The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 3

IV. Fry-Dates 2300 Years 457-1844; Extends Other Periods

JOHN FRY (1775-1849), rector of Desford, Leicester, was a graduate of University College, Oxford. 38 He was the author of numerous books on prophecy, including The Second Advent; or, the Glorious Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1822), The Epochs of Daniel’s Prophetic Numbers Fixed (1828), ‘and Observations on the Unfulfilled Prophecies of Scripture, which Are Yet to Have Their Accomplishment Before the Coming of the Lord in Glory, or at the Establishment of His Everlasting Kingdom (1835). The previous writing of A Short History of the Church of Christ (1825), designed for schools, gave him a clear grasp of the historical counterpart of prophecy. Fry is an example of revision and progression of view in the thirteen years elapsing between his earliest and latest volumes. His clarity, and the comprehensive scope of his expositions, as well as his later revisions, and his emphasis of 1844 call for a rather close tracing of his positions. Though they may be a bit tedious, they exemplify the interpretation of the times and the processes of reasoning employed. PFF3 489.4


Fry, who cites Sir Isaac Newton on his title page, from the first follows the standard interpretation of the four empires of prophecy, and the western divisions of the fourth, for Daniel 2 and 7. 39 He follows Machiavelli and Bishop Lloyd’s list of the ten primary kingdoms. The Ostrogoths, Heruli, and Lombards are the three plucked up. 40 Persia and Grecia are the powers of Daniel 8, with Mohammedanism as the conspicuous horn.” 41 On the 2300 years of Daniel 8:14, Fry shows that by dating from the alleged year of the vision, 553 B.C., 2300 years leads to 1747. But at that time “the sanctuary has in no sense been cleansed, either in the west, or in the east, or on the holy mountains of Palestine.” 42 PFF3 490.1

This indicated a later date for the commencement of the period. Hale’s testimony to the genuineness of the 2300 is cited, 43 as also the adoption of the 2400 by Faber and Frere - 2400 from 553 B.C. leading to A.D. 1847. On this, Fry takes no personal position in his 1822 volume. But the seventy weeks, or 490 years, he unhesitatingly puts from 457 B.C. to the year A.D. 33, at which latter date he places the crucifixion. 44. PFF3 490.2


Fry is also uncertain, at this early date, as to how and when to date the 1290- and 1335-year periods. 45 But he looks upon the taking away of the daily as the “same thing as ‘giving the saints,’ or the ‘times and the laws,’ into the hand of the Little Horn of the fourth beast,” and that the interruption of the temple service is the same as the “triumph of the papal idolatry” over the principle and provision of early Christianity. 46 he concludes that “thirty years after the close of the little horn’s triumphant reign,” will be some notable happening, and forty-five years beyond that “comes the happy era for which you long.” 47 In any event, he avers, “we are somewhere about the termination of this period-are near approaching it, or perhaps have actually passed it.” 48 PFF3 491.1


After Asserting the propriety of studying and discussing these numbers, he asks when the Papacy assumed its power, and says: “ PFF3 491.2

Could we fix with certainty on this, of all epochas most important, then could we say with confidence: date from that epocha 1260 years, and you will sec the papacy cease to have ‘the saints,’ or ‘the times and laws,’ in its hand or power; date 30 years from that era, and you will witness another remarkable occurrence: and if you have hut the happiness to reach, in your prolonged earthly pilgrimage, five-and-forty years beyond the expiration of that thirty, you will see the advent of Messiah’s kingdom, and the end of all these wonders.” 49 PFF3 491.3

He cites the various beginning dates assigned to it by men in the past-365, 410, 455, 529, 533, 540, 606, and on into the eighth century. He says he has not yet reached his own conclusions, but expresses the opinion that “the expiration of this period of 1260 years will alone show when it began. 50 He inclines, however, to Cuninghame’s 533-1793 dating. The 1290 years would then reach to 1823, and the forty-five years beyond that epoch, “that is, in the year of our Lord 1868, the hope of Israel, and of all the ends of the earth, appears.” 51 Therefore the cleansing, or vindicating, of the sanctuary “may shortly be expected to be developed.” 52 The time is “fast approaching.” PFF3 491.4


On the trumpets, the first four are the emigrations of the barbarians-Alaric and his Goths, Genseric and the Vandals, Attila and the Huns forming the first three. 53 e fifth is the Saracens for five prophetic months (150 years), from 612-762 54 The sixth is the Ottoman Turks, the prophetic hour, day, month, and year (391 years), being from 1281 to 1672 55 PFF3 492.1


With others, Fry believed the tenth part of the city, that fell under the blow of the earthquake, to be France casting off the papal yoke with violence. Thus the whole papal city was “shaken to its very foundations.” 56 And as captive Greece subdued her Roman conqueror, so Rome in turn “cast the fetters of a moral captivity upon the fierce invaders of the North.” 57 And the beast of Revelation 13 is the same as Rome’s papal Little Horn of Daniel 7 58 PFF3 492.2


Not wholly certain the first four vials can be shown to have been fulfilled in recent European history, Fry is sure that the sixth-the drying up of the Euphrates, or “Ottoman Turks”-is “still future.” 59 PFF3 492.3


In his later Observations on the Unfulfilled Prophecies of Scripture, Fry places on the title page the text, “The great day of the Lord is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord.” Discussing the latter part of Daniel 11, he holds that the last of the four empires of Daniel 2 and 7 is there portrayed, to be followed by the kingdom of the saints. “Chittim” means Rome, and “the development of an apostasy from the true religion” parallels the exaltation of the “wicked one.” 60 He notes the prior parceling out of the Roman Empire, represented by the ten toes and the ten horns. The exceeding great horn of Daniel 8, Fry still believed to be the eastern, or Mohammedan, power 61 PFF3 492.4


Section Four deals with the predicted “Signs of the Approaching Day of the Lord,” among which he places the special “preaching of the gospel of the kingdom,” which he felt was “beginning to be accomplished,” citing Revelation 14:6. He speaks regret fully of some who were futilely “thinking to prepare a Millennium for themselves, under the present dispensation. 62 And he declares that many “will be enlightened to see the bearing of the word of prophecy upon the times on which we are fallen: the proclamation will go forth, ‘Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come.’” 63 Fry adds, interestingly, that “the epithet ‘everlasting,’ applied to the ‘Gospel of the kingdom’ is peculiar to this passage, and seems to intimate the introduction of a dispensation of the kingdom which shall be forever.” This all takes place before the great and terrible day of the Lord 64 PFF3 493.1


The hating of the whore, in Revelation 17, denotes “the over turning of the supremacy and dominion of the Roman church, which the kingdoms of the western empire had borne for so many ages as a beast of burden.” This is to take place before, or at least before the close of, the pouring out of the last vial of judgment. 65 PFF3 493.2


In an Appendix of this later work, in interpreting the first six trumpets, Fry states, “I have been convinced for many years, that the infidel historian, Gibbon, is the best of all expositors,” and that “the era of the six trumpets, agrees with his era of ‘the fall of the Roman empire’ both in the west and in the east.” Moreover, he feels that the fall in the West is symbolized by the first four, with “the fifth and sixth the fall of the Roman power in the east.” 66 He again identifies the first three trumpets as Alaric and his Goths about 395, Genseric and his Vandals about 429, and Attila and his Huns about 433. 67 After the fourth, a “break in the prophecy is strongly marked in the vision”-the angelic announcement of the three woes to follow. The fifth is the Mohammedan Saracens, and the sixth the Mohammedan Turks. 68 PFF3 493.3


The be ginning of the 1260 years Fry places “after the destructive inroads of the barbarian nations.” The papal Little Horn of Daniel 7 is the “prime mover in the war made on the saints.” 69 PFF3 494.1


Holding to the clear principle that in prophetic time a day stands for a year, Fry indicates that the “seven times of the Gentiles,” or 2520 years, dated from the captivity of Manasseh, in 677 B.C., “would close in the year of our Lord 1844.” 70 This expression-“times of the Gentiles”-he adds, had “caught the attention” of many expositors 71 PFF3 494.2

13. 2300 YEARS-157 B.C. TO A.D. 1844

And the 2300 years of Daniel 8, “on the same scale so many years,” Fry now clearly begins from “the same epocha” as the seventy weeks of Daniel 9-from the going forth of the decree to restore Jerusalem in 457 B.C. Then he adds with positiveness: “If the twenty-three hundred years are to be dated from the same epoch, (adding one for the year of the era) they also terminate A.D. 1844. 72 PFF3 494.3

14. 391-YEAR PERIOD MAY END 1844

In addition to these two, both terminating in 1844, Fry adds that the 391 years of Revelation 9:15 may also be “dated from the establishment of the Mohomedan Turks at Constantinople.” The number of days, counted on the common scale, may also terminate in the year A.D. 1844 73 he fractional part of the year is also noted as of the “hour.” PFF3 494.4


Fry calls attention, moreover, to the remarkable fact that “the Mohammedans in various parts of the world, have their expectations fixed on the same year, A.D. 1844.” 74 This was on the basis of the 1200th year from the Hegira, when, many believed, “Jesus Christ shall revisit the earth, and when all men shall be of one faith.” 75 Then Fry concludes: PFF3 495.1

“Whether we shall or shall not he led by our best inductions from the prophecies of the Scriptures, to conclude that the year A.D. 1844, be the actual period of the coming of our Lord in glory-as the Mahomedam suppose to make us all of their religion.-For they say that, though Mahomed is the greater prophet, and his religion the only true one; yet that Mahomed is not risen from the dead, but that Jesus is, and that in his person this visitation is to take place. This coincidence in the expectation of so large a body of mankind, with the general prospects of the people who wait for redemption in the Church of Christ, is certainly not to be disregarded. Something very similar was the case, from whatever cause, in respect of the whole civilized world, at or near the epoch of the first advent.” 76 PFF3 495.2


The impressive implications of 1844 on the basis of such calculations, leads Fry to this discussion of the cleansing of the sanctuary: PFF3 495.3

“It is, indeed, a mailer of the most awful inquiry,—on the assumption that this hypothesis which directs our attention to A.D. 1844, is true—what expectation can be formed from the holy Scriptures respecting the events of that epoch. It is said in Daniel, chapter 8:14, in connection with the expiration of the two thousand three hundred days—‘then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’ The original is ‘justified,’—in the sense I should suppose of—vindicated in the claim of asserted rights or granted privilege. This seems to apply to the site of the holy temple of Jerusalem: this cleansing or justifying of the sanctuary may, therefore, predict in unfulfilled prophecy, the circumstances attending the possession of Jerusalem, by that first restoration of Judah, and colonization of Palestine. 77 PFF3 495.4

Others, Fry says, are of the opinion “that this ‘cleansing of the sanctuary,’ should rather be referred to this last vindication of the holy city from the grasp of the last oppressor, and the actual possession of the mountain of the Lord’s house, by the entrance of the divine presence, as described in the prophet Ezekiel.” 78 PFF3 495.5


Fry contends that the restored and newly regulated government of Justinian afforded, in a special manner, a “model for the future spiritual monarchy of Papal Rome,” and that “the canonical government of the Court of Rome, was the image of the civil or temporal sovereignty of the restored empire.” 79 Now follows this unique statement of view concerning the chronology of the 1260 years: PFF3 496.1

“This constitution coming into operation in the latter part of the sixth century, and continuing its sway among the Roman Catholic nations till towards the close of the eighteenth centuary [sic], when it begins with violence to be exchanged for new principles of legislation and government, has marked a cycle of twelve hundred and sixty years, which, since its determination in the French Revolution, has escaped the attention of few commentators of the scripture prophecies.” 80 PFF3 496.2

18. 1260 YEARS (537-1797); 1290 TO 1827; 1335 TO 1872

Coming to the 1290 and 1335 days of Daniel 12:11, from the taking away of the daily sacrifice, as from the time of the restoration of the supreme authority of Justinian 81 Fry offers the period 537-1797 for the 1260 years: “ PFF3 496.3

In the year 587, the year after the armies of Justinian had taken possession of Rome for the first time, November 17th, Bishop Sylverius by his order, or that of the wretched empress Theodora, was spoiled of his pontifical character, and immediately led into exile in the habit of a common monk, where it is said, he died by hunger. By command of the same authority, the Clergy of Rome proceeded to the choice of a new Bishop, and after solemn invocation of the Holy Ghost, elected the deacon Vigilius, who had purchased this promotion ‘by a bribe of two hundred pounds of gold.’ 82 PFF3 496.4

If this should be the violation and abomination spoken of in the prophecy, from which the mystic days are to be dated, as of course anticipate the last mentioned dates sixteen years. From A. 1). 537, the cycle of twelve hundred and sixty years, which brings us to A. D. 1797, is very remarkably terminated; this year was the last of the reign of Pope Pius VIA. 1). 1793 [1798], February 15th, the Roman people proclaimed their independence, ‘the tree of liberty,’ as they called it, ‘was planted in the capitol.’” 83 PFF3 496.5

Thirty years extended out from this epocha, brings us to the latter part of 1827. 84 And “on this hypothesis,” “the last forty-five years must be dated from 1827 or 1828, directing us to A.D. 1872 or 1873, for the blessed era intimated by Daniel.” 85 The arrival of these years, beginning with 1844, Fry solemnly concludes, “must be expected with feelings of deepest interest, by all who are ‘looking for this great day of the Lord.’” 86 PFF3 497.1

Be it noted, however, that while 1844 is mentioned, the climax of Fry’s expectations is shifted over to the early seventies. PFF3 497.2