it twice in the wilderness, and God never judged him for it. In fact, God told him to number the people (Num. 1:2), even as He told David to number the people. God does not tell people to sin. The problem came when David numbered the people in an unlawful manner. The law of census-taking is found in Exodus 30:12-16,
12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. 13 This shall they give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the Lord. 14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the Lord. 15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls. 16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the Tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls.
Take note in verse 12 that the penalty for not collecting the half-shekel offering was that God would send a plague among them. This is precisely what happened when David numbered the people. 2 Samuel 24:15 tells us,
15 So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed [i.e., the time of the evening sacrifice]; and there died of the people from Dan even to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men.
To summarize, we see that Israel owed a time debt of 70 years after spending 434 years in the land of Canaan. God could not lawfully bring judgment of this kind against Israel, because the people had all given the half shekel to the sanctuary when Moses took his census. That half shekel bound God by legal contract to protect them from the plague or pestilence. Therefore, God had to call for a new census before He could bring such judgment upon Israel. This is why He moved David to number the people.
David numbered the people without collecting the half shekel. This released God from His lawful obligation, allowing Him to bring pestilence that would kill 70,000 men. In this way, God was able to foreclose upon Israel’s time debt—a thousand men for every year of their debt.
This balanced the account and gave Israel a clean financial slate, spiritually speaking. It was like declaring a Jubilee, but not without cost. Such is the disadvantage of being on Judged Time. Nonetheless, this disaster ultimately worked out for good, because this was the incident by which David purchased the Temple site from Ornan the Jebusite. Note the contrast with Saul’s death on Judged Time. With David, the type of Overcomer, this judgment was actually the beginning of the time of preparation for the outpouring of the Spirit when the Temple was dedicated. This dedication was the high point of Israel’s history and the main type that foreshadows the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles in our own day.
Israel then entered into its next 434-year cycle, which ended with the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem. But here God did something a little different in order to show us some other Secrets of Time.
Judged Time From David to the Fall of Jerusalem
The plague upon Israel that killed 70,000 men in the 38th year of David was the judgment of God upon the nation for not keeping its rest years and Jubilees in the years they had been in the land of Canaan. With the debt to sin paid, their slate was wiped clean. However, the people still could not or did not keep their rest years after that time. Consequently, they began to build up another time debt that would eventually lead to a second foreclosure and judgment.
There are actually two beginning points to this next 434-year period, which lead to the fall of Jerusalem (when God brought them into judgment). The first beginning point was the 38th year of David. The second beginning point was when David died two years later. As we see so often in the workings of God, He gives us more than one witness by phasing in His time cycles and then ending them in the same manner. This tends to make His plan more complex, but it also provides proof by the law of the double witness.
Dating from the 38th year of David, the next 434-year cycle ended with a highly significant event recorded in Jeremiah 34. The prophet gave the people an opportunity to keep the last rest year before the Babylonian army would come to destroy the city. This opportunity arose in the 35th year of the 17th Jubilee cycle dating from Israel’s Jordan crossing. In our modern way of reckoning, it was 588 B.C.
Dating from the death of David, the next 434-year cycle ended with the “death” of the “City of David” (Jerusalem, 1 Chron. 11:4-8) in 586 B.C. The parallel is quite fascinating.
On pages 9-10, we told the story of how Jerusalem lived out the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matt. 18:21-35). Jeremiah 34 shows how God gave Jerusalem opportunity to be forgiven of the time debt which they owed and avoid the Babylonian captivity. All they had to do was to keep one single rest year by freeing all their servants. At first they agreed to do so, but then they changed their minds and put them back into servitude. In doing this, they violated the law of Exodus 21:1-2,
1 Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. 2 If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
This was the first and foremost of God’s judicial laws that followed the Ten Commandments. The people all heard the voice of God speak the Ten Commandments; but this law of Hebrew servants was the first of the set of laws the people had refused to hear (Ex. 20:19). Their refusal to hear these laws set the stage for their refusal to release their servants throughout their history. They refused to grant their servants liberty at the appointed time; God likewise refused to grant His servants (Jerusalem) liberty when their day of visitation arrived.
Historians agree that the Zedekiah, the last king of Jerusalem, reigned from 597-586 B.C. In 2 Kings 25:1-3 we read,
1 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about. 2 And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. 3 And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.
We see, then, that Babylon began its siege in the ninth year of Zedekiah during the winter months of 588 B.C. The tenth month of the Hebrew year fell in January-February. Jeremiah had given the people opportunity to declare the rest year the previous fall a few months earlier in the seventh month, which was the beginning of that rest year (589-588 B.C.).
The Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem for about two-and-a-half years, from January of 588 to August of 586 B.C. The city fell as Zedekiah completed his eleventh year as king in Jerusalem.
In Appendix A, we give a more detailed study with charts of that time period, showing how Ezekiel specifically dated all these events according to Israel’s Jubilee calendar that had begun with the Jordan crossing under Joshua. Jehoiachin was carried into captivity in 597 B.C., and so the fifth year of his captivity was 593 B.C. Ezekiel 1:1 and 2 correlates the fifth year of Jehoiachin’s captivity to the 30th year of the Jubilee cycle. Five years later (589-588) was the 35th year of the Jubilee cycle—the rest year.
The Factor of Legal Time
When the people refused to proclaim liberty to the captives and a release to the bondservants, God then declared that Jerusalem would go into captivity (Jer. 34:13-17). It was another two-and-a-half years before Jerusalem was captured and then destroyed. God declared the legal end of the city and the legal end of Zedekiah’s reign in the fall of 589 B.C. The actual end of the city and Zedekiah’s rule came in August of 586 B.C.
The question is, how does this relate to Judged Time? Well, by adding up the years of the reigning monarchs in Jerusalem from the 38th year of David to the legal end of Zedekiah’s reign, we get precisely 433 years, six months, and ten days. This rounds off to 434 years and is the factor of Judged Time. Beginning with the 38th year of David, when he numbered the people, we see that David had two remaining years of his reign (2 Sam. 5:4). After his death, there were 21 more monarchs in Jerusalem (including one queen), all listed in the book of 2 Chronicles.
A Judged Time’s Worth of Monarchs for Israel
|David’s final years, after numbering the people||2 years|
|1. Solomon||2 Chron. 9:30||40 years|
|2. Rehoboam||2 Chron. 12:13||17 years|
|3. Abijah||2 Chron. 13:2||3 years|
|4. Asa||2 Chron. 16:13||41 years|
|5. Jehoshaphat||2 Chron. 20:31||25 years|
|6. Jehoram||2 Chron. 21:5||8 years|
|7. Ahaziah||2 Chron. 22:2||1 year|
|8. Athaliah (Queen)||2 Chron. 22:12||6 years|
|9. Joash||2 Chron. 24:1||40 years|
|10. Amaziah||2 Chron. 25:1||29 years|
|11. Uzziah||2 Chron. 26:3||52 years|
|12. Jotham||2 Chron. 27:1||16 years|
|13. Ahaz||2 Chron. 28:1||16 years|
|14. Hezekiah||2 Chron. 29:1||29 years|
|15. Manasseh||2 Chron. 33:1||55 years|
|16. Amon||2 Chron. 33:21||2 years|
|17. Josiah||2 Chron. 34:1||31 years|
|18. Jehoahaz||2 Chron. 36:2||3 months|
|19. Jehoiakim||2 Chron. 36:5||11 years|
|20. Jehoiachin||2 Chron. 36:9||3 months, 10 days|
|21. Zedekiah||2 Chron. 36:11|| 9 years (to 589-588 B.C.)
|433 years, 6 months, 10 days
Thus, by adding all the legal years of each of these kings in Jerusalem from the 38th year of David to the ninth year of Zedekiah, they total nearly 434 years. It is the same if we begin with the death of king David in his 40th year and go to the actual fall of Jerusalem in the 11th year of Zedekiah. The time period is equivalent, except that it begins and ends two years later than what is calculated in the table above.
Either way we figure it, we are not dealing with a strict chronological time period. Many of these kings began their reigns while their fathers were still alive. Their regencies often overlapped. And so, adding up the total years of these kings gives us the years in legal time, not chronological time. Because a king and his son often reigned at the same time, the actual chronology is one Jubilee cycle shorter—just 385 years in all. (434 - 49 = 385 years.)
As I mentioned on page 28, there are two ways of reckoning time: chronological time and legal time. Chronologically speaking, it was only 385 years, but insofar as the divine law of Time is concerned, it was as though 434 years had passed. God judged them as though they had missed the 62 rest years and 8 Jubilees normally found in a 434-year cycle. Thus, God sentenced them to a Babylonian captivity for a full 70 years (Jer. 29:10). We are told in 2 Chronicles 36:20-21 that Jerusalem was sentenced to the 70-year Babylonian exile specifically because they had never kept their sabbaths (rest years and Jubilees) while they were in the land.
Thus, we see that God did not judge Jerusalem on the basis of chronological time, but rather on the basis of legal time. God figured double time whenever there was a co-regency in power, in order to bring their liability up to the full 434 years.
You might say this was unfair. But who are we to say that God is unfair? Very few things in nature are fair. The real question is whether or not this was just. Yes, it was just, because it did not violate the divine law of time, which God created in the beginning. The divine law defines true justice. But I would also like to comment on the fairness question. God did this, not to be unfair or vengeful, but because He is a merciful God.
In studying the long-term effects of God’s justice, we can see clearly that His judgments are corrective in nature and have our best interests at heart. By operating on the principle of legal time, He shortened the time in order to bring the nation into a greater alignment with His Creation Jubilee Calendar. Thus, by the time Judah finished its sentence in Babylon, and then spent 76 years in the cleansing mode, Daniel’s 490-year Jubilee Calendar began, just 7 years out of alignment from the 70th Jubilee from Adam. Recall that when Israel had entered Canaan on Judged Time, they entered 38 years late, and this put their Jubilee system out of alignment by 38 years. But by shortening their second 434-year Judged Time cycle to just 385 years, God was able to bring them back to the land after 70 years, cleanse them after another 76 years, and then begin their new Jubilee calendar just seven years mis-aligned from the 70th Jubilee from Adam.
If you check the large fold-out calendar at the back of this book, you can see that Daniel’s 70 weeks (i.e., 10 Jubilees) began just seven years after the 70th Jubilee. When king Artaxerxes I sent Ezra to Jerusalem in 458 B.C., he marked the beginning of a new Jubilee calendar after Israel’s Judged Time calendar had come to an end with the fall of Jerusalem. Daniel’s 70 weeks constitute the first ten Jubilees of this new calendar.
The rest years on this new calendar aligned with the rest years on the Creation Jubilee Calendar, but their Jubilees were still mis-aligned by seven years. This signified that God had brought His people somewhat closer to His perfect will, but that they were still not quite synchronized with His Jubilee Rest.
Thus, it is apparent that God was not being mean-spirited for bringing Jerusalem into court on legal time. He had a merciful purpose in mind, a plan which will ever manifest the Love in His character.
Proof of the 385-Year Cycle
Because of the co-regencies, it would be a near hopeless task to study every monarch in Jerusalem and try to figure out the precise years of each of their reigns. Some have tried to do this, but there are simply too many “moving parts” in the time machine that could break down. Fortunately for us, we are able to bypass all that confusion by switching to the Assyrian calendar.
On page 26, we saw how the Assyrian eponym calendar recorded a solar eclipse on June 15, 763 B.C., and how this date is used by historians to date many events in ancient history. Using this astronomical key which all historians use to date ancient events, we also noted that the Assyrian calendar dates the battle of Karkar (and Ahab’s death) 90 years prior to that eclipse. Historians thus tell us that king Ahab died 90 years earlier (853 B.C., which is 3042 years from Adam). King Solomon died 78 years before the death of Ahab (931 B.C., or 2964 from Adam).
David died 40 years before the death of Solomon, in 971 B.C., or 2924 from Adam, and the 38th year of David occurred two years earlier. These are our beginning points for the Judged Time cycle for Jerusalem.
If we figure the time from David’s death (971 B.C.) to the death of the City of David (586 B.C.), it comes to a total of 385 years. (971 - 586 = 385 years.)
If we figure the same time period using years from Adam, David died in 2924, and the death of the City of David in 3309, we again see it is 385 years. (3309 - 2924 = 385 years.)
Our conclusion, then, is that Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 B.C., 385 years from David’s death. It was also 385 chronological years from David’s census to the legal end of Zedekiah’s reign (589-588 B.C.). Legally speaking, God brought both the city and monarchy to an end after 434 legal years. In essence, God overlapped the reigns of some of these kings in order to pack 434 years into just 385. This is one of the Secrets of Time that few have understood in times past. The fact that God sent Jerusalem into a 70-year captivity in Babylon for their refusal to keep any rest years or Jubilees proves that they owed God 70 years as a time debt. In other words, God sentenced them to 70 years as though they had missed all the rest years and Jubilees of a 434-year cycle. How could God do this legally? By the law of legal time. During each co-regency, God imputed double time to the nation.
This is proven simply by the fact that this is what happened. When we look at the facts in the case and then study God’s sentence of the law upon Jerusalem, there is little doubt about it. This is simply another example of the law of shortened time. As we examine the way God has dealt with nations in history, we get to know Him that much better. Above all, these things show us that God is indeed sovereign over history. The world has never gotten out of hand. God knows what He is doing. Nothing happens by accident. All things are working for His ultimate glory.
There are times when we wonder if our dates are correct or if the number of years in an obscure time cycle have any particular meaning. Invariably, we find little “waymarks” that tell us we have indeed correctly understood the timing. In this chapter, we have seen how God shortened the 434-year Judged Time cycle to a mere 385 years. The numbers all appear to fit very well, but we have also noticed an interesting thing about this number 385.
First, it is precisely seven rest years, or one Jubilee, short of 434 years. In other words, God shortened this time by exactly one Jubilee (434 - 49 = 385 years). This shows us that the Jubilee is the factor that links the two time cycles. This is helpful in our understanding, because it makes 385 a meaningful number. It no longer hangs in space somewhere, disconnected to any solid foundations.
Second, we may wonder why the final 434-year cycle of legal time is really only 433 years, 6 months, and 10 days. If God knows all things, and if nothing happens by accident, then perhaps there is some purpose to this odd total. We find there is indeed a purpose. The 434-year cycle is like the 490-year cycle, except that one is Judged Time and the other Blessed Time. In both cases, it is the time at which God reckons the account of the nation to determine whether He will foreclose upon them in judgment or extend their grace period.
In the case of Blessed Time, God would reckon the account at the tenth Jubilee, which was timed to occur on the tenth day of the seventh month of the 50th year. However, in the case of Judged Time, God reckons the account after 433 full years had passed, plus 6 full months, plus 10 days into the seventh month. In other words, it is timed to occur on a Judged Time Jubilee. Thus, we see that the total number of legal years attributed to the kings in Jerusalem were 433 years, 6 months, and 10 days. This very specific number of legal years was meant to convey the Judged Time Jubilee.
Great and marvelous are Thy works, O Lord!