1914 from WT literatureThe Watchtower claims that the “Gentile Times” ended and Jesus received rulership authority from Jehovah in 1914.

The 1914 date is critical to the Watchtower’s claim that its leadership is the “faithful and discreet slave” spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24:45.

Here’s how to challenge the Watchtower’s chronology using only Watchtower literature.

As I noted in the previous post, it arrives at 1914 by the following means[1]:

  1. The Gentile Times would last “7 times” (Daniel 4:16).
  2. 3½ “times” = 1260 prophetic “days” (Revelation 11:2-3)
  3. So 7 “times” = 2520 prophetic “days” (multiplication)
  4. A Bible’s prophetic “day” = 1 year (Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34), so the “Gentile Times” would last 2520 years.
  5. The “Gentile Times” began when Jerusalem fell to Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.
  6. Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar in the 19th year of his reign (2 Kings 25:8-9)
  7. Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar in early October, 607 BCE[2] (the Watchtower uses the Jewish term BCE rather than BC).
  8. Early October, 607 BCE – December 31, 607 BCE  =          ¼ year

                January 1, 606 BCE – December 31, 1 BCE              =   606 years

             January 1, 1 CE – December 31, 1913[3]                    = 1913 years

                January 1, 1914 – early October, 1914                       =           ¾ year

                                                                             Total: 2520 years

In addition to the challenge from the Bible I discussed last time, you can also challenge the Watchtower’s claim that Jerusalem fell to Babylon in 607 BCE. Actually, that occurred in 587/586 BCE, some 20 years later.

Jehovah’s Witnesses will trust the Watchtower over secular historians, so we will come up with a soundbite to cause them to question the 607 BCE date using only one Watchtower book.

You can comment with this soundbite: “By the internals of the Watchtower’s own Babylonian royal calendar, Jerusalem fell in 586 BCE, not 607 BCE. If so, the 1914 date is wrong.”

Here is how you can show this to them.

The 1988 Watchtower book, Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 2, discusses Babylonian chronology. While it gives dates for the Babylonian kings that support its 607 BCE date, the internals of the article don’t match. In fact, they support the 586 BCE date.

Here’s how to show it to them. Page references are all to Insight, Volume 2.

P. 459             Nabonidus’ reign ended when Babylon fell:                                 539 BCE

Pp. 457-8     Nabonidus reigned:                                                                                      17 years

P. 458             Nabonidus succeeded Labashi-marduk, who reigned:             ¾  year

P. 453             Labashi-marduk succeeded Neriglissar, who reigned:               4 years

P. 453             Neriglisser succeeded Evil-merodach, who reigned:                  2 years

P. 480             Evil-merodach succeeded Nebuchadnezzer, who reigned:  43 years

Total from beginning of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign to 539 BCE:                     66 ¾ years

P. 480   The fall of Jerusalem occurred in Nebuchadnezzar’s 19th year.


Based on this, Nebuchadnezzar’s reign began in 539 BCE + 66 years = 605 BCE

Nebuchadnezzar’s 19th year was therefore           605 BCE –  19 years = 586 BCE

This means Jerusalem fell to Babylon in 586 BCE, not 607 BCE.


Please note that you don’t need to agree with the Watchtower’s calendar in order to use this approach. The fact is that it’s the Watchtower’s calendar and it disagrees with its own teaching.

Jehovah’s Witnesses will point out that the article you quoted gives the 607 BCE date, and they will present you with all sorts of arguments in support of that date.

The fact remains that the internals of the Watchtower’s own Babylonian regnal chronology don’t match.

For this reason, you can keep coming back to your soundbite and referring them to the internals of the Watchtower’s own Babylonian regnal list and ask for their explanation.

This discrepancy should trouble sincere Witnesses long after your conversation has ended.


Your turn:

Have you ever challenged the Watchtower’s 1914 claims? Do you think this approach would help?

Share your thoughts in the comments.


[1] Reasoning from the Scriptures (1985), pp. 96-97

[2] The Watchtower uses the Jewish terms BCE and CE rather than BC and AD

[3] There was no year 0