Most of us know Sir Isaac Newton as the father of modern science. He is considered as one of the most influential scientists in the world. He was the one who formulated the law of gravity, and the law of motion which explains the movement of the planets, moons, and stars based on the gravitational pull of larger bodies.
What most of us do not know is that Newton was also a devout Christian and had a tremendous interest in the theology of the end times. He spent hours researching the Bible about the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Isaac Newton believed that the Apocalypse would come in the year 2060, which is exactly 1260 years after the foundation of the “Holy Roman Empire”. Is it possible that Newton based this figure more around religion than scientific reasoning?
In 1936, a truck full of writings and letters of Newton located in the house of the Earl of Portsmouth one of the heirs of Newton – was auctioned. This amazing collection was bought by English economist John Maynard Keynes, who in turn handed it over to the King’s College in England and Abraham Shalom Yehuda, an oriental Jewish academy for study.
Hebrew researchers estimate that Newton wrote more than 1 million words related to Bible study. But perhaps the most telling statement was a marginal note in a letter he wrote in 1704, where Newton predicted the world would end in 2060 AD.
Newton came to this conclusion after an intense study of the Book of Daniel, particularly chapter 12, verse 7: And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. – King James Bible “Authorized Version”, Cambridge Edition
The phrase “time, times, and a half” caught the attention of Isaac Newton. He interpreted it as three and a half years or 1260 days (also referenced in Daniel 7:25, Revelation 11: 3, 12: 6 and 13: 5). Isaac Newton made a slight adjustment, interpreting days like years, 1260 years that marked the countdown to the end of the world and the return of Christ.
But Newton required a starting date in order to predict the “return of Christ”. Newton used the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire in 800 AD by Charlemagne. This marked the fusion of religious primacy of the pope with the political supremacy of Charlemagne. Consequently, the 2060 date was simply the result of adding 1260 years to 800 AD.
The Prophecy of the End Times was very popular in the Protestant movement during the days of Newton.
Newton believed that 800 AD marked the earliest start date for the countdown, but added that it could be later.
It “did not commence before the year 800 in which the pope’s supremacy commenced,” Newton said. He later added, “It may end later, but I see no reason for it ending sooner.”
“This I mention,” Newton added, “not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail.”
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