According to the Watchtower, correctly understanding the 70 year prophecy, as mentioned in several places in Scripture, is crucial to understand the date for when Jerusalem was destroyed. According to The Watchtower, Jerusalem fell in 607. If Jerusalem didn’t fall in 607, then the chronology falls apart and 1914 is no longer true. Therefore, if we were to investigate such an important issue, we should not find any holes or inconsistencies for such an important doctrine. Therefore, the Watchtower’s chronology should be tested see if it holds up to scrutiny.
The closing verses of Second Chronicles (36:17-23) give conclusive proof of the fulfillment of Jeremiah 25:12 and, in addition, show that a full 70 years must be counted from the complete desolation of the land to the restoration of Jehovah’s worship at Jerusalem in 537 B.C.E. This desolation therefore begins in 607 B.C.E.—Jer. 29:10; 2 Ki. 25:1-26; Ezra 3:1-6.si p. 84 par. 35 Bible Book Number 14—2 Chronicles
According to the Watchtower, the seventy years ended in 537. And the only way to arrive at the correct date for the destruction of Jerusalem is to count backwards 70 years, which would end up in 607.
In 539 B.C.E., the time of Babylon’s rule as the preeminent world power came to an end when the vigorous Persian ruler Cyrus, accompanied by the army of Media, marched against the city.gm chap. 9 p. 123 par. 16 Prophecies That Came True
We have 539 not as the date for the end of the 70 years, but for the end of Babylon’s rule, which was then taken over by Cyrus.
Daniel relied on that word, trusting that the 70 years were not a ‘round number’ but an exact figure that could be counted on.kc p. 189 Appendix to Chapter 14
In this reference, we have an explicit and clear declaration by the Watchtower that the 70 years has to be 70 years, not 68, 69, or 71, but 70.
Let’s review what we have so far:
According to the Watchtower,
- The seventy years ended in 537
- Babylon’s rule came to an end in 539
- The 70 years cannot be a round number
Now, let’s test these three points against what the Scriptures teach.
And all this land will be reduced to ruins and will become an object of horror, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon for 70 years.Jeremiah 25:11, NWT
Here we have a mention of the seventy years, which the Watchtower believes started with the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 and ended in 537.
“‘But when 70 years have been fulfilled, I will call to account the king of Babylon and that nation for their error,’ declares Jehovah, ‘and I will make the land of the Chal·deʹans a desolate wasteland for all time.Jeremiah 25:12, NWT
With this verse, there is one very important detail to notice: Babylon falls after the 70 years are fulfilled. And according to the Watchtower, when did the 70 years end? Didn’t they say 537? But didn’t they also say that Babylon fell in 539? This is a very noteworthy discrepancy. Just to make sure this is correct, let’s review the facts.
- Jeremiah 25:12 says that the King of Babylon will be punished after the 70 years have been fulfilled.
- The Watchtower says that Babylon’s rule came to an end in 539.
- Therefore, the seventy years must have ended in 539, not in 537.
Either the Bible is right in the 70 years ending with Babylon’s fall in 539, or the Bible is wrong, since the Watchtower claims the 70 years had to end in 537. This has profound implications on the Watchtower’s 1914 doctrine, since it relies on the destruction of the temple in 607, which relies on 70 years ending in 537 (as Watchtower teaches).
4 thoughts on “Did the 70 years end in 539 B.C.E. or 537?”
If you would care to discuss the details of this, I would be more than willing to do so. There are things to consider that are not mentioned in your blogpost.
Hi Mike, you said:
“Jeremiah 25:12 says that the King of Babylon will be punished after the 70 years have been fulfilled.”
Did you notice what the punishment is per Jeremiah 25:12? It is to “make it [Babylon] desolate wastes to time indefinite”. Wouldn’t you agree that this found fulfillment after the 70 years were fulfilled? Please recall that Babylon did indeed become a desolate waste just as that scripture said. Thus, perhaps you can see now how there is no contradiction.
You may also want to peruse this material to enlarge your awareness and appreciation for Bible chronology: http://onlytruegod.org/jwstrs/je25-12.htm and http://onlytruegod.org/jwstrs/607BCE.htm