Below we have included extracts from the article, ‘Why Are You Looking Forward to 1975?’, taken from a 1966 Watchtower magazine article published by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why have we included that article? It’s not to pick on anyone. No, it’s to show how several religious groups have miscalculated and reached misleading conclusions about the date of ‘Armageddon’ and the coming of Jesus. It also shows exactly how many Western denominations that arose during the 1880s made their calculations.
We refer to this as ‘The 6000-Year Theory.’ Unfortunately, the recent ‘Apocalypse’ dates of many religious groups have been based on the errors that led to this theory, which were first worked out centuries ago and are quite common among Western religions.
Please don’t assume that our calculations below are absolutely correct, since there are many unknowns and variables. But it is interesting that at the end of hundreds of hours of deep research and mind-numbing calculations, we were shocked to find that our conclusion comes within 30 years of what is found in the ancient Byzantine calendar, which sets the date of Adam’s creation at 5509-BCE.
We are impressed by this, because the ancients may have had access to documents that are no longer available to us today, such as what may have been found in the Great Library in Alexandria.
Understand that we didn’t start this project because we wanted to prove anyone right or wrong; but rather, in our translating of the Bible we found that many of the calculations made by Western religion about how long mankind has been on the earth were based on errors and corrupted texts. These findings can be referenced by simply clicking on the blue linked words below, which we urge you to do. Unfortunately, all the research can’t be found in a single place, so each link goes to its own reference.
We start with the death of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ahmose around 1525-BCE, which is when we’ve calculated the Exodus to have happened
+400 years, which is the number of years that the family of IsraEl (Jacob) spent in Egypt (starting in 1925-BCE)
+30 years, the amount of time that Jacob spent in the Promised Land between his return from Harran and his moving to Egypt (c. 1955-BCE)
+100 years old is the age of Jacob on his return to the Promised Land (c. 2055-BCE)
+60 years is the age of Isaac when Jacob was born (c. 2115-BCE)
+100 years is the age of Abraham when Isaac was born (c. 2215-BCE)
+130 years is the age of Terah when Abram was born (see linked Note) (c. 2345-BCE)
+79 years to Terah (c. 2424-BCE)
+130 years to Seruch (c. 2554-BCE)
+132 years to Ragau (c. 2686-BCE)
+134 years to Phaleg (c. 2820-BCE)
+130 years to Heber (c. 2950-BCE)
+130 years to Sala (c. 3080-BCE)
+135 years to Kainan (c. 3215-BCE)
+2 years from flood to birth of Arphaxad
Therefore, 6,000 years since Adam’s creation ended somewhere around 520 CE and 7,000 years ended around 1520 CE.
More than a generation ago, the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization published the following article in their journal, the Watchtower. It used the corrupted Hebrew Masoretic text to calculate that 6,000 years of human history would end in 1975. This article, alongside countless other statements by their organization’s representatives, misled millions of people into believing that the 6,000 year mark meant that Armageddon was very likely to come in that year.
Believing that “Armageddon is coming”, many quit their jobs, put off having children, sold their homes, or got into debt. Some lost their faith entirely when this prediction (by what they were taught was “God’s organization”) failed.
To date, the Watchtower Society has still not apologized for the debacle, despite all of the harm it caused. On the contrary, the Society (which refers to itself as “God’s sole channel of communication”) has made statements blaming their own followers for being too eager to believe what the Society itself taught them.
Below is the article, with some of our own commentary [added].
What basis is there for saying Adam was created nearly 5,993 years ago? Does the one Book that can be implicitly trusted for its truthful historical accuracy, namely, the Inspired Word of Jehovah, the Holy Bible, give support and credence to such a conclusion?
In the marginal references of the Protestant Authorized or King James Version, and in the footnotes of certain editions of the Catholic Douay Version, the date of man’s creation is said to be 4004 B.C.E. This marginal date, however, is no part of the inspired text of the Holy Scriptures, since it was first suggested more than fifteen centuries after the last Bible writer died, and was not added to any edition of the Bible until 1701 C.E. It is an insertion based upon the conclusions of an Irish prelate, the Anglican Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656). Ussher’s chronology was only one of the many sincere efforts made during the past centuries to determine the time of Adam’s creation. A hundred years ago when a count was taken, no less than 140 different timetables had been published by serious scholars. In such chronologies, the calculations as to when Adam was created vary all the way from 3616 B.C.E. to 6174 B.C.E., with one wild guess set at 20,000 B.C.E. Such conflicting answers contained in the voluminous libraries around the world certainly tend to compound the confusion when seeking an answer to the above questions.
In the previous article, we learned from the Inspired Writings themselves, independent of the uninspired marginal notes of some Bibles, that the seventy years of desolation of the land of Judah began to count about October 1, 607 B.C.E. The beginning of this seventy-year period was obviously tied to its ending, that is, with the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C.E. So with 607 B.C.E. as dependably fixed on our Gregorian calendar as the absolute date of 539 B.C.E. we are prepared to move farther back in the count of time, to the dating of other important events in Bible history. For instance, the years when Saul, David, and Solomon reigned successively over God’s chosen people can now be dated in terms of the present-day calendar.
At the death of Solomon, his kingdom was split into two parts. The southern two-tribe part, composed of Judah and Benjamin, continued to be ruled by Solomon’s descendants, and was known as the kingdom of Judah. The northern ten tribes made up the kingdom of Israel, sometimes called ‘Samaria’ after the name of its later capital city, and were ruled over by Jeroboam and his successors. By our applying the prophetic time period of 390 years found in Ezekiel 4:1-9 with regard to Jerusalem’s destruction the death of Solomon is found to be in the year 997 B.C.E. This was 390 years before the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E.
Date of Exodus, 1513 B.C.E.
Looking back into the distant past we see another milestone in man’s history, the never-to-be-forgotten exodus of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, under the leadership of Moses. Were it not for Jehovah’s faithful Word the Bible, it would be impossible to locate this great event accurately on the calendar, for Egyptian hieroglyphics are conspicuously silent concerning the humiliating defeat handed that first world power by Jehovah. But with the Bible’s chronology, how relatively simple it is to date that memorable event!
At 1 Kings 6:1 we read: ‘And it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out from the land of Egypt, in the fourth year, in the month of Ziv, that is, the second month, after Solomon became king over Israel, that he proceeded to build the house to Jehovah.’
With this information, one has only to determine what calendar year Solomon began building the temple, and it is then an easy matter to figure when Pharaoh’s army was destroyed in the Red Sea.
‘And the days that Solomon had reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel were forty years.’ (1 Kings 11:42) This means that his last full regnal year ended in the spring of 997 B.C.E. Adding 40 to 997 gives 1037 B.C.E., the year that Solomon began his peaceful reign. He did not begin the temple building, as the account says, until the second month of the fourth year of his reign, which means he had ruled a full three years and one month. Thus subtracting 3 years from 1037 one gets 1034 B.C.E., the year that the building work began. The time of the year was the second month Ziv, that is, April-May. This, the Bible says, was ‘in the four hundred and eightieth year’ after the Israelites left Egypt.
Anytime we put a ‘th’ on the end of a number, for instance on the number 10, saying 10th, the number is changed from a cardinal to an ordinal number. When one speaks about playing baseball in the tenth inning of the game, it means that nine full innings have already been played, but only part of the tenth; ten innings are not yet completed. Likewise, when the Bible uses an ordinal number, saying that the building of the temple began in the 480th year after the Israelites left Egypt, and when that particular year on the calendar is known to be 1034 B.C.E., then we add 479 full years (not 480) to 1034 and arrive at the date 1513 B.C.E., the year of the Exodus. It too was springtime, Passover time, the 14th day of the month Nisan.
How long since the flood?
Already, with the help supplied by the Bible, we have accurately measured back from the spring of this year 1968 C.E. to the spring of 1513 B.C.E., a total of 3,480 years. With the continued faithful memory and accurate historical record of Jehovah’s Holy Word, we can penetrate even deeper into the past, back to the flood of Noah’s day.
[2001 Translation Editor note: Notice that, by the use of many words (eight paragraphs) and confusing words and dates, this article reduces the time that IsraEl spent in Egypt to just a little over 200 years. However, this is a physical impossibility, for the Bible tells us that during the time they were there, the nation grew from just seventy-five people to over a million! For more information about why this conclusion can’t be right, see our commentary on this period.]
Stephen, the first martyred footstep follower of Jesus Christ, referred to what Jehovah said would befall Abraham’s offspring. ‘Moreover, God spoke to this effect that his seed would be alien residents in a foreign land and the people would enslave them and afflict them for four hundred years.’ (Acts 7:6; Gen. 15:13) Stephen here mentions three of Israel’s past experiences: As alien residents in a foreign land, as people in slavery, and as people afflicted for four hundred years.
It would be a mistake to assume that all three of these experiences were of equal duration, or that they were separate individual experiences that followed one another in consecutive order. It was long after their entrance into Egypt as aliens that they were enslaved, more than 70 years later, and sometime after the death of Joseph. Rather, Stephen was saying that within the same 400-year period in which they were afflicted, they were also enslaved and were also alien residents.
Please note that, when Stephen said they were ‘alien residents in a foreign land . . . for four hundred years,’ he did not say and he did not mean to imply that they were not alien residents before entering Egypt. So it is a mistake to insist that this text proves the Israelites were in Egypt for four hundred years. It is true that, upon entering Egypt and being presented before Pharaoh for the first time, Joseph’s brothers said: ‘We have come to reside as aliens in the land.’ But they did not say nor did they mean that up until then they had not been alien residents, for on the same occasion their father Jacob, when asked by Pharaoh how old he was, declared: ‘The days of the years of my alien residences are a hundred and thirty years.’ And not only had Jacob spent his whole lifetime as an alien resident before coming to Egypt, but he told Pharaoh that his forefathers before him also had been alien residents. — Gen. 47:4-9.
Since the affliction of Israel ended in 1513 B.C.E., it must have begun in 1913, 400 years earlier. That year would correspond to the time that Isaac was afflicted by Ishmael ‘poking fun’ at him on the day that Isaac was weaned. At the time, Isaac was five years old, and this was long before the Israelites entered Egypt.—Gen. 21:8, 9.
Well, then, how long were the Israelites down in Egypt as alien residents? Exodus 12:40, 41 says, ‘And the dwelling of the sons of Israel, who had dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came about at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, it even came about on this very day that all the armies of Jehovah went out of the land of Egypt.’
Here verse 40 in the Septuagint reads: ‘But the dwelling of the sons of Israel which they [and their fathers, Alexandrine MS] dwelt in the land of Egypt AND IN THE LAND OF CANAAN [was] four hundred and thirty years long.’ The Samaritan Pentateuch reads: ‘IN THE LAND OF CANAAN and in the land of Egypt.’ Thus both of these versions, which are based on Hebrew texts older than the Masoretic, include the words ‘in the land of Canaan’ together with the word ‘Egypt.’
From the time that Abraham entered Canaan until Isaac’s birth was 25 years; from that time until Jacob’s birth, 60 more years; and after that it was another 130 years before Jacob entered Egypt. All together, this makes a total of 215 years, exactly half of the 430 years, spent in Canaan before moving in to Egypt. (Gen. 12:4; 21:5; 25:26; 47:9) The apostle Paul, under inspiration, also confirms that from the making of the Abrahamic covenant at the time the patriarch moved into Canaan, it was 430 years down to the institution of the Law covenant. — Gal. 3:17.
By adding these 430 years to the 1513, it puts us back to 1943 B.C.E., the time when Abraham first entered Canaan following the death of his father Terah in Haran, Mesopotamia. It is now only a matter of adding up the years of a few generations to date the Flood correctly. The figures are given in Genesis, chapters 11 and 12, and may be summarized as follows:
[2001 Translation Editor note: Each of the births shown below, from Shelah to Terah, are likely off by 100 years; for the Masoretic text (only) deletes the number 100 from each of those births, shortening the time from the Downpour to the year that AbraHam left for the land of CanaAn by 700 years! Also, several of the pre-flood years also appear to be off by more than 100 years… check the scriptures that are listed in the Septuagint. Our same calculations from the Septuagint (above) bring six-thousand years from Adam’s creation to 497-CE. Also, to see why we believe the Masoretic text to be wrong, see our page, Why the Greek Septuagint?]
From start of Flood to Arpachshad’s birth (Gen. 11:10) 2 years
To birth of Shelah (11:12) 35 years
To birth of Eber (11:14) 30 years
To birth of Peleg (11:26) 34 years
To birth of Reu (11:18) 30 years
To birth of Serug (11:20) 32 years
To birth of Nahor (11:22) 30 years
To birth of Terah (11:24) 29 years
To death of Terah in Haran, and Abram’s departure to Canaan at age of 75 (11:32; 12:4) 205 years
Total 427 years
Adding these 427 years to the year 1943 B.C.E. dates the beginning of the Deluge at 2370 B.C.E., 4,337 years ago.
6,000 years from Adam’s creation
In a similar manner, it is only necessary to add up the following years involving ten pre-Flood generations to get the date of Adam’s creation, namely:
From Adam’s creation
To birth of Seth (Gen. 5:3) 130 years
To birth of Enosh (5:6) 105 years
To birth of Kenan (5:9) 90 years
To birth of Mahalalel (5:12) 70 years
To birth of Jared (5:15) 65 years
To birth of Enoch (5:18) 162 years
To birth of Methuselah (5:21) 65 years
To birth of Lamech (5:25) 187 years
To birth of Noah (5:28, 29) 182 years
To beginning of Flood (7:6) 600 years
Total 1,656 years
Adding this figure 1,656 to 2,370 gives 4026 B.C.E., the Gregorian calendar year in which Adam was created. Since man naturally began to count time with his own beginning, and since man’s most ancient calendars started each year in the autumn, it is reasonable to assume that the first man Adam was created in the fall of the year.
Thus, through a careful independent study by dedicated Bible scholars who have pursued the subject for a number of years, and who have not blindly followed some traditional chronological calculations of Christendom, we have arrived at a date for Adam’s creation that is 22 years more distant in the past than Ussher’s figure. This means time is running out two decades sooner than traditional chronology anticipates.
After much of the mathematics and genealogies, really, of what benefit is this information to us today? Is it not all dead history, as uninteresting and profitless as walking through a cemetery copying old dates off tombstones? After all, why should we be any more interested in the date of Adam’s creation than in the birth of King Tut? Well, for one thing, if 4,026 is added to 1,968 (allowing for the lack of a zero year between C.E. and B.C.E.) one gets a total of 5,993 years, come this autumn, since Adam’s creation. That means, in the fall of the year 1975, a little over seven years from now (and not in 1997, as would be the case if Ussher’s figures were correct), it will be 6,000 years since the creation of Adam, the father of all mankind!
Adam created at close of ‘sixth day’
Are we to assume from this study that the battle of Armageddon will be all over by the autumn of 1975, and the long-looked-for thousand-year reign of Christ will begin by then? Possibly, but we wait to see how closely the seventh thousand-year period of man’s existence coincides with the Sabbath-like thousand-year reign of Christ. If these two periods run parallel with each other as to the calendar year, it will not be by mere chance or accident but will be according to Jehovah’s loving and timely purposes. Our chronology, however, which is reasonably accurate (but admittedly, not infallible), at the best only points to the autumn of 1975 as the end of 6,000 years of man’s existence on earth. It does not necessarily mean that 1975 marks the end of the first 6,000 years of Jehovah’s seventh creative ‘day.’ Why not? Because after his creation Adam lived some time during the ‘sixth day,’ which unknown amount of time would need to be subtracted from Adam’s 930 years, to determine when the sixth seven-thousand-year period or ‘day’ ended, and how long Adam lived into the ‘seventh day.’ And yet the end of that sixth creative ‘day’ could end within the same Gregorian calendar year of Adam’s creation. It may involve only a difference of weeks or months, not years.
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