I reject the Day=Year theory this was dependent on. But it's amusing given how many feel about 2016 now that someone Predicted it to be Apocalyptic Centuries ago.
2016 vs 2060However, between the time he wrote his 2060 prediction (about 1704) until his death in 1727 Newton conversed, both first hand and by correspondence, with other famous theologians of his time. Those contemporaries who knew him during the remaining 23 years of his life appear to be in agreement that Newton, and the "best interpreters" including Jonathan Edwards, Robert Fleming, Moses Lowman, Phillip Doddridge, and Bishop Thomas Newton, were eventually "pretty well agreed" that the 1,260-year timeline should be calculated from the year 756 AD.
F.A. Cox also confirmed that this was the view of Newton and others, including himself:
“The author adopts the hypothesis of Fleming, Sir Isaac Newton, and Lowman, that the 1260 years commenced in A.d. 756; and consequently that the millennium will not begin till the year 2016.”Thomas Williams stated that this timeline had become the predominant view among the leading Protestant theologians of his time:
“Mr. Lowman, though an earlier commentator, is (we believe) far more generally followed ; and he commences the 1260 days from about 756, when, by aid of Pepin, King of France, the Pope obtained considerable temporalities. This carries on the reign of Popery to 2016, or sixteen years into the commencement of the Millennium, as it is generally reckoned.”In April of 756 AD, Pepin, King of France, accompanied by Pope Stephen II entered northern Italy, forcing the Lombard King Aistulf to lift his siege of Rome, and return to Pavia. Following Aistulf's capitulation, Pepin gave the newly conquered territories to the Papacy by means of the Donation of Pepin, thereby elevating the Pope from being a subject of the Byzantine Empire to head of state, with temporal power over the newly constituted Papal States.
The end of the timeline is based on Daniel 8:25 which reads "...but he shall be broken without hand" and is understood to mean that the end of the Papacy with not be caused by any human action. Volcanic activity is described as the means by which Rome will be overthrown.
"Antichrist will retain some part of his dominion over the nations till about the year 2016." "And when the 1260 years are expired, Rome itself, with all its magnificence, will be absorbed in a lake of fire, sink into the sea, and rise no more at all for ever*."In 1870 the newly formed Kingdom of Italy annexed the remaining Papal States, depriving the Popes of any temporal rule for the next 59 years. Unaware that Papal rule would be restored, (albeit on a greatly diminished scale) in 1929 as head of the Vatican City state, the historicist view that the Papacy is the Antichrist, and the associated timelines delineating his rule rapidly declined in popularity as one of the defining characteristics of the Antichrist (i.e. that he would also be a political temporal power at the time of the return of Jesus) were no longer met.
Eventually, the prediction was largely forgotten and no major Protestant denomination currently subscribes to this timeline.
Despite the dramatic nature of a prediction of the end of the world, Newton may not have been referring to the 2060 date as a destructive act resulting in the annihilation of the earth and its inhabitants, but rather one in which he believed the world was to be replaced with a new one based upon a transition to an era of divinely inspired peace. In Christian theology, this concept is often referred to as The Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of Paradise by The Kingdom of God on Earth.
Saturday, December 31, 2016