Understanding the number ‘1914’
IMPORTANT TO PRESENT AND FORMER JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES!
The first part of this post is concerning a math error in the calculation of what common era date corresponded to the end of the 2,520-year gentile times (the appointed time of the nations.
The second part is concerning when the gentile times began. Is 607 B.C.E. or is 587 B.C.E. the valid start date?
Why ‘1914’ Doesn’t Equal 1914 C.E./ Different Units of Measure
This is important information is concerning a significant number and a date in the minds of all who have been taught as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
This brief article will not dispute the method used in determining the start date nor the time length of the prophetic period. For this discussion the period began 606/607 B C.E. when King Nebuchadnezzar took sovereignty away from Judah and was to last 7 times or 7×360 which equaled 2,520 years.
Neither is about varying arguments about interpreting the prophecy concerning the ‘gentile times’ prophesied in the Book of Daniel.
In correlation with other Scripture the end of this period would mark the end of the absence of Divine rulership and non-intervention and it would mark the beginning of what Scripture referred to as “the last days”.
During these last days, the One with the right to rule (Lord Jesus Christ) would appear and re-establish the presence of Divine rulership near the end of the last days.
It does NOT agree with the common assumption of when this prophetic period expired that is, 1914 A.D /C.E. The error can be easy proven and seen. It is a math error.
IF YOU BELIEVE as Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in the significance of the number ‘1914’ in knowing when the Gentile Times (appointed times of the nations) came to its end, then please take note and consider:
Different Units Of Measurement Involved
Yard to meters….gallons to liters….etc. When going from one standard of measure to another, naturally some mathematical conversion is necessary. That is always important to keep in mind when solving math problems.
How The Number 1914 Is Derived
The number “1914″ is a number derived from subtracting 606/607 from the number 2,520. That number is: 1914 lunar calendar years that were remaining till expiration when the Common Era calendar came into use. That number is defined therefore as: 1914 LUNAR-years counting down.
The total of 2,520 years is based on 7 times a 360 day year.
The Biblical Year Length
According to the calendar used in the Bible, the remaining 1914 years is equal to 1914 times 360 days; which totals 689,040 days.
Now let’s examine in terms of the common era year length.
Our current Common Era calendar is based on a 365 day year. 1914 of these years is therefore equal to 1914 times 365 days; which totals 698,610 days.
You can easily see the two are not equals of one another. They do not equal and therefore could not possibly be the same. The calendar systems use different units of measure much the same as the standard and metric systems do. They are not interchangeable.
There is a difference of 9,570 days between the two calendar systems. In common era years that equals 26.21 years.
Because of this difference, there is a 26.21 common era year deviation from the original “1914″ we started with.
1914 C.E. is therefore more than 26 common era years off from the actual end date of the gentile times.
The answer to when they ended can be correctly calculated following the standard laws of mathematics.
Since “1914″ in this math problem is a number in a sequence of numbers counting down, mathematically it is a negative number (-1914). And since it is used to determine the difference between the two calendar systems, the result is also a negative (-26.21 C.E.).
-26.21 C.E. is the conversion factor needed to solve for the correct common era end date.
This all reduces to a simple addition of the two numbers.
– 26.21 C.E.
The mathematics involved in solving this problem is not as simple and straightforward as a person may intuitively think.
The plot you see is based on the equation written below it, which is the problem in math form.
This equation is the mathematical representation of the question:
What C.E. date corresponds to the end of the Gentile Times when calculated from the starting point of the common era calendar.
In conclusion, the date 1914 C.E. is a false positive of the real value of 1914 and the end of the gentile times.
This mistaken identification has altered several generations idea of when the gentile times ended. It has in the process also altered their perception of where he actually stands in the stream of time and prophesied events by over 26 years.
What Event Marked the Beginning Of the “Appointed Times of The Nations”?
Is 607 B.C.E. Worthy to Be Considered as A Valid Date or Not?
For your consideration:
There are several factors that must be scrutinized before one can develop an accurately informed opinion as to whether the date 607 B.C.E. is a “valid” date or not.
The use of the word ‘valid’ is extremely critical of course, because it must first be understood:
Valid of or for what exactly?
What purportedly is supposed to have occurred at that time?
The answer is contained in the Holy Scriptures.
The period of the “gentile times” or the “appointed times of the nations” is an issue of sovereignty, kingship, and dominion.
Note Ezekiel 21:
25 “And you, O profane and wicked one, prince of Israel, he whose day has come, it he time of your final punishment,
26 thus says the Lord God: Remove the turban and take off the crown. Things shall not remain as they are. Exalt that which is low, and bring low that which is exalted.
27 A ruin, ruin, ruin I will make it. This also shall not be, until he comes, the one to whom judgment belongs, and I will give it to him.” (ESV)
“Remove the turban and remove the crown” is the Scriptural demarcation for the start of this period of gentile domination.
This has nothing to do with the physical destruction of the city of Jerusalem. The city and Temple both were reconstructed shortly after the exile.
What did not return was the nation’s sovereignty. From the fall of the last king in the Davidic line until the destruction in 70 C.E. by the Romans, Israel existed as a vassal state to a greater national power.(gentile power)
Logically if it were linked to Jerusalem’s actual destruction which was around 587 B.C.E. the numbers wouldn’t reconcile with the Bible or archaeological proof.
In 2 Chronicles 36:17-23, Almighty God himself through His prophet, stated that the captivity that would mark the beginning of the gentile time period was to last 70 years.
The subjection of the king of Judah to the Babylonian king marked the withdrawal of God’s sanction of the kingship.
2 Chronicles 36:17-23
17 “He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.
18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials.
19 They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.
20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power.
21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.
22 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
23 ‘This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.’”
587 B.C.E., minus the 70 years of captivity period, would produce 517 B.C.E. as the year the release would have to had to occur. But we know for a fact that the captivity ended when King Cyrus conquered Babylon between 539 B.C.E. and 536 B.C.E. This would mean the captivity was only some 50 years long and not the 70 God had pronounced. This event (the destruction of Jerusalem) marked the beginning of the 70 years of desolation prophesied.
The 70 year period of desolation came to an end after the Temple had been rebuilt. It was then that God’s curse was lifted and the land was restored.
The Jews returning from exile and captivity in Babylon in 537 B.C.E., faced many obstacles in rebuilding the temple. The non-Jewish people now living in the land resisted their efforts, and the returned exiles often lacked the motivation to work. The temple took 20 years to complete. This would have been about 517 B.C.E., 70 years after the desolation began.
Therefore, it is impossible for the destruction of the city of Jerusalem to be the starting point of uninterrupted gentile domination of the Earth.
The gentile times was to be a period during which there would be an absence of a Divinely sanctioned representative of Sovereignty ruling in kingdom of man.
There are indicators that mark when this time period began.
King Josiah was the last faithful king who sat on the throne of his forefather David.
He died about 609 B.C.E. and was succeeded by his son Jehoiakim who reigned between 609 and 598 B.C.E. Jehoiakim was an unfaithful despot who was overthrown.
The overthrowing of the anointed King of Judah has to be a marking point because “the turban was lifted and the crown removed” from Jehoiakim because of his rebellion against God. This event marked the beginning of the 70 years of captivity prophesied.
2 Kings chapter 24:1-6 chronicles these events. Jehoiakim is there described as a “vassal” to the gentile King Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel reports that in third year of Jehoiakim’s reign, Jerusalem came under siege by King Nebuchadnezzar (606/607 B.C.E.)
1 “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it.” (HCSB)
His son Jehoiachin was also wicked. He reigned a brief 3 months and was led off into captivity in shackles to Babylon by the king of the gentiles; well before Jerusalem was destroyed.
Regarding his successor Zedekiah, there is a notable sign about his appointment too. Another apparent mark that Israel having been yielded over to continuing gentile domination was the installation of Zedekiah by a gentile King, Nebuchadnezzar.
Wiliam F. Albright dates the start of Zedekiah’s reign to 606 BCE, while E. R. Thiele gives the start in 597 BCE. On that reckoning, Zedekiah was born in c. 627 BCE or 618 BCE, being twenty-one on becoming king. Zedekiah’s reign ended with the siege and fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar II, which both Albright and Thiele agree took place in 586 BCE, though more recent evidence dates the fall of Jerusalem to 587 BCE.
Any of these time frames, place the effects of gentile domination closer to the death of the last faithful King Josiah and the overthrow and the carrying off into captivity of the last wicked of king to rule officially, Jehoiachin (also referred to as Jeconiah). This was the period from 609 to 598 B.C.E.
Again, this is a prophecy about sovereignty and sovereignty has to do with kingship and dominion.
Any date suggested should be marked with signs that indicate a change from Divinely consecrated rulership to uninterrupted rulership by gentile nations.
Truthfully, I do not follow how C.T. Russell and the International Bible Students Association/Watchtower Society arrived at the date 607 B.C.E. as a legitimate starting point of the gentile times, but the date itself is consistent with the relevant factors marking their start.
What isn’t accurate is the teaching that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C.E. and that the beginning of the appointed times of the nations was linked to that event. Nebuchadnezzar only besieged the city at that time. The city was destroyed in or about 587 B.C.E.
Mixing apples and oranges
This is an example of mixing ‘apples’ and ‘oranges’ so to speak and creating predictable confusion.
Most people reject the date 607 B.C.E. simply because of the false connection to the destruction of Jerusalem. They hear nothing beyond that error.
Oral traditions and not the Holy Scriptures set Jerusalem’s destruction and the desolation as the beginning point of the gentile times. The city’s destruction was an after effect of a judgment that had already been ongoing for more than twenty years.
Absent of that, 607 B.C.E. is a year well within reason, viable on its own merit. And, 537 B.CE. + 70 years if captivity equals 607 B.C.E. which fits the known secular historical record.
Whereas if one claims that the fall of the city of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.E. was the starting point; that will not reconcile with the date Cyrus freed the captives nor did it mark the beginning of gentiles exercising continuing sovereignty over Israel.
The devil knows that all he need do is slightly distort a reality to succeed in misleading. This is a mixture of truth and falsehood that must be separated; which means it cannot be accepted in whole as valid, but neither should the interpretation in its entirety be rejected.
C.T. Russell was a mixed seed of good and evil personified. He drank from two different spiritual cups and became a brook babbling both sweet and bitter water. He in turn, produced an organization and a message of like kind. With him as with others, one must separate the truth he spoke from his misinterpretations and his outright lies.
This operation of error also involves the projected date 1914 C.E.
1914 lunar years (360 days per year) counting down, cannot equal 1914 common era years (365 days per year). There is a 9,570 day difference between the two calendar systems.