Dishonest Artificial ConfusionWhat our opposers are taking advantage of is a limitation on human memory. But just because someone cannot recall something does not mean it lacks evidence or is incomprehensible. Unless someone commits something to memory, they cannot recall the whole thing, such as is the case with a song. How much effort does it take you to remember the lyrics of a song you like? It's not something most people can do on the first hearing, but they usually get the lyrics before them and make the effort to memorize them, or they make the effort to memorize it while listening to it many times.
We can easily understand the information when it is put before us and that is what is important. Expecting people to remember everything they read in the past, and do not review frequently, may show an essential lack of understanding of human mental capabilities, but it is more likely they are making a purposeful dishonest effort to deceive people into thinking that something is wrong because they can't remember the details of something they have previously clearly understood.
Of course, one might simply ask us to post it in a single comment in social media, but this too is asking too much because it requires a lot of effort to put it all into their own words. Just explaining the key to these prophecies takes up a full comment, just as I do in the starting paragraph of the next header. But then, it is usually our apostates who ask, which is one reason why they do not get a response, the other being, if asked by someone who has not been one of Jehovah's Witnesses, that the request to recite it from memory is unreasonable, especially when asked of newer members.
Prophetic CryptographyWhen providing a code, cryptographers will provide a key that forms the basis for reading the code. When one understands the key, they understand the code. The mathematics-based Bible prophecies are just such a code and their key is provided in the scriptures. The key to these prophecies is found in Ezekiel when the fulfillment of a prophecy was to last "40 days", those days were changed to years, saying "a day for a year, a day for a year." This begs the question, "Why not just say '40 years'?" The reason is that it served a greater purpose revealed years later. The prophecy of Ezekiel came before the prophecies of Daniel and John, showing that Jehovah provided us the key as a rule for period-based prophecies.
When we refer to the length of years today, we normally say "365 days" and ignore the leap year lengths. Similarly, years in the Hebrew calendar are 360 days because each month is 30 days and leap years are not tracked in the Hebrew calendar, but are part of the period extending from the twelfth month to the spring equinox in the period known as Nisan. This is confirmed at Revelation 12:6 and 14, where it refers to "three and a half times" as 1,260 days. (3½ years of 360 days each. Twice the length of 1,260 days (7 times) is 2,520 days.
So now we will start with Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy because it gives us a clear indicator about how to treat similar mathematics-based prophecies. It very clearly lays out an equation that very clearly leads to Jesus' ministry and sacrifice. Now, before I begin, take a moment to ask yourself, (Genuinely stop reading a moment and contemplate,) "If Jehovah did not want us to understand what dates these land on, why would he have given these cryptic equations to Daniel and John in the first place?" (Take as long as you need to think about it.)
70 WEEKS Until Salvation of the NationsThe scripture from which it is based:
- DANIEL 9:24-26a, 27a
- “There are 70 weeks [490 years] that have been determined for your people and your holy city, in order to terminate the transgression, [Luke 1:76, 77] to finish off sin, [Romans 6:14, 15; 10:4] to make atonement for error, [Romans 3:25] to bring in everlasting righteousness, [Romans 5:21] to seal up the vision and the prophet, [fn.; 2 Corinthians 1:19, 22; Hebrews 4:14] and to anoint the Holy of Holies. [Hebrews 10:19-25] You should know and understand that from the issuing of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Leader, there will be 7 weeks, [49 years to 406 B.C.E.] also 62 weeks. [483 years to 29 C.E.] She will be restored and rebuilt, with a public square and moat, but in times of distress.
“And after the 62 weeks, Messiah will be cut off, [33 C.E.] with nothing for himself.
- “. . . And he will keep the covenant in force for the many for one week; [490 years to 36 C.E.] and at the half of the week, [487 years to 33 C.E.] he will cause sacrifice and gift offering to cease.” [Colossians 2:14]
- Start: Messaage to rebuild Jerusalem's walls deliverd = 455 B.C.E.
- Jerusalem completed = 7th week (After 49th year) = 406 B.C.E.
- Jesus baptized = 69th week (After 483rd year) = 29 C.E.*
- Jesus' sacrifice = half of 70th week (After 487th year) = 33 C.E.*
- Cornelius accepts salvation = 70th week (After 490th year) = 36 C.E.*
* When calculating dates from B.C.E. to C.E., add +1 for no year 0.
THE STARTING DATE
We start at October, 455 B.C.E. because that is the date when the actual call reached Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in the 20th regnal year of Artaxerxes I (Longimanus, who is Ahasuerus). (Nehemiah 2:1-6, 11-18) There is a 10 to 20 year discrepancy with Christendom's archaeological dating, but if we believed theirs, then the date of the Messiah's death ("Messiah will be cut off,") would be 10 to 20 years after Christ. Which to believe? We will take the Bible's math because no other messiah is described to have come 10 years later. (There is ample archaeological evidence for the 455 B.C.E. dating. For a detailed discussion of the true archaeological support of 455 B.C.E., see IT-2, PERSIA, PERSIANS, p. 614, par. 3 to p. 616, par. 4. It is too much information to post here.)
7 TIMES (7 Years of Years) to 1914The scripture from which it is based:
- DANIEL 4:13-17
- The dream of Belteshazzar: "'As I viewed the visions of my head while on my bed, I saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from the heavens. He called out loudly: “Chop down the tree, cut off its branches, shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit! Let the beasts flee from beneath it, and the birds from its branches. But leave the stump with its roots in the ground, with a banding of iron and of copper, among the grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of the heavens, and let its portion be with the beasts among the vegetation of the earth. Let its heart be changed from that of a human, and let it be given the heart of a beast, and let seven times pass over it. This is by the decree of watchers, and the request is by the word of the holy ones, so that people living may know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that he gives it to whomever he wants, and he sets up over it even the lowliest of men.'" (Brackets mine to imply the plurality of the word that follows, expressed only in the Hebrew grammar.)
Reasons: 7 years because 7 days, weeks or months would be too short a time for his hair and nails to grow out. This could not be 7 literal years because the nations trampled Jerusalem all the way up to 70 CE and beyond after the temple was destroyed for the third and last time. Thus, it is calculated as years of years, with each day of the seven years representing a year. (Numbers 14:34)
It was not simply a prophecy of Belteshazzar because it speaks of cutting off branches, shaking off leaves and scattering fruit, none of which is accounted for in the fulfillment on Belteshazzar. That imagery corresponds to imagery about Judah and the messiah and the stump is referred to in the messianic prophecy in Isaiah 6:13 and 11:1. (Compare Psalm 80; Jeremiah 11:16-17; 12:4; Ezekiel 17:22-24; 36:8; Joel 1:7; Luke 13:18-19; Romans 11:17-24.) This also mirrors the words at Leviticus 26:18-33, which speak of 7 times, and began to be fulfilled in 607 B.C.E. when Jerusalem was destroyed. Jesus referred to this period as "the appointed times of the nations," regarding it as still taking place. (Luke 21:24) In fact, the Jews were awaiting deliverence from the nations by the messiah which did not come in those days. (Acts 1:6)
How to remember it:
7 years of 360 days = 2,520 years
Subtract 607 B.C.E. (Judah in captivity) from 2,520 years = 1914 C.E. (1913 +1 for no year "0")
THE STARTING DATE
For discussions of the starting date of 607 B.C.E. as the year Nebuchadnezzar carried Judah off captive to Babylon, see Was Jerusalem really destroyed in 607 BCE?. If Jerusalem were destroyed in 587 B.C.E., as Christendom's archaeologists claim, then the end date would be 1934. Nothing significant took place that year for anyone, but 1914 provides "the shot that was heard around the world", and the resulting war that forever changed the landscape of war and forever changed perceptions of the world, and the beginning of the technological revolution due to advances in war machines. As many historians have noted, the world has never been the same since, as that year marks a decisive point between the modern age and the old world.
THREE AND A HALF TIMES (3½ Years) for Silence of the Two WitnessesThe scripture from which it is based:
- DANIEL 9:24-25
- Speaking of America's rise to power in the vision of the final beast, it says, "He will speak words against the Most High, and he will continually harass the holy ones of the Supreme One. He will intend to change times and law, and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time."
- REVELATION 11:3, 9
- I will cause my two witnesses to prophesy for 1,260 days dressed in sackcloth...And those of the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their corpses for three and a half days, and they do not allow their corpses to be laid in a tomb.
- REVELATION 12:6, 14, 17
- And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God and where they would feed her for 1,260 days...But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is to be fed for a time and times and half a time away from the face of the serpent...So the dragon became enraged at the woman and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her offspring, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness concerning Jesus.
These three scriptures are referring to the same event. The question here is "Why do we count the 'time, times and half a time' as literal years and not as years of years?"
Reason: because Revelation 11:9 refers to them as days, which means that we apply the "day for a year" rule, which means it is actually three and a half full years, not years of years.
How to remember it:
3½ times = 3½ years
Started October 8th, 1915, Ended March 21st, 1919 according to a loose estimation by the faithful and discreet slave. (See the box, An Exact Date for the 3½ Years?, below for a possibly exact date match.)
THE STARTING DATE
This period is considered more subjective and is not clearly defined in the publications, as it is difficult to pinpoint an exact starting date due to the nature of building persecution, except by identifying the point at which the officers were released on March 21, 1919 when the persecution against the Bible Students was broken by court decree, leading to the Cedarpoint, Ohio convention that breathed life back into the organization, thus the two witnesses were resurrected. However, this is not clearly stated to be the end date. In fact, it was not until 1920 that the directors of the Watchtower Society were completely exonerated and the charges dropped.
The starting date of 1915 corresponds to the year when persecutions began to take shape. It is notable that from 1917 to 1919, the directors of the Watchtower Society in that day were imprisoned. 1919 is a pivotal date for Jehovah's Witnesses that figures into several prophecies in the Bible, often in association with Christ's enthronement in 1914. It is also notable that the year text for 1915 was "Are ye able to drink of my cup?" from Matthew 20:22.
The preceding three and a half years, referred to at Revelation 11:3 and 12:6, was a time of unfettered prosperity for the Bible Students. In a sense, they had "fled into the wilderness" where they were fed spiritually. Though some fell away for their own undue emphasis on 1914 as the year they would be delivered, most stayed focused with Russell's leading, as he did not promote 1914 as anything more than the date of Christ's enthronement; he maintained a wait-and-see attitude.