One would think that such prophetic failures would bring an end to speculative date-setting, but it did not. The fact is that some forty-years later, Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders used the 6,000-year theory in a formula that began with the year of creation, 4026 B.C.E., to …
How can we be sure Rutherford used the 6,000 year theory? Because of the dozens of times he mentioned it in Watch Tower literature. For instance, Rutherford wrote in the January 1, 1921 Watch Tower: The poor groaning creation has suffered oppression for more than …
In spite of all the prediction failures, most nineteenth-century Christian denominations taught that God would bring an end to an evil and selfish world in their century although details varied. Disagreements were plentiful as to when in that century the end would occur; nevertheless, all …
Being wrong did not stop prognostication during the nineteenth and twentieth-century from continuing. Calculation methods changed. Scriptural interpretations were reexamined. In 1941, Theodore Graebner, in his book, In The Light Of Prophecy “WAS IT FORETOLD?” reminded those in the prediction business about past failures:
All chiliastic predictions [Chiliasm is the doctrine stating that Jesus will reign on earth for 1,000 years] made in the past have failed. The millennium did not come in 1837, as foretold by Bengel, nor in 1843, nor in 1844, nor 1845, nor 1850, nor 1857, nor 1863, nor 1877, nor 1896, nor any subsequent date set by the Seventh-day Adventists, nor in 1868 … nor in 1914. Nor has any other event predicted by the chiliasts ever occurred within the limits of time set by their chronological figuring. When they attempted to foretell the future, they have always failed.
The following list is an examination of some of the people who taught that the world would end 6,000 years from creation. They lived long before Charles Taze Russell came on the scene with his doctrine that the end of the world would culminate soon—in his day—some 6,000 years from the time of creation. In the July, 1879 ZION’S WATCH TOWER, Russell stated the object of its publication was because “we are living ‘in the last days.’”
(This list was compiled from The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Froom, Volumes I-III unless otherwise noted.)
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (1451-1506): Following the earliest teachings of Augustine, thought the world would last 7,000 years. He adopted the creation date of King Alfonso, which date was about 534 years before Christ. He believed that there were only about 150 years remaining until the end of the world.
Who else held to the “six-thousand-year” premise, and that God had given the time prophecies of Daniel and of Revelation by which the approach of the judgment might be known?
JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Ordained in 1718, and thoroughly versed in Hebrew and Latin, Gill was an eminent Baptist expositor on prophecy. He held that the millennium will be bounded by the two literal, corporeal resurrections, and the eternal kingdom is to be on earth, not in heaven. He lectured extensively on the year-day principle of prophetic time prophecies from Daniel and Revelation calculating that certain year-days mentioned therein would close at the end of the sixth millennium cleansing the church from all corruption.
ABRAHAM BAR HIYYA HANASI (1065-1136): Spanish astronomer, mathematician, and philosopher. Hanasi sought to determine the apocalyptic end. His calculations were derived from the date of creation, as he believed that the world would last 6,000 years, with the seventh as the millennial Sabbath. His is the first eschatological work, The Scroll of the Revealer, of a European rabbi, and it later influenced Nahmanides.