Throughout the world, there are millions of sincere students of the bible, who believe a prophetic period of 2,520 years started in 607 BC and ended in 1914 when they believe Jesus Christ started ruling from the heavens as Yhwh's (Jehovah's) King of kings. This date 1914 has become the most important date on which millions hang their entire beliefs.
How did this 1914 calculation originate?
Charles Taze Russell in 1870, formed a group in Pennsylvania America known as Russellites, he was the first to formulate this 2,520 year calculation based on Daniel 4:10-14. In Daniel chapter four, it details a dream given by Yhwh to Nebuchadnezzar of a tree representing Babylonian world rule. A 'holy watcher' from God, commands the Babylonia tree dynasty to be chopped down but its stump and roots are to be preserved for a period of 'seven times'. After which Yhwh would start to rule handing over this world rulership to the one he approved (Jesus Christ). Russell turned this reference of 'seven times' into a formula. Seven times were changed to seven years, then into days, seven x 360 days giving 2520 days, this was then turned back into years (a day for a year) arriving at 2,520 years.
Instead of logically applying it to start at the time when the 'holy watcher' or angel inscribed the writing on the wall to chop down of the last of the Babylonian dynasty (Belshazzars feast) in the year 539 BC, when Babylon fell to the Persians, (Daniel chapter 5). Russell applied the start year to when he had calculated the Jerusalem temple was burned down by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, firstly in 606 then later 607 BC. Although the correct date for this destruction of Jerusalem was 589 BC. By applying 2,520 years to commence in 607 BC, ending in 1914 when Russell believed Armageddon would start. He died in 1916 with no Armageddon. See, Charles Russell.
Later in 1925 a large group of his followers rethought and concluded that in 1914 Jesus was crowned King and started his invisible presence and a last generation period started, (Matthew 24:34). They taught that persons living in 1914 who recognised this teaching, would not die before Armageddon arrived, and would see the start of Christ's 1,000 year reign, all within one generation.
Since 1914, over 100 years have passed, that generation are now all dead with no Armageddon. So has the 1914 date been scrapped or reworked. There were three alternatives, 1. Do nothing, 2 Admit the date 1914 was wrong, or 3. Contrive in some way to extend a “generation”. Its no surprise that number three has been adopted considering the negative effects 1 & 2 would have caused. The generation has now been extended using a new 'linked generation teaching' which has now been accepted by millions.
An example of the 'linked generation' teaching.
A person living in the year 1914, claiming to be one of the anointed 144,000, with a minimum age of anointing say 20 years, who then lived on to a generous old age of 90, dying in 1984. Could couple up with another lap over anointed person, with say a minimum age of 20 in 1984, who could also live to a generous old age of 90, dying in 2054. This would extend this surreal generation a further 70 years. Making this double generation potentially, a maximum of 140 years long. Providing of course no further lap over lives are added, which if so could go in infinitum.
There is absolutely no scriptural president for this massaging of the word ‘generation’. It is frankly unworthy of people who regard Yhwh’s word as truth. Jesus said “this generation will by no means end” means “this generation” not “this generation when extended by a lap over generation will by no means end”. See The over lapping generation.
As the entire beliefs of millions belonging to this group hang on the years 607 and 1914, its worth scripturally investigating these dates to see if they hold up to internal bible evidence.
DID THE TREE REPRESENT GOD'S RULE BY ZEDEKIAH?
It is set in this belief, that the termination of Yhwh's rule on earth represented by Zedekiah at Jerusalem, was what was illustrated by the tree in Daniel chapter four being chopped down. It is maintained that Nebuchadnezzar in his 19th year of being king destroyed the temple at Jerusalem, blinded and imprisoned Zedekiah for rebelling (2 Kings 25). But consider these points:
a) The tree vision was given to Nebuchadnezzar not Zedekiah, it related to a period starting when the Babylonian dynasty was chopped down, not God's. Yhwh controls the date of this chopping down, having an angel write on the wall, the proclamation to cut down the Babylonian dynasty the day before the dynasty is brought to its end in 539 BC (Daniel Chapters 4 & 5).
b) Daniel's prophecy of 'seven times' following the cutting down of the tree, could not be applied to Zedekiah in Jerusalem as Daniel explicitly says at Daniel 4:22 the tree symbolises the king of Babylon and his Dynasty and not Nebuchadnezzar's appointed representative in Jerusalem.
c) A previous vision to Nebuchadnezzar of a symbolic statue was a parallel vision of this same time period, in no way would anyone argue, that the head of Gold depicting Nebuchadnezzar really represented Zedekiah's rule at Jerusalem. Both these visions related to the same thing, Babylonian world rule.
d) Zedekiah could hardly be reckoned as Yhwh's anointed king. God had already allowed the previous Babylonian vassal king Jehoiachin to be removed by Nebuchadnezzar and the nation brought with God's approval under servitude to Babylon. God would hardly have replaced him with another king in contradiction of his expressed warnings to serve His servant the king of Babylon (Jer 25:9, 27:6,12-14,17,20-22, 43:10).
e) Zedekiah who was an uncle of Jehoiachin was not anointed by Yhwh to reign as king in Jerusalem. He was appointed to the job of vassal representative by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:17). Later he rebelled against his Babylonian master despite God warning him against carrying out this totally unnecessary self-destructive action. Hardly can it be construed that his rule represented Yhwh's rulership.
f) The seat of God's rule continued at Jerusalem with or without an anointed king being present. Some 600 years later, Jesus in 33 recognised that God's symbolic seat of rule was still at the temple in Jerusalem without any anointed king representing him. Just before his death, Jesus presented himself at this seat as its anointed king (Luke 19:34-44).
g) Yhwh established a unique relationship with Babylon, not only was Nebuchadnezzar his servant, but it was God who backed his authority as a world ruler. A truly unique situation, something Yhwh had not done with any previous national power outside of Israel. The exiled Daniel reminded Nebuchadnezzar of this "You O king of kings (Nebuchadnezzar) to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the might, and the glory, into whose hand he has given human beings, wherever they live," (Daniel 2:37). Yhwh backed Nebuchadnezzar as His representative world ruling king, not Zedekiah.
CONFUSION OVER TWO 70 YEAR PERIODS
The date of the end of the Babylon dynasty 539 BC is accepted by all parties bible and historians. This was the end of a seventy year rule by the Babylonian world power which Yhwh had originally supported. It began 70 years earlier in 609 BC when Babylon defeated the previous Assyrian world power under Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar, and became the ruling world power. A period of servitude was imposed by Yhwh on all the nations, to serve Babylon for 70 years (Jer 2511-12). The date 609 BC is supported by bible chronology and accepted by historians as the year when Babylon became the world power and the 70 year servitude on all surrounding nations including Israel started. The Babylonian world power lasted 70 years until 539 when defeated by the next Persian world power.
609 BC 70 year dynasty of the Babylonian world power set by God 539 BC
|<-------------70 years of servitude by many nations to the Babylon world power ----------------->|
A second 70 year period referred to as the wasting, desolation or devastations of Jerusalem in Daniel 9:2. Yhwh had repeatedly warned Jerusalem to willingly serve Babylon for the duration of its 70 year rule under an easy servitude. "Nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will leave on their own land said Yhwh, to cultivate it and live there. I told king Zedekiah of Judah the same thing: Bring your neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him and his people and live. Why should you and your people die by the sword, serve the king of Babylon and live, why should this city become wasted?" Jeremiah 27:11-12. Judah refused to obey Yhwh and three times over the first twenty 22 years of the servitude, rebelled against Babylon. On the third time, God allowed the temple and city to be burned and remain desolated or wasted for 70 years. This happened in the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Kings 25:1-24, Jeremiah 52:12-14. Nebuchadnezzar's 19th year was 587 BC when Jerusalem was completely destroyed and its 70 years of desolation started. The 70 years finished in 517 BC, 22 years after the Babylonian world power had ended in 539 BC. Daniel says in the first year of Darius he discerned that the 70 years of devastations on Jerusalem had been completed, some historians give the reign of Darius from 522 to 486 close but not quite in harmony.
609 BC 70 year dynasty of the Babylonian world power set by God 539 BC587 BC 517 BC |_______________________________________________________________________|
|<-------------70 years of servitude by many nations to the Babylon world power ----------------->|
|<--------------------------------- 70 years of desolations of Jerusalem ------------------------->|
Russell's formula of seven times converted to seven years then into 2,520 days then back into 2,520 years is a very concocted calculation. How long is 'Seven times? Seven in the scriptures is a number often used to signify 'completeness', 'bringing a period or work to a completion'' or "finishing a work completely'.
(Jos 6: 2-4, 15, 1Ki 18:42-44, 2Ki 5:10, 12 Ps 12:6, Pr 24:16, Ps 119:164).
'Times' is translated in the scriptures ten times from the Aramaic word "iddan" as 'an appointed time period' or 'set season'. The phrase 'Seven Times' carries the scriptural weight of: 'an appointed period of time for completing some action'. If 'Seven Times' start to count when Gods servant Babylon, represented by the tree is chopped down in 539 BC then a set period follows when God would have no representative enthroned ruling king. This period continues until the time comes for God to present kingship to the one whom He appoints, scripturally identified as Jesus Christ. No need for manipulated formulas here.
HOW LONG IS A BIBLE GENERATION?
It would seem Russell's calculation based on 607 BC was far from accurate and scripturally unsound for establishing the Kingdom timetable and the start of the rulership of Christ. Before we examine a better scriptural backed way of understanding the Kingdom time table we need to address, just how long is the bible generation Jesus referred to at Matthew 24:34.
"The disciples approached him privately, saying: “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” 22 In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short. 30 Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, 31 And he will send out his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to the other extremity. 34 Heaven and earth will (rather) pass away, but my words will by no means pass away" Mat 24: 3-34.
A generation can be defined as “contemporary people all living during one definitive period of time”. Used in this sense the bible sites two examples of definitive generations.
1) Jesus reference to the last Jewish generation in the first century.
"All the righteous blood spilled on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar will come upon you. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation" Mat 23:35-36. 'This generation' ran from 30 to 70 when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem a 40 year period within which all the events Jesus prophecies for this generation occurred.
2) The generation that come out of Egypt in the Exodus.
" Yhwh's anger blazed against Israel and he made them wander about in the wilderness for 40 years, until all the generation that was doing evil in the eyes of Yhwh came to its end" Numbers 32:13. This generation covered those from the age of 20 to 60 a 40 year generation period" (Num 14:29-33).
This scriptural evidence supports the simple logic that a contemporary bible generation has a definitive time of 40 years. The word was also used by Jesus to refer to the period between his second presence and the conclusion of the system of things "when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?" Jesus confirmed that all the things prophesied to occur between these two events, starting at his presence and ending at a conclusion of the system of things, would all be contained within a 40 year generation,There is a better and more scripturally sound, dating method. Using the most important date in all human history, when Christ ransomed and repurchased all mankind at his death, in 33 AD. From this critical year Christ's second presence and the beginning of his rule can be calculated. Once established it will be followed by a 40 year generation period ending in a conclusion of this world system.
On the basis of the ransom sacrifice provided by Jesus in 33, God's entire Kingdom Plan rests. The date is set at the very centre of the plan which has been under construction for almost 4,000 years now. It commenced when Yhwh laid out his timetable by starting a specific blood line that would lead to this ransom sacrifice. God agreed a contract with the man Abraham when he was living in Ur. He agreed to be relocated so that his offspring could be used to create a special blood line chain that would stretch 2,000 years. The contract was ratified by circumcision on all Abraham's approved descendants. Abraham was informed that by means of this blood line, a descendant of his would come who would bring great benefits to all mankind. This was of course Jesus Christ the last in this blood line, who 2,000 years after the contract was agreed with Abraham provided the all important ransom sacrifice by his death in 33 AD. Thereby bringing benefits to all mankind. This was the first preparation half of the plan starting in 1968 BC its term lasting 2000 years ending in 33 AD.
Once Christ's execution had been accomplished the foundation for building the Kingdom had been laid. The second half of the plan covers its construction. A second Kingdom contract is made starting in 33 AD for the adoption of 144,000 'Sons of God' who become living stones for building into Yhwh's Kingdom administration and temple. This contract also lasts for 2,000 years and ends in 2033 when all 144,000 'Sons of God' will have been adopted.
Yhwh’s 4,000 year Kingdom timetable is perfectly balanced on the year 33 AD. The first Abraham contract lasted exactly 2,000 years, sign posting a lineage to the ransom sacrifice; 1968 BC to 33 AD. On the basis of this paid ransom a second 2,000 year Kingdom contract was drawn up by Christ in order to construct an administration at the full limit of the appointed time; 33 to 2033.
THE 4,000 YEAR KINGDOM PLAN
TWO COVENANTS HINGE EACH SIDE OF THE PIVOT DATE 33 AD
Start of God's personal 1st covenant ends 2nd begins Maturity of the
Covenant with Abraham Pivot Date = Christ's Death New Kingdom contract
1968 BC 33 AD 2033 AD
| || |
|<----Preparation Contract ------>||<------Application Contract---->|
| Abraham Covenant || Kingdom Covenant | |<--------- 2,0000 years--------->||<-------- 2,000 years --------->|
| || |
| || |
|<--------------------------- 4,000 years ------------------------- |
Circumcision Covenant ends 33 ->|<-New Kingdom Covenant begins 33
This year 33, Yhwh set for the death of his son is extremely significant, the central point on which His entire plan hangs. It is the absolute key date. The Kingdom construction contract is presently in force and still being worked on in order to complete this second contract for 144,000 living stones which are being built into a royal rulership.
For more detailed information on God's Kingdom timetable see ~ REVEALING THE SONS OF GOD