Histories, Chronologies,

Chronologists and

Time Prophecies

 

 

 

“Without chronology,” says Dr. Hales, “history would lose its most valuable characters of truth and consistency , and scarcely rise above the level of romance.”

 

Before an evaluation of this subject, I must provide definitions for a proper understanding of the difference between Chronology and Time Prophecy.

 

Chronology is a historical study of the length of time from Adam until our day. It does not predict events, but rather shows the length of history through genealogical lists; lists of judges, kings, and events which are listed in Scripture and compares them with archeological or historical findings to set time periods.

 

Time prophecies foretell events in advance that have not yet occurred. These prophecies do not always contain time or chronological limitations as to how or when they are applicable and are generally only "unlocked" after the event has already passed.

 

The study of chronology is necessary to a proper understanding of Time Prophecies.

 

There have always been chroniclers of time. The Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, the Romans and others all had scribes who chronicled their kings and their reigns. If a certain king didn’t like another he had him stricken from the official records and had history rewritten to his liking.

 

 "One reason why modern Biblical scholarship has been inclined to overlook the schematic nature of Biblical chronology may be that it is, in a way, rather embarrassing. Modern Biblical scholarship is largely historical in outlook, and considerable effort has been devoted to establishing a reliable chronological framework for the history of the Israelite and Judean kingdoms. If the chronological data on which this framework is based should turn out to be mythical rather than historical this might be regarded as undermining part of the basis of modern Biblical scholarship. IT COULD BE WORSE THAN THIS: IF THE CHRONOLOGY IS MYTHICAL RATHER THAN HISTORICAL, THE SAME MIGHT ALSO BE TRUE OF THE NARRATIVE WHICH CONTAINS THIS CHRONOLOGY. In which case Biblical scholarship may be seriously misguided in its preoccupation with historical fact rather than mythical meaning. "

From the Secrets of the Times, Myth and History in Biblical Chronology, Jeremy Hughes, revised version of doctoral thesis, Oxford, 1986, JSOT Press, 1990.

 

The Jewish nation had a Divine chronicler.

 

Heb 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.

 

2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

 

There have been several other chroniclers in history as well as those who have written about time prophecies. There are too many to list here, but several of the main students and their works in order to trace the line of the history of the chronology we use to our day.

 

Barnabas:

 

In the apocryphal epistle of Barnabas, the writer sheds light on the Jewish and early Christian tradition that the end of the 6000 years of time from the creation of Adam to our day would mark a momentous event in the history of the world.

 

From the Epistle of Barnabas:

 

Chapter XV.-The False and the True Sabbath.

 

“Further, also, it is written concerning the Sabbath in the Decalogue which [the Lord] spoke, face to face, to Moses on Mount Sinai, "And sanctify ye the Sabbath of the Lord with clean hands and a pure heart." And He says in another place, "If my sons keep the Sabbath, then will I cause my mercy to rest upon them." The Sabbath is mentioned at the beginning of the creation [thus]: "And God made in six days the works of His hands, and made an end on the seventh day, and rested on it, and sanctified it." Attend, my children, to the meaning of this expression, "He finished in six days." This implieth that the Lord will finish all things in six thousand years, for a day is with Him a thousand years. And He Himself testifieth, saying, "Behold, to-day will be as a thousand years." Therefore, my children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, all things will be finished. "And He rested on the seventh day." This meaneth: when His Son, coming [again], shall destroy the time of the wicked man, and judge the ungodly, and change the-sun, and the moon, and the stars, then shall He truly rest on the seventh day.”

 

“Among the Apostolic Fathers BARNABAS is the first and the only one who expressly teaches a pre-millennial reign of Christ on earth. He considers the Mosaic history of the creation a type of six ages of labor for the world, each lasting a thousand years, and of a millennium of rest; since with God “one day is as a thousand years.” The millennial Sabbath on earth will be followed by an eighth and eternal day in a new world, of which the Lord’s Day (called by Barnabas “the seventh day”) is the type.” - Schaff’s History of the Christian Church.

 

Pastor Russell comments on this in his second volume of Studies in the Scriptures, "The Time is at Hand":

 

"Here we furnish the evidence that from the creation of Adam to A.D. 1873 was six thousand years.  And though the Bible contains no direct statement that the seventh thousand will be the epoch of Christ’s reign, the great Sabbath Day of restitution to the world, yet the venerable tradition is not without a reasonable foundation." - The Time is At Hand, p39

 

Archbishop, James USHER, “Annals of the World.” (Latin edition 1650, English edition – 1658) He was Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, and was born January 4, 1581, in Dublin Ireland and died March 21, 1656.

 

Usher was a man of deep and wide theological learning, and his careful conclusion, after years of study of the Hebrew Scriptures, was that man was created 4004 years before the Christian era. His verdict was widely received as final; his dates were inserted in the margins of the authorized version of the Englsih Bible and were soon practically regarded as equally inspired with the sacred text itself.

 

On the Millennium, Usher followed the Augustinian theory that the world was in the Millennium and the Catholic Church was the divinely ordained judge of both men and angels and did not believe that the Millennium would be future.

 

Dr. William Hales, “New Analysis of Chronology;” 1747-1831

 

Dr. William Hales was born in Ireland and received his B.A. and D.D. at Trinity College in Dublin. At first he served as a tutor and later as a professor of Oriental languages.

 

Dr. Hales called himself the “Inspector.” He knew that the 70 weeks of Daniel were prophetic of a “day for year” and based upon this reasoning he applied the same principle to the other time periods in the book of Daniel.

 

“And after the sixty and two weeks, before specified, as the largest division of the 70, was the ANOINTED [LEADER] ‘cut off’ judicially, by an iniquitous sentence, in the midst of the one week, which formed the third and last division, and began with our Lord’s baptism, about A.D. 27. –‘when he was beginning to be thirty years of age,’ and commenced his mission, which lasted three years and half until his crucifixion, about A.D.31.

 

“During this one week, which ended about A.D.34 (about the martyrdom of Stephen,) a new covenant was established with many of the Jews, of every class; in the midst of which the Temple sacrifice was virtually abrogated by the all-sufficient sacrifice of the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the [repentant and believing] world.” (William Hales, The Inspector, or Select Literary Intelligence, p. 207)

 

In Hales treatise of the chronological question he adopts the longer Septuagint chronology instead of the Hebrew chronology.

 

Dr. Hales, Dr. Smith, and others affirm that the Hebrew version was corrupted by the Jews to evade the force of the argument that Jesus was the Christ. In proof, Dr. Smith says, Justin Martyr “distinctly asserts that the Jews had actually erased several whole passages from the Scriptures.” - S. Bliss, Analysis of Sacred Chronology – 1850

 

Most Biblical scholars believe that the chronology of the Septuagint is contains the altered chronology, rather than the Hebrew text as Hales suggested.

 

“The Chronology of the Septuagint has been changed to agree with the Egyptian, but the information of heathen history writers or heathen priests cannot have the same value or greater value than the words of God.” - H. Karlan, 1946, translated from Swedish.

 

“This implies that the Hebrew Church, as a body, was not faithful to the trust committed to it in respect to the keeping of the Scriptures, which seems distinctly opposed to the testimony of our Lord in reference to these Scriptures (John 5:39; 10:35), and also to that of Paul (Rom 3:2), where there is not the least hint of unfaithfulness.” Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons

 

Edward Bishop Elliott discusses the errors of the Septuagint in great length in his commentary on Revelation, Horae Apocalypticae. He suggests reasons for the change stating, "

 

"Jackson allows that it is difficult to see the motives of the Jews in shortening the patriarchal genealogies. On the other hand the Septuagint translators had an obvious motive for enlarging the chronology. The Chaldeans and Egyptians (whose histories were about this time published by Berosus and Manetho) laid claim to a remote antiquity. Hence these translators of the Pentateuch might have been led in a spirit of rivalry to augment the amount of the generations of their ancestors, alike by the centenary additions, and by the interpolation (as Hales himself allows it is) of the second Cainaan."

 

"Augustine, whose four chapters on this subject (C. D. xv. 10-14) well deserve attentive perusal, has put this point very strongly. Which, says he, is most credible: that the Jews, dispersed all over the world; should have conspired together to defraud their scriptures and themselves of truth, the exclusive possession of which is so much their boast; or that the seventy Greek translators, united together in conclave by King Ptolemy, should have managed to falsify the numerals? He adds, as his own solution of the matter, that it was after all probably not the translators, but the first transcriber of the manuscripts from the original in the Royal Library, that introduced the error;  . . . Augustine's testimony is the more valuable and remarkable because he was himself originally . . . a Septuagintarian in chronology." Elliott, E. B., Horae Apocalypticae, p256

 

Elliott also gives examples of the contradictions in the Septuagint chronology, one of which I will quote:

 

"Of the errors of the Septuagint numerals in many copies a notable example is given by Augustine, ibid. For it seems that in almost all the copies then extant Methuselah was made to have begotten Lamech at the age of 167, and to have lived 802 years after: that is, fourteen years after the flood, on the Septuagint chronology itself; though we know that no men but. Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japhet, were preserved alive through it!" Elliott, E. B., Horae Apocalypticae, p255

 

Elliott makes extensive use of the work of Henry Fynes Clinton, a chronologist of his era, in his appendix on Scripture chronology and says in regards to the chronology of the Septuagint,

 

"On the two points alleged in their own favor by the advocates of the Septuagint Chronology, Mr. Clinton quite turns the tables against them . . ." Elliott, E. B., Horae Apocalypticae, p256

 

Henry Fynes Clinton, Esq. M.A

 

Mr. Clinton published two very large treatises, “Fasti Hellenici,” and "Fasti Romani," totaling five volumes, in which he tried to compute the length of time from Adam until our day and also harmonize Scripture with the known archeology of his day. His work is probably the most extensive and scholastic of our times anywhere in the world and at any time in history. He references all the ancient authors, explores the options and problems. Although he weighs toward the traditional, and has sections of chronology from all known histories such as the Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Egyptians, etc. Clinton acknowledges details that are most puzzling and that are passed over by others. He computes the date for Adam to be 4138 BC and he has the birth of Abraham also 10 years different from the projections in the chronology chart of Bowen’s in Elliott's Horae Apocalypticae. He has 2030 instead of 2020 BC.

Therefore by projecting Clinton suggests that the 6000 years of the world's history reaches to 1862 AD.

“His reasoning is clear, his authorities are numerous, and his tone is moderate. . . His chronology contains perhaps fewer errors than that of any of his predecessors. He determines the Joshua-Judges ‘Chasm’ (20 years instead of 13) and the Samuel ‘Chasm’ (32 years instead of 20) by means of a subjective estimate, or conjecture, instead of by inference from the date contained in the Text, and for the Persian and Greek period from Cyrus to Christ, he adopts the figures of the Canon of Ptolemy instead of those of the prophet Daniel. Like most other Chronologers, he does not understand the Scripture method of recording the lengths of the reigns of the Kings of Israel and Judah. He is to be blamed for his assertion that the figures given in the Books of Kings and Chronicles are sometimes ‘corrupt’ and to be rejected. But apart from these errors, . . . he is a most worthy and a most judicious guide.” Martin Anstey, “The Romance of Bible Chronology” p53.

 

Clinton's work deals entirely with history and does not encumber himself with time prophecies.

 

Edward Bishop Elliott (1793-1875) and Christopher Bowen, “Horae Apocalypticae” London, 1846.

 

There is little known information about Mr. Bowen except that he was Rector of St. Thomas, Winchester, and called by Elliott, "a friend and brother" There are no known publications of Mr. Bowen.

 

"Edward Bishop Elliott (1793-1875), scholarly prophetic expositor, received his education at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 1816. After traveling in Italy and Greece he was given the vicarage of Tuxford, Nottingham, in 1824, and later was made prebendary of Heytesbury, Wiltshire. In 1849 he became incumbent of St. Mark's Church, Brighton. A member of the Evangelical school, he was an earnest promoter of missionary enterprise and an ardent advocate of premillenialism. Elliott was thoroughly equipped as a scholar and was deeply interested in prophecy, spending a lifetime in investigation and seeking to understand God's mind thereon. His Horae Apocalypticae (Hours with the Apocalypse) [literally 'time with the Apocalypse'] is doubtless the most elaborate work ever produced on the Apocalypse... Begun in 1837, its 2500 pages of often involved and overloaded text are buttressed by some 10,000 invaluable references to ancient and modern works bearing on the topics under discussion.... Perhaps its most unique feature is the concluding sketch of the rise and spread of the Jesuit counter systems of interpretation that had made such inroads upon Protestantism. Holding unswervingly to the Historical School of interpretation, Elliott gives the most complete exposure of these counter interpretations to be found." The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Leroy Froom vol. III, pgs. 716-718

 

Many prophetic expositors have recognized Elliott's scholarly work.

 

"And the last three centuries have been an era of light. At their commencement the human mind experienced an emancipation, and was furnished with new instruments. Learning was revived, and the art of printing discovered. Since then the Word of God has been multiplied, translated, and expounded as never before. And the understanding of prophecy has shared the general advance. During this time libraries have been written on the prophetic Scriptures. Mighty interpreters have been raised up, men such as Mede, Sir Isaac Newton, Elliott, whose investigations have drawn back the veil of long continued ignorance, and let in new light upon some of the darkest obscurities of the theme. Interpreters have risen in groups like constellations of stars, and knowledge has increased." Henry Grattan Guinness, Romanism and the Reformation.

 

 “Perhaps its most unique feature is the concluding sketch of the rise and spread of the Jesuit counter-systems of interpretation that had made such inroads upon Protestantism. Holding unswervingly to the Historical School of interpretation, Elliott gives the most complete exposure of these counter-interpretations to be found.” Leroy Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. 3, p717.

 

The chronology presented in the work of Henry Fynes Clinton work was picked up and refined in Elliott's four volume treatise, “Horae Apocalypticae" in 1846 where he appends a "Scripture Chronology of the World" in a very long footnote, and states that "on the fly-leaf is appended in illustration a Tabular Scheme of this Scripture Chronology, with the scriptural authorities in brief; drawn up by my friend and brother, the Rev. C. Bowen, Rector of St. Thomas, Winchester." p259

 

This statement presents us with two questions:

 

1) What Scripture chronology does Elliott refer to when he says "this Scripture Chronology?"

 

2) Did Bowen write the chronology list independently of Elliott, or did he only draw up a tabular scheme of Elliott's chronology?

 

The first question can be answered by looking at the entire footnote where the chronology list appears. There is a reference in an earlier statement where Elliott discusses Henry Fynes Clinton's chronology.

 

"According to the elaborate tables of one of the most judicious and learned of our modern chronologists, the late Mr. Flynes Clinton, the world’s 6000 years would seem to be very near their ending." p254

 

"When [is] the termination of [the] sixth millenary? . . . Mr. Clinton, in his Essay on Hebrew Chronology, appended to the third volume of his late learned Work entitled Fasti Hellenici, has greatly elucidated the subject."

 

The second question is not as easily answered as the first. The problem is that Elliott does not state that the modified chronology is his or Bowen's, but only that this chronology was drawn up by Mr. Bowen. Regardless of who the originator is, we do know that it is based upon the earlier work by Clinton.

 

Mr. Elliott gives us clues as to the author of the chronology when we view certain statements he made such as:

 

"Thus Mr. Clinton seems fairly to have estimated Joshua's age . . ."

 

"Mr. Clinton, not without reason, as it seems to me, prefers the latter."

 

"See my abstract of Mr. Clinton’s chronological argument and tables."

 

" . . . a difference . . . noted by me (Elliott) in the text . . ."

 

"The chronological question on which I have now to enter, becomes one of really important bearing on the point in hand . . ."

 

"Thus there is nothing in the Jewish mundane chronology to affect the accuracy of Mr. Clinton's. . .  I cannot therefore but suspect that to constitute the interval this prophetic term of years may have been the abbreviator's object. . . "

 

"There remain but two small chasms in the Hebrew chronology to fill up, and one doubtful point to settle, arising from a difference between an Old Testament statement and one in the New Testament, in order to the completion of OUR chronological table."

 

These statements, and others like it, suggests to us that the chronology was Elliott's and he had his friend, the Reverend Bowen, draw up the chart. It may be that the chronology was a cooperation between the two friends, Elliott, and Bowen but there is simply not enough information to determine if this is truth or conjecture.

 

When Mr. Taylor discusses Elliott's chronology in his work, he also makes the suggestion that Mr. Bowen drew up the chart for his friend Elliott.

 

“The following Table has been prepared for the second edition of this work by Mr. Sylvester Bliss, author of a valuable work on chronology, entitled, “Analysis of Sacred Chronology;” and the fifth column gives his estimated length of the several periods intervening between the creation and the Vulgar Era. The fourth column was drawn up by Reverend C. Bowen, of England, for the Reverend E. B. Elliott, who gives it in his Horae Apocalypticae, as the chronology of Mr. Clinton, whence it was copied as such in the first edition. It varies, however from Mr. Clinton’s 10 years in the aggregate, and in a number of places in the detail.” D. T. Taylor – The Voice of the Church (1855)

 

It is a strong possibility that Elliott picked up other ideas of time prophecy from John Aquilla Brown’s concepts regarding the “Gentile Times” prophecy of “seven times” or 2520 years. Mr. Brown wrote a book in 1823 called “The Even-Tide” which dated this prophecy from 604 BC to 1917 AD. Elliott lists this interpretation as well as the 606BC-1914AD concept and others as several possibilities for fulfillment of this prophecy.

 

Elliott did not see the 606BC date as the fall of Jerusalem or the seventy years desolation, but rather the first assession year of Nebuchadnezzar when he took prisoners from Israel to Babylon, and the beginning of the seventy years captivity.

 

Elliott also proposed that the Jubilean periods, if computed as time prophecy, would reach until 1875 A.D., but stated that it was merely conjecture.

 

These two views, the Gentile times of 2520 stretching from 606 BC to 1914 AD, and the end of the prophetic Jubilee periods ending in 1875 AD, were in the second edition of "Horae Apocalypticae" but removed for newer prophetic speculations in later editions of Mr. Elliott's work.

 

The following is a reproduction. It is from the title page of a book printed in 1846. This is the earliest known form of the Chronology we as Bible Students use today. The following page is a reproduction from the page from the earliest printing of our Bible Chronology.

 

 

HORAE APOCALYPTICAE,

 

OR

 

A COMMENTARY ON THE APOCALYPSE,

 

 

CRITICAL AND HISTORICAL;

 

 

INCLUDING ALSO AN EXAMINATION OF

THE CHIEF PROPHECIES OF DANIEL.

 

 

ILLUSTRATED BY AN APOCALYPTIC CHART, AND ENGRAVINGS

FROM MEDALS AND OTHER EXTANT MONUMENTS

OF ANTIQUITY.

 

 

BY THE REV. E. B. ELLIOTT, A. M.

LATE VICAR OF TUXFORD, AND FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.

 

 

SECOND EDITION,

CAREFULLY REVISED, CORRECTED, AND IMPROVED;

 

 

WITH AN APPENDIX,

CONTAINING, BESIDES OTHER MATTER,

A SKETCH OF THE HISTORY OF APOCALYPTIC INTERPRETATION

AND INDECES.

 

VOL. IV

 

SEELEY, BURNSIDE, AND SEELEY:

FLEET STREET, LONDON

 

1846

 

 

The following reproduction of the tabular scheme of the Scripture chronology of the world found in "Horae Apocalypticae."

 

THE SCRIPTURE CHRONOLOGY OF THE WORLD

 

 

A.M.

   1 Creation of Adam                to the birth of Seth        130 years #Ge 5:3       "Adam lived 130 years and begat a son, ... and called his name Seth."

 130 Seth born                       to the birth of Enos        105 years #Ge 5:6       "Seth lived 105 years, and begat Enos."

 235 Enos born                       to the birth of Cainan       90 years #Ge 5:9       "Enos lived 90 years, and begat Cainan."

 325 Cainan born                     to the birth of Mahalaleel   70 years #Ge 5:12      "Cainan lived 70 years, and begat Mahalaleel."

 395 Mahalaleel born                 to the birth of Jared        65 years #Ge 5:15      "Mahalaleel lived 65 years, and begat Jared."

 460 Jared born                      to the birth of Enoch       162 years #Ge 5:18      "Jared lived 162 years, and begat Enoch."

 622 Enoch born                      to the birth of Methusela    65 years #Ge 5:21      "Enoch lived 65 years, and begat Methuselah."

 687 Methuselah born                 to the birth of Lamech      187 years #Ge 5:25      "Methuselah lived 187 years, and begat Lamech."

 874 Lamech born                     to the birth of Noah        182 years #Ge 5:28,29   "Lamech lived 182 years, and begat a son, and he  called his name Noah."

1056 Noah born                       to the Flood                600 years #Ge 7:6       "Noah was 600 years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth."

1656 The Flood                       to the birth of Arphaxad      2 years #Ge 11:10     "Shem begat Arphaxad 2 years after the Flood."

1658 Arphaxad born                   to the birth of Salah        35 years #Ge 11:12     "Arphaxad lived 35 years, and begat Salah."

1693 Salah born                      to the birth of Eber         30 years #Ge 11:14     "Salah lived 30 years, and begat Eber."

1723 Eber born                       to the birth of Peleg        34 years #Ge 11:16     "Eber lived 34 years, and begat Peleg."

1757 Peleg born                      to the birth of Reu          30 years #Ge 11:18     "Peleg lived 30 years, and begat Reu."

1787 Reu born                        to the birth of Serug        32 years #Ge 11:20     "Reu lived 32 years, and begat Serug."

1819 Serug born                      to the birth of Nahor        30 years #Ge 11:22     "Serug lived 30 years, and begat Nahor."

1849 Nahor born                      to the birth of Terah        29 years #Ge 11:24     "Nahor lived 29 years, and begat Terah."

1878 Terah born                      to his death                205 years #Ge 11:32     "The days of Terah were 205 years:and Terah died." (#Ge 12:1) "Now the Lord," etc.

2083 The Covenant made with Abram    to the giving of the Law    430 years #Ga 3:17      "The Covenant ... the Law, which was 430 years after, cannot disannul."

2513 The Giving of the Law           to the return of the Spies    1 years #Nu 10:11     (Compare #Ex 19:1)

2514 Promise to Caleb on return of Spies to division of the Land  45 years #Jos 14:10    "These 45 years, ever since the Lord spake this word unto Moses."

2559 The division of the Land        to Samuel the Prophet       450 years #Ac 13:20     "After that, he gave unto them Judges, about the space of 450 years, until Samuel."

3009 Saul anointed                   to the death of Saul         40 years #Ac 13:21     "Afterward ... God gave unto them Saul ... by the space of 40 years."

3049 David began to reign            to his death                 40 years #1Ki 2:11     "The days that David reigned over all Israel were 40 years."

3089 Solomon began to reign          to his death                 40 years #2Ch 9:30     "Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel 40 years."

3129 Rehoboam began to reign         to his death                 17 years #2Ch 12:13    "He reigned 17 years in Jerusalem."

3146 Abijah began to reign           to his death                  3 years #2Ch 13:2     "He reigned 3 years in Jerusalem."

3149 Asa began to reign              to his death                 41 years #2Ch 16:13    "As a ... died in the 41st year of his reign."

3190 Jehoshaphat began to reign      to his death                 25 years #2Ch 20:31    "He reigned 25 years in Jerusalem."

3215 Jehoram began to reign          to his death                  8 years #2Ch 21:20    "He reigned in Jerusalem 8 years."

3223 Ahaziah began to reign          to his death                  1 years #2Ch 22:2     "He reigned 1 year in Jerusalem."

3224 Athaliah’s usurpation           to her death                  6 years #2Ch 22:12    "He (Joash) was with them hid in the house of God 6 years:and Athaliah reigned."

3230 Joash began to reign            to his death                 40 years #2Ch 24:1     "He reigned 40 years in Jerusalem."

3270 Amaziah began to reign          to his death                 29 years #2Ch 25:1     "He reigned 29 years in Jerusalem."

3299 Uzziah began to reign           to his death                 52 years #2Ch 26:3     "He reigned 52 years in Jerusalem."

3351 Jotham began to reign           to his death                 16 years #2Ch 27:1     "He reigned 16 years in Jerusalem."

3367 Ahaz began to reign             to his death                 16 years #2Ch 28:1     "He reigned 16 years in Jerusalem."

3383 Hezekiah began to reign         to his death                 29 years #2Ch 29:1     "He reigned 29 years in Jerusalem."

3412 Manasseh began to reign         to his death                 55 years #2Ch 33:1     "He reigned 55 years in Jerusalem."

3467 Amon began to reign             to his death                  2 years #2Ch 33:21    "(Amon) reigned 2 years in Jerusalem."

3469 Josiah began to reign           to his death                 31 years #2Ch 34:1     "He reigned in Jerusalem 31 years."

3500 Jehoahaz began to reign         to his deposition             0 years #2Ch 36:2     "He reigned 3 months in Jerusalem."

3500 Jehoiakim began to reign        to his death                 11 years #2Ch 36:5     "He reigned 11 years in Jerusalem."

3511 Jehoiachim began to reign       to his deposition             0 years #2Ch 36:9     "He reigned 3 months and 10 days in Jerusalem."

3511 Zedekiah began to reign         to the Captivity             11 years #2Ch 36:11    "(Zedekiah) reigned 11 years in Jerusalem."

3522 The Captivity                   to the proclamation of Cyrus 70 years #Jer 25:11    "These nations shall serve the king of Babylon 70 years." (See #2Ch 36:22)

3592 The Decree of Cyrus             to the birth of Christ      536 years According to the commonly received Chronology

4128 The Christian Æra               to the present year        1851 years According to the commonly received Chronology

                                                                         ————————

5974 The present year A.D. 1846                                 5974 years since the Creation of Man

 

 

This chart brings the end of 6000 years to the year 1872 A.D.

 

At the same time that Clinton, Elliott, and others were compiling their thoughts on chronology, and time prophecies, Henry Grattan Guinness, and William Miller were doing the same.

 

 

H. Grattan Guinness (1835-1910): “The Approaching End of the Age”, and “Light for the Latter Days”

 

Henry Grattan Guinness was born near Dublin and in his early life was a sailor and world traveler. He studied for the ministry at New College, London, and was ordained in 1857.

 

“He was . . . speaking at Belfast to 20,000. He was often compared with Wesley and Whitfield in pulpit power. Tall and well proportioned, with full voice and rapid utterance, and intensely earnest, he was markedly pictorial in preaching style, and rivaled Spurgeon in popularity. Preaching for the millions was his goal.” Leroy Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. 4 p. 1194

 

 

"Dr. Guinness was admittedly one of the greatest exponents of the Prophetic Word ever given to the Church of Christ. Representing, as he did, the Historical School, as opposed to Futurism, his books are almost uknown to many earnest Christians, who hold the latter view. The popularity attained by Dr. Guinness' works on prophecy, may be judged by the fact that, nearly 50,000 are in circulation." Most of these are large volumes, of 500 and more pages. They are, as far as we know, the only books on prophecy that were republished after the death of the author, and after the First World War, by independent firms. They passed through the tremendous events of the past 50 years unscathed, including the two world wars. Futurist books, written 50 years ago, are obsolete now. And there is great demand now for copies of Dr. Guinness' books. Dr. Guinness' first famous book, "The Approaching End of the Age," was published in 1878. Dr. Guinness was the pioneer in interpreting "the true meaning of the chronological statements, contained in symbolic prophecy, i.e., whether they are literal or whether they are figurative." A Flame of Fire by Rev. Fred. J. Peters, published posthumously in the January-February 1965 edition of the Old Fashioned Prophecy Magazine, (Blackwood, N.J., U.S.A.) edited by Rev. Peters' son, Eric C. Peters.

 

 

Late in the 1800’s H. Grattan Guinness wrote two books on chronology and time prophecies. His books used the Clinton/Bowen chronology, which was presented in Elliott’s book, “Horae Apocalypticae,” although Guinness had several alternate views of the ending of the “Gentile Times.” This included 604-1917 as his favorite interpretation and 606-1914 as one of the several alternatives presented in his works.

 

In his two large works based upon the chronology found in "Horae Apocalypticae" (The Approaching End of the Age, and Light For the Last Days), Guinness suggests (unlike Elliott who was silent on the idea) that the seventy years captivity and the seventy years desolation were the same period.

 

"Towards the close of the captivity thus foretold, Daniel says, 'In the first year of Darius . . . I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that lie would accomplish SEVENTY YEARS in the desolations of Jerusalem.' Now this period of seventy years, is a remarkable one in many ways. It extends from the first destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (2Ki 24:10; and Jer 25:1), to the Edict of Cyrus for the return of the Jews, and the rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 1:2), that is to say, from B.C. 605 to the end of B.C. 536."

 

 

William Miller (1782-1849):

Mr. Miller was not an ordained minister, but a well studied Christian who “for two years, from 1816 to 1818, the Bible became Miller’s constant study and meditation. He felt that God was a Being he could trust. But how could he know God except through the bible? To find Him, and His will and plan for man, thenceforth became the supreme passion of his life...Laying aside all commentaries and preconceived opinions…he devoted two entire years to intensive study of its sacred pages. So intense was this study that he often spent entire nights, followed by whole days, in study. He determined to examine the bible systematically and methodically, and to find the answer to his questionings.” Leroy Froom, The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers Vol. 3 p.461-462.

 

On September 5th, 1822, Miller wrote a list of “Twenty Articles of Faith” that he believed were important from his systematic study of Scripture. Article 15 stated, “I believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ is near, even at the door, even within twenty-one years.—on or before 1843.” He gave no reason for his opinion until several years later when he began his preaching work and began to publish his lectures in local newspapers about 1843.


 


William Miller’s Prophetic Time Interpretations

 

Chronology                                                         Prophecy

1656 -- Adam to Flood                                       1260 years -- 538 ad - 1798    (538, Pope controls Rome)

 428 -- to Abraham                                              1290 years -- 508 ad - 1798    (1798, Berthier deposed Pope)

 470 -- to Israel entering Canaan                       1335 years -- 508 ad - 1843 (508, 10 kings converted)

 581 -- to beginning of the Temple                2520 years -- 677 bc - 1843 (Israel's seven times)

 345 -- to captivity of Manasseh                      2450 years -- 607 bc - 1843 (49 jubilees)

 677 -- to ad 1                                                       2300 years -- 457 bc - 1843 (Dan. 8:14, begin with 70 wks)

1843 -- to complete 6000 years                          490 years -- 457 bc - 33 (Jesus' ministry 26 to 33)

____

6000 years

 

After the great disappointment in 1843, Miller and his associates assumed that Jesus would not come at the beginning of the year, but at the end. There were several more disappointments until Miller decided that the “vision would tarry” and from that time until his death he discouraged any further date setting.

 

 

Dr. Nelson Barbour: (-1908):

After the disappointment of Miller, Dr. Nelson Barbour drifted off into unbelief and darkness for several years until he made an around the world trip. “To wile away the monotony of a long sea voyage, the English chaplain proposed a systematic reading of the prophecies.” Nelson H. Barbour, The Midnight Cry, 1871.

 

When they reached the 12th chapter of Daniel, Barbour noticed something that he had never noticed during his years as an Adventist. He questioned the explanation of the Abomination of Desolation ending in 1843. “Why did we begin the thousand years thirty years before the abomination was set up? Here is our mistake, and it is one of thirty years. The days end in 1873, not 1843. All this came in a moment. From that hour… the whole truth of our position was made clear.” P32-33.

 

While in the library in London, England, he discovered E.B.Elliott’s work, Horae Apocalypticae and found that Elliott’s figure also ended the 6000 years in 1873.

 

“When he looked that the figures, the shock, he says, almost took his breath away…Bro. Miller stated soon after 1843 had past, ‘that he could see no light this side of 1873…” P33-34.

 

This statement by Barbour has not been verified in a systematic search of Miller's writings on CD-ROM, nor at a special collection of Adventist writings, Millers papers, and personal letters of Miller, at the Jenks Collection in the Aurora, IL University. Several scholars associated with the Jenks Collection, and the history of the Millerite movement, have also been asked for verification of this date suggested as Miller's by Barbour and the response of these scholars has been unanimous that after the great disappointment Miller discouraged any further date setting until the time of his death.

 

While traveling back to America on a ship, Barbour read Elliott’s treatise with great interest, comparing each line of reason with Scripture and at the same time he spoke with the chaplain on the ship and together they realized that the mistake Miller made in his interpretations of the Time Prophecies was that the attempt was made to end all of the time prophecies in the same year!

 

Carefully Barbour continued studying Elliott’s writings and after returning to America he wrote a book entitled, “The Midnight Cry: Evidences Why Jesus Will Return in 1873” which he originally published in 1870 (a second edition is dated 1871). In this book he suggested that the 1260 days had ended in 1798, the 1335 days, the 6000 years, two "double" periods of 1843 years, and other time prophecies ended in 1873 and that 1873 would be the Return of Jesus.

 

When the year, 1873 came and went and Christ did not return as Barbour expected, he started a monthly magazine that same year called, “The Midnight Cry" in which expounded his new chronological and time prophetic views.

 

After re-examining the different lines of Scriptural and historical evidence, Barbour adjusted his chronology to end the 6000 years in 1872-73, and his time prophetic views to end in 1874-75. He decided that the end of the 6000 year period from the creation of Adam in 1873 was not the return of Christ and that it was the time prophecies that would help determine the date for the coming of the Lord.

 

Two years later the title of the magazine was changed to “Herald of the Morning” where he continued to expound upon the view that Jesus would return in 1875 and adding the prophetic Jubilees, and he readjusted the Jewish / Gospel age parallels from 1843 years to 1845 years and added the 1878, and 1881 dates.

 

These two views, the Gentile times of 2520 stretching from 606 BC to 1914 AD, and the end of the prophetic Jubilee periods ending in 1875 AD, were in the second edition of "Horae Apocalypticae" but removed for newer prophetic speculations in later editions of Mr. Elliott's work.

 

It is quite strange that although Barbour admits that he discovered the chronology in Elliott's work, yet he did not give credit for the time prophetic views of the "Gentile Times" ending in 1914, or the Jubilean period ending in 1875.

 

Barbour said, "I would call especial attention to the article on the Jubilees. It is a new argument, but one of the strongest ever presented on Time. When the 1335 "days" of Dan 12, expired, as in full years, they certainly have; (and we are living in a little fraction of time 'the prolonging of the vision,' as shown in a former article;) the force of that argument was spent; then it was that more light was required; and it came at the needed time. Suddenly, while walking in the street, the suggestion came, "The seventy years during which the land enjoyed her Sabbaths, is a key; turn that key. Divide the time during which jubilees were given, by fifty, and the time during which there were no jubilee years, by forty nine" It was evening, I hurried, I ran through the streets: I began to shout and praise God before reaching my room, satisfied it would come out 1874, but I wanted to see the figures. O! If it only does come out so, the last doubt will disappear; and I will give myself anew; soul body and spirit, to the work." Barbour, The Midnight Cry and Herald of the Morning, March 1874, Article entitled, "Our Paper."

 

Perhaps Barbour forgot that this was a concept which Elliott also touched upon years earlier in his "Horae Apocalypticae" which Barbour used as his foundation for the chronology.

 

"As to the Jubilaean chronology it seems possible that as seventy years marked the length of Israel's waiting-time for the redemption from Babylon, and seventy weeks of years that of its further waiting for its primary redemption by Christ Jesus, so seventy Jubilees may define the mystical period of its whole existence as a people, from the Exodus to the epoch of both the natural and the spiritual Israel's perfect redemption: a period which reckoned from the Exodus, (each at fifty years,*) will end (on the basis still of Clinton's Chronology) A. D.1875. But there seems to me here far too much of the conjectural, to admit of our resting at all on the argument." Elliott, E. B., Horae Apocalypticae, 1846 (second edition)

 

"Of course if calculated from Nebuchadnezzar's own accession and invasion of Judah, B.C. 606, the end is much later, being A.D. 1914; just one half century, or jubilean period, from our probable date of the opening of the Millennium." -- Elliott, HORAE p261 (Second Edition).

 

The idea that the seventy years desolation and the seventy years captivity are the same does not appear in "Horae Apocalypticae" or in Barbour's 1871 book, "Evidences of the Coming of the Lord in 1873."

 

"Zedekiah began to reign to the Captivity, 11 years 2Ch 36:11 '(Zedekiah) reigned 11 years in Jerusalem.'" - Elliott, HORAE, p259 Flyleaf (Second Edition).

 

"The Captivity to the proclamation of Cyrus 70 years Jer 25:11 'These nations shall serve the king of Babylon 70 years.' (See 2Ch 36:22)" - Elliott, HORAE, p259 Flyleaf (Second Edition).

 

"The Decree of Cyrus to the birth of Christ, 536 years According to the commonly received Chronology." -- Elliott, HORAE, p259 Flyleaf (Second Edition).

 

 

It was not until sometime later that Barbour combined the two periods of captivity and desolation into one.

 

"The captivity occurred 606 before Christ." -- Barbour, "The Jubilee," The Midnight Cry and Herald of the Morning, March 1874.

 

"I will only say, the seven "times of the Gentiles," or 2,520 years during which Jerusalem was to be trodden down of the four Gentile kingdoms, does not end for forty years from the beginning of the Jewish year commencing April 6th, 1875; as may be seen by adding 2,520 to 606 B.C. the date of the beginning of their captivity, and the treading under foot of Jerusalem." -- Barbour, "The Three Worlds," p26.

 

"The seventy years captivity ended in the first year of Cyrus, which was B.C. 536. They therefore commenced seventy years before, or B.C. 606. Hence, it was in B.C. 606, that God’s kingdom ended, the diadem was removed, and all the earth given up to the Gentiles. 2520 years from B.C. 606, will end in A.D. 1914, or forty years from 1874; and this forty years upon which we have now entered is to be such 'a time of trouble as never was since there was a nation.'" -- Barbour, "The Three Worlds," p83.

 

"The seven prophetic times of the Gentiles, or 2520 years, is a long period, and without doubt began where God’s kingdom, in the line of David, ended, at the beginning of the seventy years captivity, or B.C. 606." -- Barbour, "The Three Worlds," p189.

 

 

“Where Are We?

 

“I am fully satisfied, and can prove, that the six thousand years from Adam ended in the autumn of 1873. I am satisfied that the 1260 ‘days’ of Dan. 12, ended in the spring of 1798; and that the 1335 ‘days,’ prolonged to their utmost, extend only to Feb. 14th, 1875. I can prove that the jubilee cycles, which reach to the beginning of the “times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21), ended with the 5th of April, 1875. And yet I believe Zion’s warfare is not yet ended; and that there is a transition period in which the gospel overlaps the ‘times of restitution,’ as did the law and gospel at the first advent.

 

“There is a period of time called, ‘the time of harvest;’ or, ‘end of the world.’ And I believe we are now in this time of ‘harvest.’ We have all believed, for some time past, that we were in ‘the time of the end;’ and this is but another step nearer. God has always taken time for every purpose since the foundation of the world.

 

“And there is evidence that the resurrection is a work of time, and also the gathering of the ‘tares in bundles, to burn;’ and that both are before the living are translated.

 

“I believe this transition period on which we have now entered, is also called ‘the days of the Son of man.’ ‘As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.’ (Luke 17:26).

 

“‘The time of the end’ began when the 1260 days of papal dominion ended, in 1798. ‘The day of the Lord’ began, chronologically, in 1873, where the 6000 years ended; and the 1335 ‘days,’ and the jubilee cycles ended in February and April, 1875. And hence, were prolonged into ‘the day of the Lord.’ Thus we find that no two prophetic periods end at the same time.

 

“I believe we are in ‘the day of the Lord,’ or seventh thousand, because the six thousand have ended; that we are in ‘the time of the harvest,’ and the resurrection of the dead in Christ has begun, because the 1335 days of Dan. 12, have ended. I believe the dead in Christ are raised spiritual bodies. ‘It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body’ (1 Cor. 15:44) . . .

                           

“All the periods, as preached in 1874, remain unshaken.”  Dr. Nelson H. Barbour – Herald of the Morning, June 1875 pages 2 & 3.

 

“It has been proposed that the 1914 date is an inheritance from Nelson H. Barbour originating in the first issue of his publication, “Herald of the Morning,” June 1875. Actually Barbour didn’t originate the study on the Gentile Times. The topic and dating was a focus of study in Europe and America from the 1830s onward. In 1842 William Miller treated it in a book titled, “The Second Coming of Christ.” Though he begins the prophecy from the earlier overthrow of the ten northern tribes by the Assyrian Esarhaddon, yet he used the same chronology for dating the captivity by Nebuchadnezzar in 607 BC. Various treatises on pre-millennialism and the Gentile times appeared in England in the 1850s and 1860s. H.G.Guinness expounded on this prophecy in the 1880s in “Approaching the end of the Age” and “Light for the Last Days.” Jerry Leslie, Dating the Desolation, p3.

 

It wasn’t until several months later when Barbour presented his thoughts on the “Gentile Times.”

 

“There is a fixed period of Gentile rule, the four Gentile kingdoms, during which time Jerusalem is to be trodden down…the prophecies of Daniel, and the facts of history, prove that Jerusalem, ‘the sanctuary and the host,’ have been trodden under foot of the Gentiles for a longer period than the gospel has been given to them... there is a period of time called ‘seven times;’ during which the Gentiles were to rule over literal Israel.” Dr. Nelson H. Barbour – Herald of the Morning, October, 1875, p74

 

It has been speculated that this may be one of the issues of Barbour's magazine that Pastor Russell discovered. It is documented that Brother Russell first discovered one of the later issues of 1875 or early issues of 1876.

 

In July of 1880, Barbour wrote in the Herald of the Morning,

 

“In the spring of 1875, when we first saw the ‘harvest’ of the gospel age, as covering a definite period of time; and that it began in the autumn of 1874; our immediate conclusion was, that Christ had come. The assumption was, --as the prophetic periods fully warrant us in believing that the ‘time of the harvest’ of the gospel age has commenced, Christ must be here…if the parallels were perfect, and our application correct (as our brethren, whose lamps went out when the new supply of ‘oil’ was …. fatal weakness…there are no parallels in prophecy; parallels are drawn from facts of their history, or between the law and the gospel.…such an application has been proven to be untrue.”

 

His attack upon his former “brothers”, Russell and Patton, and his changed views is  evident later in the same issue,

 

“This … was due to begin in 1878 and the… separating of the tares and wheat, is the cleansing of the sanctuary…that he did not come, in the autumn of 1874, or at the beginning of the gospel harvest…is certain…the real light on the coming of Christ, was not due, until the division; and then, only to such as had a new supply of ‘oil,’ (not on ‘THE TABERNACLE,’ but on the coming of the Bridegroom), we necessarily had false views, prior to that division. It is truly wonderful how blind people can be, before their eyes are opened…”

 

“A controversy soon sprang up concerning the change to heavenly glory of the saints. Bro. Russell and Barbour agreed that the resurrection of the dead saints was due to occur in 1878 but disagreed as to whether to expect a rapture of the saints living at that time. Bro. Russell presented the thought that the dead (or sleeping) saints would be raised in 1878 and that the living ones would be changed instantaneously as they died, no longer sleeping in death. Barbour rejected this solution, preferring a simultaneous rapture.” Brian Kutscher, “A New Wine Bottle” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom.

 

Barbour and Patton’s set several more dates for the return of Christ after the separation between them and Russell.

 

Russell stated that “they have been expecting Christ, Spring or Fall, down to the Spring of 1892, which was their latest disappointment, so far as we have heard.” C.T.Russell, Harvest Gleanings 3

 

“Barbour continued to publish the Herald until about 1903, when, according to available library records, it ceased publication. However Barbour did publish a book in 1907, he later died in 1908.” Soldiers of the Cross, Rolondo Rodriguez

 

 

Charles Taze Russell:

 

It was about January, 1876 when a young Charles Taze Russell found copy of Barbour’s Herald of the Morning. His attention was immediately attracted to the time prophecies of Barbour and Patton as well as other Scriptural understandings.

 

“The Editor was beginning to get his eyes open on the subjects that for some years had so greatly rejoiced our hearts here in Allegheny--that the object of our Lord's return is not to destroy, but to bless all the families of the earth, and that his coming would be thief-like, and not in flesh, but as a spirit-being, invisible to men; and that the gathering of his Church and the separation of the "wheat" from the "tares" would progress in the end of this age without the world's being aware of it.” C.T.Russell, Zion’s Watch Tower, July 1915, p230 (R3822)

 

An associate of Russell’s, Jonas Wendell as well as other Adventists also thought that 1873 would witness the burning of the world and that the chronology of the history of the world ended at the beginning of 1873.

 

Russell wrote of this meeting with Barbour, “But there were no books or other publications setting forth the time-prophecies as then understood, so I paid Mr. Barbour's expenses to come to see me at Philadelphia.(where I had business engagements during the summer of 1876), to show me fully and Scripturally, if he could, that the prophecies indicated 1874 as the date at which the Lord's presence and "the harvest" began. He came, and the evidences satisfied me. Being a person of positive convictions and fully consecrated to the Lord, I at once saw that the special times in which we live have an important bearing upon our duty and work as Christ's disciples; that, being in the time of harvest, the harvest-work should be done; and that Present Truth was the sickle by which the Lord would have us do a gathering and reaping work everywhere among his children. I inquired of Mr. Barbour as to what was being done by him and by the Herald. He replied that nothing was being done; that the readers of the Herald, being disappointed Adventists, had nearly all lost interest and stopped their subscriptions;--and that thus, with money exhausted, the Herald might be said to be practically suspended. I told him that instead of feeling discouraged and giving up the work since his newly found light on restitution (for when we first met, he had much to learn from me on the fullness of restitution based upon the sufficiency of the ransom given for all, as I had much to learn from him concerning time), he should rather feel that now he had some good tidings to preach, such as he never had before, and that his zeal should be correspondingly increased.

 

“At the same time, the knowledge of the fact that we were already in the harvest period gave to me an impetus to spread the Truth such as I never had before. I therefore at once resolved upon a vigorous campaign for the Truth.

 

“While The Three Worlds was not the first book to teach a measure of restitution, nor the first to treat upon time-prophecy, it was, we believe, the first to combine the idea of restitution with time-prophecy.”

 

 

After the Three Worlds was published in its entirety, Barbour restarted his magazine with J.H. Paton and C.T. Russell as co-editors.

 

 

The Predictions of Barbour, Paton, and Russell

 

Chronology

Prophecy

 

 

1656 -- Adam to Flood

1260 years --

539 ad - 1799

(539, Ravenna falls)9

427 -- to Abraham

1290 years --

539 ad - 1829

(1799, Pope dies in prison)

430 -- to Exodus

1335 years --

539 ad - 1874

(1874, Jesus returned)

46 -- to Division of Canaan

2520 years --

606 bc - 1914

(Israel's seven times)

450 -- period of Judges

2500 years --

625 bc - 1875

(50 x 50 jubilee great cycle)

513 -- period of Kings

2499 years --

625 bc - 1874

(49 x 51 jubilee cycles)

70 -- Desolation of Land

2300 years --

454 bc - 1846

(Dan. 8:14, begin with 70 wks)

536 -- to ad 1

1845 years --

33 ad - 1878

(Double to 1813 bc - 33 ad)

1872 -- to complete 6000 years

490 years --

454 bc - 36

(Jesus' ministry 29 to 33)

____

6000 years

 

 

 

 

After a couple of years Barbour wrote and published an article which denied the substitutionary atonement of Christ. J.H.Paton wrote an article at Russell’s request defending the doctrine and Barbour countered with several editor’s notes at the end of the article. Russell was next to defend the doctrine and Barbour countered similarly. Soon letters between the three ensued and wrote another article on the subject. Russell’s 2½ page article was followed by Barbour’s 3½ page editor’s note denying the doctrine again.

 

After about a year of these debates, Russell and Paton left to start another magazine, “Zion’s Watch Tower” which would proclaim similar chronological and time prophetic concepts as well as defending the blood of Christ and the substitutionary atonement.

 

Some time after Barbour had second thoughts about the time prophecies and published articles to the contrary.

 

In the early 1900’s some one wrote to the “Watch Tower” magazine about the 606 BC date not being supported by secular history. But because of the negative attitude and tone of the letter it was passed off as the writings of an enemy. Russell explained in the editor’s response that Ptolemy’s canon and Josephus’ chronology were not reliable and gave reasons why he believed so.

 

"Having thus set the matter before the minds of our readers, we asked each to judge for himself as to how much faith he would repose in the chronology and in the application of the prophecies connected with it." (R. 5450) "Thus we have asked each reader to think, and judge for himself, and to agree or disagree with us according to his own judgment of the facts." (R. 5350)

 

After the death of Russell the editor of the Pastoral Bible Institute, R.E. Streeter, wrote several articles in their magazine, “The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom” acknowledging the archeological evidence against the 606 BC date being the fall of Jerusalem.

 

At this time, Rutherford published several articles, including a letter by Morton Edgar on the subject, which defended the view which Pastor Russell accepted that the 606 date was the beginning of the seventy years of desolation. Mr. Paul Johnson of the Layman’s Home Missionary Movement did the same.

 

 

Clayton Woodworth, “Judge” Rutherford and the Jehovah’s Witnesses

 

At exactly the same time that R.E. Streeter and the Pastoral Bible Institute were publishing their questions and treatises regarding the chronology, Rutherford was publishing several articles supporting the Elliott/Bowen/Russell chronology. Paul Johnson of the Layman’s Home Missionary Movement had been doing the same. This continued for a couple of years and the Watchtower (and later republished in the Layman’s magazine, “The Present Truth”) published a letter by Morton Edgar supporting the Elliott/Bowen/Russell chronology.

 

It was during the turbulent and confusing era of the early 1920’s that each magazine (The Watch Tower, the Golden Age, The Herald of Christ’s Presence, and The Present Truth) almost simultaneously published articles on similar subjects, including the chronology, for several years.

 

“The same magazine that wrote these things, however, abandoned the 1799 date in 1929 (WT 12/1/29), the 1874 date in about 1931, and in 1935 adopted a new system of chronology that eliminated all the symmetry of the old.” Timothy White, A People For His Name p. 82.

 

The Golden Age magazine edited by Clayton Woodworth (the author of the Seventh Volume, ‘The Finished Mystery’) published a series of articles re-evaluating the chronology in March of 1935. This series of four articles suggested an entirely new chronology. This treatise has no author ascribed to it.

 

However, the same article which introduced this "new light" of Chronology also introduced a new calendar and a new system of counting which replaced the count of the years from the death of Jesus to the time when the article was written. The name of the years, the months, and the names of the days of the week were also changed with this new calendar. According to this new calendar, the “Year of Ransom” which dated from Jesus’ death counted as 1882 years to 1914. This new "calendar" was disposed of soon after even though the Jehovah’s Witnesses who did not accept the calendar at the time it was introduced were disfellowshipped.

 

“In this series of articles it will be shown that all the forgoing calendars are the calendars of the Devil…Jehovah God is nowhere mentioned in the Gregorian calendar. ..Christ is mentioned, but the year 1935 is not the year of our Lord at all, for He was born in 2 B.C. and died in A.D. 33.” The Golden Age, March 13, 1935 p356.

 

“The Devil, of course, was the one who induced the ancestors of the present generation to name the days of the week after heathen gods and goddesses. Neither God nor Christ, nor any prophet or apostle, is represented in the days of the week as now in common use.” The Golden Age, March 13, 1935, p358.

 

The names given by the author of the article to the months were “Redemption, Life, Visitment, Freedom, vindication, Hope, King, Peace, Order, Logos, Jehovah, and Temple.” The days of the week were named, “Lightday, Heavenday, Earthday, Starday, Lifeday, Mansday, Godsday.”

 

On page 413 of the March 27th, 1935 issue of the Golden Age, the year 1935 was listed as the 5962nd year. With the new computations, the 6000th year would end in 1975.

 

This new chronology has been expounded upon very little in only a few publications of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the last fifty years. There have only been two other extensive treatises of this chronology in any publication since the new chronology was introduced.

 

In 1942 a book was published by the Society expounding upon this “new” chronology. The book doesn’t state the ending of the 6000 years in any explicit detail, but some math work reveals 1975 as the new ending date. This book written after the death of Rutherford has no author inside to know who had written it. The 1975 date was not expounded upon much until the late 1960’s when Frederick Franz began to use it in some of his public talks as a possibility for the beginning of Armageddon.

 

The most extensive treatise that the Witnesses have written was done in the 1980’s under Raymond Franz’s direction In the 1970’s Raymond Franz was a member of the governing body and nephew of the Watch Tower president, Fredrick Franz. Mr. Franz was commissioned to write an extensive treatise of the chronology for their Bible Dictionary, “Aid To Bible Understanding” (Recently republished and revised as “Insight on the Scriptures.”) A treatise had been circulating around the Bethel headquarters about the validity of the 606-607BC date as being the fall of Jerusalem. This treatise was written by Carl Olaf Jonnson (of Sweden), a devout Jehovah’s Witness, who had been trying to prove the validity of the date to an individual he was witnessing to. Unable to find any archeological support or evidence for the beginning of the seventy years captivity in 606 BC, he wrote a treatise which was circulating around Bethel at the time that Raymond Franz was asked to write the treatise on chronology.

 

Unable to find suitable evidence or support for the fall of Jerusalem in 606-607 BC, Jonnson and Raymond Franz continued to question the validity of the date and were disfellowshipped for not accepting the doctrine as believed by the society. Jonnson explains some of this in his book, “The Gentile Times Reconsidered” and Raymond Franz provides letters and documentation to this effect in his book, “Crisis of Conscience.” There are always two sides to every story and the Jehovah’s Witnesses today claim that these two individuals were disfellowshipped for associating with other disfellowshipped “apostate” Jehovah’s Witnesses.

 

To date the Witnesses have not re-evaluated their new chronology nor have attempted any reconciliation with the archeological evidence.

 

It is also interesting to note that many Jehovah’s Witnesses of today believe that Russell taught the return of Jesus in 1914.

 

“On October 2, 1914, Charles Taze Russell, then president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, boldly announced: “The Gentile Times have ended; their kings have had their day.” How true his words proved to be! Unseen to human eyes, in October 1914 an event of world-shaking importance took place in heaven. Jesus Christ, the permanent Heir to “the throne of David,” commenced his rule as King over all mankind.—Luke 1:32, 33; Revelation 11:15. ‘But,’ you may ask, ‘if Christ began ruling in 1914, why did conditions on earth get worse?’ Because mankind’s invisible enemy Satan was still in existence. Until 1914, Satan had access to heaven. That situation changed with the setting up of God’s Kingdom in 1914. “War broke out in heaven.” (Revelation 12:7) Satan and his demons were defeated and cast down to the earth, with catastrophic effects on mankind. The Bible foretold: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”—Revelation 12:12.” (WT 5/1/1994)

 

“Similarly, the Watch Tower issue of March 1880 stated: “‘The Times of the Gentiles’ extend to 1914, and the heavenly kingdom will not have full sway till then.” Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses point to the “sign” given by Jesus and look back upon 1914 as the year when his invisible presence in Kingdom power became a reality.” (WT 4/1 1984)

 

These articles, as well as several others, explain very clearly that C.T. Russell taught that the “Gentile Times” would end in 1914, but vaguely make it seem that Russell taught that Christ would return invisibly in 1914 and begin his role as the King of mankind.

 

Today the Witnesses interpret the seven times (2520) and the 70 weeks (490 years) with the year for a day principle and other time prophecies such as the 2300 days, the 1335, 1260, 3½, and 1290 days as literal days which apply to their movement after the year of 1914. The Witnesses today understand the discrepancies between Scripture chronology and archeology and attempt to discredit archeology and those who question their view, in favor of their organization and what they believe Scripture to teach.

 

COMPARATIVE CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE

 

 

SCRIPTURE                                 PERSON / EVENT             CLINTON   BOWEN/ELLIOTT

 

   Ge 5:3   ----------------- Adam ----------------------------------   130      130

   Ge 5:6   ----------------- Seth ----------------------------------   105      105

   Ge 5:9   ----------------- Enos ----------------------------------    90       90

   Ge 5:12   ---------------- Cainan --------------------------------    70       70

   Ge 5:15   ---------------- Mahalaleel ----------------------------    65       65

   Ge 5:18   ---------------- Jared ---------------------------------   162      162

   Ge 5:21   ---------------- Enoch ---------------------------------    65       65

   Ge 5:25   ---------------- Methuselah ----------------------------   187      187

   Ge 5:28   ---------------- Lamech --------------------------------   182      182

   Ge 7:6   ----------------- Noah's age at the Flood ---------------   600      600

   Ge 11:11   --------------- Shem ----------------------------------     2        2

   Ge 11:12   --------------- Arphaxad ------------------------------    35       35

   Ge 11:12   --------------- Cainan --------------------------------     0        0

   Ge 11:14   --------------- Selah ---------------------------------    30       30

   Ge 11:16   --------------- Eber ----------------------------------    34       34

   Ge 11:18   --------------- Peleg ---------------------------------    30       30

   Ge 11:20   --------------- Reu -----------------------------------    32       32

   Ge 11:22   --------------- Serug ---------------------------------    30       30

   Ge 11:24   --------------- Nahor ---------------------------------    29       29

   Ge 11:32   --------------- Terah's age at his death --------------   205      205

   Ex 12:41; Ga 3:17   ------ To the Exode --------------------------   430      430

   Jos 5:6   ---------------- In the wilderness ---------------------    40       40

   Jos 14:7-10; Ac 13:19   -- To the division of the land -----------     7        6

   Jos 23:1; 24:29   -------- To the death of Joshua ----------------    20       19

          & Josephus

   Jos 24:31; Jud 2:10   ---- To the first servitude ----------------     0       11

          & Josephus

   Jud 3:8   ---------------- First servitude-Mesopatamia -----------     8        8

   Jud 3:9-11   ------------- Othniel -------------------------------    40       40

   Jud 3:12-14   ------------ Second servitude-Moab -----------------    18       18

   Jud 3:30   --------------- Ehad and Shamgar ----------------------    80       80

   Jud 4:13   --------------- Third servitude-Canaan ----------------    20       20

   Jud 4:23; 5:31   --------- Deborah and Barak ---------------------    40       40

   Jud 6:1   ---------------- Fourth servitude-Midian ---------------     7        7

   Jud 8:28   --------------- Gideon --------------------------------    40       40

   Jud 8:33; 9:6-22   ------- Abimelech -----------------------------     3        3

   Jud 10:1-2   ------------- Tolah ---------------------------------    23       23

   Jud 10:3   --------------- Jair ----------------------------------    22       22

   Jud 10:6-8   ------------- Fifth servitude-Ammon -----------------    18       18

   Jud 11:32; 12:7   -------- Jephthah ------------------------------     6        6

   Jud 12:8-9   ------------- Ibzan ---------------------------------     7        7

   Jud 12:11   -------------- Elon ----------------------------------    10       10

   Jud 12:13-14   ----------- Abdon ---------------------------------     8        8

   Jud 13:1   --------------- Sixth servitude-Philistines -----------    40       40

   1Sa 4:18   --------------- Eli -----------------------------------    40        0

   1Sa 7:2   ---------------- Seventh servitude-Philistines ---------    20        0

   1Sa 7:15; Ac 13:21   ----- Samuel --------------------------------    12       30

   Ac 13:21   --------------- Saul ----------------------------------    40       40

   1Ki 2:11   --------------- David ---------------------------------    40       40

   1Ki 11:42   -------------- Solomon -------------------------------    40       40

   1Ki 14:21   -------------- Rehoboam ------------------------------    17       17

   1Ki 15:2   --------------- Abijam --------------------------------     3        3

   1Ki 15:10   -------------- Asa -----------------------------------    41       41

   2Ch 20:31   -------------- Johoshaphat ---------------------------    24       25

   2Ch 21:5   --------------- Jehoram -------------------------------     7        8

   2Ki 8:26   --------------- Ahaziah -------------------------------     1        1

   2Ki 11:1-3   ------------- Athaliah ------------------------------     6        6

   2Ki 12:1   --------------- Jehoash -------------------------------    40       40

   2Ki 14:2   --------------- Amaziah -------------------------------    29       29

   2Ki 14:23; 15:1   -------- Interregnum ---------------------------     0        0

   2Ki 15:2   --------------- Azariah -------------------------------    52       52

   2Ch 27:1   --------------- Jotham --------------------------------    15       16

   2Ch 28:1   --------------- Ahaz ----------------------------------    15       16

   2Ch 29:1   --------------- Hezekiah ------------------------------    29       20

   2Ki 21:1   --------------- Manasseh ------------------------------    55       55

   2Ch 33:2   --------------- Amon ----------------------------------     2        2

   2Ch 34:1   --------------- Josiah --------------------------------    31       31

   2Ch 36:2   --------------- Jehoahaz ------------------------------     0        0

   2Ki 23:31   -------------- Jehoiakim -----------------------------    11       11

   2Ki 24:8   --------------- Jehoaiachin ---------------------------     0        0

   2Ki 25:27   -------------- To Nebuchadnezzar's death -------------    37 - - - - }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Evil Merodach ------------------------- ­- - -}      81}

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Neriglissar ---------------------------      }Zedekiah}

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Nabonadius ----------------------------      }& Cptvty}

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Cyrus before the conquest of Babylon --      }- - - - }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Cyrus after the conquest of Babylon ---   430}     536}

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Cambyses ------------------------------      }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Darius I ----------- Hystaspes --------YEARS }  From  }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Xerxes --------------------------------  OF  }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Artaxerxes I ------- Longimanus -------      } Cyrus' }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Darius II ---------- Nothus -----------   P  }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Artaxerxes --------- Mnemon -----------   T  } decree }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Ochus ---------------------------------   O  }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Arses ---------------------------------   L  }   to   }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Darius III --------- Codomanus --------   E  }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Alexander of Macedon ------------------   M  }  birth }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Philip Aridaeus -----------------------   Y  }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Alexander Aegus -----------------------   '  }   of   }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Ptolemy Lagus -------------------------   S  }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Ptolemy Philadelphus ------------------      } Christ }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Ptolemy Euergetes I -------------------CANON }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Ptolemy Philopater --------------------      }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Ptolemy Epiphanes ---------------------      }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Ptolemy Philometer --------------------      }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Ptolemy Euergetos II ------------------      }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Ptolemy Soter -------------------------      }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Ptolemy Dionysius ---------------------      }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Cleopatra. Died B.C. 30 ---------------      }        }

Canon of Ptolemy ------------ Augustus Ceasar, from Cleopatra's Death - - -} - - - -}

                                                        to the Vulgar Era

 

        From Creation to the Vulgar Era -----------------------------   4138     4128

 

        From the Vulgar Era to the end of the 6000 years AD ---------   1862     1872

_______________________________________________________________________________________


* Including the fifteen years of the reign of Alexander, who was imposed on Egypt by Sylla
of Rome.