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Date Posted:16/04/2008 7:42 AMCopy HTML

The Seven times punishment of Leviticus 26

What Leviticus is 'not' saying
One of the core understandings of RCI/RF British Israel theory, is the seven times punishment supposedly instituted in Leviticus chapter 26. It is based on a particular understanding of the following scriptures:-
Leviticus 26:18-28 (KJV)
"And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate. And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins."
British Israel and the Revivalists teach that this seven times represents 2,520 years. If you wish to read how they come to these understandings, read the articles on their current web sites.

RF -
Many would also be familiar with a book in some Revivalist assemblies called "Today tomorrow and the Great Beyond", by John S Fox. In this book, Fox presents a "cut version" of these scriptures (p 134) as follows :-
"If you will NOT hearken unto me, and will NOT do all these commandments........then I will walk contrary unto you also IN FURY; and I, even I, will chastise you SEVEN TIMES for your sins........I will destroy........your images.......and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.......and I will scatter you among the heathen.......and your land shall be desolate".

It reads very different when you remove the context as Fox has done (he does this more than once in his book). Fox then goes on to say:-

 "It has now become evident from every point of view that this "Seven Times" Chastisement has been fulfilled by a national punishment lasting 7 x 360 or 2,520 years, as discussed very fully in Chapter VII."
A number of very fundamental understandings are based on this 2,520 year punishment. Of course its main use is in providing BI with a link between the events in old Israel, and those of modern Britain / America. Amongst others we find the following:-

Punishment of Judah 604BC ---- 1917AD, Britain gain control over Jerusalem
Punishment of Manasseh  744BC ---- 1776AD American Declaration of Independence
Punishment of Ephraim 721BC ---- 1800AD merging of Ireland, Scotland and Britain under the "Union Jack"

At the RCI 2000 convention, when chief RCI oversight were maintaining that BI was not under threat, they made some of the following comments (copied from the meeting notes, 2000 Convention):-

- There were also many conditional laws and consequences for disobedience to these laws nominated by God
- The chequered history of the twelve tribes of Israel is described. The consequences for disobedience to God's Law resulted in national captivity that was to last for 2520 years
- The remarkable culmination of this period of time is demonstrated by such dates as 1776 (American Independence) 1801 (Union of Jacob) and 1917 (liberation of Palestine to Britain)
With these points in mind, let us have a look at the chapter concerned in Leviticus to see what it may (or may not) be saying.

The Law

The first apparent problem, is that the punishments were to be given for the violation of the commandments & covenant, all relating to the old law and all relative to Israel (Leviticus 26:9,14-15,25). For Leviticus 26 to have any weight in this modern day and age, one would assume we would require the continuation of this old covenant. We know the old covenant was fulfilled in Christ (Heb 8) and we are no longer under law. A little more on this further down.


In the scriptures under question, verses 18, 21, 24 and 28, the original text has no separate word for "times" at all, but only "sheba" which is the number seven. One translation I have simply writes it as sevenfold. With this in mind, should we see these "seven times" as a multiplication factor of a specific time frame, or simply a sevenfold increase or repeat of the punishment i.e. something like seven times harder or more?

 (for those with limited lexical and grammatical aids, you will notice that even in the Strong's concordance, the word "times" listed under Leviticus 26:18, 21,24,28 has no number listed next to it. See also Daniel 3:19 further down, this is because the word is not in the original)

Let us read through the text and see if it provides any clues to our problem.

We see the first warning in verse 18, if Israel did not obey God, they would be punished "seven times more" following the punishment for disobedience already mentioned in verse 16 & 17. The punishment is then described in the following verses 19-20. Verse 21 then states God would bring "seven times more" plagues upon them. Verse 22 then speaks of more of the punishments to be brought upon Israel. Verse 23 & 24 now goes on to say:-

"And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins."

Escape from the seven times punishment was by repentance. That was the purpose of the punishment, to bring repentance. It was not a fixed time frame. If they did not repent (due the "seven times" punishments inflicted in the previous verses 18, 21), then they would be punished YET seven times for their sins (v 24). To see it as a time frame simply does not fit, for we would now have 3 separate phases of 2,520 years. Continuing on, verses 25-26 describe more of the punishments to be inflicted to try and bring this repentance. In verse 27 the Lord says that if after all this, Israel still did not hearken unto him, then he would chastise them again seven times for their sin. Here, if we continue to hold to the Revivalist / BI view of the seven times being 2,520 years, we would then need to introduce a further 2,520 years. Verses 29-39 speaks of further punishments that again could be avoided by repentance (verse 40). God continued to reappraise Israel's state after each stage of "seven times" punishment (vs. 18, 21, 23, 27). All the time God was looking for repentance.

All of the "seven times" punishments were to take place (and did so) in their homeland. In verse 33 & 38 it then talks of them "perishing among the heathen" as one of the final punishments, but even this could be redeemed with repentance.

As it reads then, we would have four consecutive seven time's punishments, does this mean 2,520 + 2,520 + 2,520 + 2,520? If we consider Britain as Israel, she has obviously not returned to obedience of the old covenant (if in any doubt, read through Leviticus and see how close we come as a nation to obedience to these laws). This being the case, we must now only be in the second phase of the 2,520 years of punishments..........we have a long way to go it seems and lot to endure. Technically, we could stretch the analogy if we wished by saying each "seven times" punishment was seven times "more" (numerically), than the previous. This would end up with 2,520 years plus 7 x 2,520 plus 7 x 7 x 2,520 plus 7 x 7 x 7 x 2,520. All this totals 1,008,000 years. Fortunately this is not what the scriptures are saying.

BTW, for all those bible numerics fans 1,008,000 = 7 x 144,000 !!!

There is more that could be written, particularly relating to the punishments, but I think most could now see that to read the seven times as 2,520 years is not logical and does not fit with the context and intent of the chapter.

Further, as mentioned earlier, the word "times" does not actually appear as a separate word in the original text, only the word sheba for the number seven. The RCI have gone to great lengths and detail in their book "The Commonwealth of Israel", to describe what a bible "time" is. It all looks very convincing, except of course for the small oversight that the word is not in original Leviticus 26 text and should not be applied here.
A look at Daniel

Yes, there are instances in the Bible where "times" relates to a period of time. For example, we see in Daniel 4:23 the seven times curse on Nebuchadnezzar. In this example, there is a separate word for "times" following the number seven. The word "iddan" is used, which essentially means a set time or a year. This seems clear from both the text, context and fulfillment. When referencing the Greek Septuagint, the basic word used for "times" in Daniel 4:23 (& Dan 4:16), is "karios". This is the same word used in the various texts such Revelation 12:14 (the "times" chapter the RCI article refers to in one part), this would make sense. 

There are of course other references in Daniel to "time times and an half" but again these use a specific Hebrew word for time (mow'ed) which also reflects this meaning of a period of time.

In Daniel, when we do see the number seven as one of intensity (Daniel 3:19 and the heating of the fire "seven times hotter"), a similar translation to that of Leviticus is given, with no separate direct word used for "times". 
When discussing the "times" reference in Revelation 12, the RCI article author categorically states:- 

 "apart from the references in Leviticus 26 to "seven times", this is the only occasion that we find a reference to prophetic "times" in the bible"

Firstly, I don't think the RCI author looked too hard through the scriptures, secondly, the Leviticus 26 "times" are not the prophetic "times" he implies (and requires) for his theory.

The "seven times more" punishment of Israel in Leviticus 26 is not a multiplication factor of time, but one increasing intensity, infliction or repeat. It is also important to remember the number seven carries it own symbolism in the scriptures, along with the action (i.e. 2 Kings 5:10,14 and many such scriptures). The punishments were designed to bring repentance. If repentance did not come, the punishment would be renewed again and again, finally resulting in destruction and ejection from the land. There is no indication of a restoration or end of the punishment based on simply "waiting it out" for a certain period. Again this is clear from both the text and the fulfillment. A quick cross reference show's the fulfillment of many of these specific punishments within the pages of the scriptures.

Quite simply, Leviticus 26 does not represent a 2,520 year punishment. This in turn creates significant problems for the British Israel theory.
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