by Matt Slick
An absolutely critical date for the Jehovah's Witnesses is A.D. 1914. It is the date when, according to the Jehovah's Witnesses, the time of the Gentiles ended (Watchtower, 5/1/93, page 11) and "Jesus-the heavenly warrior Michael-became King of God's heavenly Kingdom" (Watchtower 11/1/93, page 23). To arrive at this date, the Witnesses take the account in Daniel 4 and apply a 360 day year for each of the seven "times" for a total of 2520 years. They add this date to 607 B.C., their date for the fall of Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar, and arrive at 1914 A.D., the date when Jesus supposedly returned invisibly in the heavens (The Truth Shall Make You Free, p. 300), the "appointed time of the nations" ended (The Time is at Hand, page 79), and the beginning of the end of the world commenced (Watchtower 11/15/50, page 438). Please consider the following quote.
"This marked time began in the year (A.D.) 1914. In that important year the 'appointed times of the nations,' 2,520 years long, ran out. If we measure back that many years from 1914, we come to the ancient date of 607 B.C. That year was marked for the overthrow of the earthly "throne of Jehovah" and for the destruction of the throne city of Jerusalem and its sanctuary and for the total desolation of the land of the kingdom of Judah." (From the Book, "Your Will," 1958, pp. 309-310, Watchtower CD, emphasis added).
Therefore, the date 607 B.C. becomes the critical date in question. Was 607 B.C. the date when Jerusalem fell? No, it wasn't. No Bible scholar and no archaeological scholar holds to that date. The correct date is 586 B.C. and not 607 B.C. Therefore, the Jehovah's Witnesses are wrong about 1914 and everything else they attach to that date based on their prophet misunderstanding. Let's verify further that 607 B.C. is the date used by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society before we establish the counter evidence.
- "The true prophet Jeremiah, not the false prophets, was vindicated when Jerusalem was razed by Babylonian soldiers in 607 B.C.E., the temple destroyed, and the populace either killed or dragged away captive to distant Babylon. The pitiful few that were left in the land fled into Egypt.-Jeremiah 39:6-9; 43:4-7," (Watchtower 2/1/92, page 4).
- "In 607 B.C.E., Israel was taken into captivity for 70 years," (Watchtower 4/15/92, page 10).
- "Samaria fell to the Assyrians in 740 B.C.E., and Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E," (Watchtower, 11/1/92, page 13).
- "The Babylonians came in 607 B.C.E. and stripped Jerusalem bare. Her people and her wealth were carried off to Babylon. The city was destroyed, the temple was burned, and the land was left desolate.-2 Chronicles 36:17-21," (Watchtower 10/15/88, page 16).
Following are citations verifying that the correct date for the fall of Jerusalem was not 607 B.C. but 586 B.C.
- According to Encyclopedia.com, the Babylonian captivity is defined as "the period from the fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.) to the reconstruction in Palestine of a new Jewish state (after 538 B.C.)."
- "You will recall that the Babylonians, under Nebuchadnezzar, after twice laying siege to Jerusalem, finally captured it in 586 B.C.E. Nebuchadnezzar's army then pillaged the city, destroying the Temple and sending the inhabitants off to exile in Babylonia. ("Biblical Archaeological Review, Biblical Archaelogical Review).
- " . . . Nebuchadnezzar promptly invaded his unhappy country and besieged Jerusalem for a year and a half. In 587 Jerusalem fell and numbers of its inhabitants were carried away captive to Babylonia . . . " (Unger, Merrill, F., Unger's Bible Dictionary, Moody Press, Chicago, 1966, page 782).
- Notice that the year 587 is offered instead of 586. There is sometimes a difference of opinion as to which year is the exact one. Nevertheless, it is obvious that 607 B.C. is not even close.
- "586, Jerusalem destroyed and burned (Jer. 52:13b.); people taken captive (52:28-30). (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982, page 1016)
It is quite clear that the Jehovah's Witness organization is wrong about the 607 B.C. date upon which they place so much of their end times' theology. If they are wrong about such a basic event and have not changed their error to match historical fact, how can they be trusted to represent biblical truth? They cannot.
The fact is that they can not change their date of 1914 because they have so much invested in it. They are forced to retain their 607 B.C. date even though it is in obvious error. To admit they were wrong is to undermine the whole credibility and truth of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. This they cannot do because they are more dedicated to their organization than they are to the truth.