Once again, I think a the point all of us need to take away from all of this is that the only reason this whole subject gets discussed is because the Bible Students bought into Nelson Barbour's theories concerning the end of the world happening in 1914. They used pyramidology to back it up, and when 1914 did not bring about the end, their offshoot (Jehovah's Witnesses) eventually needed to do something about it. They latch onto the Gentile Times prophecy and counted backwards from 1914 to arrive at 607 B.C.E..
To deal with the secular dates, they just take the 539 B.C.E. point of reference and count back 70 years as stated in the Bible and stand firm on the belief that Jerusalem was desolate for the entire 70 years. Since 539 minus 70 comes up to 609 instead of 607, they just say that it must have taken the jews two years to return after Babylon was captured in 539 (hence arriving at 537 B.C.E. for the return).
So lets review:
- 1914 was promoted by Barbour as the year that Armageddon was to occur.
- Russell took this chronology and ran with it.
- Russell also employed pyramidology to compute 1914, tying them together.
- The events predicted in 1914 did not happen.
- Doctrine was then readjusted.
- 1914 becomes the beginning of the end and Christ's invisible return.
- Pyramidology becomes a tool of Satan.
- Now new 'evidence' must be presented to back up 1914.
- The Gentile Times was used as this 'new evidence.'
- They merely counted back 2520 years from 1914 and marked Jerusalem's destruction on that year.
- Since that year did not fit the Bible's 70 year chronology in light of the 539 B.C.E. point of reference, WT apologist ASSUMED that it would take the Jews 2 years to return to Jerusalem from 539 to 537.
- Now the Bible and the evidence fits to suit their own 1914 date.
- Their doctrinal authority remains intact (at least for the sheeple who swallow all of this).
That's how I see it in a nutshell. If any of my points are off, let me know.