The Shift To 607.
Source : The WT Society Dissident Blog.
In 1880, we see a shift to using the destruction of Jerusalem as opposed to the death of Jacob. At this point in their history, the Bible students believed that the physical nation of Israel needed to be restored on earth before the second coming of Christ (Zionist).
WT June, 1880
Bible students of the past, as well as those of the present
day, have noticed that the dispersion, and ultimate restoration
of the Jewish nation-literal Israel-is the subject of con-
siderable portions of both Old and New Testament prophecies.
As prophecy cannot be understood with any great degree of
clearness until about the time of its fulfillment; the subject
has necessarily been enveloped in a good deal of mystery in
the past; and it is still, with those who do not keep pace
with the development of prophecy. Various attempts have been
made, by those who discard the millennial reign of the king-
dom of God, to show that these prophecies would never have
a literal, but a mystical fulfillment. Some have taken the
position that they were conditional, and that the conditions
have not been met; and others affirming that they were all
fulfilled at the restoration from the Babylonian captivity. But
it will be observed that the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah
were made after that; and those of the New Testament, several
hundred years after. Jesus, in giving the signs which would
precede the complete development of the kingdom of God,
says: And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies,
then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. . . . . For these
be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may
be fulfilled , . . . For there shall be great distress in the land,
and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the sword, and
shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall
be trodden down of the Gentiles [Ethnon Nations] until the
times-years-of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Luke xxi. 20-24.
This prophecy involves the inference that the times-
years-of the Gentiles, have been foretold, or they could not
be fulfilled; that Jerusalem represents the Jews among the
nations ; and that the treading down will cease, when the
times are fulfilled, and the kingdom established-vs. 31. As
has been many times shown, the times of the Gentiles last
about thirty-five years from the spring of 1880; and the re-
turn of the Jews to Palestine is rapidly becoming an indisput-
...we read of their last king Zedekiah: And thou, profane,
wicked prince of lsrael, whose day is come, when iniquity shall
have an end; thus saith the Lord God; remove the diadem,
and take off the crown. . . I will overturn, overturn, overturn
it; and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is, and
I will give it him-xxv. 28.
They were overturned, 1st at the Babylonish captivity, 606
B. C., where their treading down began; 2nd, at the destruc-
tion of Jerusalem, A. D., 70; the 3rd time will be the one
spoken of in Zech. xiv., and right there he will come whose
right it is: or will then complete the conquering of the na-
tions; and the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom
of our Lord and his Anointed ones. And so we might quote
largely from Is . Jer., Ezek., Amos., Zeph., Zech., and other
plophets, showing that the children of Israel will return to
thier own land. And the united testimony of Prophets and
Apostles is that it was designed of the Lord to prove a glorious
blessing to themselves and all other nations; bringing them to
acknowledge that God is the Lord.
And how could it be otherwise? When such a vast amount
of prophecy becomes a fact, it will prove the scriptures true;
and when they are proved true by fulfillment, it can but be a
terrible blow to scepticism and infidelity. Jesus said: I tell
you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may
believe that I am he-John xiii. 19.
And so the result will be to the nations, when they see so
much come to pass; and probably on this account Israel were
scattered among all nations. Then it will be true that: The
wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein-Is. xxxv.
8. The apology for presenting this subject, is, that the return
of the Jews, and the time of trouble are becoming apparent
facts; and it is believed that the two facts will be the means,
in the next 35 years, of the conversion of the 144,000 Jews.
and the great multitude of all nations, who will come up out
of or after the great tribulation, with their robes washed white
in the blood of the Lamb-Rev. vii. B. W. K.
In Leviticus xxvi, the expression “ seven times” is four
times repeated in reference to the duration of the rule of its
enemies over Jerusalem. It has often been shown that this is
the basis and key of the Times of the Gentiles (Luke xxi. 24))
or the duration of Gentile rule over Jerusalem. A time is a
year ; a prophetic year is 360 common Years and has been so
fulfilled. “ A time, times and a half” (i. e., 3 1/2 times) has
been fulfilled as 1260 literal years in the Papal dominion over
the nations, between A. D. 538 and A. D. 1798.
If three times and a half are 1260 years, seven times are
2520 years. From B. C. 606, where the desolation of Jerusalem
began, 2520 years reach to A. D. 1914. According to this
application of the number seven, Jerusalem will be free at that
time, and thence-forward be a praise in the earth. The appl-
cation is clearly confirmed by the events of to-day-the trouble
brewing among the nations, and the beginning of Jewish res-
The prophetic argument on the Two Dispensations shows
that favor was due to that people in 1878, and the door was
legally opened for their return; by the Anglo-Turkish treaty
of that year. From 1878 to 1914, is a period of 37 years for
their rise, and is equal to the period of their fall, from the
time Jesus left their house desolate in A. D. 33. until their
complete destruction in A. D. 70.
Their fall was from natural nationality, and they will rise
to the same. “ This child is set for the fall and the rising
again of many in Israel.” Jesus has the work of restoring
the natural, and of imparting all manner of spiritual blessings.
The long period of 2520 years and their bitter experience - _
under the dominion of the beasts, (human government, Dan.
vii.) is clearly represented in Dan. iv., by the “ seven times”
of Nebuchadnezzar and his bitter experience among the beasts.
This being a type covers only seven literal years. Why, if
there is nothing in all these things, can such a harmony be
developed on the basis of number seven ? .J. H. P.
So 1880 + 35 years = 1915. They still think 1915 ( or the end of 1914) is when all earthly governments will be eliminated and a global theocracy will be reinstated. It seems that the ideas around Zionism ( which was in vogue at the time ) provided much more compelling support for the chronology and calculations used to arrive at the year 1914. Using the destruction of Jerusalem, the captivity of the Jews and the eventual rebuilding of the temple to foreshadow the second coming of Christ provided a hook for 'nominal Christians' who were intrigued by the notion that the literal nation of Israel needed to exist before God would initiate Armageddon. In this way the pre-Watchtower Society adapted to appeal to a larger audience while still holding onto belief that the end of this system of things could be distilled from prophesies that had already been fulfilled.
What does that present-day Watchtower Society have to say about the matter? My next few posts will examine the history of Jehovah's Witnesses and the Watchtower Society as recorded in the book "Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom".