[120]  John Brown's Gentile Times and 1914

 

What happened at the end of the Gentile Times to end the kingship malediction on God's official people?

The Gentile Times was a 2520 year Kingship Malediction upon God's official people who are the sons of the ICC. It ran from 607Tishri until 1914Tishri. During that period God had no son of David sitting as king over his people, the sons of the ICC.

Russell became vassal king for Jesus over the sons of the ICC on 1914Tishri15. The previous king, Jehoahaz, was the last king over the sons of Jacob and their proselytes, to rule as a vassal of God. He was deposed on 608Chislev10 - see U97, and the first agricultural year of God not ruling over his people began on 607Tishri1. Now Jesus had authority to appoint a vassal (who must be a son of the JAC) to rule on his behalf over the sons of the JAC and their proselytes the sons of the ICC on 1914Tishri15. This is because Jesus was appointed as heavenly king over the sons of the ICC on this day, this being the end of the Gentile Times. Russell, being Jesus' flesh and his 12th apostle and the head of the WTBTS, immediately became Jesus' earthly vassal the very same day. Jesus and Russell were then in precisly the same position as Jehovah and Moses were when they became kings of the Jews in 1513BC. But what power did Russell exercise in his capacity as vassal king that Peter or John or Paul were not able to exercise over the first century churches?

Jesus became king over his people in 1914 but chose not to use much of his secular authority over them, so that his reign was invisible. Jesus became king over the entire world excepting the worship house of physical Israel on 2008Nisan22. So the kingdom of God came without any observability. Jesus became king over the entire world including the worship house of physical Israel at the end of the ministry ransom lease extension on 2012Nisan16 but he again elected not to use his authority to any significant extent until he'd won the heavenly war of Revelation12 and had thrown the dragon down to the earth from 2013Iyyar1 to 2013Tammuz12/Ab22. Even then he chose not to exercise much of his universal secular authority until he turned up in the Ark in the clouds when the administration of Zoar began in 2014Tishri. And even then he resisted the temptation to use his secular omnipotence until he had erased the dragon from the face of the earth in 2015 when the secular calendar will be changed from a Tishri1 start to an Ab1 start in recognition of the final implementation of the pre-existing change of the secular head of all mankind. For then the scripture will be fulfilled which says:

17 Saying: We thank you, Jehovah God, the Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and begun ruling as king. (Revelation 11 NWT)

We can only speculate as to how much Jesus has used his secular authority since 1914. For example, in the last century and before that, the governments of the West started to permit freedom of worship, so that churches became free to be run as they like. This was no coincidence, it was almost certainly a result of Jesus' authority. The Watchtower has therefore been free to exercise its authority over its people in harmony with what it perceives to be the scriptural mandate from the bible. FDS1 and FDS2 were not officially permitted religions either in Israel or in Rome. Also, the Watchtower, as an organisation, is tax exempt and therefore has never had to pay tribute to ceasar. 

The more one studies the history of mankind's interpretations and calculations for the Gentile Times, the more one sees the hand of God in his works, making up for our mistakes. Charles Russell originally had the date of 606Tishri for the start of the Gentile times and what he supposed was the Fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar, by counting 70 years backwards from 536Tishri, the month when he reckoned that the Jews headed by Zerubbabel built an altar in Jerusalem having returned earlier in that year.

1 When the 7th month arrived, the sons of Israel were in [their] cities. And the people began to gather themselves as one man to Jerusalem. 
2 And Jeshua the son of Jehozadak and his brothers the priests and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brothers, proceeded to rise up and build the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt sacrifices upon it according to what is written in the law of Moses, the man of the true God (Ezra 3).

Russell has Cyrus' first regnal year running from 536Nisan to 535Nisan:

1 And in the first year of Cyrus, the king of Persia, that Jehovah's word from the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, Jehovah roused the spirit of Cyrus the king of Persia, so that he caused a cry to pass through all his realm, and also in writing saying: 
2 This is what Cyrus the king of Persia has said: All the kingdoms of the earth, Jehovah the God of the heavens has given me, and he himself has commissioned me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 
3 Whoever there is among you of all his people, may God prove to be with him. So let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of Jehovah...... (Ezra 1).

The web has some good sites comparing the evidence for the destruction of Jerusalem occurring in 607 or in 586 or indeed 587. Just type 607 and 587 or 586 into Google. Also Carl Olof Jonsson has written a paperback called the Gentile Times Revisited, which covers this subject in great detail.

The original calculations were mostly based on dates from John Aquila Brown, who in 1823 published The Even-Tide in which he claimed that the "seven times" of Daniel 4 were a period of 2520 years running from the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign in 604 B.C.E. to 1917 C.E. While Brown never equated the 2520 years with the "Gentile Times," other writers soon did. Eventually Nelson H. Barbour picked up the torch and put the finishing touches on what became Charles Taze Russell’s (the founder of the Watchtower) chronology. Barbour published his final calculation of the Gentile Times in the September, 1875 issue of his monthly paper Herald of the Morning, starting them in 606 B.C.E. and ending them in 1914 C.E. In January, 1876 Russell read Barbour’s paper, got together with him, and apparently accepted all of Barbour’s time calculations, even becoming a co-editor of Barbour’s paper. These calculations included one that said Christ’s presence began in 1874 and the "day of the Lord" began in 1873. Shortly thereafter, Russell published a similar calculation in the October, 1876 issue of a publication called The Bible Examiner. This paper was published by George Storrs, who was generally influential on Russell and had been a major leader in William Miller’s movement. Storrs was active in Adventist related movements when Russell began publishing. In The Bible Examiner Russell said, on pp. 27-28, concerning his belief that the Gentile Times were a period of 2520 years:

At the commencement of our Christian era, 606 years of this time had passed, (70 years captivity, and 536 from Cyrus to Christ) which deducted from 2520, would show that the seven times will end in A.D. 1914.... We will ask, but not now answer, another question: If the Gentile Times end in 1914, (and there are many other and clearer evidences pointing to the same time) and we are told that it shall be with fury poured out; a time of trouble such as never was before, nor ever shall be; a day of wrath, etc.

Russell wrote in the December 1 Watchtower of 1912:

Many of our readers will recall our reference to this subject in a sermon preached at Allegheny, Pa., January 11, 1904, and published in the Pittsburgh Gazette. We make an extract from that sermon as follows:

We find, then, that the Seven Times of Israel’s punishment and the Seven Times of Gentile dominion are the same; and that they began with the captivity of Zedekiah, and, as will be seen from the Chart, they terminate with the year 1915. According to the best obtainable evidences on the subject, synchronized with the Scriptural testimony, Zedekiah’s captivity took place in October, 605 1/4 years before A.D. 1. If we will add to this 1914 1/4 years, we will have the year, October, 1915, as the date for the end of Gentile supremacy in the world — the end of the lease of 2,520 years, which will not be renewed. Instead, he whose right the kingdom is, shall take possession of it. This, therefore, marks when the Lord himself shall assume control of the world’s affairs, to end its reign of sin and death, and to bring in the True Light.

There surely is room for slight differences of opinion on this subject and it behoves us to grant each other the widest latitude. The lease of power to the Gentiles may end in October, 1914, or in October, 1915. And the period of intense strife and anarchy "such as never was since there was a nation" may be the final ending of the Gentile Times or the beginning of Messiah’s reign.

Later, the 4th President Franz, during the presidency of the 3rd president Nathan Knorr, corrected the start date to 607Tishri, he proposed that the period started with the assassination of Gedaliah in Jeremiah 41.

Adding 100 years of the Maccabeans to the Gentile Times

Dr Stephen E. Jones has an interesting idea for adding another 100 years to the Gentile Times due to the Maccabean revolt which gave freedom of religious expression to the Jews from 163 - 63 BC. He argues that Gentile Times therefore continue for a further 100 years after 1914Tishri to 2014Tishri - http://www.gods-kingdom-ministries.net/teachings/ffi-newsletter/ffi-2014/05-01-2014-the-progressive-kingdom/

3. Which thing when the Romans understood, on those days which we call Sabbaths, they threw nothing at the Jews, nor came to any pitched battle with them, but raised up their earthen banks, and brought their engines into such forwardness, that they might do execution the next days. And any one may hence learn, how very great piety we exercise towards God, and the observance of his laws, since the priests were not at all hindered from their sacred ministrations by their fear during this siege, but did still twice a day, in the morning, and about the ninth hour, offer their sacrifices on the altar: nor did they omit those sacrifices, if any melancholy accident happened, by the stones that were thrown among them; for although the city was taken on the 3rd month, on the day of the fast [This apparently is Sivan23, the fast for the idolatry of Jerobaom], upon the 179th olympiad, when Caius Antonius and Marcus Tullius Cicero were consuls, and the enemy then fell upon them, and cut the throats of those that were in the temple, yet could not those that offered the sacrifices be compelled to run away, neither by the fear they were in of their own lives, nor by the number that were already slain, as thinking it better to suffer whatever came upon them, at their very altars, than to omit any thing that their laws required of them. And that this is not a mere brag, or an encomium to manifest a degree of our piety that was false, but is the real truth, I appeal to those that have written of the acts of Pompey; and, among them, to Strabo, and Nicolaus [of Damascus]; and besides these two Titus Livius, the writer of the Roman History, who will bear witness to this thing. - Josephus Wars of the Jews, book 14 chapter 4 paragraph 3.

So Pompey took the city on 63Sivan23 and obliged them to pay him a tribute http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_(63_BC).

But it is not clear when Judah became free of Gentile domination. They had an agreement for Peace and religious freedom with Lysias in 163 - But Lysias broke that to some extent http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10218-lysias They had a peace agreement with the Romans in 161. But that did not stop the Syrians killing Judas Maccabeus in 160. Mind you Judas Maccabeus managed to be the high priest for 3 years - but not the King - Jewish Antiquities book12 Chapter11.

Perhaps the Gentile Times under law was the lack of a full secular King over God's official people the sons of the ICC whereas the Gentile Times after law was the lack of religious freedom from persecution. FDS1 was persecuted by the Jews and then the Romans, and FDS2 by the Romans and then the false Roman Catholic church. Perhaps Charles Russell was the first Leader of God's official people after Jesus who did not suffer any considerable religious persecution (other than in WW2). Under Christianity the secular King is not so important as it was under law. So the freedom from religious persecution that Judas Maccabeus achieved for the sons of the ICC did not suspend the Gentile Times under law but the freedom that the Russellites then the IBSA and then the JWs enjoyed from religious persecution did end the Gentile Times, under the Christ. So Jesus has been preventing religious persecution of his people since 1914Tishri15. He has been ensuring freedom of worship (in most countries).

The History of mankind's understanding of the Gentile Times

1823 Rev John Brown realises that the period is 2520 years long and believes it started in 604BC at the accession of Nebuchadnezzar. He correctly calculates that the 2520 years would end in 1917AD if they started in 604BC.
1875 Barbour calculates that the 2520 years start in 606, this being 70 years before 536 when the Jews rebuilt the altar he thought. He miscalculates that the 2520 years end in 1914, he was one year out. He forgot that there was no 0 BC, it went 1 BC then 1 AD !
1876 Russell publishes the same in his Bible Examiner
1904 Russell realises that he may be one year out and the Gentile Times might actually end in October 1915
1914 Gentile Times ends (Russell thought on Tishri10, but actually on Tishri15)
1943 Franz adjusts the start date to 607Tishri in the book: 'The truth shall set you free'.  The date for the rebuilding of the altar by Zerubbabel, 70 years after 607Tishri is now 537Tishri, a correct date. But the date for the burning of Jerusalem by Nebuchanezzar of 607 is wrong. And the start of the Gentile Times being the assassination of Gedaliah is also wrong.
1988 Ed Schnopp, collates overwhelming evidence that 604 was the 1st regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar and therefore Jerusalem was burned in 586 BC.  John Brown knew this in 1823, he had the first year of Nebuchadnezzar as 604 !! Ed shows that there are two 70 year exiles, one for Israel and one for Judah. Israel's exile ends in 539Tishri at the fall of Babylon and starts he thought in 609 with the Babylonian conquest of Nineveh or the fall of Assyria to Babylon.
1992 Gordon thought he had proved that the Gentile times were 2520 years long from Leviticus 26 (something Franz had suspected but could not prove). But in fact he proved that the Law carried a 2520 year malediction on the physical sons of Israel. This 2520 year period is not the Gentile Times, we call it Balfour's Times it runs from 604  the first fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar to 1917 and the Balfour declaration a Jewish homeland in Israel.  
1999 Gordon reads Ed Schnopp's web page (now taken down but recited below), realises that Ed is right as regards the date of the burning of Jerusalem being 586, but knows that the 607 date is also right for the start of the Gentile Times. He then recalculates the whole history of the Kings and finds out that 607Tishri was the accession of Jehoiakim the vassal not of Jehovah but of Pharaoh Necho. Jehoiakim was appointed and chosen by Pharaoh, not by God. He realises that this was the true start of the Gentile Times. He then synchronises the Babylonian Chronology known to Rev Brown, with Biblical, Assyrian and Egyptian Chronology. See U91.

The above is an astonishing tale. Rev Brown knew how to add 2520 years to 604BC but Barbour and Russell did not know how to add them to 606BC. But by making this mistake they got the right date for Jesus' first coming in the second presence!! 

Franz correction was wrong because Gedaliah was a Levite, so he could not have sat on God's throne over Israel, and he was killed not in 607Tishri but in 586Tishri, 21 years too late. This is because the Watchtower have the 19th regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar II, the year he burnt the temple, as being 607 BC, when in fact it was 586BC. His first regnal year was 604 BC, something which John Brown knew in 1823. The Watchtower chronology is 21 years out as compared to Assyrian, Babylonian and Egyptian chronology for this period. The Watchtower quite simply has this wrong. This is very well explained by Ed Schnopp. Basically the Watchtower fudged it.

So the 70 year land sabbath exile period of the Watchtower - see U122, and see U150, cannot have fitted in this now reduced 49 year period between 586 and 537BC!! In fact there were two 70 year land sabbaths, one for Israel which ran from 609Tishri at the end of the last missed land sabbath, until 539Tishri, when Babylon fell, and the other for Judah, which was a sabbath on the existence of a functional temple, and ran from 586Tishri until 516Tishri if it was experienced in Secular, land years, or from 585Nisan until 515Nisan if it was experienced in sacred years. The last agricultural year before Zerubbabel's temple was inaugurated ended in 516Tishri, the inauguration was in 516Veadar we believe - see [122]. So C. T. Russell was really nowhere, and yet he got the correct start date for the Gentile Times, because what happened in 607Tishri, was that Pharaoh Necho appointed Eliakim the son of Josiah as his vassal king and changed his name to Jehoiakim as a deception to make him sound a bit more Jehovahesque if you will ('El' meaning God being replaced with 'Jeho' being the start of the name of the true God). But Jehoiakim did not sit upon Jehovah's throne, because he was chosen not by God or by his people but by Pharaoh, and because all of the people of the land paid taxes to Pharaoh in his reign. So Caesar, the administrative king, was Pharaoh not God. Because we all remember the famous response of Jesus to the Pharisees: 

17 Pay back Caesar's things to Caesar, but God's things to God (Mark 12).

Furthermore Jeremiah tells us that at least Jeconiah was not a vassal of his saying...

24 'As I am alive,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'even if Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, happened to be the seal ring on my right hand, from there I would pull you off! [but actually neither Jeconiah nor Jehoiakim were seal rings on God's right hand - they were vassals of Pharaoh - hence the wording]
25 And I will give you into the hand of those who are seeking for your soul and into the hand of those of whom you are scared and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans.

For a fuller explanation of this see U91. So Russell got the wrong 70 year period which was not even a 70 year period,  it was actually a 49 year period, and he got the wrong start date of 606Tishri, but he got the right end date of 1914Tishri!! Basically he made or accepted from Barbour a whole catalogue of errors and yet he got the right answer. He got the date of the first coming in the second presence of the Christ absolutely correct, it was 1914Tishri. One cannot in all fairness just say well done brother Russell to him! Because it is quite obvious that the holy spirit was making up for all of his mistakes. He got this date right because he was the leader of God's people at that time and God's people are defined as those who recognise the comings of his son. So the holy spirit had to make sure that he got it right. And it did! We can only hope and pray that the holy spirit has been and will continue to be as kind to us as it was to him!

At this point we must say that we do not condemn anyone who has made a mistake in trying to find out the truth about this 2520 year period. On the contrary we are indebted to and we praise first of all the true father of the Gentile Times who must be Rev John Aquila Brown. Then we praise Barbour Russell and Franz, for their respective parts. We praise Ed Schnopp and all of the other Ex witnesses who have seen the fundamental flaws in the Watchtower's construction, and published them on the web - these are their works for God and for the truth which we all want to know so that we can be set free. Finally, we praise God, who may just have finally sorted the whole mess out through all of us. Let the reader decide. However once we have the correct time for the destruction of Jerusalem, namely 586 BC, we are in a position to harmonize the bible with all of the other credible national chronologies of that period.

Today if you search Wikipedia for the word Megiddo, you find the following...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Megiddo_%28609_BC%29

In the Battle of Megiddo of 609 BC, the forces of Egypt fought those of the Kingdom of Judah, Egypt under Necho II was allied with the Assyrians against the Babylonians. Rushing to help the Assyrians, the Egyptians were blocked on Megiddo's Via Maris (way of the Sea) by the army of Judah, led by its king Josiah. The Egyptians prevailed over Judah, and Josiah was killed. However, Egypt was not able to prevent a Babylonian victory over the Assyrians four years later at the Battle of Carchemish.

So the Kingdom of Judah and its King fell to Necho in fact in 608 BC. And Necho appointed Jehoiakim as his vassal on 608Chislev10 - see U97. So the first whole agricultural year after the fall of Judah began in 607Tishri.

Reprint of Ed Schnopp's work on the Gentile Times

THE GENTILE TIMES
`Appointed Times of the Nations'
607 BCE to 1914 CE?
by Ed Schnopp

It has been said concerning the Bible, that `you can make it say anything you want.' If by that statement, it means that by weaving one's way through isolated verses, making arbitrary cross-references, and by using one of many possible definitions for a particular word without giving attention to the context of that word, then yes, the Bible can be twisted to conform to almost any pre-conceived notion or teaching. There are many examples of those who have taken a few Scriptures out of their context and, by adding convoluted logic, have formed some rather strange doctrines. This is the case with the Watchtower Society's (WTS') explanation stemming from Luke 21:24, which reads, "and they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled." (NWT) What might be noticed first is the WT's rendering of ethnos as nations. Granted, one of the definitions of ethnos is `nations,' but a better translation would be `Gentiles' (nonJews). Israel is also a nation, yet is excluded from `the nations' of Luke 21:24.

Assembling the Doctrine
According to the Watchtower Society, the `trampling of Jerusalem' refers not to the literal city, but to that which Jerusalem represented the typical kingdom of God operating through the kings of the line of David. They say the `trampling' of that Davidic dynasty began centuries earlier with the overthrow of Jerusalem in 607 BCE [1] by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. As they explain it, "With Jerusalem's fall in 607 BCE the Gentile powers exercised dominion over the entire earth. The Davidic dynasty and rule suffered interruption and so Jerusalem or what it stood for would continue to be `trampled on' as long as God's kingdom, as functioning through David's house, was kept in a low inoperative condition under the Gentile powers." (Aid to Bible Understanding, 1969, p. 95) This domination continued until 1914 CE when, as the WT says, Christ was enthroned in heaven, and took dominion of the earth away from the nations. How the WT arrived at this is a study in bizarre Scriptural interpretation. After saying that the "Jerusalem" of Luke 21:24 actually means the Jewish kingdom of David's line, they cross-reference Luke's account with Matthew 24, there noting that verse 15 refers the reader to the book of Daniel. Matthew 24:15 doesn't say what part of Daniel's books, so the WT begins with the great image of Daniel chapter 2, which represents the order of world powers, beginning with the Babylonian Empire. They then `connect' this to the vision of Daniel 4, of a tree that is chopped down, and has "seven times" pass over the banded stump. [2]

The WT, however, takes it upon itself to give the vision/dream a further interpretation. In the Aid book (p. 95) it states,

The vision definitely had a fulfillment in Nebuchadnezzar himself. (See Daniel 4:31-35.) Therefore, some view it as having direct prophetic application only to him....Yet, an examination of the entire book of Daniel reveals that the element of time is everywhere prominent in the visions and prophecies it presents....Additionally, the book repeatedly points forward toward the conclusion that forms the theme of its prophecies: the establishment of a universal and eternal Kingdom of God....

In view of the above, it does not seem logical to evaluate the vision of the symbolic "tree" and its reference to "seven times" as having no other application....

The Watchtower thereby links the "seven times" of Daniel chapter 4 to "the appointed times of the nations" of Luke 21:24. God's sovereignty, as represented by the Davidic dynasty, would be interrupted for a period of "seven times." To arrive at a definition of these "seven times," the WT turns to Revelation 12:6, 14. Since verse 6 has "the woman in the wilderness" for 1,260 days, and verse 14 has "the woman in the wilderness" for "a time, times, and half a time" (3 1/2 times), each `time' is determined to be 360 days; hence, 7 times would be 2,520 days. Next they apply the unrelated formula of Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6, "a day for a year," and translate the 2,520 days of the calculations into 2,520 years. Thus the "appointed times of the nations" becomes 2,520 years. The WT begins this count of time from when Nebuchadnezzar overthrew Jerusalem, which the Watchtower states is 607 BCE. Finally they count forward to 1914 CE to arrive at the time when the lease of Gentile domination expired, and the Davidic Kingdom was to be re-established.

An Examination of the Facts
Is there any merit to the WT's reckoning of time? Let's start at the focal point, 607 BC. The WT places the desolating overthrow of Jerusalem in that year, and they do so primarily on the basis of the 70-year prophecy of Jeremiah 25:10-12 and 29:10. This 70-year prophecy, according to the WT, refers to the period of time the Jews were held in captivity by Babylonia, beginning with Jerusalem's fall. Since the Jews were freed in 537 BC (historically correct), the WT simply counted backward 70 years and arrived at 607 BCE as the year Jerusalem was overthrown. Actually, the 70-year prophecy of Jeremiah is not to be applied in this way, which will be explained later. Let's concern ourselves for the moment with 607 BCE, which disagrees with the scholarly accepted date of 587/586 BCE as the time of Jerusalem's fall.

The WT denies and ignores the following secular evidence against the 607 BCE date: In the 3rd century BCE, a Babylonian priest named Berossus wrote a history of Babylonia which dealt with the lengths of reigns of kings during the Neo-Babylonian period (Nabonassar to Nabonidus). Another historian, astronomer, and writer, Claudius Ptolemy (70-161 CE), put together his listing of kings and dates of reign of the same period. The WT dismisses as inaccurate the writings of these two ancient historians by quoting the words of a Professor Olmstead: "...only the merest fragments, abstracts, or traces, have come down to us" and that "Today we must consult a modern Latin translation of an Armenian translation of the lost Greek original of the Chronicle of Eusebius, who borrowed in part from Alexander Polyhistor who borrowed from Berossus direct, in part from Abydenus who apparently borrowed from Juba who borrowed from Alexander Polyhistor and so from Berossus." (Aid, p. 328). While we do not have to consult a Latin translation (the Armenian translation is still preserved), admittedly the rest of what the WT said is true, and does cast some doubt upon the accuracy of the copiers. However, we will see this doubt erased as we go on. Ptolemy, says the WT, "is thought to have used the writings of Berossus." (Aid, p. 328) However, scholars believe Ptolemy's canon was written independent of Berossus, because of the order and forms of the kings names. (see The Gentile Times Reconsidered, Carl Olof Jonsson, 1983, p. 42). The WT does concede, however, that "even though [modern historians generally credit Ptolemy with accuracy] and even though the reigns of the Kings of Babylon and Persia as set forth in Ptolemy's canon may be basically correct, there seems to be no reason for holding that the canon is necessarily accurate in every respect or for all periods." (Aid, p. 327) The WT's ambiguity here betrays their lack of confidence. In actuality, there are many reasons why we should accept Ptolemy's canon, especially for the Neo-Babylonian era.

Both Berossus and Ptolemy are in almost complete agreement with regard to the succession of kings and their lengths of reign during that era. The only difference is that Berossus lists the 5th king, Labashi-Marduk, and Ptolemy doesn't. The reason is that this king reigned less than a year, and Ptolemy dealt only in whole years. The table of reigns is:

Name of King

Berossus

Ptolemy

BCE

Nabopolassar

21 years

21 years

625-605

Nebuchadnezzar

43 years

43 years

604-562

Evilmerodach

2 years

2 years

561-560

Neriglissar

4 years

4 years

559-556

Labashi-Marduk

9 months

n/a

556

Nabonidus

17 years

17 years

555-539


As you can see, both historians have listed Nebuchadnezzar's first year as 604, three years after the 607 date the WT ascribes to him. So now, the question is, Can these king lists be corroborated by any other known sources?

Several Lines of Evidence
In the Aid book, p. 327, the WT deceptively states: "...Babylonian historical records that could either substantiate or undermine Ptolemy's figures for the lengths of reigns of certain kings are largely lacking." Perhaps for the `certain kings' of Persia, but not for the Neo-Babylonian period! Actually, seven lines of evidence can be given to support both Berossus and Ptolemy. These have come from cuneiform clay tablets which have been unearthed during the last 100 years. The first of these is the Babylonian Chronicles which are all kept in the British Museum in London. Though these Chronicles are incomplete for the entire Neo-Babylonian period, they do provide support for a portion of Berossus' and Ptolemy's lists. The second line of evidence is the Uruk King List, unearthed during an excavation campaign in 1959/60. Portions of it are eaten away, but what is still preserved agrees with Berossus' and Ptolemy's lengths of reigns of the first two kings, Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar.

The third and fourth lines of evidence are the preserved Royal Inscriptions of Nabonidus. One, designated Nabon. No. 8, helps to establish the whole Neo-Babylonian era, since it states that from the 16th year of Nabopolassar to the accession year of Nabonidus was a period of 54 years (in complete agreement with Berossus and Ptolemy). The other Royal Inscription, Nabon. H 1 B, gives the lengths of all the reigns of the Neo-Babylonian kings up to the 9th year of Nabonidus (except for Labashi-Marduk, whose short reign is ignored). The figures given are again in complete harmony with Berossus and Ptolemy.

The fifth line of evidence, which is very decisive, is the thousands of business document texts that have come down to us from that period. There are dated tablets in existence from every year during the whole era. The records of a banking house centered in Babylon, the house of "The Sons of Egibi," verify each year of every king's reign during the period. This aligns exactly with Berossus, Ptolemy, the Chronicles, and the Royal records. Sixth, there are the preserved documents of Babylonian astronomers, termed "Astronomical Diaries." These have been designated VAT 4956 (kept in the Berlin Museum) and B.M. 32312. They contain dated astronomical positions which are not duplicated in the heavens for thousands of years, thus pinpointing with precise accuracy Nebuchadnezzar's eighteenth regnal year (in which he conquered Jerusalem--Jer. 52:12) as 587/586 BCE. Seventh and last are the synchronic links provided by comparing the chronology of Egypt to that of Babylon. There are at least four such dated connecting links, giving excellent proof of the correctness of Berossus' and Ptolemy's king-lists. (For a study on these seven lines of evidence, see The Gentile Times Reconsidered.)

The historical date proven as 587/586 for the overthrow of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in his 18th year of reign is thus confirmed by at least seven lines of secular evidence in addition to Berossus and Ptolemy. The 607 date of the WT leaves a gap of 20 years, which is unaccounted for in any record of that period. Assume for the moment that Berossus' figures contain an error of 20 years, as required by the WT. This would mean that 400 years after Berossus, and independent of him, Ptolemy made the same 20 year error. It would also mean that the sources of the Babylonian Chronicles, the Royal Inscriptions, and the banking business documents, in turn, made the same 20-year mistake. Is it really likely that the scribes and businessmen who wrote during the Neo-Babylonian era did not know the lengths of the reigns of the Kings under whom they lived? If such a thing could be found likely, could it also be possible that contemporary scribes in Egypt would have made the same error? Then too, the Babylonian astronomers would have had to make a similar mistake in their diaries. This kind of irrational thinking does not `stretch' the imagination--it snaps it in two! Still more incredible is the idea that scribes and astronomers could work in collusion to remove any reference to a 20-year period in this era. On top of all this would be a fantastic coincidence that of all the thousands of dated documents for the Neo-Babylonian period, covering every year of that period, not one single tablet has been found for the missing 20 years. Could it be that there was an international 'coverup' of these 20 years? If there were, then it was so successful that in all the thousands of unearthed documents, nary a word is mentioned indicating that such a 20 year period ever existed. To suggest such a thing would be preposterous, and so we are led forcefully to the conclusion that the WT's chronology is in error.