The Zeir of God

A weathered inscription above the doorway of Muness castle states: 

List ze to knaw yis bulding quha began

Laurence the Bruce he was that worthy man

Quha ernestly his airis and offspring prayis 

To help and not to hurt this vark aluayis

The zeir of God 1598


Or, in better English:


Listen you to know this building who began

Laurence the Bruce he was that worthy man

Who earnestly his heirs and offspring prays 

To help and not to hurt this work always.

The year of God 1598.


Laurence the Bruce, despite the inscription’s plea, was known for his unpleasantness. Furthermore, marauding pirates burnt his castle to the ground 29 years after the wording went up, so the penultimate line was ignored. Still, I was struck by that last phrase: The year of God. Usually, it’s called the Year of Our Lord, by which we mean A.D. or anno domini. Was 1598 a particularly godly year? Well French Protestants’ rights were acknowledged by the state; Oliver Cromwell was conceived, and his best admiral, Robert Blake was born. But was it all that special?

Isaiah 61 says:

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,

And the day of vengeance of our God;

The gospel simultaneously advertises the acceptable or favourable year of the Lord as well as the coming day of vengeance or judgement. For those who come to Christ, it is the year of God; for those who refuse, they await the day of God’s justice. To those of us are follow Him, though we be on earth and not in heaven, we daily receive our manna and quail, making even the most harrowing of times ‘the year of God’.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. -Jeremiah 29:11