"The Calendar of Jehovah God"

by cabasilas 36 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • cabasilas

    1935 saw the brief attempt by Jehovah's Witnesses to adopt a new calendar freed from any connection to other religions or with names derived from paganism.

    The 1935 Yearbook published without much explanation a chart showing "Jehovah's Year of Ransom 1903." The Yearbook said: "A series of articles in explanation will appear in The Golden Age. Watch for them."

    Then the March 1, 1935 Watchtower (page 80) referred to this upcoming series of articles in the Golden Age and said: "Now, since the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and his enthronement and his gathering together of his faithful followers, the time seems at hand to more clearly understand God's purposes as expressed in his Word, and this includes the manner of measuring time. It seems proper and fitting that we should try to ascertain the correct way of measuring time and give publication thereto."

    The Golden Age issues of March 13th, 27th, and April 10th of that year contained a series of articles entitled, "The Second Hand in the Timepiece of God" which was subtitled "An Explanation Respecting a Complete Change of Calendar, with Suggestions as to How the Calendar of Jehovah God Can Be Put Into Effect Easily and Naturally, Without Any Confusion." The articles were written by Clayton J. Woodworth, editor of the Golden Age magazine.

    Such a dramatic change of calendar never took off among Jehovah's Witnesses. Rutherford's apparent support for the "Calendar of Jehovah God" diminished and the May 1, 1935 Watchtower (page 142) saw fit to give a "note of warning" that there was a "danger of giving importance to this and to the exclusion of weightier matters." This later statement does not refer to the calendar as being Jehovah God's, but says: "The statements in The Golden Age are not dogmatic, but are worthy of due and careful consideration."

    As far as I can tell there has been no other mention of this in Watchtower literature. For those interested, the aritcles involved have been collated together into a pdf:


    The first part of the series was shared here on the board by Charles Chasson. I apologize that there were some problems with some of the scans from the second and third parts of the series. The older Golden Ages are not in good shape. They were printed on very cheap paper and scanning them is not easy. The text should be readable, however.

  • fokyc

    That is really interesting, thanks for the information and the download, this is the first time I have heard about this. I have been involved with the JW's since the early 50's


  • moggy lover
    moggy lover

    Thanks for revealing this well concealed piece of WT nonsense. Like fokyc, I too was in the borg since the mid 50s and was not made aware of this.


  • Satanus

    Interesting. They have earthday, manday, but no womanday. I read somewhere that the 7 day week thing was a pagan concept, based on the 7 planets that they saw at the time. I suppose that it's long enough, anyway.

    In pre-literate societies weeks of 4 to 10 days were observed; those weeks were typically the interval from one market day to the next. Four to 10 days gave farmers enough time to accumulate and transport goods to sell. (The one week that was almost always avoided was the 7-day week -- it was considered unlucky!) The 7-day week was introduced in Rome (where ides, nones, and calends were the vogue) in the first century A.D. by Persian astrology fanatics, not by Christians or Jews. The idea was that there would be a day for the five known planets, plus the sun and the moon, making seven; this was an ancient West Asian idea. However, when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire in the time of Constantine (c. 325 A.D.), the familiar Hebrew-Christian week of 7 days, beginning on Sunday, became conflated with the pagan week and took its place in the Julian calendar. Thereafter, it seemed to Christians that the week Rome now observed was seamless with the 7-day week of the Bible -- even though its pagan roots were obvious in the names of the days: Saturn's day, Sun's day, Moon's day. The other days take their equally pagan names in English from a detour into Norse mythology: Tiw's day, Woden's day, Thor's day, and Fria's day. http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~stephan/Astronomy/7day.html


  • Pahpa

    Didn't I read someplace that this whole calendar idea was originated by Clayton Woodworth who was also the source of the medical quackery that was often published in the Golden Age magazine? As I recall, even Rutherford rejected the notion.

  • minimus

    This is one of the most enlightening threads I've seen! I got thru about 10 pages of Golden Age and OMG! these JWs are wacky! This research shows how the Witnesses blame the Devil for EVERYTHING.....Priceless!! Thankyou!!!

  • cabasilas
    Didn't I read someplace that this whole calendar idea was originated by Clayton Woodworth who was also the source of the medical quackery that was often published in the Golden Age magazine? As I recall, even Rutherford rejected the notion.

    Woodworth, the editor of the Golden Age, was the mastermind behind the new proposed calendar. But, Rutherford was on board with the idea initially. There is no doubt that Rutherford authorized its inclusion in the 1935 Yearbook and also authorized the March 1st WT advertisement for the Golden Age series. M. J. Penton is probably correct that Rutherford had the "good sense" not to impose this calendar on JWs. Perhaps he finally realized it would make them look too odd. Perhaps he and Woodworth had a falling out. But, if Rutherford had not changed his mind this calendar could still be in effect among JWs today.

  • minimus

    Can you imagine saying, "I can hardly wait til the month of Jehovah comes by"? Rutherford must've been drunk to even let this get into the publications in the first place!

  • dedpoet

    That is interesting information, thankyou so much for posting it. I have never seen that, and I doubt many current ws are aware of it.

    Clayton Woodworth had some crazy ideas about a number of subjects, but this has to be the craziest of them all.

  • cabasilas

    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 or presence."

    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.

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