Picture taken from Brethren Archive. Public Domain
Sir Edward Denny
Sir Edward Denny Video
Sir Edward Denny was an Irish Protestant believer from Tralee Castle, County Kerry, Ireland who devoted much of his life to the study of the scriptures. He was also a hymn write and was the author of "Hymns and Poems" which was published in 1848. He settled in London and was involved in the Brethren movement. He had a particular interest in bible chronology and through his studies made several discoveries about God's prophetic plan of time. He is best known for two prophetical charts which he produced on the Seventy Weeks of Daniel, and their companion notes. I have put photos of my copies of the charts at the bottom of the page.
One of Sir Edward's great contributions to our understanding of bible prophecy was his study of Daniel chapter 9: 24 -27. He understood that the seventy weeks mentioned in this passage gave a prophetic plan of time for the the coming of the Messiah who we know as Jesus. The weeks represented weeks of years. That is, a week was 7 years of 360 prophetic days each. Therefore 70 weeks would be 7 times 70 or 490 years. He showed that the Messiah was cut off at the end of the 69th week but the 70th week, a period of 7 years, remains a future event. Many of the interpretations of Daniel 9 that have since been undertaken owe a lot to the work of Sir Edward Denny.
Sir Edward also found an important principle of bible chronology. When Jesus was asked by Peter how many times he should forgive his brother, Jesus replied "seventy times seven".
[Mat 18:21-22 KJV] 21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
From this Sir Edward reasoned that 490 is a significant number in terms of God's forgiveness of his people and that God's redemptive grace in history has happened over cycles of 490 years. However these cycles are "redemptive years" that are recognised by God.
Sir Edward discovered what he called the "Chronology of Redemption". Leviticus chapter 25 states that the Year of Jubilee is to be celebrated every 50th year.
[Lev 25:9-10 KJV] 9 Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth [day] of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. 10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout [all] the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
However the Jubilee Year actually started in the middle of the 49th year and finished half way through the first year of the next Jubilee cycle. Thus over a period of 490 years there would actually be 10 Jubilee years included. Sir Edward believed that 500 years in the Jubilee cycle was significant. That would be 490 years in terms of Redemptive Years. He looked for 490 year cycles in the bible. From creation to Christ there are prophetically speaking 4,000 years. There are then 2,000 years to Christ's return followed by 1,000 years of His reign on Earth. Sir Edward divided this seven thousand year period into time periods of "seventy weeks" or 490 years. Each time period represented half a millennium so there were 14 in all. Obviously half a millennium is 500 years but Sir Edward was trying to identify the 490 redemptive years recognised by God. The following chart will illustrate some of his thinking.
To give an example of how the cycle works we will look at one 490 year period from the Exodus to the completion of Solomon's temple. 1 Kings 6:1 tells us that there were 480 years from the Exodus to the time when Solomon commenced work on the temple in Jerusalem.
[1Ki 6:1 KJV] 1 And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which [is] the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.
It then took another 3 years to complete the temple and a further 7 years to furnish it making 490 years altogether. Here we have an example of Sir Edward's 490 year redemption cycle. However if you go through the bible adding up the different years of Judges, foreign domination and Kings there are actually 621 years in this period. How do you reconcile the two. 490 years or 621 years. Well Sir Edward believed in Unreckoned Periods of human rebellion which God does not include in His prophetic timeline. During the period between the Exodus and the start of the temple there were 131 years when Israel was rebellious and under foreign domination. If you subtract 131 from 621 it brings you back to 490 years (redemption years). Here we see that in His plan God only counts redemption years where man counts actual years.
In this way Sir Edward divided history into 490 year chunks of time that were recognised by God and omitted the years where God's purposes were resisted (such as the time between the birth of Ishmael and the birth of Isaac). In order to understand God's prophetic timeline we have to discount the dark period and only count those years where God's purposes are fulfilled. To quote Sir Edward himself from his chart "The Cycle of Seventy Weeks"
"The truth is, the eye of the Lord looking away from the other dark ages of man's sorrowful history, rests only on that to which it can turn with comfort...."
The following chart illustrates how Sir Edward split up the history of the world into what he called "The Great Divisions of Time".
Sir Edward saw time as being divided into different segments that were multiples of seven or "weeks". He saw weeks of Days, weeks of Years, Seventy weeks of years and a tenfold period of seventy weeks. This last period encapsulated all of Jewish history but excluded the two thousand year age of the church (between the two advents of Christ). The following chart illustrates this.
Sir Edward was the first to recognise the Jubilee periods as the building blocks of God's timetable. He is little remembered today but his insights remain very relevant today. It seems to be getting harder to get hold of Sir Edward's work. You could try looking for Sir Edwards Denny's "Forgiveness Seventy And Sevenfold, Companion To Two Prophetical Charts" on Amazon but as I write this it is out of stock. I also saw a reprint for sale on Abebooks.co.uk.
Sir Edward's chart showing how the 70 week, or 490 year, cycle runs through the whole course of history.
Sir Edward's chart on the Seventy Weeks of Daniel chapter 9.