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OBSERVATIONS UPON THE PROPHECIES OF DANIEL,
AND THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN
By Sir Isaac Newton
The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine
2251 Dick George Road
Cave Junction, Oregon 97523
(c) September, 1991
Arthur B. Robinson
Isaac Newton was the greatest scientist who has ever
lived. It is, in fact, generally accepted that he
is probably the greatest scientist who ever will live,
since no one, no matter how brilliant, will again be
in such a unique historical position.
Isaac Newton was born on Christmas day in 1642 and died
in 1727. His most famous work, Philosopiae Naturalis
Principia Mathematica, was published in 1687.
His discoveries span all aspects of the physical world
with special emphasis on experimental and theoretical
physics and chemistry and on applied mathematics. He
invented virtually the entire science of mechanics and
most of the science of optics. During this work, he
invented such mathematics as he needed or as interested
him including the discipline known as calculus.
Isaac Newton was both an experimental and theoretical
scientist. He personally constucted the models and
machinery with which he carried out extensive experiments
in chemistry and physics. For example, when he invented
the reflecting telescope, he first built a brick oven.
In that oven he carried out metallurgical experiments
to formulate the composition of the mirror. He then made
the mirror with which he constructed the telescope.
Of unequaled mental ability during his entire adult life
until his death at age 85, Newton's powers are legendary.
It is often told, for example, how later in his life a
problem in mathematical physics posed by the great mathe-
matician Bernoulli, was forwarded to Newton from the
Royal Society. The problem, to determine the curve of
minimum time for a heavy particle to move downward
between two given points, had baffled the famous 18th
Century mathematicians of Europe for over six months.
Receiving the problem in the afternoon, Newton solved it
before going to bed.
Although the solution was sent to Bernoulli anonymously,
he is said to have exclaimed upon reading it, "tanquam
ex ungue leonem - as the lion is known by its claw" in
reference to his recognizing Newton's method.
In addition to his scientific work (Newton would have
said as a part of his scientific work.), he devoted a
substantial portion of his enormous energy to the study
of the Bible and Biblical texts and history. He read the
Bible daily throughout his life and wrote over a million
words of notes regarding his study of it.
Isaac Newton believed that the Bible is literally true
in every respect. Throughout his life, he continually
tested Biblical truth against the physical truths of
experimental and theoretical science. He never observed
a contradiction. In fact, he viewed his own scientific
work as a method by which to reinforce belief in Bibli-
He was a formidable Biblical scholar, was fluent in the
ancient languages, and had extensive knowledge of
ancient history. He believed that each person should
read the Bible and, through that reading, establish for
himself an understanding of the universal truths it
Newton's strong belief in individual freedom to learn
about God without restraints from any other individual
or church or government, once almost cost him to give
up his position as Lucasian Professor at Cambridge. The
matter was resolved when King Charles II made the ex-
ceptional ruling that Isaac Newton would not be requir-
ed to become a member of the Church of England.
Regarding both science and Christianity, Isaac Newton
spent his life in intense scholarship, but he left the
publication of his work to Providence. Much that he
wrote has still never been published.
His (and the world's) greatest scientific work, the
Principia, was published only after his friend, Edmund
Halley, accidentally learned of the existence of Part
I which Isaac Newton had written 10 years earlier and
put in a drawer. Halley convinced him to finish Parts
II and III and allow Halley to publish the work.
Only one book of Newton's about the Bible was ever pub-
lished. In 1733, six years after his death, J. Darby
and T. Browne, published Observations Upon the Prophe-
cies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John.
In 1988, having learned of this book in the rare books
card catalogue of the Library of Congress, I asked to
read it. I was astonished when, a few minutes later, I
was handed Thomas Jefferson's personal copy. (The book
is in excellent condition and has Thomas Jefferson's
initials on pages 57 and 137. Two hundred and fifty
years ago it was common practice for printers to label
the page signatures with capital letters at the bottom
of the actual text. Jefferson would turn to the "J"
signature and add a "T" before the "J" and then turn to
the "T" signature and add a "J" after the "T." In this
way he identified his personal books.)
With his prodigious knowledge of ancient history and
languages and his unequaled mental powers, Isaac Newton
is the best qualified individual in this millenium to
have written about the prophecies. His study of the book
of Daniel began at the age of twelve and continued to
be a special interest throughout his life. Moreover, he
writes of the prophecies with a modesty that indicates
that he, himself, is in awe of the words he has been
given an opportunity to read.
Isaac Newton concluded that it is intended that Revel-
ation will be understood by very few until near the
end of history, the time of judgment, and the begin-
ning of the everlasting kingdom of the Saints of the
Isaac Newton states his belief that these books of
prophecy were provided so that, as they are histori-
cally fulfilled, they provide a continuing testimony
to the fact that the world is governed by the Provi-
dence of God. He objected to the use of the prophe-
cies in attempts to predict the future.
On page 251, for example, he writes:
"The folly of Interpreters has been, to fortel
times and things by this Prophecy, as if God
designed to make them Prophets. By this rashness
they have not only exposed themselves, but
brought the Prophecy also into centempt."
Through these 323 pages, he traces human history
since the writing of the prophecies. He shows that,
according to his scholarship and at his time in the
early 18th Century, part of the prophecies had been
fulfilled and part remained to be fulfilled. In
accordance with his evaluation, this is still true
Decorated (as are his scientific works) with inter-
esting asides such as derivations of the exact
dates of Christmas and Easter and of the number of
years during which Jesus taught, and permeated with
a depth of scholarship that no longer exists among
modern scholars, this book by Isaac Newton may be
the most important work of its kind ever written.
The central message of this book for modern readers
may not be so much in what it says but in what it
is. During his entire life, Isaac Newton continual-
ly compared his experimental and theoretical under-
standing of science with his reading of the Bible.
He found the content of these two sources of truth
to be so completely compatible that he regarded
every word in the Bible to be as correct as the
equations of mathematics and physics.
Therefore, throughout this book, Isaac Newton takes
each word of the Prophecies to be exactly correct.
He never doubts the content. He only seeks to
He never strays from his determination not to
present predictions of the future based upon the
Biblical Prophecies. On pages 113 and 114, he does
give an identification of the last horn of the
Beast and a numerical evaluation of his reign. He
also gives the approximate time of the beginning of
this reign, but does not add the numbers or make
Addition of these numbers, however, places the time
of judgment and the beginning of the everlasting
reign of the Saints of the Most High approximately in
the time period between the years 2000 and 2050.
Are there errors in Isaac Newton's evaluation of the
Prophecies? He would reply that he would not have
written this evaluation unless he beieved it to be
without error, but that it is the obligation of
Christians to study the Bible and to reach their own
In recent years it has become fashionable to say that
Newton's laws of motion contained an error (the error
of assumption that mass is a constant), and that this
was corrected by Einstein's Theory of Special Relativ-
ity. As Petr Beckmann has pointed out in his book, A
History of Pi, this error never existed.
In the Principia Newton writes,
"Lex I. Corpus omne perseverare in statu suo
quiescendi vel movendi uniformiter in directum,
nisi quatenus illud a viribus impressis cogitur
statum suum mutare."
"Lex II. Mutationem motus proportionalem esse vi
motrici impressae, & fieri secundum lineam rectam
qua vis illa imprimatur."
"Lex III. Actioni contrariam semper & aequalem esse
reactionem: sive corporum duorum actiones in se mutuo
semper esse aequales & in partes contrarias dirigi."
These are the famous three laws of motion.
In translation, the second law reads "The change of
momentum is proportional to the motive force impressed;
and is made in the direction of the right line in which
that force is impressed." Newton defines momentum as
follows: "The quantity of momentum is the measure of
the same, arising from the velocity and quantity of
Or, in the symbolic terms of Newton's calculus,
F = d(mv)/dt
Newton did not know whether or not mass was constant,
and he was too careful a scientist to assume so by plac-
ing it outside the differential. During the next 200
years, physicists assumed, for convenience, that mass
was constant and began to write F=ma or F=m dv/dt. It is
this later day shortcut which proved to be incorrect,
not Isaac Newton's original law.
Isaac Newton said of himself near the end of his life,
"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to
myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on
the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then
finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than
ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all un-
discovered before me."
To Dr. Bentley, he had written, "When I had written my
Treatise about our system, I had an Eye upon such
Principles as might work with considering Men, for the
Belief of a Deity, and nothing can rejoice me more
than to find it useful for that purpose."
Isaac Newton's pebbles and shells formed the basis for
the scientific revolution and the industrial revolution
which created our current civilization. This demonstra-
tion of the incredible power of his discoveries is, how-
ever, itself minor in comparison with their role in 17th
and 18th century miracles that serve as a continuing
testimony of the literal truth of the Bible and of the
remarkable creations of the Lord.
In my own scientific work, I also have continually
compared the Bible with the findings of modern experi-
mental science. Like Isaac Newton, I do not know of any
verified scientific facts that are inconsistent with
the literal truth of every aspect of the Bible.
I am grateful to have had an opportunity to read Isaac
Newton's book about the Prophecies and am publishing
this reprint so that others may have this experience.
Thanks are due to the Manley Foundation and Dr. Richard
Pooley who helped finance this reprint; to Bruce Tippery
who gave essential help with its production; and also to
Andy Hopkins whose similar and independent desire to
reprint this book is hereby fulfilled.
This reprint has been made as an exact photographic dup-
licate of Thomas Jefferson's personal copy. This reprint
is dedicated to my wife, Laurelee, whose death in Novem-
ber 1988 delayed it for these past two years, but whose
life caused me to undertake it.
As Isaac Newton wrote in the second edition of the
"The true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful
Being. His duration reaches from eternity to eternity;
His presence from infinity to infinity. He governs all
Arthur B. Robinson