"Bible Chronology" and the "Seventy Years"

by Doug Mason 10 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    To arrive at its date of 607 BCE for Jerusalem’s destruction, the WTS uses what it calls “Bible Chronology”.

    This “Bible Chronology” says that since the “seventy year” period ended in 537 BCE, when 70 years are counted back this provides the 607 BCE date for Jerusalem’s destruction.

    The WTS says its “Bible Chronology” method is superior to the secular uninspired chronology provided by secular sources.

    Does the WTS’s “Bible Chronology” align with the Bible’s teachings on the “seventy years”? Is its method the valid way to determine when Jerusalem was destroyed?

    These matters are discussed in my Study, which is available at:


    I want to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to a “certain person” who helped me as I prepared this study.


  • Dutch-scientist

    TKS Doug,

    I hope people will read your studie instead to believe without thinking someone els or an organisation.


  • Larsinger58

    Thanks for publishing on this topic, Doug.

    I would just like to note that the WTS does not represent true "Bible chronology" and is dishonest regarding the 70 years. Without using dates, only relative chronology,

    1. AGREE: We all agree that the 70 years end with the return to Jerusalem in the 1st year of Cyrus.

    2. DISAGREE: The WTS dates the 70 years beginning in year 18 of Nebuchadnezzar, the spurious year for the fall of Jerusalem. The Bible dates the 70 years as beginning in year 23, the year of the last deportation. The WTS is considered to be dishonest in this regard since it quotes Josehpus regarding the 70 years, who also represents the 70 years as beginning in year 23 of Neb2 with the last deportation at Ant. 11.1.1. Josephus also clearly indicates those deported in year 23 were deported out of Egypt. The WTS avoids this suggestion completely, inventing a group of Jews who they claim fled into surrounding countries when Gedealiah was killed and giving no reference at all as to the fate of those who ran down to Egypt. This also ignores Jeremiah 44:14,28 which clearly shows a remnant of those who "escaped from the sword" would return to Judea.

    So, in conclusion, regardless of what the WTS claims about the seventy years, the Bible agrees with Josephus that the 70 years began with the last deportation and ends in the 1st of Cyrus. That is "relative chronology" regardless of what dates you want to assign to the 1st of Cyrus (i.e. 537 vs 455 BCE).


    (A) This is Josephus showing the 70 years are linked with those last deported in year 23 of Neb2, that is, when "our peopele were removed out of their own land."

    ANT 11.1.1

    1. IN the first year of the reign of Cyrus (1) which was the seventieth from the day that our people were removed out of their own land into Babylon, God commiserated the captivity and calamity of these poor people, according as he had foretold to them by Jeremiah the prophet, before the destruction of the city, that after they had served Nebuchadnezzar and his posterity, and after they had undergone that servitude seventy years, he would restore them again to the land of their fathers, and they should build their temple, and enjoy their ancient prosperity.

    (B) This shows blatant dishonesty by the WTS because they quote from this passage in Josephus regarding the year 23 campaign by Nebuchadnezzar II to help explain the last deportation in year 23, but they ignore the specific statement by Josephus that those deported in year 23 was out of Egypt.

    ANT 10.9.7

    "[in] the twenty-third of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, he made an expedition against Celesyria; and when he had possessed himself of it, he made war against the Ammonites and Moabites; and when he had brought all these nations under subjection, he fell upon Egypt, in order to overthrow it; and he slew the king that then reigned (16) and set up another; and he took those Jews that were there captives, and led them away to Babylon. And such was the end of the nation of the Hebrews, as it hath been delivered down to us, it having twice gone beyond Euphrates; for the people of the ten tribes were carried out of Samaria by the Assyrians, in the days of king Hoshea; after which the people of the two tribes that remained after Jerusalem was taken [were carried away] by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon and Chaldea. Now as to Shalmanezer, he removed the Israelites out of their country, and placed therein the nation of the Cutheans, who had formerly belonged to the inner parts of Persia and Media, but were then called Samaritans, by taking the name of the country to which they were removed; but the king of Babylon, who brought out the two tribes, (17) placed no other nation in their country, by which means all Judea and Jerusalem, and the temple, continued to be a desert for seventy years"

    (C) This statement shows WTS dishonesty, who invent some year 23 deportees from surrounding nations outside of Judea rather than following the Bible or Josephus and linking the last deportees to those who were left over from the sword who had ran down to Egypt. The obvious avoidance or denial is because he 70 years of desolation requires no one to pass through Judea. Obviously, if the last deportees came out of Egyt they would have trekked back through Judea and thus it would not have been totally desolated until after year 23. This would spoil the 1914 and 607 BCE propaganda the WTS is promoting.

    From "it-1 Captivity" page 416:

    Some two months later, after the assassination of Gedaliah, the rest of the Jews left behind in Judah fled to Egypt, taking Jeremiah and Baruch along with them. (2Ki 25:8-12, 25, 26; Jer 43:5-7) Some of the Jews also may have fled to other nations round about. Probably from among these nations were the 745 captives, as household heads, exiled five years later when Nebuchadnezzar, as Jehovah’s symbolic club, dashed to pieces the nations bordering Judah. (Jer 51:20; 52:30) Josephus says that five years after the fall of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar overran Ammon and Moab and then went on down and took vengeance on Egypt.—JewishAntiquities, X, 181, 182 (ix, 7).

    Note that the WTS quotes from Josephus 10.9.7, quoted above, which is the same reference that clearly says those deported this year were deported from Egypt! So the WTS was quite aware the historical last deportation as far as the Jews were concerned was from Egypt. But this is ignored. However, the Bible supports the last deportation from Egypt as follows:

    Jeremiah 44:14 " 14 And there will come to be no escapee or survivor for the remnant of Judah who are entering in to reside there as aliens, in the land of Egypt, even to return to the land of Judah to which they are lifting up their soul[ful desire] to return in order to dwell; for they will not return, except some escaped ones.’”

    Jeremiah 44: 28 And as for the ones escaping from the sword, they will return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah, few in number; and all those of the remnant of Judah, who are coming into the land of Egypt to reside there as aliens, will certainly know whose word comes true, that from me or that from them.”’”

    2 Chronicles 23: 20 " Furthermore, he carried off those remaining from the sword captive to Babylon, and they came to be servants to him and his sons until the royalty of Persia began to reign; 21 to fulfill Jehovah’s word by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had paid off its sabbaths. All the days of lying desolated it kept sabbath, to fulfill seventy years."

    Those "remaining from the sword" or "escaping from the sword" is a direct reference to those who were not killed by Nebuchadnezzar II down in Egypt. So the WTS has to ignore the above three Bible references who confirm for us who the last deportees were and where they came from. Josephus directly identifies them as well as coming out of Egypt in complete agreement with the Bible. Thus the Bible shows the land was not totally desolated until after year 23. The WTS, thus goes out of its way to avoid the idea that the last deportees came out of Egypt by inventing some Jews who "prbably" fled outside of Judea when Gedaliah was killed. Why invent some probable explanation for the deportees when the Bible and Josephus tell us precisely where the last deportees came from? Again, the WTS is in denial here. It can't accept the Bible or Josephus claiming the last deportees who began the 70-year exile were out of Egypt, because that would destroy their claim the land was desolated completely from the fall of Jerusalem.

    That essentially means, even using the incorrect date of 537 BCE for the return from Babylon, that 607 BCE would actually be year 23 of Nebuchadnezzar, the year of the last deportation and not the year for the fall of Jerusalem.

    These direct historical references to a 70-year period linked to the last deportation is a critical chronological reference which stand independently of any connection with any interpretation of any other 70-year period in the Bible. That is, even if a 70-year period of domination by Babylon over the nations is convincing, it is incidental and irrelevant to the 70-year exile of the last deportees in year 23. Thus this would be a separate, completely independent and thus coincidental 70-year reference or any other 70-year reference in the Bible.

    Thanks, Doug, for pointing out WTS dishonesty and falsehood regarding the 70 years.


    1) Per Josephus, there was a 70-year period from the last deportation out of Egypt year 23 of Nebuchadnezzar II to the 1st of Cyrus

    2) Per the Bible there was a 70-year period from the last depotation out of Judea in year 23 of Nebuchadnezzar to the 1st of Cyrus.


  • wobble

    Lars, please read Dougs study, especially the chapters on the start and end of the seventy years.

    Then perhaps you will not persist in posting the nonsense you do, and making the totally false claim "We all agree........"

    I don't know of anyone who agrees with you.

    If you can show where Doug is in error, then please do so, but please don't post your nonsense with no support from history or scripture.

  • Larsinger58

    WOBBLE: Lars, please read Dougs study, especially the chapters on the start and end of the seventy years.

    Then perhaps you will not persist in posting the nonsense you do, and making the totally false claim "We all agree........"

    I don't know of anyone who agrees with you.

    If you can show where Doug is in error, then please do so, but please don't post your nonsense with no support from history or scripture."

    LARS: You should read Doug's thesis yourself. My comment just underscored that Josephus and the Bible insert a 70-year period from the last deportation to the 1st of Cyrus and I gave my sources. I clearly stated that these 70 years may or may not be related to any other 70-year period, thus I did not contradict Doug's interpretation of some other 70-year period. So as usual, you don't understand enough about this topic to accurate comment on it. The fact that you consider my reference points as "nonsense" speaks volumes about your knowledge and understanding of this topic. Then again, no one tries to teach a starfish to be a trapeze artist.


  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason


    I do not agree that the "70 years" ended with the return of the Jews.

    The "70 years" relate to the period of servitude to Babylon by all of the nations that were named by Jeremiah. They all started their servitude together, at the same time.

    I believe I have quite clearly shown that the 70 years was an unavoidable period of servitude whereas the destruction of Jerusalem was avoidable.

    Even after Jeremiah instructed the exiles in Babylon to settle down for the 70 years had been decreed, Jeremiah pleaded with Zedekiah to surrender because by doing so the city would be saved.

    Ezra says at 2 Chronicles 36 that the servitude ended at the moment Cyrus defeated the Babylonians. It makes full sense, since the servitude to Babylon ended when Babylon's power came to its end. As Daniel told Belshazzar, its days were numbered.

    Cyrus was able to make his decree because he was now in power, the 70 years of servitude to Babylon had already come to its end.

    This in turn indicates when the servitude to Babylon by all of the named nations began -- when Babylon became the regional superpower (or maybe in the religious sense, when God decided to use Babylon as his servant).


  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    The following comes from Jeremiah, after he had said that all the nations would have to serve Babylon for 70 years:

    All nations will serve him and his son and his grandson until the time for his land comes; then many nations and great kings will subjugate him.

    If, however, any nation or kingdom will not serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon or bow its neck under his yoke, I will punish that nation with the sword, famine and plague, declares the LORD , until I destroy it by his hand.

    So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your interpreters of dreams, your mediums or your sorcerers who tell you, ‘You will not serve the king of Babylon.’ They prophesy lies to you that will only serve to remove you far from your lands; I will banish you and you will perish.

    But if any nation will bow its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will let that nation remain in its ownland to till it and to live there, declares the LORD .

    [Jeremiah] gave the same message to Zedekiah king of Judah.

    (Jeremiah 27:7-12, NIV)

  • wantingtruth

    Too much time spent studying chronology would make/transform the Christian into an historian....

    and God does not require that / He helps us through His Spirit to discern from Bible what is useful for us

    God points toward the "chronology of the latter days" wich is good to be understood


    even for finding the time of Jesus coronation and starting ruling in Heaven there is no need for ancient chronology


  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason


    I fail to understand how you could write the following after reading my Study:

    "We all agree that the 70 years end with the return to Jerusalem in the 1st year of Cyrus."

    As I write above, I do not agree with that position because I do not believe that is what the Bible writers stated.

    Where in my Study did you get the idea that I thought the Seventy Years ended with the return of Jews to Jerusalem?

    When did the Seventy Years end for the other nations?


  • Leolaia

    I am amazed by the work you continually produce!

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