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The Gentile Times
concerning the 1914 doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses

It starts with a verse:

"Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled." - Luke 21:24b

Jesus was warning his disciples about the future destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE. Many see a parallel in the trampling of the holy city Jerusalem in this verse which describes the duration:

"[the nations] will trample the holy city underfoot for forty-two months." - Revelation 11:2

Historically Jersulam was "trampled on" by the Romans during its seige of 66-70 CE ending in Jerusalem's destruction. This 42 month period equals 3½ years, which also refers to a time when God's people would be persecuted:

"The holy people will be delivered into [the Small Horn's] hands for a time, times and half a time." - Daniel 7:25

Despite the similarity of these scriptures, the WTS applies them to two separate but consecutive past periods of "trampling" between which Jesus' Kingdom was established in 1914. They offer the following chronology:

607 BCE - 1914 CEThey believe Jesus words refer to a period of 2520 years known as the Gentile Times, discussed below.
1914 CEJesus' Kingdom was established
1914 CE - 1918 CEDuring the subsequent 3½ years (42 months) they believe they were persecuted, discussed in 3½ Times Prophecy.

Premises, Premises...

In order to conclude that 1914 CE marks the end of the Gentile Times and the start of Jesus' Kingdom, the WTS relies on a series of premises about the Gentile Times:

When do they begin?How long do they last?

1. When Babylon destroyed Jerusalem

2. Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BCE

3. Related to the 7 Times

4. The 7 Times are 2520 days

5. The 2520 days are 2520 years

6. Therefore, 607 BCE + 2520 years = 1914 CE

1. Did the Trampling Begin when Babylon Destroyed Jerusalem?

Babylon destroyed Jerusalem hundreds of years before Jesus.

Jesus was warning about the future destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.

If he had intended to refer to something that began hundreds of years earlier, he might have said "Jerusalem will continue to be trampled," but he did not.

2. Was Jerusalem Destroyed in 607 BCE?

No, Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 BCE, discussed in 607 vs. 587 BCE.

The basis for the 607 BCE date proposed by the WTS is an erroneous calculation due to misreading the Bible, discussed in 70 Years Prophecy.

3. Is 7 Times the Duration of the Gentile Times?

It begins with a dream that King Nebuchadnzzar in Babylon had about a tree, which:

"grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth." - Daniel 4:20

Daniel then tells King Nebuchadnezzar:

"Your Majesty, you are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth." - Daniel 4:22

The dream continues with the tree being cut down and bound for 7 Times after which it is allowed to grow again. (Daniel 4:23) Thus King Nebuchadnezzar lost his rulership for 7 Times. (Daniel 4:25)

The WTS assumes the tree has a meaning beyond Daniel's application to Nebuchadnezzar:

"But 'rulership to the extremity of the earth,' involving the whole kingdom of mankind , is represented by the great tree.  It therefore symbolizes Jehovah's universal sovereignty, particularly in its relationship to the earth." (DP pg. 87)

They carry this extra-biblical interpretation further:

"God himself had such sovereignty chopped down and banded in 607 BCE when he used Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem. Exercise of divine sovereignty toward the earth by a kingdom in the line of David was restrained for seven times." (DP pg. 95)

Beside the fact that Daniel never interpreted the dream the way the WTS does, there are several reasons why the banded tree is a poor analogy to "Jehovah's universal sovereignty":

  • The tree symbolized the pagan king of Babylon, not an annoited king in the line of David in Jerusalem
  • The dream was applied to and completely fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar
  • He was being punished for pride (Daniel 4:30)
  • The lesson is: "those who are walking in pride [God] is able to humiliate." (Daniel 4:37)
  • Consider the beast-like condition of the king (Daniel 4:25, 32-34):
    • Dwelled with beasts in the field
    • Ate vegetation like bulls, wet with dew
    • Experienced madness ("lost understanding")
    • Hair long just like eagles' feathers
    • Nails like birds' claws
  • Require repentace for restoration of rulership (Daniel 4:26)

The 7 Times of Madness is an unfitting parallel for the Gentile Times.

4. Are the 7 Times Equal to 2520 Days?

Possibly, according to the WTS:

"Evidently, Nebuchadnezzar's "seven times" involved seven years. In prophecy, a year averages 360 days, or 12 months of 30 days each. (Compare Revelation 12:6, 14.) So the king's "seven times," or seven years, were 360 days multiplied by 7, or 2,520 days." (DP pg. 95-96)

There is no disagreement here.

5. Are the 2520 Days Actually 2520 Years?

They are days as applied to Nebuchanezzar. There are two reasons why the WTS teaches they are years when applied to the Gentile Times:

  1. Nothing significant happened 2,520 days from October 607 BCE.
  2. Based on Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34 they teach days should be regarded as years:
"Scriptural rule: 'A day for a year.'" (DP pg. 96)

First, the reason nothing significant happened after 2,520 literal days, is the erroneous starting point used by the WTS covered under premises 1 & 2.

Second, the Bible never declares that "a day for a year" is a "rule". Its primary use is in the scriptures where it was stated. Consider the inconsistency of the WTS that suggests there is no "rule":

To which of these does the WTS apply the supposed "rule"? None!

6. Does October 607 BCE + 2,520 years = October 1914 CE?

Yes it does, the addition is correct. :)

October 1914 CE is when the WTS believes the "trampling" ended and Jesus established his Kingdom in heaven. As we've seen, the problem is that the WTS premises are either doubtful, unproven or plain wrong. One or more false premises means the WTS reasoning is flawed, therefore we cannot accept its conclusion. The teachings about 1914 are false.