I just noticed something else. Russell and the early Bible Students believed that the end of 6,000 years of human existence had occurred in the 1870s. According to the 1973 book God's Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached, pp. 205ff, this idea was 'corrected' in 1943.
It is true that the editor and publisher of Zion’sWatchTowerandHeraldofChrist’sPresence
calculated that the "presence" or parousia of the heavenly Bridegroom began in the year 1874 C.E. Also, that the date of the first man’s creation by Jehovah God was in the year 4128 B.C.E., which meant that six thousand years of man’s existence on the earth ended in the year 1872 C.E., as calculated by Russell and his associates. This reckoning began to be announced on the front page of Zion’sWatchTowerandHeraldofChrist’sPresence
beginning with the issue of July 1, 1906, and this practice continued down through the issue of September 15, 1928. For instance, on the first of such mentioned issues appeared the date of issue: "July 1, A.D. 1906—A.M., 6034"; whereas the dating of the last mentioned issue was: "Anno Mundi 6056—September 15, 1928." The AnnoMundi
or "Year of the World" date was calculated to be the year 4128 before our Common Era.
Two years, however, were allowed for the innocence of the perfect man and woman in the Garden of Eden before sin entered, and hence the year of sin’s entrance was calculated as 4126 B.C.E. This resulted in their calculating six thousand years of sin as ending in 1874 C.E., in which year also, in the autumn, the seventh millennium began, for the instigator of sin, Satan the Devil, to be bound and cast into the bottomless pit and for Christ to start reigning for the foretold thousand years. This meant that the year of the start of Christ’s reign was also the year of his return and the beginning of his invisible presence or parousia.
The above chronology followed the suggestion that was made in Wilson’s TheEmphaticDiaglott,
in its footnote on Acts 13:20, which verse read: "And after these things, he gave Judges about four hundred and fifty years, till Samuel the prophet." The footnote on this reading of the verse said:
A difficulty occurs here which has very much puzzled Biblical chronologists. The date given here is at variance with the statement found in 1 Kings 6:1. There have been many solutions offered, but only one which seems entirely satisfactory, i.e., that the text in 1 Kings 6:1 has been corrupted, by substituting the Hebrew character daleth (4) for hay (5) which is very similar in form. This would make 580 years (instead of 480) from the exode to the building of the temple, and exactly agree with Paul’s chronology.
Accordingly, on page 53 of the book entitled "The Time Is at Hand," author C. T. Russell wrote, referring to 1 Kings 6:1:
It evidently should read the five-hundred-and-eightieth year, and was possibly an error in transcribing; for if to Solomon’s four years we add David’s forty, and Saul’s space of forty, and the forty-six years from leaving Egypt to the division of the land, we have one hundred and thirty years, which deducted from four hundred and eighty would leave only three hundred and fifty years for the period of the Judges, instead of the four hundred and fifty years mentioned in the Book of Judges, and by Paul, as heretofore shown. The Hebrew character "daleth" (4) very much resembles the character "hay" (5), and it is supposed that in this way the error has occurred, possibly the mistake of a transcriber. I Kings 6:1, then, should read five hundred and eighty, and thus be in perfect harmony with the other statements.
Thus, by inserting 100 years into the Bible chronology during the period of the Judges, man’s creation was pushed back 100 years to 4128 B.C.E., and the six thousand years of man’s existence on earth ended in 1872 C.E. (TheTimeIsatHand, page 42) Then the allowance of two years before the entry of sin led to the year 1874 as the year in which six thousand years of human sin terminated and the seventh thousand years for the elimination of sin by Christ’s reign began. So the Grand Jubilee was then due to begin.
According to the oldest manuscripts of the Christian Greek Scriptures, however, the reading of Acts 13:20 is different from that given in TheEmphaticDiaglott
and the King James Authorized Version of the Bible. So, according to the most ancient manuscripts, the four hundred and fifty years are not applied to the period of the Judges. In verification of this, TheNewEnglishBible
(of the year 1970) renders Acts 13:20 as follows: "for some four hundred and fifty years, and afterwards appointed judges for them until the time of the prophet Samuel." TheJerusalemBible
(English translation of 1966) reads: "for about four hundred and fifty years. After this he gave them judges, down to the prophet Samuel." The Revised Standard Version Bible of 1952 reads similarly, and so does the American Standard Version Bible of 1901 C.E.
Furthermore, the oldest Hebrew manuscripts extant, like those of the Dead Sea Scrolls, spell out the numbers of the Bible and do not use alphabetic characters for numerals, thus not allowing for a transcriber’s visual error at 1 Kings 6:1.
The insertion of 100 years into Bible chronology during the period of the Judges is thus seen not to rest upon Scriptural grounds. The insertion should therefore be dropped and the Bible should be accepted just as it reads concerning its chronology. Unavoidably, then, this would affect the date for the parousia of the Bridegroom Jesus Christ to begin. With the WatchTower
magazine’s issue of January 1, 1939, the title was changed to TheWatchtowerandHeraldofChrist’sKingdom,
and with the issue of March 1, 1939, to TheWatchtowerAnnouncingJehovah’sKingdom.
This did not mean that the publishers of the magazine no longer believed in the presence or parousia of Christ as being then in progress. It meant, rather, that more importance was given to the Kingdom, to the kingdom of Jehovah God by Jesus Christ, for it is Jehovah’s kingdom by Christ that will vindicate Jehovah’s universal sovereignty.
In the year 1943 the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society published the book "TheTruthShallMakeYouFree."
In its chapter 11, entitled "The Count of Time," it did away with the insertion of 100 years into the period of the Judges and went according to the oldest and most authentic reading of Acts 13:20, and accepted the spelled-out numbers of the Hebrew Scriptures. This moved forward the end of six thousand years of man’s existence into the decade of the 1970’s. Naturally this did away with the year 1874 C.E. as the date of return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the beginning of his invisible presence or parousia. The millennium that was to be marked by the detaining of Satan the Devil enchained in the abyss and by the reign of the 144,000 joint heirs with Christ in heavenly glory was therefore yet in the future. What, then, about the parousia (presence) of Christ? Page 324 of the above book positively says: "The King’s presence or parousia
began in 1914." Also, in the Watchtower
issue of July 15, 1949 (page 215, paragraph 22), the statement is made: " . . . Messiah, the Son of man, came into Kingdom power A.D. 1914 and . . . this constitutes his second coming and the beginning of his second parousía
Yet, notice pp. 412 & 413 of this Golden Age series. Paragraph 3 on pg. 412 starts out by saying: "In the past some thought..." as it argues against the idea that there was an extra 100 years in the received chronology. The chart on page 413 puts the year 1935 as being 5,962 years from creation. That means the 6,000 years would now be considered 38 years distant. Add 38 years to 1935 and you get 1973. This shows that it was not the book The Truth Will Set You Free which changed the chronology. Apparently, it happened with this Golden Age series. Now 6,000 years from man's creation was a future event and not a past one.
Notice how the Golden Age deals with the emotions likely aroused with this change. On page 413 he says:
Would any of the "millions now living" be stumbled by the discovery that they have a hundred years longer to live than they once thought? Hardly, Would they be stumbled because they were consecrated with the understanding on their part that six thousand years of human history ended in A.D. 1874? One can but smile at the thought. Any person consecrated with a condition or codicil attached to his consecration may as well forget the whole matter: he is not consecrated at all, and does not love God.
But, then, the Golden Age holds out the hope the End may come sooner than the 6,000 years:
Nothing in the Scriptures says that Christ Jesus would have to wait until the beginning of the seventh thousand years of human history before the second advent would occur and the Day of Jehovah begin, in which Christ, as Jehovah's viceregent, rules in the midst of His enemies. As a matter of fact thse events occured in Y.R. 1882 (1914 A.D.); not earlier, and not later.