It’s About Time II

doing_timeMe: “Hi, I’m Steve, and I need to tell you that I am God’s prophet on Earth: the sole source of truth on the planet!”
You: “Well, good for you! Have a nice day, now!”
Me: “No, really; I can prove it!”

You decide that you have a few minutes to kill, and that this might prove amusing, so you say: “Okay, prove it.”

Me: “Okay: I prophesied that something would happen in the year 2004: and sure enough: something did happen!”

You: “Was it what you predicted?”

Me: “Not exactly; because the prophetic light wasn’t too bright before that event.”

You: “That’s not very impressive.”

Me: “Oh yeah? Well, my real forte is not so much prophesying the future, but revealing how prophecies have come true (which, I’m proud to say, is my own alternate definition of a ‘prophet.’)”1

You: “Give me one good example.”

Me: “Well, in two places the Bible speaks of a period of 1,260 days: Daniel 12:7 and Revelation 11:3. I discerned that this period of time corresponded to a period 1,278 days long: between October first, 2004 and April first, 2008.”

You: “And how did you determine that? What’s so significant about those particular dates?”

Me: “That’s the period when I hit a streak of bad luck: I lost my job, my wife left me, and I became homeless, finally I was incarcerated in March.”

You: “That sure is interesting. {sarcastically} But why would the Bible have foretold events in your particular life?”

Me: “Because I’m God’s prophet. Don’t you see? This proves it!”

You: “Circular reasoning at its finest! But how come the number of days isn’t right?”

Me: “Oh, I forgot: I changed the explanation of that prophecy to November 7, 2004 through May 7, 2008. Because it was actually on May 8th that I was arrested: not March as I originally stated.”

You: “You forgot when you were arrested?”

Me: “I told you the light was dim back then. But my new explanation fits much better; it’s only 1,277 days instead of 1,278.”

You: “That’s still 17 days too many.”

Me: “Oh? Well, it was really from October 4 to March 26; that’s only nine days too many.”

You: “Are you sure, now?”

Me: “Yes–wait: I’m sure that it was from July 28, 2004 to early 2008.”

You: “That one’s a little vague. If it’s supposed to be 1,260 days why can’t you give the exact ending date, given the starting date?”

Me: “Because nothing at all happened on that date. But that’s how I know I’m right with my latest understanding: December 28th, 2004 to June 21st, 2008: the day when I was sentenced: not the day when I was arrested. You can take that one to the bank! What’s more, it’s only 11 days too many!”

By now you’re thinking that it would’ve been more appropriate to lock me away in the nut house than to have sentenced me to prison.

The Point

If the Watchtower were a person, it would sound very much like I did in the above conversation (just subtract 90 years from the dates). In fact, it would sound a little worse, because the Watchtower has come up with even more interpretations of the 1,260 days of Daniel 12:7 and Revelation 11:3 than I did in the imaginary conversation above!

Here is a chart showing the seven different interpretations, along with some other multiply-interpreted dates (still not meant to be an exhaustive list.) The “current understandings” (at the time of this writing) are highlighted in orange. Please click on the chart to enlarge it. References are provided at the end of this article.
WT date chart

To gain a clearer picture, here’s the same information, with the same color-coding, as a time-line (minus the day-for-a-year interpretations of Russell) Again, please click the image to enlarge it.

Note that, other than Russell’s interpretations (which were mostly–if not entirely–borrowed from the Adventists2,) all of the dates are off except for one (Rev. 12:6), and that one is not the “current understanding.” The rest are all “late” by between 9-35 days. Yet, the Bible tells us that God’s prophecies “will not be late.” (Hab. 2:3)

So, does the Watchtower’s interpretations of these biblical dates inspire one with confidence that they know what they’re talking about (much less that they have proven themselves to be God’s prophet and sole source of truth on earth)? To answer that question it is time, once again, for our dear Witness readers to trot out their favorite excuses about “human imperfection” and “the light getting brighter.” But, of course, neither of these excuses will resolve the discrepancy in the number of days.

When we’re discussing biblical interpretation, things normally get rather fuzzy and can be taken many different ways. But here we have simple math: a certain exact number of days is given. The first, rudimentary criteria for judging the accuracy of its supposed fulfillment would be that the number of days matched. Try as it might, ever since the Rutherford era, the Watchtower’s interpretations have never been able to meet that basic criteria for Daniel 12:7 and Revelation 11:3.

A Long-Forgotten Lie

More importantly, while struggling to fit the 1,260 days into a prophecy about himself and his cohorts, Rutherford lied about the date of their arrest. That’s a serious failing in a man claiming to be “God’s prophet on Earth,” and the sole source of divine truth, wouldn’t you say?

Here’s the proof for the above allegation:

1260 days

“The Scriptural statement and the physical facts as they are well known to exist are therefore exactly in harmony and show that 1260 days are literal in time and began October 1, 1914, and ended practically the first of April, 1918.”

Watchtower, 1929 Dec 15, p. 372

The latter date was represented as the fulfillment of “the last scattering of God’s people.” However, over a month later, on May 8th, the Watchtower officers were arrested. Because that event would tend to contradict the notion that the “final scattering” had previously ended, Rutherford led his readers to believe that the arrests occurred within his time-frame: prior to April 1st:

Wrong arrest date!

“Early in February, 1918, many of “the holy people”, or God’s anointed, in Canada were arrested and thrown into prison. In the same month the books of account and private papers of the Society’s office at Brooklyn headquarters were seized. A few days later the officers of the Society at Brooklyn were arrested.” — ibid.

According to the above quote, the arrests would’ve occurred in late February or early March at the latest: well before the end of the “final scattering” in April. But the facts, and all subsequent Watchtower publications show the actual date of their arrest was May 8, 1918: which was 37 days after the “final scattering.” (e.g., see the June 1, 1918 Watchtower, page 172, and the 1975 Yearbook, page 104, both pictured below)

Watchtower June 1 1918 p. 171

1975 Yearbook arrest date

In addition, here is a newspaper article of the time–from May, 1918 (not March)–reporting on the arrest:
You can view or download the scanned images of the 1929 Watchtower here, and see for yourself that I’m not making any of this up.

So, there you have the undeniable evidence before your very eyes: Rutherford stooped to deception in order to fool people into thinking that his arrest was in fulfillment of biblical prophecy!

“Current Understanding”

Today, the Watchtower has reinterpreted the time-period to correspond with the date of Rutherford’s sentencing rather than his arrest. But why would the Bible writers bother to prophesy about any of the events in the life of an egotistical liar?

megalomaniaEven in the “current understanding” the rest of the dates shown in the chart still center around Rutherford: His release; his book-drives (aka “conventions” starting in Cedar Pt. Ohio–which are also interpreted as the pouring out of the great plagues in Revelation); and his changes to the elder arrangement. Surely these were hardly earth-shattering events that needed foretelling nearly two thousand years in advance!

Is it just me, or do you also tend to regard as megalomaniacs individuals who think that they were foretold in the Bible? The Watchtower claims that they made a purposeful effort to move away from “the cult of the personality” (aka “creature worship”) especially in regards to Russell3. But while they may have stopped publishing the significance of the bumps on Russell’s head4, the way they continue to elevate Rutherford to cult status by applying prophecies to him, I’m surprised they didn’t assign some sort of prophetic significance to the pattern of his hemorrhoids.

A Little Context, If You Please

But, by all means let’s put these “prophetic explanations” in their proper context by keeping in mind that this is the same organization that prophesied that 1914 would mark the end of the “last days.” But then, after that proved false they reinterpreted their own interpretation to make 1914 the start of the “last days,” and then they had the audacity to claim that they had “consistently prophesied decades in advance that 1914 would be the start of the last days!” (Please see A Jehovah’s Witness Dilemma Part3: Question 9.)

This is the organization that prophesied as a “certainty” that King David and Abraham would be resurrected in the year 1925: a date “more distinctly indicated” than 19145.

This is also the same organization that proclaimed that 1874 marked the end of 6,000 years of man’s existence. Then they later announced that 1975 marked the end of 6,000 years of man’s existence. Do you begin to see a pattern here? What do you think they’ll be saying in regards to the year 2075 in another fifty years or so (assuming anyone’s still listening to them by then, and there’s nothing more interesting competing for their attention such as reruns of Fantasy Island)?

What time is it?

I think it’s about time to stop trusting the Watchtower. What do you think?

Next: You won’t want to miss the final chapter in this series: Part 3, “Killing Time!”

References (i.e. proof that I’m not making this crap up!)

1. “All True Christians ARE Prophets. The New American Bible correctly states: “Prophet means ‘one who speaks for another,’ especially for God. It does not necessarily mean that he predicts the future!” You will be interested to learn that God has on earth a people, all of whom are prophets, or witnesses for God. In fact, they are known throughout the world as Jehovah’s Witnesses.” —Awake! June 8, 1986 p. 9

2.“Most of the Prophetic arguments which we now use, were used long ago by Second Adventists” — Zion’s Watchtower, July, 1879 Supplement

3.“Progressively, over the years, practices that might have the effect of drawing undue attention to certain humans in connection with the preparation of spiritual food have been eliminated. …all credit is given to Jehovah God.” –Jehovah’s Witnesses-Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom (1993) p. 146

4. A Great Battle in the Ecclesiastical Heavens (1915) p. 55-56

5. “We may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old … 1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies of old and the beginning of the reconstruction…”
–-Millions Now Living May Never Die (1920), pp. 89, 90, 97 [emphasis added]

The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures than 1914.”
The Watchtower Sept 1, 1922, page 262 [emphasis added]

Next: You won’t want to miss the final chapter in this series: Part 3, “Killing Time!”

Date References (as seen in the chart and time-line)

Dan 12:7; Rev. 11:3

As March 538 CE – Feb. 15, 1798 CE

“The end of the 1260 period is fixed to Feb. 15th, 1798, beyond all question. Feb. 15th, 538, would be just 1260 years, the period the “abomination of desolation” was to hold “times and laws.” But it is not true that it was “set up,” as early in 538 as Feb. 15th. It was not until March, 538, that the Gothic power was broken, and the exact date of the setting up of “the abomination,” or the woman taking her seat on the beast, was when “the provinces of Italy” embraced the catholic cause.”
Three Worlds and The Harvest of This World (1877) p. 118
(Though not a Watchtower publication [the Watchtower didn’t exist yet] Russell was co-author of the book, and these dates were held as valid by him until 1889, when the Watchtower was ten years old.)

As 539 CE – 1799

“Twelve hundred and sixty years from 539 A.D. brings us to 1799, which is another proof that 1799 definitely marks the beginning of “the time of the end.” This also shows that it is from the date 539 A.D. that the other prophetic days of Daniel must be counted.” — Creation (1927) 2,175,000 ed. p.293. See also: Studies in the Scriptures VII – The Finished Mystery (1918) p. 173

As July 28, 1914 – early 1918

“The John class had to preach this message for a definitely stated time: 1,260 days, or 42 months, the same length of time that the holy city was to be trampled underfoot. This period seems to be literal, since it is expressed in two different ways, first in months and then in days. Additionally, at the beginning of the Lord’s day, there was a marked period of three and a half years when the hard experiences of God’s people matched the events prophesied here—starting from the outbreak of the first world war in the latter part of 1914 and continuing to the early part of 1918.”
–Revelation – It’s Grand Climax at Hand! (1988) p. 164 (original edition) In later editions, this book was revised to reflect the Dec 1914-June 1918 dates (As shown in The September 2006 Kingdom Ministry insert.)

As Oct 1, 1914 – April 1, 1918

“The Scriptural statement and the physical facts as they are well known to exist are therefore exactly in harmony and show that 1260 days are literal in time and began October 1, 1914, and ended practically the first of April, 1918.” –Watchtower Dec 15, 1929 p. 372

As Oct 4/5, 1914 – March 26/27, 1918

–Then is Finished The Mystery of God p. 332

As Nov, 7, 1914 – May 7, 1918

“Forty-two months of thirty days each, or 1260 days, which is equivalent to three and one-half years solar time, beginning the first week in November, to wit, November 7, 1914, would end on the 7th day of May, 1918. Now note that the Revelation account says: “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast … shall overcome them, and kill them.” (Rev. 11: 7) Exactly forty-two months after the publication of the aforementioned “sackcloth” article in The Watchtower, to wit, on the 7th day of May, 1918, all the officers of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and who were then the publishers of The Watch Tower, were “overcome”, in this, that they were arrested under warrant charging a violation of the espionage law and trading with the enemy, and their work stopped. They were “overcome” by stopping the work that day, and on the 20th day of June thereafter these same officers of the Society were sentenced to eighty years imprisonment and, symbolically speaking, the work of the Society was killed.”–Light I (1930) p. 199

(Note how the dates for the arrest and the sentencing are given as one day earlier here. In his letter from prison, Rutherford had made much of the fact that the sentencing took place at “high noon” on June 21st:

“It was exactly high noon (sun time) Friday, June 21, when the Judge pronounced sentence against the seven brethren, Brother DeCecca’s sentence being deferred for further investigation. This was the longest day of the year, and just at noon the sun reached its zenith.”

This corresponded, in his mind to the sentencing of Jesus during the full moon. He also stated at that time that the “work” would continue unabated:

“THE WATCH TOWER will continue as long as the Lord permits. The Editorial Committee will remain the same, each having a proxy to act for him at the office. Considerable manuscript is on hand and ready for publication. The Vice President and Board of Directors are managing the work at Pittsburgh.”

The work did, in fact, continue: I don’t think a single issue was missed during the imprisonment: hardly what one could honestly call “killing the work.” Talk about rewriting your own history to suit your current needs!)

As Dec 28, 1914 – June 21, 1918

“Hence, from December 1914, this small band of witnesses ‘preached in sackcloth,’ humbly enduring as they announced Jehovah’s judgments. Finally, on June 21, 1918, J. F. Rutherford, the new president, together with the directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, was sentenced on false charges to a long term in prison. Thus, at the end of the prophetic period, the ‘little horn’ killed the organized public preaching work.” –Watchtower Nov 1, 1993 pp. 9-10

Dan 12:11

As 539 CE – 1829 CE

“Reckoning from A. D. 539, the 1290 symbolic days ended in 1829, and the 1335 days in the close of 1874.”
Millennial Dawn, Vol 3: Thy Kingdom Come (1891) p. 84; Studies in the Scriptures VII – The Finished Mystery (1918) pp. 40, 60, 163

As end of Jan, 1919 – beg. of Sept, 1922

“The period of 1290 days (Biblical method of reckoning) is equal to three years and seven months. Counting three years and seven months from and after January, 1919, brings us to the beginning of September, 1922.–Watchtower Dec 15, 1929 p. 374; Watchtower Jul 15, 1951 p. 433

Rev. 12:6

As 539 CE – 1799 CE

“A thousand two hundred and threescore days–1,260 years, from A. D. 539 to 1799.–Rev. 11:2,3.”–Watchtower Mar 1, 1918 p. 119

As March 27, 1919 – Sept. 8, 1922

“…1260 days in the wilderness began March 27, 1919, and the end of that period came September 8, 1922…On March 26, 1919, the imprisoned officers of the Society were released” —Light I (1930) p. 249

As April 13/14, 1919 – Oct 4/5, 1922

–Then is Finished the Mystery of God p. 316; Paradise restored to mankind by Theocracy! p. 379

Daniel 12:12

As 539 CE – 1874 CE

–Creation (1927) 2,175,000 ed. p.298

As beg. Of Sept, 1922 – mid May, 1926

–Watchtower Nov 1, 1993 pp. 10-12

As first half of Sept. 1922 – May 25,1926

–Watchtower Dec 15, 1929 p. 376

Dan 8:14

As 454 BCE – 1846 CE

–Studies in the Scriptures Vol 3: Thy Kingdom Come pp.67,108; Studies in the Scriptures VII – The Finished Mystery (1918) p.163

As May 25, 1926 – Oct 15, 1932

–1975 Yearbook p. 247; Watchtower 1971 p. 711-738

As June 1 or 15, 1938 – Oct. 8 or 22, 1944

–Pay Attention to Daniel’s prophecy pp. 177-179

Next: You won’t want to miss the final chapter in this series: Part 3, “Killing Time!”

2 thoughts on “It’s About Time II”

  1. Darrin Hart • 4 years ago
    Isn’t it insane?? Why doesn’t the common person ask themselves this one question: how could it EVER have been light if it wasn’t true???

    Darrin Hart

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