1914 – History of Doctrine (Reference Tables)

Important Dates in the Development of the 1914 Doctrine.

The following material is provided here for reference. There are resources where the material is covered in more detail, and where those materials appear online, links may be provided.

1,260 days, the most common measurement in the first table below, refers especially to the 1,260 days of Revelation 11:3. These were understood to be the “Gentile Times” (or, “appointed times of the nations” – NWT) by comparing Revelation 11:3 with Luke 21:24.

Revelation 11:3 “…the nations, [Gentiles] and they will trample the holy city underfoot for 42 months….for 1,260 days….” (3.5 years)

Luke 21:24: “…and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations* until the appointed times of the nations [Gentile Times] are fulfilled.”

The following list is only an incomplete sampling.  It starts with Joachim of Floris, the first known use of a prediction using the “1,260 days” with a “day-for-a-year” formula. It ends with John Aquila Brown, the first known use of using  “7 times” (2,520 days) with the “day-for-a-year” formula.

Brown started the count at 604 BCE (Babylon’s rise to power, not Jerusalem’s temple destruction in 587 BCE), and ended them in 1917. Also note that Brown never identified these “7 times” with the “Gentile Times” already identified in Revelation as 3 and 1/2 times. The original “7 times” were from Leviticus. See Russell’s article in George Storr’s “Bible Examiner”)
Publish Date
“End” Date
Who/What
(1,260 day-years except where noted)
Comments/References
1195 c. 1260 Joachim of Floris ‘End of the age’ in 65 years
1300 1364 Arnold of Villanova (uses 1,290) Gentile Times to end in 64 years
1393 1394. . Walter Brute Gentile Times to end in 1 year
1530 1328 Martin Luther (uses 1,290) Gentile Times ended 200 years prior
1545 1672 A. Osiander Gentle Times to end in 127 years
1558 1521 J. Funck Gentile Times ended 37 years prior
1570 1701 G. Nigrinus Gentile Times to end in 131 years
1573 1572 Aretius Gentile Times ended 1 year prior
1593 1576 John Napier Gentile Times ended 17 years prior
1618 1866 D. Pareus Gentile Times to end in 248 years
1655 1656 J. Tillinghast Gentile Times to end in 1 year
1684 1697 T. Beverley Gentile Times to end in 13 years
1687 1714 P. Jurieu Gentile Times to end in 27 years
1701 1794 R. Fleming (adjusts 1260 with 360-day years) Gentile Times to end in 93 years
1706 1866 William Whiston Gentile Times to end in 160 years
1768 1847 J. Ph. Petri Gentile Times to end in 79 years
1776 1866 John Gill  Gentile Times to end in 90 years
1787 1880 Hans Wood  Gentile Times to end in 93 years
1796 1797 George Bell  Gentile Times to end in 1 year
1796 1813      ”      “  Gentile Times to end in 17 years
1802 1849 Galloway  (adjusts 1260 with 360-day years)  Gentile Times to end in 47 years
1803 1880 W. Hales  Gentile Times to end in 77 years
1806 1866 G. S. Faber  Gentile Times to end in 60 years
1818 1848 W. C. Davis  Gentile Times to end in 30 years
1820 1789 J. Bayford  Gentile Times ended 31 years prior
1822 1797 John Fry  Gentile Times ended in 25 years prior
1823 1844 John Aquila Brown (1,260 lunar years)  Gentile Times to end in 21 years
1823 1917 John Aquila Brown (7 times = 2,520) 7 times started 604 BCE, to end 1917 CE

(Reference: Gentile Times Reconsidered, 4th ed.)

For attaching a specific number to the Gentile Times, the Biblical support clearly favored 1,260 (3 and 1/2 times) over the use of 2,520 (7 times). However, in the mid-to-late 1800’s the options for near-future predictions using the 1,260 days (“years”) were difficult because they would require starting points between 600 CE and 700 CE if they were to be relevant for claims about the current generation. And there were very few religiously significant events in the 7th century CE.  (Mohammed had died in 632 CE and Jerusalem had surrendered to Omar in 638 CE, which would allow for end dates in the 1890’s.) Russell had already accepted from Barbour’s that the 1,260 days/years were the years of Papal dominion in the Holy Roman Empire, that  ran from 539 CE to 1798 CE.

Once the idea of using 2,520 years from “7 times” was in use, however, there were now many viable possibilities with real Biblical events as starting points (e.g., Hezekiah and Josiah’s restorations, fall of Israel to Assyria, Jehoiakim’s vassalage to Egypt, Assyria’s fall and Babylon’s rise as a world power, the first deportation from Jerusalem to Babylon, fall of Jerusalem/Temple, final desolation of Judea.) And, of course, there were several possible adjustments to the length of a year: 365 days, 365.25 days, 360 days, or lunar years of 354 days.

The following chart originally referenced more than fifty examples before Russell! The ones selected here focus on the events most closely related to the development of the 1914 doctrine under Barbour and Russell, with some key events after Russell’s time.

We start again with John Aquila Brown in 1823.

Publish Date
Start/End Date
(BCE/CE)
Who/What
(2520 day-years except where noted)
Comments/References
1823 604 to 1917 John Aquila Brown 7 times started in 604 BCE, to end 1917 CE
1842 677 to 1843 William Miller published also in J.V.Himes “Midnight Cry
1843 606 to 1843 Th. R. Birks (adjusted 2520 to 2450)
1844 606 to 1914 E. B. Elliott A second of several alternatives, first option was 727 CE – 1793 CE. (Barbour claims it was Elliott’s work that influenced his reworking of Miller’s dates.)
1870 606 to 1914 Joseph A Seiss, presenting several alternatives (In a discussion of now anonymous alternatives, not his own)
1875 606 to 1914 Nelson H Barbour Published in September 1875“Herald of the Morning” (prev. “Midnight Cry & Herald…”)
1876 606 to 1914 C. T. Russell Russell presents Barbour’s chronology in George Storr’s, “Bible Examiner” (October 1876 issue.)
1886 606 to 1915 Grattan Guinness
1886 587 to 1934 Grattan Guinness
N/A 606 to 1915 W E Blackstone (one of three alternatives)
N/A 587 to 1934 W E Blackstone (third of three alternatives)
1894 606 to 1914!  C T Russell Russell admits no change to 1914. “We see no reason for changing the figures — nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God’s dates, not ours.” – Watch Tower, July 15, 1894. (This appears stronger than what Barbour wrote in “The Three Worlds” in 1877, published by both Barbour and Russell: “…. I am not willing to admit that this calculation is even one year out. … But there is such an array of evidence….[as] if you had solved [a math] problem in seven different ways, all independent….you would be a fool any longer to doubt the accuracy of that result. And this is a fair illustration of the weight of evidence that can be brought to bear on the truthfulness of our present position.)
1904 606 to 1915  C T Russell Russell is evidently made aware that he (and Barbour) may have forgotten about the “no zero year.” In a January 11, 1904 sermon, Russell indicates that this is the first time it had been addressed. He said: “We find, then, that the Seven Times …began with the captivity of Zedekiah, and, …they terminate with the year 1915. …Zedekiah’s captivity took place in October, 605-1/4 years before A.D. 1. If we will add to this 1914-3/4 years, we will have the year, October, 1915, as the date for the end of Gentile supremacy…2,520 years….” (As Watch Tower quoted the sermon from the Pittsburgh Gazette.) (No publications were changed at that time, but predictions for events set to end in October 1914, began to see wording that often implied a start in 1914 with a sudden or quick end, often explicitly specified to finish no later than October 1915. As several intermediate events did not unfold between 1904 and 1914, the subject of a delay and doubt came up more often.)  
1912 606 to 1915  C T Russell In mid-1912, changed to “October 1915.” By 1913, changed to “either October 1914 or October 1915”) (Time is at Hand, revision, mid-1912.)
1912 606 to 1915?  C T Russell On the question of the zero year, Russell states in the December 1912 Watch Tower about the 6th-century abbot who invented the current calendar’s B.C. and A.D. system: “Whether Dionysius began his A.D. period January 1st, A.D. 1, or whether he began it January 1st, A.D. 0,  we may not be sure….[move to 1907] we have never claimed our calculations to be infallibly correct; we have never claimed that they were knowledge, … they are based on faith.…We have not condemned those who could not see, but have rejoiced with those whose exercise of faith has brought them special blessings–“Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.”
1912 606 to 1914 (or 1915)  C T Russell In keeping with the new “slight allowance of latitude, 1913 sees “either 1914 or 1915”
1914 606 to 1914  C T Russell (“Zero year” mistake implicitly allowed due to ominous 1914 events)
1928 606 to 1914  J F Rutherford (“Zero year” mistake implicitly allowed, reconfirmed. Date the overthrow of Zedekiah in 606 BCE-Ref3) JFR changed Jesus kingship from 1878 to 1914, but only …
1942 606 to 1914 N. H. Knorr (“Zero year” mistake implicitly allowed, reconfirmed.
1943 606 to 1914 F. W. Franz, apparently (begins change to 607, after accepting 1904 discussion of “no zero year”) (REF:AF1,2)
1943 607 to 1914 Gentile Times set to start
1944
 1951  6th Millenium set for 1976
 1972
 2006 607-1914 Governing Body/anonymous Admits critical information that “secular chronology” dates to 587/6. Does not mention that Watch Tower relies on same secular chronology but reinterprets a small piece of it, ignoring a circular contradiction, in that it is the same secular chronology that is a key to the foundation required to bring their argument to the point where they need to break it to create the interpretation. (Which is no longer valid if the foundation is broken.)
 2008 – present  607 – 1914 Governing Body/anonymous Jerusalem was “destroyed in October 607 BCE.” Sometimes “Jerusalem destroyed and abandoned in October 607.” (Not mentioned that Bible places the destruction in Summer since 2006.)

 

 

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