A CHRONOLOGY

A Thumbnail Sketch of Biblical History, World Religious History, Biblical Archaeology, and the Modern-day History of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Home: Better Days Are Coming

Last updated: 22 January 2015
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BRIEF OUTLINE WITH LINKS TO CENTURIES

CREATION:
Creation of the Word (Logos), spirit creatures, the material heavens and earth
CREATIVE DAYS:
Six successive days of preparing earth for mankind’s inhabitation
4026 – 3500 BCE:
Creation of Adam and Eve;  Seventh day of rest begins;  Sin;  Five generations of mankind after Adam
3499 – 3000 BCE:
Mankind to ninth generation from Adam;  Enoch born, prophesies;  Adam and Enoch die
2999 – 2500 BCE:
Noah born;  Lamech’s prophecy
2499 – 2000 BCE:
Angels marry women;  Nephilim;  Violence in earth;  Deluge and its effects;  Nimrod;  Noah dies;  Abraham
1999 – 1500 BCE:
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob;  Famine;  Israel into Egypt;  Job;  Moses;  10 plagues;  Exodus;  Wandering in the wilderness
1499 – 1000 BCE:
From wilderness into Canaan;  Joshua;  Judges;  Saul;  David;  Solomon;  Temple built
999 – 500 BCE:
Solomon dies;  Kingdom divided;  Judah and Israel;  Samaria falls to Assyria;  Jerusalem falls to Babylon;  Captivity and release;  Medo-Persia replaces Babylon as world power;  Temple rebuilt
499 – 1 BCE:
Greece replaces Medo-Persia as world power;  Alexander the Great;  Rome replaces Greece as world power;  Maccabean wars;  Birth of Jesus
1 – 499 CE:
Jesus, apostles, and early Christians;  Jerusalem destroyed;  Christian Greek Scriptures;  Apostasy;  Dark Ages begin
500 – 999 CE:
Dark Ages continue;  Christendom divided in many ways
1000 – 1499 CE:
Crusades;  John Wycliffe;  Jan Hus;  Printing press;  Spanish Inquisition;  World exploration
1500 – 1999 CE:
Martin Luther;  Protestant Reformation;  William Tyndale;  John Calvin;  Bible translations;  American and French revolutions;  Modern archaeology begins;  Adventist groups;  Watch Tower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses;  Anglo-American World Power emerges;  Last Days
2000 – 2499 CE
Exact contents presently unknown;  General contents Biblically prophesied

A CHRONOLOGY

A Thumbnail Sketch of Biblical History, World Religious History, Biblical Archaeology, and the Modern-day History of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Jehovah, alone from time everlasting, begins creating. His “only-begotten son,” called “the Word” (Greek, Logos), is “the beginning of the creation by God” and “the image of the invisible God.” After an unspecified time, Jehovah uses his Son, the Word, as a “master worker” and “by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth.”

Download the PDFs for the brochures “Was Life Created?” and “The Origin of Life — Five Questions Worth Asking.”

Genesis 1:1, 26; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 36:9; 90:2; Proverbs 8:22–31; Isaiah 40:26–28; John 1:1–4, 10, 14, 17; 3:16; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15–17; Revelation 3:14; it JESUS CHRIST.

First to be created after the Logos are the heavenly angels. After they are created, Jehovah and the “Word” bring into being the material heavens and earth (energy into matter). The morning stars (angelic sons of God) “joyfully cried out together” and “began shouting in applause” when the “cornerstone” of the earth is laid. (Job 38:4–7) The statement “In the beginning God created [Hebrew, ba-ra’'] the heavens and the earth” allows for the passing of an indefinite period of time — thousands, millions, or even billions of years — from the time of the creation of the material universe, including the galaxies, stars, and other heavenly bodies, sun, moon, and earth, until the beginning of the preparation of earth for man’s habitation. Scientists estimate the age of the earth to be 4 to 4.6 billion years — more or less — and the age of the universe to be as much as 11 to 15 billion years.

Psalm 136:1, 5–9; it CREATION; EARTH; w94 9/1 6, (subheading) “Religion Gives Creation a Bad Name.”

Genesis 1:2a: “Now the earth was formless and desolate, and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep, . . .”

Before earth’s “creative days” begin, the earth is apparently already orbiting the sun, although it is swaddled in a band of cloud layers that prevents light from reaching its surface. Perhaps water vapor, other gases, and/or volcanic dust in earth’s atmosphere hide the sun. Or perhaps both earth and sun are enveloped in some giant star-producing dust cloud like those in the Eagle Nebula — M16 — shown in these three photos:

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap951106.html.
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap951107.html.
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap020611.html.

Job 38:4–9; g91 6/8 12–15; ct 93; it CREATION; EARTH.

Read on WOL: “Our Unique Solar System — How It Got Here” (w07 2/15 4–7).

Genesis 1:2b, 3: “. . . and God’s active force was moving about over the surface of the waters. And God said: ‘Let there be light.’ Then there was light.”

The cloud layers swaddling the earth begin to thin, and diffused light (Hebrew, ’ohr, light in a general sense) begins to penetrate gradually to the surface of the earth, although the sun itself cannot yet be discerned as the source of this light. This gradual clearing will continue at least until the fourth creative day when the sun, moon, and stars can be clearly discerned.

The surface of the earth is still covered with water. The earth is rotating on its axis as it revolves around the sun, creating alternating periods of light and darkness. God calls the light Day (Hebrew, yom), and the darkness Night (Hebrew, laylah).

Genesis 1:3–5; g91 6/8 12–15; ct 93–95; it CREATION.

Genesis 1:7: “Then God went on to make the expanse and divided the waters beneath the expanse from the waters above the expanse.”

God causes a separation or expanse (Hebrew, ra-qi'a) “between the waters and the waters.” The expanse that he calls Heaven (or Sky) begins developing between the waters on the surface of the earth and the waters that become suspended above the earth. Light continues to increase.

Genesis 1:6–8; Genesis 7:11 ftn.; g91 6/8 12–15; ct 95; it CREATION; EXPANSE.

Genesis 1:9: “Then God said: ‘Let the waters under the heavens be collected together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’”

God brings the waters on the earth together and dry land begins appearing, perhaps through the geologic movement of tectonic plates that push ocean ridges up to form the continents. Light continues to increase. There is no rain; at this point in earth’s preparation, “a mist would go up from the earth, and it watered the entire surface of the ground.”

The first and oldest geologic era in which no fossils are found is known as the Azoic era. The writer of Genesis does not deal with the time when early forms of microscopic algae and bacteria are created.

Genesis 1:11: “Then God said: ‘Let the earth cause grass to sprout, seed-bearing plants and fruit trees according to their kinds, yielding fruit along with seed on the earth.’”

The earth begins to produce “grass” and “seed-bearing plants” and “fruit trees according to their kinds.” The designation “grass” (from Hebrew deshe', meaning “grass, new grass, green herb, vegetation, young”) includes forbs and grass-like herbs in addition to the true grasses, which are the most abundant plants on earth (such as bamboo, barley, corn, millet, oats, rice, rye, sorghum, sugarcane, wheat, and meadow and pasture grasses).

Because sunlight is weaker, although gradually increasing, the types of vegetation produced at this early stage are no doubt quite different from the types of vegetation produced later on when light becomes brighter and other conditions on earth change. New varieties of plant life, the creation of which is only beginning on this third day, will likely continue appearing until the sixth creative day when “Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden” and “made to grow out of the ground every tree that was pleasing to look at and good for food.”

Genesis 1:9–13; 2:5–9; 2 Peter 3:5; ct 92–97; it CREATION; GRASS; KIND; MIST; w56 2/15 126; w53 9/15 573; g02 6/8 16–19; g91 6/8 12–15; g83 2/22 18–19; g77 6/22 16–21.

Genesis 1:14: “Then God said: ‘Let there be luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to make a division between the day and the night, and they will serve as signs for seasons and for days and years.’”

More concentrated sunlight reaches the surface of the earth as Jehovah “makes” the heavenly luminaries appear. (The word “makes” in Hebrew is a form of ‘a-sah', “to make,” in contrast to ba-ra', “to create.”) The sun and moon and stars now appear as the sources of the light (from Hebrew, ma-’ohr', referring to the source of light), that is, they become objects discernible from earth as the source of the light.

Besides shining as luminaries upon the earth and making a division between day and night, light and darkness, God says they “they will serve as signs for seasons and for days and years,” that is, they will serve as a means for man to keep a record of events in the passage of time.

Genesis 1:14–19; w99 6/1 3; g91 6/8 12–15; ct 93–95; it CREATION.

Genesis 1:20: “Then God said: ‘Let the waters swarm forth a swarm of living souls and let flying creatures fly over the earth upon the face of the expanse of the heavens.’”

God begins to create “living creatures” or “souls”: aquatic creatures, including the ”great sea creatures” or “monsters,” to swarm in the waters, and winged “flying creatures” to fly in the heavens. These “living creatures” are distinct from vegetation by being both “breathers” (the Hebrew word translated “soul” means “breather”) and “bleeders” (living souls have blood). “Flying creature” in Hebrew is ‘ohph, which includes winged insects, flying reptiles, and birds.

Some types of dinosaurs and pterosaurs may have been created during this time period; other types of dinosaurs may have been created during the sixth creative day. Fossils of early fish, early reptiles, winged insects, crustaceans, shellfish, and others appear in abundance during the Paleozoic era. The first fossils, such as crustaceans and shellfish, appear early in the Paleozoic era (Cambrian period); plants with woody stems appear in the mid-Paleozoic; and insect fossils are found in the upper Paleozoic.

Genesis 1:20–23; 9:4; ct 97; g91 6/8 12–15; g90 2/8 9–11; g83 2/22 18–19; it BIRDS; CREATION.

Genesis 1:24: “Then God said: ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds, domestic animals and creeping animals and wild animals of the earth according to their kinds.’”

God continues to form flying creatures. Land animals are created, both wild and domestic.

Dinosaur skeletons, the first birds, and small mammals are found in the Mesozoic era (Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods). Large, modern-type mammals are found in the succeeding Cenozoic era. (Scientists theorize that the extinction of the dinosaurs occurs between the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras.)

Regarding geologic evidence and Genesis chapter 1, Wallace Pratt said: “If I, as a geologist, were called upon to explain briefly our modern ideas of the origin of the earth and the development of life on it to a simple, pastoral people, such as the tribes to whom the Book of Genesis was addressed, I could hardly do better than follow rather closely much of the language of the first chapter of Genesis.”

Wallace Pratt, quoted by W. L. Copithorne, in “The Worlds of Wallace Pratt,” The Lamp, Fall 1971, p. 14.

Genesis 1:26: “Then God said: ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every creeping animal that is moving on the earth.’’

God prepares a garden in the area called Eden (“Pleasure; Delight”) for man and woman, both of whom he creates before the end of the sixth creative day.

Human fossils and artifacts are found in the Pleistocene, a later part of the Cenozoic era.

Genesis 1:24–30; 2:1–25; ct 101–2; Isaiah 45:18; g90 2/8 9–11; g83 2/22 18–19.

Genesis 1:31: “After that God saw everything he had made and, look! it was very good.”

41st CENTURY BCE   (4099–4000)

In This Century: During this 41st century BCE, Jehovah creates man. The sixth creative day continues at least until after the creation of Eve. The time of Eve’s creation is not stated in the Bible, nor does the Bible indicate whether man’s fall into sin occurs in this century soon after man’s creation, or in the next century.

4026 BCE - back

Adam Created: Adam, the “son of God,” is created in the fall, perhaps in the month of Ethanim (September/October). (Compare 2 BCE. See 1975 CE.)

it ADAM 1; ETHANIM; si 286.

Chronology: According to ancient Biblical reckoning, the year runs from autumn to autumn, beginning about the first part of our month of October. The year will continue to begin in the fall until the Exodus from Egypt in 1513 BCE, at which time a sacred year will begin to be counted as running from spring to spring, beginning with the month Nisan (Abib).

Genesis 1:24–31; Genesis 2:7–15; 18, 19; g91 6/8 12–15; it CREATION; EDEN 1; MAN.

After 4026 BCE - back

Naming the Flying Creatures and the Wild Beasts: Jehovah says: “It is not good for the man to continue to be alone. I am going to make a helper for him, as a complement of him.” Jehovah continues forming land animals and flying creatures and bringing them to Adam to be named, “and whatever the man would call each living creature, that became its name.” The time length for his naming of these animals is not given, but Adam needed enough time to study their characteristics in order to give them appropriate names. “But for man there was no helper as a complement of him.”

Genesis 2:19, 20; w63 4/1 223; si 287.

Eve Created: Jehovah now “caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took one of his ribs and then closed up the flesh over its place,” and “built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman.” When the woman is brought to Adam, he says: “This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” They are joined in marriage. After Eve’s creation, both are given the command at Genesis 1:26–28 to “be fruitful and become many, fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature.” Due to his subsequent disobedience and fall into sin, Adam will not live forever, but only 930 years, until 3096 BCE, or until after the birth of the ninth generation from himself, namely Lamech, the father of Noah.

Genesis 1:26–31; 2:7; 5:5; Matthew 19:4–6; Romans 5:12; it ADAM 1.

Genesis 2:1–4: “Thus the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed. And by the seventh day, God had completed the work that he had been doing, and he began to rest on the seventh day from all his work that he had been doing. And God went on to bless the seventh day and to declare it sacred, for on it God has been resting from all the work that he has created, all that he purposed to make. This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time they were created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.”

End of Sixth Day: The date for the end of the sixth creative day and the beginning of God’s day of rest from earth’s preparation for man’s habitation is not indicated in the Bible, but will occur sometime after Adam’s creation in 4026 BCE but before the births of Cain and Abel, whose birth dates are not revealed in the Bible.

Disobedience: After Eve, and then Adam, disobey Jehovah’s command not to eat the fruit of “the tree of the knowledge of good and bad,” so “Jehovah God expelled him from the garden of Eden.” This occurs “in order that he [the man] may not put his hand out and take fruit also from the tree of life and eat and live forever.”

Genesis 3:22; Genesis 2:9; Romans 5:12.

Regarding the meaning of eating from the “tree of the knowledge of good and bad” (or “good and evil” in some translations), the footnote for Genesis 2:17 in The Jerusalem Bible says:

This knowledge is a privilege which God reserves to himself and which man, by sinning, is to lay hands on, 3:5, 22. Hence it does not mean omniscience, which fallen man does not possess; nor is it moral discrimination, for unfallen man already had it and God could not refuse it to a rational being. It is the power of deciding for himself what is good and what is evil and of acting accordingly, a claim to complete moral independence by which man refuses to recognise his status as a created being. The first sin was an attack on God’s sovereignty, a sin of pride. . . .

Curse on the Ground: Due to Adam’s disobedience, Jehovah God says to Adam: “Cursed is the ground on your account. In pain you will eat its produce all the days of your life. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, and you must eat the vegetation of the field. In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken.” This curse will not be lifted until the waters of the Flood subside in 2369 BCE. Jehovah tells Adam: “For dust you are and to dust you will return.” Cherubs guard the way to the tree of life within the garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:17–19, 22–24; 5:22; 8:21; w75 11/1 664–66.

Cain and Abel Born: Adam becomes father to his first son Cain (meaning, “Something Produced”), who is born at an unspecified date after Adam and Eve are expelled from Eden. Cain becomes “a cultivator of the ground.” Adam becomes father to another son, Abel (possibly meaning, “Exhalation; Vanity”), who becomes the first man of faith. (Hebrews 11:4) The date of his birth is not indicated in the Bible. Abel becomes “a shepherd of the flock.” (See the article about Abel in w13 1/1 pp. 12–14, “Imitate Their Faith — ‘He, Although He Died, Yet Speaks.’” Read online.)

Genesis 4:1, 2; it ABEL 1; CAIN.

Memories of Paradise: Various ancient memories of Eden will be passed on in the legends and religious ideas of the Babylonians, Assyrians, Sumerians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Syrians, Persians, Greeks, Sicilians, Mayans, Mexicans (Aztecs), Javanese, Japanese, Chinese, the natives of India, North American Indians, and the peoples of the Pacific. The Encyclopedia of Religion says: “The nostalgia for paradise is among the powerful nostalgias that seem to haunt human beings. It may be the most powerful and persistent of all. A certain longing for paradise is evidenced at every level of religious life.”

w94 4/1 4; g79 8/8 5; g70 3/22 16–20; ip-1 369.

Sacred Secret: Satan tempts Eve. Eve, then Adam, sin by eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. Although Adam and Eve are expelled from the garden of Eden, Jehovah makes the Edenic covenant, promising a deliverer “Seed,” or “offspring,” the identity of which will remain a “sacred secret” for about 4,000 years. Throughout the centuries, true religion will be centered upon this promise. (See Sacred Secret at 1943 BCE and 1997 CE.)

Genesis 3:1–15; COVENANT (The Edenic Promise); EDEN 1; SEED (A Sacred Secret); w97 6/1 16 (chart); w89 2/1 10–11.

40th CENTURY BCE   (3999–3900)

In This Century: Some of the events following the creation of Adam that are listed in the 41st century BCE — such as when Eve was created, when the sixth creative day came to an end and God’s seventh day of rest began, when Adam and Eve fell into sin, and when Cain and Abel were born — may have occurred in this 40th century BCE. Also some of the events listed in the 39th century BCE — such as the murder of Abel and the banishment of Cain — may have occurred in this century. There is no way of knowing any of this at the present time because the Bible does not give us any way of arriving at these dates.

39th CENTURY BCE   (3899–3800)

In This Century: During this 39th century BCE, Seth is born to Adam and Eve. Other sons and daughters of Adam and Eve are also born, but the Bible does not give their names or the times of their births. Seth is the only son of Adam whose year of birth can be determined.

Pre-Flood Developments: In this century and in the following centuries, skills and occupations will include agriculture (Cain), animal husbandry (Abel, Jabal), tent-making (Jabal), urbanization or city-building (Cain), and metallurgy — tools are forged from copper and iron (Tubal-cain) many centuries before secular history records the use of these metals in Greece and China. Fire, needed for forging iron, is known. There is also the making and “handling” of musical instruments — harps and pipes or flutes (Jubal). Alcoholic beverages are known. Bitumen is used for waterproofing, and considerable architectural ability is shown (Noah and the ark). Perhaps alphabetic writing is known.

Genesis 4:2–4,17–22; 6:14–16; Matthew 24:38; g60 3/8 12; it ABEL 1; CAIN; COPPER; HARP; IRON; JABAL; JUBAL; MUSIC; NOAH (NOAH’s INTOXICATION); PIPE; SHEPHERD; TENT; TUBAL-CAIN; WRITING; w02 3/1 5–6; w65 3/15 191.

Before 3896 BCE - back

Cain and Abel: Cain and Abel bring offerings to Jehovah, who accepts that of Abel, but rejects that of Cain. Because Abel is righteous, Cain slays him, thus making Abel the first martyr and object of religious persecution. Cain is cursed by Jehovah and banished from the ground to the “land of Exile” (aka Nod), “to the east of Eden.” Cain builds a city (perhaps a fortified village) that he names Enoch, after one of his sons.

Genesis 4:3–17; Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12; it ABEL 1; CAIN; ENOCH 1; ENOCH 3; FUGITIVENESS, LAND OF; w13 1/1 12–15 “Imitate Their Faith: Abel: ‘He, Although He Died, Yet Speaks’”; w10 9/1 25 “Our Readers Ask — Where did Cain find his wife?”; w74 11/1 665.

3896 BCE - back

Seth Born: Adam, age 130, becomes father to Seth. Although Adam and Eve have other sons and daughters — and perhaps some children other than Cain and Abel are born before Seth — it is Seth who is noteworthy because he is part of the line from Adam to Noah and is therefore in the common ancestral line of all mankind born on earth after the Flood. Seth is the only son of Adam and Eve whose birth year can be determined. He will live 912 years, until 2984 BCE, which is after Enoch died in 3039 BCE.

Genesis 5:3–8; it SETH.

38th CENTURY BCE   (3799–3700)

In This Century: During this 38th century BCE, Enosh and Kenan, third and fourth generation in the line from Adam, are born. During the lifetime of Enosh, either sometime in this century or in the following nine centuries, people begin using God’s name in a profane way, either by applying Jehovah’s name to themselves or to other men whom they use to pretend approach to God in worship, or by applying his name to idols.

w01 9/15 29.

3791 BCE - back

Enosh Born: Seth, age 105, becomes father to Enosh, who is the third generation in the line from Adam to Noah. He will live 905 years, until 2886 BCE. During the days of Enosh “people began calling on the name of Jehovah,” or according to the Jerusalem Targum, “they began to err, and to make themselves idols, and surnamed their idols by the name of the Word of the Lord.”

Genesis 4:26; Genesis 5:6, 9–11; it APPROACH TO GOD (Through Faith, Right Works, and Sacrifices); ENOSH; IDOL, IDOLATRY; SETH.

3761 BCE - back

Anno Mundi: According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971), the Era of the Creation begins this year, on October 7. Jewish belief, like that of Christendom, has the world being created in six literal days, so therefore Adam, they believe, was created this year, in the same year as the creation of the world. Jews date events by how many years have elapsed since 3761 BCE, the Era of the Creation. Dates are designated with the abbreviation A.M., which stands for anno mundi, or “year of the world,” an abbreviated form of ab creatione mundi, “from the creation of the world.”

See webexhibits.org/calendars/calendar-jewish.html.

See www.pbs.org/teachersource/mathline/concepts/y2k/activity2.shtm.

w94 7/15 28–30.

3701 BCE - back

Kenan Born: Enosh, age 90, becomes father to Kenan, who is the fourth generation in the line from Adam to Noah. Kenan will live 910 years, until 2791 BCE. The Bible writer Luke lists Kenan as Cainan.

Genesis 5:9, 12–14; Luke 3:37, 38; it KENAN.

37th CENTURY BCE   (3699–3600)

In This Century: Four generationsare living during this 37th century BCE: Adam, Seth, Enosh, and Kenan, and a fifth, Mahalalel, is born.

3631 BCE - back

Mahalalel Born: Kenan, age 70, becomes father to Mahalalel, who is the fifth generation in the line from Adam to Noah. Mahalalel will live 895 years, until 2736 BCE.

Genesis 5:12, 15–17; it MAHALALEL 1.

36th CENTURY BCE  (3599–3500)

In This Century: Five generations are living during this 36th century BCE: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, and Mahalalel, and a sixth, Jared, is born.

3566 BCE - back

Jared Born: Mahalalel, age 65, becomes father to Jared, who is the sixth generation in the line from Adam to Noah. He will live 962 years, until 2604 BCE. After Methuselah, Jared’s life span will be the second longest recorded in the Bible.

Genesis 5:15, 18–20; it JARED.

35th CENTURY BCE   (3499–3400)

In This Century: Six generations are living during this 35th century BCE: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, and Jared, and a seventh, Enoch, is born.

Possibly it is in this century or the next that the first recorded instance of polygyny occurs when Lamech takes two wives. He is a seventh-generation descendant of Adam through Cain. (This Lamech should not be confused with the other pre-Flood Lamech, a ninth-generation descendant of Adam through Seth, and the father of Noah.)

A violent spirit exists in the earth. Lamech kills a man, as did his forefather Cain, but he pleads self-defense. Also, at some point during the next four centuries, Enoch will begin prophesying about the execution of judgment to come against “ungodly” people when Jehovah convicts them for their “ungodly deeds” and their “shocking” speech against him. (Jude 14, 15)

Genesis 4:19–24; it LAMECH 1.

3404 BCE - back

Enoch Born: Jared, age 162, becomes father to Enoch, who is the seventh generation in the line from Adam to Noah. (Jude 14) He will live 365 years, until 3039 BCE. Enoch is the second person recorded with the name Enoch (see Before 3896 BCE). Righteous Enoch continues “to walk with the true God for 300 years” and prophesies about the coming destruction of the wicked. (Jude 14, 15)

Genesis 5:18, 21–24; w01 9/15 29; it ENOCH 1, 2; po 68.

34th CENTURY BCE   (3399–3300)

In This Century: Seven generations are living during this 34th century BCE: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, and Enoch, and an eighth, Methuselah, is born. Likely, many wicked events listed in the 35th Century BCE and the 38th Century BCE are also occurring during this century.

3339 BCE - back

Methuselah Born: Enoch, age 65, becomes father to Methuselah, who is the eighth generation in the line from Adam to Noah. He will live 969 years, until 2370 BCE, the year of the Flood. Methuselah has the longest life span recorded in the Bible, which is the basis for the descriptive idiom “old as Methuselah.” (See “Old as Methuselah.”)

Genesis 5:21, 25–27; it METHUSELAH.

33rd CENTURY BCE   (3299–3200)

In This Century: Eight generations are living during this 33rd century BCE: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah. No births, deaths, or other events are recorded in the Bible during this century; however, many wicked deeds and violence are probably occurring during this century, and Enoch may already be prophesying against this wickedness. (Jude 14, 15)

32nd CENTURY BCE   (3199–3100)

In This Century: Eight generations are living during this 32nd century BCE: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, and a ninth, Lamech, is born.

3152 BCE - back

Lamech Born: Methuselah, age 187, becomes father to Lamech, who is the ninth generation in the line from Adam to Noah. He will live 777 years, until 2375 BCE, or until five years before the Flood that begins in 2370 BCE. Lamech is the second person on record with the name Lamech.

Genesis 5:25, 28–31; it LAMECH 1, 2.

31st CENTURY BCE   (3099–3000)

In This Century: At the beginning of this 31st century BCE, nine generations from Adam are living: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, and Lamech. Soon after this century begins, the first man Adam dies. Later, Lamech’s grandfather Enoch (seventh) dies, likely “taken” to escape death from assassination meant to stop his prophesying about Jehovah’s coming judgment against the ungodly.

Genesis 5:5; 21–24; Jude 14, 15; it ENOCH 2; w85 9/1 3.

3096 BCE - back

Adam Dies: Adam, created in 4026 BCE, dies at age 930, condemned by the example of Enoch who was his contemporary for 308 years and who, unlike Adam, “continued to walk with the true God.”

Genesis 5:5, 22; it ADAM 1.

3039 BCE - back

Enoch Dies: Enoch, the seventh from Adam and a prophet of Jehovah, dies at age 365. He was born in 3404 BCE. Enoch does not ‘go to heaven,’ but is “transferred so as not to see death,” that is, he does not experience the pangs of death. He is “no more, for God took him.” Jehovah disposes of Enoch’s body, just as he later does with Moses’ body. (See 1473 BCE.)

Genesis 5:21–24; Deuteronomy 34:6; Matthew 11:11; John 3:13; Hebrews 11:5, 13, 39; Jude 9; w01 9/15 31; w62 3/1 159–60; it ENOCH 2.

30th CENTURY BCE   (2999–2900)

In This Century: At the beginning of this 30th century BCE, Seth (2), Enosh (3), Kenan (4), Mahalalel (5), Jared (6), Methuselah (8), and Lamech (9) are living, but Seth (2) dies, and Noah (the tenth generation from Adam) is born. The problem of wresting a living from the earth due to Jehovah’s curse on the ground, a curse given about a thousand years previously, is addressed when Noah’s father Lamech prophesies relief from the curse.

Genesis 3:17–19; Genesis 5:29; it LAMECH 2.

2984 BCE - back

Seth Dies: Seth dies at age 912. He was born in 3896 BCE and was the third named son of Adam. He was also the only offspring of Adam and Eve for which a birth year can be determined.

Genesis 5:3–8; it SETH.

2970 BCE - back

Noah Born: Lamech, age 182, becomes father to Noah, who is the tenth generation in the line from Adam. Noah is born only 126 years after the death of Adam. Noah will live 950 years, until 2020 BCE, which is only two years before the birth of Abraham. At his birth, Noah’s father Lamech prophesies that Noah, whose name means “Rest; Consolation,” will “bring us comfort from our labor and from the painful toil of our hands because of the ground that Jehovah has cursed.” It will be about 600 years before this prophecy is fulfilled. (See 2369 BCE.) Noah’s first 84 years of life overlap the last 84 years of Adam’s grandson Enosh.

Genesis 5:28, 29; 9:28, 29; it LAMECH 2; NOAH; w75 664–66.

29th CENTURY BCE   (2899–2800)

In This Century: At the beginning of this 29th century BCE, Enosh (3), Kenan (4), Mahalalel (5), Jared (6), Methuselah (8), Lamech (9), and ------Noah (10) are living, but Enosh (3) dies during this century.

2886 BCE - back

Enosh Dies: Enosh dies at age 905. He was born in 3791 BCE and was the son of Seth and third in the line from Adam to Noah.

Genesis 5:6, 9–11; it ENOSH; SETH.

28th CENTURY BCE   (2799–2700)

In This Century: At the beginning of this 28th century BCE, Kenan (4), Mahalalel (5), Jared (6), Methuselah (8), Lamech (9), and Noah (10) are living, but Kenan (4) and Mahalalel (5) die during this century.

2791 BCE - back

Kenan Dies: Kenan dies at age 910. He was born in 3701 BCE and was the son of Enosh and fourth in the line from Adam to Noah.

Genesis 5:9–14; it KENAN.

2736 BCE - back

Mahalalel Dies: Mahalalel dies at age 895. He was born in 3631 BCE and was the son of Kenan and fifth in the line from Adam to Noah.

Genesis 5:12–17; it MAHALALEL 1.

27th CENTURY BCE   (2699–2600)

In This Century: At the beginning of this 27th century BCE, Jared (6), Methuselah (8), Lamech (9), and Noah (10) are living, but Jared (6) dies during this century.

2698 BCE - back

Chronology: The traditional Chinese compute time from this year, the beginning of the reign of Huang-Ti, the Yellow Emperor.

Echoes From Old China, chapter 4; w94 7/15 28.

2604 BCE - back

Jared Dies: Jared dies at age 962. He was born in 3566 BCE and was sixth in the line from Adam to Noah. Jared was the son of Mahalalel and the father of righteous Enoch. He is second only to his grandson Methuselah in recorded longevity. Jared and Methuselah both lived longer than Adam, who died at age 930.

Genesis 5:15–20; it JARED.

26th CENTURY BCE   (2599–2500)

In This Century: During this 26th century BCE, Methuselah (8), Lamech (9), and Noah (10) are living.

25th CENTURY BCE   (2499–2400)

2490 - 2470

In This Century: During this 25th century BCE, Methuselah (8), Lamech (9), and Noah (10) are living. Violence fills the earth. Noah becomes “a preacher of righteousness,” warning of the coming destruction, but the people “took no note until the Flood came and swept them all away.” Jesus will later refer to the circumstances in the days of Noah as a parallel for the attitude of people during his royal presence.

During this century (and perhaps even before this century), disobedient angels materialize and marry women and produce the giant hybrid Nephilim, bullies who cause much violence in the earth. Jehovah determines how long before he will destroy wicked mankind, namely, 120 years. (See 2490 BCE.) During this century, Noah’s three sons are born and marry, and Jehovah makes a covenant with Noah to build an ark (a rectangular vessel or chest, not a boat) for survival.

Genesis 6:1–13; Matthew 24:3, 37–39; Luke 17:26, 27; 2 Peter 2:4, 5; w08 6/1 4–5, (subheading) “Demons Come to Earth”; it PREACHER.

2490 BCE - back

120 Years: Jehovah pronounces that man’s “days will amount to 120 years.” Evidently, Noah is not informed of this time schedule, but learns of it only one week before the Deluge begins. See 2370 BCE.

Genesis 6:3; w98 9/15 10–11 pars. 5–7.

Angels and Nephilim: Angels have been materializing and marrying women and producing offspring. These fallen angels (demons) and their hybrid offspring, the Nephilim (possibly meaning “Fellers,” that is, “those who cause others to fall down”), will continue causing trouble for another 120 years until the Deluge. Violence and sex perversion abound. The Greek myths and legends of gods and goddesses that develop many centuries later likely originate from distorted accounts of these angels and the Nephilim.

Genesis 6:1–7; 1 Peter 3:19, 20; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; w00 4/15 27–28; it GREECE (Greek Religion); NEPHILIM.

2470 BCE - back

Japheth Born: Noah, age 500, becomes father to Japheth. Japheth is probably the oldest son, Shem the second, and Ham the youngest.

Genesis 5:32; 7:6; 9:22–24; 10:21; 11:10; it HAM 1; JAPHETH; SHEM.

2468 BCE - back

Shem Born: Noah, age 502, becomes father to Shem. Shem will live 600 years, until 1868 BCE, which is after Sarah dies and Isaac marries Rebekah. Shem is listed in the lineage of the Messiah at Luke 3:36. The Israelites will descend from Shem’s line.

Genesis 6:10; 7:11; 11:10; it SHEM.

After 2468 BCE - back

Ham Born: In an unspecified year, likely sometime after Shem’s birth, Noah becomes father to Ham.

Genesis 6:10; 9:24; it HAM 1; SHEM.

Noachian Covenant: At some point after Noah’s sons are married, Jehovah makes a covenant with Noah: he is to build an enormous ark (chest) to preserve his family and representative animal life through the coming destructive Deluge or Flood. This covenant with Noah will be completely fulfilled in 2369 BCE. Likely, Noah and his family will spend 40 to 50 years building the ark. The ark will nearly equal the displacement of the Titanic. Noah condemns the ungodly world, for he is a man of faith and “a preacher of righteousness.”

Genesis 6:17–21; 8:15–17; Hebrews 11:7; 2 Peter 2:5; w13 8/1 14; w98 9/15 10–11; w89 10/1 10–15; w52 432–4; it ARK 1; COVENANT (Covenant With Noah); DELUGE; NOAH 1.

24th CENTURY BCE   (2399–2300)

2380 - 2370 - 2340 - 2310

In This Century: At the beginning of this 24th century BCE — the century of the Deluge, or Flood — Methuselah (8), Lamech (9), Noah (10), and Noah’s three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth are living, but Methuselah (8) and Lamech (9) die shortly before the Flood. After the Flood, three generations of descendants will be born to Shem during this century.

Noah’s Descendants: All mankind living on earth after the Flood will come from Noah, the first patriarch of post-Flood society, through his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Genesis 9:18, 19; chapter 10; it Vol. I, p. 329, CHART: “Origin of Nations”; NOAH 1.

Shem and Semitic Peoples: The descendants of Shem (all Semitic peoples) will include those through Eber (Hebrews); those who settle in Arabia through Eber’s son Joktan; and those who settle in Mesopotamia through Eber’s son Peleg. Others of Shem’s descendants will include the early Chaldeans; the Elamites through Elam; the Assyrians through Asshur; the Aramaeans and/or Syrians through Aram; and the Lydians through Lud.

it ARAM 1; ASSHUR 1; EBER 1; ELAM 1; LUD 1; SHEM.

Ham and Hamitic Peoples: The descendants of Ham will include the Ethiopians (the descendants of Cush, one of Ham’s sons); the Egyptians; the Canaanites; the Philistines; the Hittites; and some of the Arabian and African tribes.

rs 303; it CANAAN 1; CUSH 1, 2; HAM 1; MIZRAIM; PUT.

Japheth and Japhetic Peoples: The descendants of Japheth will include the Aryan or Indo-European (Indo-Germanic) peoples who generally settle to the north and west of the Fertile Crescent, and spread eastward into Central Asia, westward through Asia Minor to the islands and coastlands of Europe, and along the Mediterranean perhaps all the way to Spain. They will include the Armenians; the Chinese; the Greeks, through Javan; the Medes; the Phyrgians (King Midas); and the pre-Spanish.

it GOMER; JAPHETH; JAVAN; MADAI; MAGOG 1; MESHECH; PHRYGIA; TIRAS.

Life Spans: Beginning later in this century, the genealogical line that leads from Noah to Abraham and eventually to Christ Jesus begins to develop much more rapidly than in pre-Flood years, due to decreasing life spans and earlier ages of fathering the next generation. The average life span of the nine men in the line from Adam to Noah (excluding Enoch) is 912 years; the average life span of the ten men from Shem to Abraham is 317 years.

it DELUGE.

2375 BCE - back

Lamech Dies: Lamech dies at age 777, five years before the Flood. He was born in 3152 BCE, the son of Methuselah and the father of Noah, and ninth in the line from Adam to Noah. The Bible does not indicate whether or not any of the other sons and daughters of Lamech (Genesis 5:30), thus the brothers and sisters of Noah, were alive at the time of the Flood.

Genesis 5:25–31; it LAMECH 2.

2370 BCE - back

Methuselah Dies: Methuselah, age 969, the grandfather of Noah, dies in the year of the Flood, but apparently not in the Flood. He was born in 3339 BCE, the son of righteous Enoch. He is the oldest human on record, and eighth in the line from Adam to Noah. Methuselah’s son Lamech died five years before he did. The Bible does not indicate whether or not any of the other sons and daughters of Methuselah (Genesis 5:26), thus the uncles and aunts of Noah, were alive at the time of the Flood.

Genesis 5:21–27; it METHUSELAH.

The Flood or Deluge: The Flood begins on the 17th day of the month of Bul, later called Marheshvan or Heshvan (October/November). The materialized angels dematerialize and return to the spirit realm; their hybrid offspring, the Nephilim, are destroyed in the Flood.

Genesis 7:11 says that the “floodgates of the heavens were opened.” The waters that were suspended in the upper atmosphere above the earth during the second creative day begin to pour down upon the earth, possibly as if through floodgates into channels, such as at the poles, and also as rainfall. The weight of the water causes considerable tectonic movements, and the shifting and buckling of earth’s crust generates huge destructive tsunami waves. “And the rain poured down on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights.”

Noah is 600 years old, Japheth 100, and Shem 98. Noah will live for 350 years after the Flood, or until after the attempted building of the Tower of Babel and the confusion of the languages and the resultant scattering of mankind.

Genesis 6:13–22; 7:1–24; w08 6/1 8; w84 3/1 5; w62 9/15 575; g75 6/8 5–8; g68 10/22 13–16; it BUL; DELUGE; NOAH 1.

2369 BCE - back

The Flood Subsides: After five months, in the month of Nisan (March/April), the ark comes to rest on a mountain of Ararat. After a year and ten days, again in the month of Bul (October/November), the water has subsided enough that the people and animals can leave the ark.

Genesis chapter 8; it BUL.

Noachian Covenant: The pre-Flood covenant made with Noah (see After 2468 BCE) is now completely fulfilled. Jehovah blesses the Flood survivors and tells them to fill the earth. Animals are now allowed as food for man, but eating their lifeblood is forbidden. Capital punishment is instituted. The Rainbow Covenant is made. The curse on the ground is lifted. (See After 4026 BCE and 2970 BCE.)

Genesis chapter 9; it COVENANT (Covenant With Noah), (Rainbow Covenant); RAINBOW; w75 664–66.

Geologic Changes: The climate has changed. No longer is it uniformly warm and mild as in the pre-Flood years. The surface of the earth has also changed: the mountains are much higher, the oceans deeper, with much of this Flood water still remaining today. Some 71 percent of Earth’s surface is now covered by water.

w08 6/1 w68 7/15 419–23; gm 112–13; nh 52.

Flood Legends: Flood stories will be passed on for millenniums in nearly all nations. It is estimated that over 500 Flood legends are still told by more than 250 tribes and peoples. (Some sources list even hundreds more than this.)

w07 6/1 6 box; w02 1/15 5–8; w02 3/1 3–7; w96 9/15 25; it I-328 FLOOD LEGENDS.

False Religious Celebrations: The death of the condemned Flood victims will be commemorated, either knowingly or unknowingly, in the unscriptural observances of the “Feast of Ancestors,” the “Festival of the Dead,” and “All Souls’ Day” (November 2).

w02 3/1 4; w92 1/15 3–8; it DELUGE (Flood Legends); rs HOLIDAYS.

After 2369 BCE - back

Noah and His Pronouncements on His Children: Noah plants a vineyard, drinks the fermented product, becomes intoxicated, and ‘uncovers himself in the midst of his tent.’ While Noah is asleep, Ham and perhaps Canaan, Ham’s son, become implicated in some sort of disrespect to Noah. Ham tells his two brothers about Noah’s nakedness, but Shem and Japheth cover their father’s nakedness with a mantle.

When Noah wakes from his wine and learns about the incident, he curses Canaan (likely due to Canaan’s sexual abuse or perversion toward Noah) and condemns Canaan to slave for Shem and Japheth. Noah praises Jehovah, the God of Shem, and requests that God “grant ample space” to Japheth, whose name means “May He grant ample space.” This name appears to indicate that Japheth’s descendants would be spread over a wide area. Canaan’s curse has a major fulfillment in the fifteenth century BCE when the Semitic Israelites subjugate the Canaanites, and even later when the Canaanites come under the domination of the Japhetic powers of Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

Genesis 9:20–27; Joshua 9:23; it CANAAN 1, 2; CURSE; JAPHETH; NOAH 1.

Circa 2368 BCE - back

Arpachshad Born: Shem, age 100, becomes father to Arpachshad two years after the Flood. He will live 438 years, until 1930 BCE, or until two years after Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar, is born. Arpachshad is listed in the lineage of the Messiah at Luke 3:36. Arpachshad is the second generation from Noah and is the ancestor of the Hebrews through his grandson Eber. NOTE: After the Flood, the Bible begins the count of generations from Noah to Abraham by counting Shem, not Noah, as the first generation.

Genesis 10:22; 11:10–13; it ARPACHSHAD.

2333 BCE - back

Shelah Born: Arpachshad, age 35, becomes father to Shelah, who is the third generation from Noah. Shelah will live 433 years, until 1900 BCE, which is after Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah, is born. Luke 2:36 adds an intervening generation here in the lineage of the Messiah, listing Cainan as the son of Arpachshad and father of Shelah, but this is likely a copyist’s interpolation.

Genesis 10:24; 11:12–15; 1 Chronicles 1:18, 24; Luke 3:36; it CAINAN 1, 2; GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST; SHELAH.

2303 BCE - back

Eber Born: Shelah, age 30, becomes father to Eber, who is the fourth generation from Noah and the forefather of the Hebrews. Eber will live 464 years, until 1839 BCE, which is four years after Abraham dies. Eber is listed in the lineage of the Messiah at Luke 3:35.

Genesis 11:14–17; it EBER 1.

23rd CENTURY BCE   (2299–2200)

2270 - 2240 - 2210

In This Century: At the beginning of this 23rd century BCE, four generations from Noah are living, Noah, Shem (1), Arpachshad (2), Shelah (3), and Eber (4), and three more are born, Peleg (5), Reu (6), and Serug (7).

Archaeology: Discoveries of ancient civilizations after the Flood show that the people were highly developed in agriculture, architecture, astronomy, mathematics, metallurgy, refrigeration, and other fields, sometimes rivaling or exceeding the skills of the twentieth century CE. For a fascinating discussion of some advancements of ancient mankind, see the article “The Very Stones Cry Out!” in the 1953 Awake!

g53 6/22 8–13.

Language Confusion: When Jehovah confuses the languages among the rebellious at Babel (year unknown, but probably in this century), they begin to scatter. Faithful Noah and Shem likely continue speaking a form of the language originally given to Adam, which is later called Hebrew. In the years to come, in Burma, Siberia, among the early Aztecs, Maya, and Maidu Indians of California, and in many other cultures, legends tell of an ancient time when people live together and speak one language, build a tower (or some equivalent structure), then are scattered and begin speaking many languages.

See, for example: www.varchive.org/itb/confus.htm;
ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/CW_Arnhem/version2/Gen11/Language.htm.

Flood Legends and False Religious Concepts: Numerous Flood legends around the earth indirectly confirm the Biblical account of the common origin of man, with the subsequent scattering of men who begin to speak different languages. From Babel, they carry their Flood and Tower stories with them, embellishing and distorting them until they reach the status of cultural legend and myth. In addition, the land of Shinar is the birthplace of many false religious concepts such as rule by a powerful priesthood; trinities or triads of gods; the human soul surviving death; spiritism; use of images in worship; and the use of spells to placate demons. These and other concepts gradually spread around the earth as the people scatter from the confusion at Babel and develop various branches of religious beliefs.

Genesis 10:6–12; 11:1–9; re 236; it ACCAD; ASSYRIA; BABE; BABYLON; CALAH; CALNEH 1; DELUGE; ERECH; GODS AND GODDESSES; HEBREW II (Origin of the Hebrew Language); LANGUAGE; NIMROD; NINEVEH; NOAH 1 (Nimrod’s Rebellion); RESEN; REHOBOTH-IR; SHINAR; w02 3/1 3–7; g89 1/22 21; sh 68; re 189 par. 12.

2269 BCE - back

Peleg Born: Eber, age 34, becomes father to Peleg, who is the fifth generation from Noah. Peleg will live 239 years, until 2030 BCE. Peleg is listed in the lineage of the Messiah at Luke 3:35. It is possible that the building of Babel and its tower begins this year under the direction of Nimrod. Peleg’s name means “Division,” and at some point during his lifetime the earth is “divided,” that is, God confuses the language of the rebellious builders of the tower at Babel (“Confusion”) so that “they may not understand one another’s language,” and mankind is scattered “over all the surface of the earth.”

Genesis 10:25; 11:1–9; 16–19; w13 2/15 7; it BABEL; BABYLON; EBER 1; LANGUAGE; PELEG.

Nimrod’s Kingdom: During Nimrod’s lifetime, the political “wild beast” of Revelation 13:1, 2 begins emerging. Nimrod, a son of Cush and grandson of Ham, establishes a kingdom in Shinar (Babylonia or southern Mesopotamia) with cities at Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh. Nimrod, a Hamite, also invades the Semite territory of Asshur, which is Assyria (northern Iraq), where he builds the cities of Nineveh with its suburb cities of Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and Resen. The Bible reports that Nimrod attempts to build a city and a tower at Babel in order to “make a celebrated name for ourselves, so that we will not be scattered over the entire surface of the earth.” As this is in direct opposition to Jehovah’s express command at Genesis 9:1, 7 to Noah and his sons (which included Ham, Nimrod’s grandfather), Jehovah intervenes at Babel by confusing their language. This results in stopping their building and scattering the builders.

Genesis 10:8–10; 11:1–9; w78 6/15 14; w66 4/15 241; re 189.

Archaeology: A fragment later found north of the temple of Marduk in excavations of the ancient city of Babylon relates to the fall of a ziggurat: “The building of this temple offended the gods. In a night they threw down what had been built. They scattered them abroad, and made strange their speech. The progress they impeded.”

Bible and Spade, by S.L. Caiger, 1938, p. 29, as quoted in Insight ARCHAEOLOGY “Babylonia.”

2239 BCE - back

Reu Born: Peleg, age 30, becomes father to Reu, who is the sixth generation from Noah. Reu will live 239 years, until 2000 BCE, or until after the birth of Abraham. Reu is listed in the lineage of the Messiah at Luke 3:35.

Genesis 11:18–21; it REU.

2207 BCE - back

Serug Born: Reu, age 32, becomes father to Serug, who is the seventh generation from Noah. Serug will live 230 years, until 1977 BCE. Serug is listed in the lineage of the Messiah at Luke 3:35.

Genesis 11:20–23; it SERUG.

22nd CENTURY BCE   (2199–2100)

2180 - 2150

In This Century: During this 22nd century BCE, seven generations from Noah are living, Noah, Shem (1), Arpachshad (2), Shelah (3), Eber (4), Peleg (5), Reu (6), and Serug (7), and two more are born, Nahor (8), and Terah (9).

Population Numbers: A conservative estimate of the population reached 180 years after the Flood (that is, near the beginning of this century) is over 4,000 adult males, not counting women and children. But see also the calculations for the increase in the nation of Israel while in captivity in Egypt during a similar length of time, an increase of millions rather than thousands.

it CHRONOLOGY (From 2370 BCE to covenant with Abraham), EXODUS (Extraordinary increase).

2177 BCE - back

Nahor, Grandfather of Abraham, Born: Serug, age 30, becomes father to Nahor, who is the eighth generation from Noah. Nahor will live 148 years, until 2029 BCE. Nahor is listed in the lineage of the Messiah at Luke 3:34. Nahor will have a grandson also named Nahor, who is the brother of Abraham.

Genesis 11:22–26; it NAHOR 1, 2.

2148 BCE - back

Terah Born: Nahor, age 29, becomes father to Terah, who is the ninth generation from Noah. Terah will live 205 years, until 1943 BCE. Terah is listed in the lineage of the Messiah at Luke 3:34. Terah resides at Ur of the Chaldeans and perhaps worships the favorite deity of Ur, the moon-god Nanna (or Sin), and he may have been an idol-maker. Terah will have children by at least two women (or perhaps three). There is a span of some 60 years between the births of Terah’s first son Haran, born in 2078 BCE, and Abram (later named Abraham), born in 2018 BCE, which may indicate two different mothers. Also Abram’s mother is not the mother of Sarai (later named Sarah), who is his half-sister born 10 years after Abram (Genesis 20:12).

Genesis 11:24–32; Joshua 24:2, 14, 15; g88 5/22 25–27; it GODS AND GODDESSES (Babylonian Deities); TERAH 1; UR; Wikipedia, “Sin.”

21st CENTURY BCE   (2099–2000)

2080 - 2030 - 2020 - 2010 - 2000

In This Century: At the beginning of this 21st century BCE, nine generations from Noah are living: Noah, Shem (1), Arpachshad (2), Shelah (3), Eber (4), Peleg (5), Reu (6), Serug (7), Nahor (8), and Terah (9). During this century Noah, Peleg (5), Reu (6), and Nahor (8) die.

Terah’s Descendants: Terah has three sons named in the Bible: Abram (later named Abraham), Nahor, and Haran, and a daughter, Sarai (later named Sarah), who are the tenth generation from Noah. They and their descendants will play a major role in the Bible drama for centuries to come.

Language: In Mesopotamia, the lingua franca of the ancient world at this time is Akkadian (Assyro-Babylonian). Aramaic, a language related to Hebrew, will later replace Akkadian.

it LANGUAGE.

Archaeology (Bethel): In Canaan, later archaeological excavations suggest that the city of Bethel in Canaan will be settled during this century. (See 1781 BCE and Before 1750 BCE.)

it BETHEL.

2078 BCE - back

Haran Born: Terah, age 70, becomes father to Haran, who is the tenth generation from Noah. Haran will become father to Lot and two daughters, Iscah and Milcah. Haran will die in Ur of the Chaldeans before Terah and Abram leave the city.

Genesis 11:26–31; it HARAN 1; TERAH 1.

2030 BCE - back

Peleg Dies: Peleg, the son of Eber and father of Reu, dies at age 239. He was born in 2269 BCE and was the fifth generation from Noah.

Genesis 11:16–19; it PELEG.

2029 BCE - back

Nahor Dies: Nahor (grandfather of Abraham), son of Serug and father of Terah, dies at age 148. He was born in 2177 BCE and was the eighth generation from Noah.

Genesis 11:22–25; it NAHOR 1.

2020 BCE - back

Noah Dies: Noah, son of Lamech and father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, dies at age 950. Born in 2970 BCE, he was the first great patriarch of the post-Flood society and the common ancestor of all mankind born after the Flood.

Genesis 9:28, 29; it NOAH 1; w52 7/15 432–34.

2018 BCE - back

Abraham Born: Terah, age 130, becomes father to Abram (later named Abraham), who is the tenth generation from Noah. Abram is born in Ur of the Chaldeans only two years after the death of Noah. Ur is a city that lies along the Euphrates River about 150 miles southeast of Babylon. Abraham will live 175 years, until 1843 BCE. Abraham is listed in the lineage of the Messiah at Matthew 1:2 and Luke 3:34.

Genesis 11:26, 32; 12:4; w12 1/1 3–11 (Cover Series: “What Can We Learn from Abraham?”); it ABRAHAM; UR; w75 7/15 63–64.

2008 BCE - back

Sarah Born: Terah becomes father to Sarai (later named Sarah) at age 140. She is the half-sister of Abram and will marry him before leaving Ur sometime before 1943 BCE. (It was not until almost 500 years later that Jehovah issues a command against marrying one’s sister or brother.) Sarai will live 127 years, until 1881 BCE.

Genesis 11:29; 20:12; Leviticus 18:9, 11; 20:17; Deuteronomy 27:22; it SARAH.

2000 BCE - back

Reu Dies: Reu, son of Peleg and father of Serug, dies at age 239. He was born in 2239 BCE and was the fifth generation from Noah.

Genesis 11:18–21; it REU.

20th CENTURY BCE   (1999–1900)

1980 - 1950 - 1940 - 1930 - 1920 - 1900

In This Century: At the beginning of this 20th century BCE, the generations from Noah that are living are Shem (1), Arpachshad (2), Shelah (3), Eber (4), Serug (7), Terah (9), and Abraham (10). During this century Arpachshad (2), Shelah (3), Serug (7), Terah (9), and Haran, Abraham’s brother, die.

Abram (later named Abraham) leaves Ur with his family, lives at Haran (also spelled Harran), then later travels to the Promised Land (Canaan). The Abrahamic Covenant goes into effect. Abraham visits Egypt during a famine in Canaan, returns to Canaan, and rescues Lot from raider kings. Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed. Abraham has two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Hagar and Ishmael are sent away. (Genesis 11:27–21:34)

Archaeology (Mari): In Mesopotamia, the Amurru (Semitic Akkadian for “Westerners”) city-state of Mari (not named in the Bible) on the Middle Euphrates is one of the dominant powers in Upper Mesopotamia during the early part of this millennium, until it is taken and destroyed by Babylonian King Hammurabi (see 18th Century BCE). French archaeologists later discover clay tablets in Mari that mention cities named Peleg, Serug, Nahor, Terah, and Haran, all names of Abraham’s forebearers.

Archaeology (Ebla): In Ebla, northern Syria, valuable clay tablets have been found dating from the late third or early second millennium that contain personal names such as Abraham, Esau, Michael, David, Ishmael, and Israel, and city names such as Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela.

Archaeology (Ur): During the third millennium BCE, Ur, which is about 140–150 miles southeast of Babylon and is the city that Abraham leaves during this century, becomes highly developed and a center for world trade. Originally a seaport on the Persian Gulf, Ur is the capital of Sumer and the most important city of the region. The people of Ur live in two-story private homes of brick, plastered and whitewashed, with brick stairs, each with 13 or 14 rooms surrounding a paved courtyard. Ur contains complexes of temples and palaces, and a large ziggurat. Architects use both the cantilever arch and the true curved arch with a keystone, and also the column, the vault, and the dome. Costly jewels, elaborate jewelry, and precious metals are crafted. Students are taught cuneiform writing and higher mathematics. See 1922 CE.

See a picture of the Royal Game of Ur here: www.tradgames.org.uk/games/Royal-Game-Ur.htm.

See a house plan of a private home in Ur here: s8int.com/phile/page45.html.

Search for “Ur” to see artifacts from Ur at the British Museum: www.britishmuseum.org/default.aspx.

Genesis 11:17–26; 14:2; w89 7/1 4–7; w80 10/1 7, 8; g88 5/22 25–27; g53 6/22 8–13; it AMORITE (The “Amurru”); ARCHITECTURE (Early Post-Flood Construction); CHALDEA, CHALDEAN; EUPHRATES (From Carchemish to the Persian Gulf); UR 2.

1977 BCE - back

Serug Dies: Serug dies at age 230. Serug, son of Reu and the seventh generation from Noah, was born in 2207 BCE.

Genesis 11:20–23; it SERUG.

Circa 1950 BCE - back

Elamites: The Elamites, descendants of Shem’s son Elam, destroy the city of Ur. Subsequently, they will exert considerable influence on the rulers of Babylonia until Hammurabi of Babylon terminates it. (See the 18th Century BCE.) Elamite influence will extend as far westward as Canaan.

Genesis 10:22; 14:1–17; w89 7/1 4–7; it ELAM 1 (History).

Before 1943 BCE - back

Haran: Haran (brother of Abram) dies in Ur sometime before the age of 135. He was born in 2078 BCE and was the father of a son, Lot, and two daughters, Iscah and Milcah. Milcah marries Nahor, her uncle.

Genesis 11:26–31; it HARAN.

From Ur to Haran: Jehovah tells Abram to go out from his country and move “to the land that I will show you.” Jehovah then promises to make a great nation out of Abram, and says that “all the families of the ground will certainly be blessed by means of you.” (See 1943 to 1933 BCE.)

Terah, Abram (later named Abraham), Abram’s wife and half-sister Sarai (later named Sarah), and Abram’s fatherless nephew Lot leave Ur to journey to an unknown land. They travel about 600 miles from Ur until they reach Haran, a major stopping point for caravans, and begin “dwelling there” until Terah dies in 1943 BCE.

Abram’s brother, Nahor, stays behind in Ur, but evidently moves to Haran later, for his descendants will be found living there in Haran (or surrounding area) and worshiping Jehovah. While living in Haran, Abram increases his wealth and 'acquires souls’ — a body of servants who are proselytes (according to the Jerusalem Targum and the Chaldee Paraphrase). By obeying Jehovah’s command to move, Abram displays faith in the God of Shem. Shem is still alive.

Genesis 11:31, 32; 12:1–5; 14:14; 15:18: 18:19; 24:1–4, 10, 31, 38; 29:4; Acts 7:2–5; w01 11/1 31; w00 9/1 19–20; w64 7/1 410–11; w59 8/15 511; g88 5/22 25–27; it-I 330 map ABRAHAM’s TRAVELS; it ABRAHAM; HARAN 4; TERAH 1; Jewish Encyclopedia, “Haran”; Wikipedia, “Harran.”

1943 BCE - back

Terah Dies: Terah, the father of Abram, dies at age 205 in Haran. He was born in 2148 BCE.

Genesis 11:31, 32; it HARAN 4; TERAH.

From Haran to Canaan: When 75-year-old Abram (later Abraham) crosses the Euphrates on the way to “the land that I will show you,” the 430 years of temporary residence begins. It will last until the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt in 1513 BCE.

Sacred Secret: Terah’s son, Abram, crosses the Euphrates on Nisan 14 (March/April), probably at Carchemish, to move to the land to which Jehovah is directing him. Thus the Abrahamic covenant (to make a great nation out of Abraham, and that all families of the ground will bless themselves by means of Abraham) is validated or takes effect. (See After 4026 BCE and 1918 BCE.)

Genesis 11:27–12:5; 15:1–21; Exodus 12:40–43; Galatians 3:16, 17; w97 6/1 16 (chart); g88 5/22 25–27; it ABRAHAM; COVENANT (Covenant With Abraham); TERAH 1.

1943 to 1933 BCE - back

From Canaan to Egypt: Abram, Sarai, and Lot move to Egypt during a famine. While in Egypt, they likely see some of the architectural splendors of the land, such as the Step Pyramid of King Djoser at Saqqara built of cut stone. (Illustration, Insight-I 530) A Pharaoh in Egypt takes beautiful Sarai into his house, but Jehovah plagues Pharaoh’s house. Abram is ordered to leave Egypt, and he does so with increased possessions, perhaps including Sarai’s maidservant Hagar.

Step Pyramid: www.nationalgeographic.com/pyramids/djoser.html.)

Step Pyramid: www.touregypt.net/featurestories/dsteppyramid1.htm

Back to Canaan: Abram (later named Abraham) returns to the Promised Land. The land cannot sustain the herds of both Abram and Lot, so Lot selects the fertile Lower Jordan district and moves to near Sodom. The Elamite raider-king Chedorlaomer and his three confederates capture Lot. Abram, his 318 trained men, and Abram’s three confederates, Mamre, Eschol, and Aner, chase after the four raiding kings and recover Lot. “The book of the Wars of Jehovah” (Numbers 21:14) may have begun with Abram’s war against these four allied invader kings. Upon Abram’s returning to Mamre, Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem who pictures the priest-king Christ Jesus, meets Abram and blesses him. At that, Abram gives Melchizedek a tenth of the spoils of war.

Abrahamic Covenant: The Abrahamic covenant is expanded when Abram reaches Shechem, which is about 30 miles north of Jerusalem. It is only after Abram arrives in Canaan that God promises the land to Abram’s “seed” or “offspring.” (Genesis 12:1–7) This connects this covenant to the promise in Eden and reveals that the “seed” would come through a human line of descent. (See After 4026 BCE.) Throughout the following years, Jehovah will expand on his covenant with Abram, promising him that his offspring would become “like the dust particles of the earth” (Genesis 13:14–17); that he would become a father of nations, kings would come from him, and his name would be called Abraham (Genesis 17:2–8); that his seed would come through Sarah and her son Isaac (Genesis 17:19); that his seed would be multiplied like the stars in heaven and grains of sand on the seashore, and his seed would take possession of the gate of his enemies (Genesis 22:15–18); that his seed would be an alien resident in a land not theirs, and that they would be afflicted for four hundred years, but then they would return and would possess the land from the Euphrates River to Egypt (Genesis 15:13–18). The four hundred years of affliction will begin counting when Ishmael pokes fun at Isaac in 1913 BCE.

Genesis chapters 12–14; Psalm 110:4–6; Galatians 4:21–31; Hebrews chapter 7; w01 11/1 31; w00 9/1 19–20; w89 7/1 4–7; w64 411–12; w54 11/15 687; it ABRAHAM; AMRAPHEL; ARCHITECTURE (Early Post-Flood Construction); ARIOCH 1; BLESSING (Humans Blessing Other Humans); CHEDORLAOMER; COVENANT (Covenant With Abraham; EGYPT (History); HAGAR; LOT II; MELCHIZEDEK; PHARAOH; SHECHEM 4; TIDAL; TITHE.

1932 BCE - back

Ishmael Born: Barren Sarai gives her Egyptian maidservant Hagar to Abram as a concubine to bear a son for her (see 1925 CE). Abram (later named Abraham), age 86, becomes father to Ishmael by Hagar. Before Ishmael’s birth, Jehovah’s angel prophesies that “his hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him, and he will dwell opposite all his brothers” (see 1913 BCE). Ishmael will live to age 137, or until 1795 BCE, and father 12 chieftains. His descendants will be called Ishmaelites; see, for example, 1750 BCE.

Genesis chapter 16; 25:13–17; it HAGAR; ISHMAEL 1; ISHMAELITE.

Archaeology: After thousands of years, archaeologists will discover clay tablets at Nuzu (or Nuzi), a Hurrian city southeast of Nineveh, that authenticate the custom of a barren wife’s being obligated to provide her husband with a concubine, just as Sarai gave Hagar to Abram. (See 1925 CE.)

Genesis 16:1, 2: w80 10/1 7; F-Light 54–55.

1930 BCE - back

Arpachshad Dies: Arpachshad dies at age 438. Born about 2368 BCE, he was the son of Shem and the second generation from Noah. Shem is still alive. (See 1868 BCE.)

Genesis 11:10–13; it ARPACHSHAD.

1919 BCE - back

Abraham and Sarah: Jehovah gives Abram, whose name means “Father is High (Exalted),” the name Abraham, meaning “Father of a Crowd (Multitude); Father of Many,” at age 99, because “I will make you very, very fruitful and will make you become nations, and kings will come from you.” (Genesis 17:3–6) He then gives a “covenant of circumcision” to Abraham. (Genesis 17:9–14; Acts 7:8) Jehovah’s angel tells Abraham not to call his wife Sarai (possibly meaning “Contentious”), but to call her Sarah (meaning “Princess”), because “I will bless her and also give you a son by her; I will bless her and she will become nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” At this news, Abraham laughs for joy. (Genesis 17:15–17) Jehovah promises that although he would also make a great nation out of Ishmael, who will produce twelve chieftains, his covenant will be with Sarah’s son, whom he should call Isaac, meaning “Laughter.” (Genesis 17:18–21) Abraham circumcises the males of his household, and he and Ishmael are also circumcised. (Genesis 17:22–27)

Afterward, Abraham entertains three angels at Mamre, and one prophesies that Sarah will have a son. Sarah, at age 89, overhears this and is struck by the humor of the prospect of giving birth to a son and laughs incredulously. The angel promises that “I will return to you next yeat at this appointed time, and Sarah will have a son.” (Genesis 18:1–15)

Lot Flees Sodom: In Sodom, Lot is visited by two of the angels and is told to flee. Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed. Lot and his two daughters escape to Zoar, but “Lot’s wife, who was behind him, began to look back, and she became a pillar of salt.” In the first century CE, Jesus Christ will refer to Lot’s circumstances as a parallel to conditions that will occur during his presence in Kingdom power.

Sarah and Abimelech: Famine drives Abraham to the city of Gerar (near today’s Gaza) where the Philistine king Abimelech takes Sarah for his harem. Jehovah intervenes, warning Abimelech that adultery is a sin against God, thus establishing this important principle. (Genesis 39:9. See also 1750 BCE to 1737 BCE.) Sarah is released, untouched.

Genesis chapters 17–20; Luke 17:28–32; 2 Peter 2:6–8; w88 6/1 30–31; re 273; it ABIMELECH 1; ABRAHAM; COVENANT (Covenant of Circumcision); GERAR; GOMORRAH; ISHMAEL 1; ISAAC; LOT II; SARAH, SARAI; SODOM; ZOAR.

After 1919 BCE - back

Moab and Ammon Born: Lot moves from Zoar to a cave in the mountains. There he unwittingly fathers Moab and Ammon by his two daughters. Their descendants will be known as Moabites and Ammonites. The Ammonites will later display violent enmity toward the nation of Israel, as will also the Moabites, with few exceptions.

Genesis 17:30–38; it AMMON, AMMONITES; MOAB, MOABITES 1, 2.

1918 BCE - back

Isaac Born: Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah and the true heir of the promise, is born. Abraham is 100, Sarah 90, and Ishmael 14. Isaac will live 180 years, until 1738 BCE. The “about 450 years” begins; this period will end about 1467 BCE when Joshua concludes his campaign in Canaan and the land is distributed to the various tribes.

Sacred Secret: Isaac becomes heir to the Abrahamic covenant. (See After 4026 BCE, 1943 BCE, and 1761 BCE.)

Genesis 21:1–5; 35:28; Acts 13:17–20; Hebrews 11:11; w97 6/1 16 (chart); it EXODUS (‘About 450 years’); ISAAC.

1913 BCE - back

Ishmael and the 400-Year Affliction: Ishmael, age 19, pokes fun at (afflicts, persecutes) Isaac when he is weaned, probably in regard to heirship. This marks the beginning of the 400-year affliction that Jehovah had prophesied to Abram. (See 1943 to 1933 BCE and 1513 BCE.) Ishmael and Hagar are sent away. Later they will dwell in the wilderness of Paran (the central and northeastern portion of the Sinai Peninsula) and Ishmael will marry an Egyptian. Ishmael’s afflicting Isaac and dwelling in the wilderness fulfill the pre-birth prophecy of 1932 BCE.

Genesis 15:13; 16:11–16; 21:8–21; Acts 7:6; Galatians 4:29; w98 9/15 12–13; it EXODUS (Time of the Exodus); ISAAC; ISHMAEL; po 106.

1900 BCE - back

Shelah Dies: Shelah dies at age 433. Born in 2333 BCE, he was the son of Arpachshad, the father of Eber, and the third generation from Noah.

Genesis 11:12–15; it SHELAH.

19th CENTURY BCE   (1899–1800)

1899 - 1890 - 1880 - 1870 - 1860 - 1850 - 1840 - 1820

In This Century: At the beginning of this 19th century BCE, the generations from Noah that are living are Shem (1), Eber (4), Abraham (10), and Isaac (11). During this century Abraham attempts to sacrifice Isaac at Jehovah’s command. Sarah dies and Abraham later marries Keturah. Isaac marries Rebekah and the twins Esau and Jacob are born to them. Esau marries two pagan Hittite wives. During this century Shem (1), Abraham (10), and Eber (4) die. The Abrahamic promise is renewed with Isaac.

Babylonia and Astrology: The Babylonians in Mesopotamia predict many astronomical events using star catalogs that date back to 1800 BCE. Astrology plays a prominent part in the Babylonian religion, even down to the time of Jesus’ birth.

Matthew 2:1–16; sh 84; it ASTROLOGERS; BABYLON 1 (Religion).

Circa 1893 BCE - back

The ‘sacrificing’ of Isaac: At the command of Jehovah to sacrifice his “only son” Isaac (Abraham’s only child of promise by Sarah), Abraham takes Isaac and travels to the land of Moriah. There Abraham (age 125) binds a willing Isaac, who is about 25 years old according to Josephus and Jewish tradition, and puts him upon the altar on top of the wood. As Abraham takes up the slaughtering knife in order to kill Isaac, Jehovah’s angel stops him, and a ram is provided for the sacrifice. Thus, “God spared Abraham the sacrifice that He would not spare himself.” (w09 2/1 18) This event becomes a prophetic drama showing how Jehovah would lovingly send his son to earth, and how Jesus would willingly lay down his life in sacrifice for the benefit of all those who put faith in him. God’s covenant with Abraham is repeated and enlarged: Abraham’s “offspring will take possession of the gate of his enemies” (thus referring to destroying his enemies), and it will be by means of obedient Abraham’s “offspring” that “all nations of the earth will obtain a blessing for themselves.”

Genesis 3:15; 22:1–19; John 3:16; Acts 10:34, 35; Galatians 3:16; Ephesians 1:8–10; Hebrews 11:17–19; James 2:21–23; w09 2/1 18; w83 8/15 24 par. 18; w64 7/1 413; it BLESSING (Jehovah Blessing Humans); ISAAC; JESUS CHRIST (The “sacred secret”).

After 1893 BCE - back

Abraham Dwells at Beer-sheba, then Hebron: After Abraham attempts to sacrifice Isaac, he and Isaac return to Sarah at Beer-sheba. By the time of Sarah’s death in 1881 BCE, Abraham is living at or near Kiriath-arba (Hebron). At some point during this time period, Abraham hears news about his family, and how Milcah has borne sons to Abraham’s brother Nahor. (Nahor’s family is now living in Haran in Mesopotamia, from where Abraham had moved away in 1943 BCE.) One of Nahor’s sons, Bethuel, fathers Laban and Rebekah, who will play a role in the Abrahamic drama for years to come. See 1878 BCE.

Genesis 22:19–24; 23:1, 2; 24:1–67; 25:20.

1881 BCE - back

Sarah Dies: Sarah dies at Kiriath-Arba (Hebron) at age 127. Born in 2008 BCE, she was the daughter of Terah and also the half-sister of Abraham. Abraham buries her in Machpelah, a cave that he purchases from Ephron the Hittite at Mamre near Hebron. Hebron is about 19 miles south-southwest of Jerusalem. The burial cave of Machpelah exists today beneath a Moslem mosque in modern Hebron.

See photos of this area in Hebron: www.sacred-destinations.com/israel/hebron-tombs-of-the-patriarchs.htm and www.bibleplaces.com/hebron.htm.

Genesis 17:17; 20:12; 23:1–20; it ABRAHAM; EPHRON 1; MACHPELAH; PURCHASE; SARAH, SARAI.

After 1881 BCE - back

Abraham Marries Keturah: Abraham marries Keturah, and by her fathers six sons who become “nations.” (See 1919 BCE.) The six sons are Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Named grandsons are Sheba, Dedan, Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. “The sons of Dedan were Asshurim and Letushim and Leummim,” likely the names of tribes or peoples. The Midianites, the Medanites, possibly the Sabeans, and others descend from Abraham and Keturah.

Genesis 25:1–6; it DEDAN; ISHBAK; JOKSHAN; KETURAH; MEDAN; MIDIAN, MIDIANITES 1, 2; SHEBA 3, 6; SHUAH; ZIMRAN.

1878 BCE - back

Isaac Marries Rebekah: Abraham sends his oldest servant (likely Eliezer) to “my country and to my relatives and take a wife for my son, for Isaac.” The servant and his attendants travel to Paddan-aram, where they find Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel and sister of Laban. She returns with the servant and meets Isaac who is “dwelling in the land of the Negeb.” Isaac, age 40, marries Rebekah, “and he fell in love with her” and “found comfort after the loss of his mother.” Rebekah’s brother Laban will father Leah and Rachel. (See 1774 BCE.)

Genesis 24:1–67; 25:20; w89 7/1 23–28; it ISAAC; LABAN 1; REBEKAH.

1868 BCE - back

Shem Dies: Shem dies at age 600. Born in 2468 BCE, he was the son of Noah. Shem was also a contemporary of pre-Flood Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, the fallen angels, and the Nephilim. He was an eyewitness survivor of the Flood and a contemporary of the rebellious Nimrod. Jewish tradition holds that Shem was Melchizedek, although this is not stated in the Bible. The w64 7/1 412 comments about Melchizedek: “[The Bible] purposely leaves out all information as to his ancestry, his descendants and his death so that he might serve as a prophetic picture or type of the promised Seed of God’s woman, who becomes the everlasting High Priest of the Most High God, to give the sacrifice that results in eternal salvation for mankind.” (See Hebrews 6:20–7:7.)

Genesis 11:10, 11; it MELCHIZEDEK; SHEM.

1858 BCE - back

Esau and Jacob Born: At age 60, Isaac becomes father to twin sons, Esau and Jacob, by Rebekah. Later, firstborn Esau will sell his birthright to Jacob for a mere pot of red lentil stew. The Edomites descend from Esau, who was also called Edom, meaning “Red,” and the Israelites descend from Jacob, who was later named Israel, meaning “Contender (Perseverer) With God” or “God Contends.”

Genesis 25:19–26; it BIRTHRIGHT; EDOM, EDOMITES; ESAU; ISRAEL 1; ISRAELITE; JACOB 1.

1843 BCE - back

Abraham Dies: Abraham dies at age 175. Born in 2018 BCE, he was the son of Terah. Isaac and Ishmael bury Abraham in the cave of Machpelah where Sarah was buried in 1881 BCE. At this time Isaac is 75 years old, Ishmael, 89, and Abraham’s grandsons Esau and Jacob are 15.

Genesis 25:7–10; it ABRAHAM; MACHPELAH; JACOB.

After 1843 BCE - back

Isaac and Rebekah: A second famine occurs, but Isaac is instructed not to move into Egypt. Instead, he moves to Philistine Gerar. The Abrahamic promise is renewed to Isaac. Isaac passes off attractive Rebekah to the Philistines as his sister. Abimelech grants Isaac protection after he discovers the ruse.

Genesis chapter 26; it ABIMELECH 2; GERAR; ISAAC; REBEKAH.

1839 BCE - back

Eber Dies: Eber dies at age 464. Born in 2303 BCE, he was the son of Shelah and fourth in the line from Noah. Eber lived at the time of Nimrod’s rebellion and the confusing of the languages. The word “Hebrew” comes from the name Eber.

Genesis 11:16, 17; it EBER 1; HEBREW, I (Origin and Significance of the Term).

1818 BCE - back

Esau Marries: Esau, age 40, marries two pagan Hittite wives, Judith (Oholibamah?) and Basemath (Adah?) who become a source of bitterness of spirit to Isaac and Rebekah. Adah’s son Eliphaz will father Amalek, the forefather of the Amalekites, who will later war against the nation of Israel. (See 1513 BCE and 1512 BCE.)

Genesis 26:34, 35; it ADAH 2; AMALEK, AMALEKITE; BASEMATH 1; EDOM, EDOMITES; JUDITH; ESAU; OHOLIBAMAH 1.

18th CENTURY BCE   (1799–1700)

1799 - 1790 - 1780 - 1770 - 1750 - 1740 - 1730 - 1720

In This Century: At the beginning of this 18th century BCE, the generations from Noah who are living are Isaac (11) and Jacob (12). Jacob marries Leah and Rachel and his twelve sons are born. Jacob leaves Haran, wrestles with the angel, settles in the Promised Land. Isaac and Deborah die. Joseph is sold into Egypt, imprisoned, released, and then made viceroy of Egypt where seven years of plenty are followed by seven years of famine. Jacob moves his family to Egypt, blesses his grandsons and sons, and then dies.

Egypt: During the latter part of this century and during the seventeenth and sixteenth centuries BCE, the Israelites will reside in Egypt in the area of Goshen. This period of residence when the Israelites increase until they outnumber the Egyptians may be the foundation for the “Hyksos” idea, called the “Hyksos Period” by historians, referring to a time of Egyptian conquest by mysterious foreign invaders.

Exodus 1:7–10; w71 6/15 381–2; it EGYPT, EGYPTIAN (Hyksos Period); GOSHEN; RAAMSES, RAMESES

Warfare: Chariots are probably introduced into warfare during this century.

it CHARIOT; GATE, GATEWAY (Construction).

Mesopotamia (Hammurabi): Hammurabi probably rules during this century. Secular sources give various dates for his rule ranging from the twenty-first century BCE to the seventeenth century BCE. He may have ruled 1728–1686 BCE or 1792–1750 BCE (The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, “Babylon”) or 1728–1676 BCE (F-Light 47). He was the king of Babylon’s first dynasty and the formulator of the Code of Hammurabi consisting of 282 laws. Hammurabi’s Code, developed around 1700 BCE and discovered in excavations at Susa, Iran, in 1902 CE, is not the basis for the far superior Mosaic Law later given to Israel, but rather was based mainly on laws already in existence. The Hammurabi Code reflects a spirit of retaliation.

See Code at eawc.evansville.edu/anthology/hammurabi.htm.

w87 11/1 12; w80 10/1 8–9; g88 11/22 7; g81 1/22 20; it CRIME AND PUNISHMENT(Babylonian); BARTON pp. 378–406.

Babylon: The construction of Babel (Babylon) and the Tower of Babel by Nimrod was interrupted by the confusion of man’s language and scattering of the builders. (See the 23rd Century BCE.) Although later generations began to rebuild the city, it was not until Hammurabi that Babylon was enlarged and made the capital of the Babylonian Empire under Semitic rule. The article “Babylon” in The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology says that in this eighteenth century BCE, “Hammurapi [Hammurabi] was responsible for making [Babylon] the cultural leader of the Near East. This lasted until the Hel[lenistic] period. This was partially due to making Marduk the city god of Babylon, and so the head of the Sumerian-Accad[ian] pantheon of some 1300 deities. It brought all the religious traditions into one system. He made of Babylon a world power . . . even though this did not last long. . . . Babylon did not regain power until the time of the Chaldean kings . . . the most important of whom was Nebuchadnezzar or Nebuchadrezzar II.” Ancient Babylon, beginning with Nimrod, is the focal point of false religion that eventually infects the whole world and is reflected in the beliefs of thousands of the world’s religions.

g96 11/8 6–7; it BABYLON “History"; GOD’s AND GODDESSES (Babylonian Deities).

1795 BCE - back

Ishmael Dies: Ishmael dies at age 137. Born in 1932 BCE, he was the son of Abraham and Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian maidservant.

Genesis 25:17; it ISHMAEL 1.

1781 BCE - back

Jacob Goes to Haran: Jacob, age 77, flees to Haran from his twin brother Esau, who has murderous intentions toward him because Isaac had given the firstborn’s blessing to Jacob. (See 1858 BCE.) While on his way to Haran, at Luz (Bethel) about 11 miles north of Jerusalem, Jacob has a vision of a ladder, or flight of stairs, reaching into the heavens with angels ascending and descending between earth and heaven, and with Jehovah at the top of the ladder. Jehovah now confirms with Jacob the covenant he made with Abraham and Isaac. Jacob will live at Haran for 20 years.

Esau Marries: In the meantime, Esau marries Mahalath (Basemath), the daughter of his uncle Ishmael, as an additional wife. (See 1818 BCE.)

Genesis 27:41–46; 28:1–22; Genesis 29:1–4; it BASEMATH 2; BETHEL 1; ESAU; HARAN; JACOB 1; LUZ; MAHALATH, I 1.

1774 BCE - back

Jacob Marries: Jacob, age 84, marries his first cousins Leah and Rachel, the daughters of Laban, who is the brother of Jacob’s mother Rebekah. Later, Jacob will also father children by Rachel’s maidservant Bilhah, and by Leah’s maidservant Zilpah.

Genesis 29:15–30; it JACOB 1; LABAN 1; LEAH; RACHEL; BILHAH 1; ZILPAH.

After 1774 BCE - back

Jacob’s Offspring: During the next seven years, eleven of Jacob’s sons and at least one of his daughters are born in Haran. Leah will bear Reuben; Simeon; Levi, who becomes the founder of Israel’s priestly tribe; Judah (born Circa 1770 BCE), who becomes the father of the nation’s royal tribe; Issachar; Zebulun; and Dinah. Rachel’s slave girl Bilhah will bear Dan and Naphtali. Leah’s slave girl Zilpah will bear Gad and Asher. Rachel will bear Joseph (1767 BCE), who will receive the firstborn’s inheritance. Later in Canaan, Rachel will bear a twelfth son, Benjamin, sometime before 1750 BCE.

Genesis 29:30–35; 30:1–24; it ASHER 1; BILHAH 1; DAN 1; DINAH; GAD 1; ISSACHAR 1; JACOB 1; JUDAH 1; LEAH; LEVI 1; NAPHTALI 1; RACHEL; REUBEN 1; SIMEON 1; ZEBULUN 1; ZILPAH.

Circa 1770 BCE - back

Judah Born: Jacob becomes father to Judah by Leah.

Possibly this year, Jacob also becomes father to Dan by Bilhah, Rachel’s maidservant whom Rachel gave to Jacob as a secondary wife, and also to Gad by Zilpah, Leah’s slave girl whom Leah gave to Jacob as a secondary wife. (See After 1774 BCE.)

it DAN 1; GAD 1; JUDAH 1.

1767 BCE - back

Joseph Born: Jacob, age 91, becomes father to Joseph by Rachel. Joseph is Rachel’s firstborn and Jacob’s favorite son. Joseph will live 110 years, until 1657 BCE, and will receive the firstborn’s double portion of his father’s inheritance. (See 1712 BCE and 1711 BCE.) Jacob will continue to work for Laban in Haran for six more years, all the time growing wealthy. (See 1761 BCE.)

Genesis 50:22; it BIRTHRIGHT; EPHRAIM 1; INHERITANCE; JACOB 1; JOSEPH 1; LABAN 1.

1761 BCE - back

Jacob Returns Home: Due to increasing difficulties in the relationship between Jacob and Laban, Jacob secretly leaves Haran to return to Canaan. Unknown to Jacob, Rachel steals Laban’s “teraphim statues” (“household gods; idols,”), likely the estate title deeds. Laban chases Jacob in an unsuccessful attempt to recover the gods. Jacob and Laban conclude a covenant at Galeed, about 350 miles from Haran. (Genesis chapter 31.)

Jacob and Esau: Jacob, now about 97 years old, wrestles with an angel and has his name changed to Israel, meaning “Contender (Perseverer) With God,” or, “God Contends.” The angel touches Jacob so that he limps the rest of his life. Jacob and Esau meet, and then part amiably. Jacob settles at Succoth (three miles east of the Jordan river) and builds a house there. Jacob’s father, Isaac, is living at Hebron. Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, is probably already dead, buried at the family cave of Machpelah with Abraham and Sarah.

Genesis chapters 31, 32; 33:1–17; 35:27; 49:31; it GALEED; ISRAEL 1; JACOB 1; SUCCOTH 1; w80 10/1 8.

Sacred Secret: It is approximately in this year that Jehovah confirms that the promised Seed will come through Isaac’s son Jacob. (See After 4026 BCE, 1918 BCE, and 1711 BCE.)

Genesis 3:15; 28:10–15; w97 6/1 16 (chart).

Before 1750 BCE - back

Jacob at Shechem: Jacob moves to the city of Shechem. Shechem, the son of the Canaanite chieftain Hamor, takes a liking to and violates Jacob’s daughter Dinah who was unwisely visiting the “young women of the land.” (Dinah, who may have been born about 1767 BCE, was likely no older than age 17, if not younger.) By trickery, Simeon and Levi kill all the males of Shechem in revenge, thus making Jacob’s name a stench.

Jacob Moves to Bethel: Jehovah directs Jacob to remove to Bethel. Rebekah’s beloved nurse Deborah dies and is buried at Bethel. Rachel dies after giving birth to Benjamin and is buried somewhere between Bethel and Bethlehem. After Rachel dies, Reuben, the firstborn son of Jacob and Leah, violates Rachel’s slave girl Bilhah, either out of lust for Bilhah, or to prevent her from taking Rachel’s place in Jacob’s affection and thus receiving more favor than his mother Leah. For doing this, Reuben loses his rights as firstborn. (See 1712 BCE.)

Abrahamic Covenant: The Abrahamic covenant is restated to Jacob again at Bethel. (See 1781 BCE.)

Genesis 33:18–20; Genesis 34; Genesis 35:1–26; 49:3, 4; it BENJAMIN 1; BETHEL 1; BILHAH 1; DEBORAH; DINAH; JACOB 1; RACHEL; REUBEN 1; SHECHEM 1, 4.

1750 BCE - back

Joseph’s Adventures Begin: Jacob (Israel) comes to love Joseph more than all his other sons and has a special garment made for him, perhaps a “beautiful long garment” (Genesis 37:3 ftn.) such as is worn by a person of rank. His brothers begin to hate him.

At age 17, Joseph has two prophetic dreams, the first dream of the sheaves of his brothers’ bowing down to his sheaf, and the other of the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowing down to him. Thus his brothers find another reason to hate him.

When Jacob sends Joseph to check on his brothers and he finds them near Dothan, they begin to scheme against him. They plan to kill him and pitch him into a waterpit, but firstborn Reuben, being legally responsible for the custody of his younger brother, convinces them not to kill Joseph. Instead they strip him of his long striped garment and throw him alive into an empty waterpit.

During Reuben’s absence, a caravan of Ishmaelites passes by on its way down to Egypt, and Judah convinces his brothers to sell Joseph to them as a slave, which they do for 20 silver pieces. After that, they dip Joseph’s garment into the blood of a goat and show it to Jacob, a course they had decided on to escape legal responsibility when they had to face Jacob as patriarchal judge. Jacob, who examines the garment, is forced to pronounce the legal conclusion that a vicious wild beast has devoured Joseph. Jacob carries on mourning for many days and will not accept comfort from his sons and daughters.

Meanwhile, Joseph is taken by the caravan to Egypt and sold as a slave to Potiphar, a court official of Pharaoh and chief of the bodyguard.

Genesis chapter 37; it CUSTODY; DREAM; JOSEPH 1; w92 7/15 4; w77 12/1 717; w52 7/15 438–40.

After 1750 BCE - back

Judah Marries: Judah leaves his brothers and becomes unevenly yoked to the daughter of Shua, a Canaanite. By her he has three sons, Er, Onan, and Shelah. Years later, Judah negligently fails to give his third son, Shelah, in levirate marriage to Tamar, who was the successive wife of Judah’s first two sons, both of whom had been put to death by Jehovah. By tricking Judah, Tamar bears the twins Perez and Zerah to him. The Messianic line comes through Perez.

Genesis chapter 38; it ER 1; JUDAH 1; ONAN; PEREZ; SHELAH 2; SHUA; TAMAR 1; ZERAH 3; w82 3/15 30; w62 6/15 372 par. 54.

1750 BCE to 1737 BCE - back

Joseph’s Further Adventures: Due to diligence, industriousness, trustworthiness, and Jehovah’s blessing, Joseph, the slave of Potiphar, the chief of Pharaoh’s bodyguard, rises to become the chief of Potiphar’s household. Potiphar’s wife attempts to seduce Joseph, and when he refuses, she falsely accuses him and has him thrown into prison.

In prison, Joseph accurately interprets the dreams of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker. Later, when Pharaoh has some dreams that his wise men cannot interpret, the cupbearer remembers Joseph and tells Pharaoh about Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams correctly. Pharaoh calls Joseph from prison, and Joseph tells Pharaoh of the coming seven years of great plenty followed by seven years of famine and advises Pharaoh how to prepare for it.

Genesis chapters 39, 40; 41:1–40; it BAKE, BAKER; CUPBEARER; DREAM; JOSEPH 1; PHARAOH; POTIPHAR.

1738 BCE - back

Isaac Dies: Isaac dies at age 180 at Hebron, a year before his grandson Joseph becomes the prime minister of Egypt. Born in 1918 BCE, he was the son of Abraham and Sarah. Jacob and Esau bury Isaac at the cave of Machpelah.

Genesis 35:27–29; 49:29–32; it ISAAC; MACHPELAH.

1737 BCE - back

Joseph Becomes Viceroy of Egypt: Pharaoh makes Joseph, age 30, the prime minister or viceroy of Egypt and gives him Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, an Egyptian priest of the city of On (Heliopolis), as a wife. Joseph becomes father to Manasseh and Ephraim before the seven-year famine begins in 1730 BCE. Joseph’s administration in Egypt runs from 1737 BCE until his death in 1657 BCE. Joshua, a descendant of Joseph’s son Ephraim, will lead the nation of Israel into the Promised Land. (See 1513 BCE, 1512 BCE, and 1473 BCE.)

Genesis 41:37–52; it ASENATH; EGYPT (Products), (History); EPHRAIM 1; JOSEPH 1; MANASSEH 1; ON 2; POTIPHERA.

1730 BCE - back

Seven-Year Famine: The foretold seven-year famine in Egypt begins. The famine extends even beyond the borders of Egypt. Soon Jacob will send his sons to Egypt to buy food, which Joseph had ordered to be stored before the famine began.

Genesis 41:53–57.

1728 BCE - back

Joseph and His Brothers: After the poignant drama of Joseph’s reunion with his brothers, Jacob, age 130, and his entire family move to Egypt in the second year of the famine (Genesis chapters 42–45). This year marks the end of one-half of the 430 years of “the dwelling of the Israelites, who had dwelled in Egypt” (Exodus 12:40), or 215 years from Abraham’s move into Canaan in 1943 BCE. The remaining 215 years will be spent in Egypt. The dependence of Joseph’s brothers upon him for food fulfills Joseph’s earlier prophetic dreams. (See 1750 BCE.)

Hammurabi: King Hammurabi of Babylon probably begins ruling this year, and will rule until 1686 BCE. Dates for his rule differ widely among various secular sources.

Genesis 37:3–11; 45:6; 46:26; 47:9, 12; it CHRONOLOGY (From Human Creation to the Present); JACOB 1 (The Move to Egypt); JOSEPH 1; w80 10/1 8, 9.

1712 BCE - back

Jacob’s Prophecies: Jacob, shortly before dying, blesses his grandsons, the two sons of Joseph, and thus Joseph is given the firstborn’s double inheritance of land through his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Jacob prophetically speaks of the future conquest of Canaan by his descendants. Jacob then blesses his twelve sons individually. He foretells that Shiloh will come through Judah, a prophecy that will be fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Genesis 33:19, 20; 48:1–21; 49:1–28; Ezekiel 21:26, 27; Luke 1:32, 33; it BENJAMIN 1; DAN 1; EPHRAIM 1; GAD 1; ISSACHAR 1; JACOB 1; JOSEPH 1; JUDAH 1; LEVI 1; MANASSEH 1; NAPHTALI 1; REUBEN 1; SHILOH 1; SIMEON 1; ZEBULUN 1; w62 6/15 360–74; w62 7/1 392–408.

1711 BCE - back

Jacob Dies: Jacob, born 1858 BCE, son of Isaac and Rebekah, dies at age 147 after living 17 years in Egypt. He is embalmed, then carried to Canaan by Joseph and buried at the cave of Machpelah where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, and Leah are already buried.

Genesis 47:1–12, 28–30; 49:29–50:14; it EMBALMING; JACOB 1; MACHPELAH.

Sacred Secret: Before Jacob dies, he indicates that the promised Seed will come through his son Judah. (See After 4026 BCE, 1761 BCE, and 1070 to 1040 BCE.)

Genesis 49:10; w97 6/1 16 (chart).

17th CENTURY BCE   (1699–1600)

1660 - 1620

In This Century: During this 17th century BCE, Joseph dies in Egypt and is embalmed, and Job’s trial takes place in Uz (Arabia).

Egypt: The Harper Atlas of the Bible, edited by James B. Prichard, states that the Hyksos kings take control of Egypt about 1674 BCE. (See the notes under Egypt at 18th Century BCE.) As for the difficulties of determining Egyptian dates, see the discussion in w68 11/15 680–83.

1657 BCE - back

Joseph Dies: Joseph, born in 1767 BCE, dies at age 110. He is embalmed and placed in a coffin to await burial in Canaan after Israel’s release from bondage in Egypt, which comes 144 years later. (See 1513 BCE.)

Genesis 50:22–26; it EMBALMING; JOSEPH 1.

Circa 1613 BCE - back

Job: Job, a relative of Abraham, lives in Arabia (Uz). He becomes an example of righteousness and patient endurance of suffering. The book of Job, a book written concurrently with the Law of Moses, adds valuable information to the Edenic Covenant by showing that Satan is the challenger of the righteousness of Jehovah’s exercise of His sovereignty, and that Satan is the “father” of the serpent’s “offspring.”

Job’s trial takes place sometimes after Joseph’s death in 1657 BCE and before 1613 BCE, or 140 years before Job’s death. (See Circa 1473 BCE.) Job dies shortly before Moses completes the writing of the book of Job in 1473 BCE.

Genesis 3:15; Job 1:8; 42:16, 17; Ezekiel 14:14, 20; James 5:11; it BILDAD; ELIHU 1; ELIPHAZ 2; JOB; JOB, BOOK OF; SEED; ZOPHAR.

16th CENTURY BCE   (1599–1500)

1599 - 1560 - 1520 - (1514) - (1513) - (1512)

In This Century: During this 16th century BCE, the Israelites are enduring forced labor in Egypt. Miriam, Aaron, and Moses are born. Pharaoh decrees that all male babies be slaughtered, but Moses is rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter and reared in Pharaoh’s household. At age forty, Moses offers himself as deliverer to his people, but instead is forced to flee Egypt. He lives the next forty years in Midian as a shepherd.

Moses and the Israelites: When Moses is 80 years old, Jehovah appears to Moses in the fiery thornbush and commissions him to return to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and lead them to “a land flowing with milk and honey.” Jehovah reveals to Moses the meaning of His name, which he is to use to prove that he is the one who has been sent to deliver the Israelites. Back in Egypt, Aaron and Moses appear before Pharaoh, but Pharaoh refuses to let Israel go. Thereafter, Jehovah devastates the Egyptians with ten plagues. The Israelites celebrate their first Passover in Egypt, then leave Egypt. The Egyptians chase them but are drowned at the Red Sea.

The Israelites travel to Mount Sinai where they receive the Ten Commandments and the Law. The Tabernacle is constructed, and the Aaronic priesthood is installed. While poised to enter the Promised Land, ten spies return with an unfavorable report and Israel is afraid to enter. Jehovah decrees they will wander in the wilderness forty years.

Bible: Bible writing begins. Moses completes the first three books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus.

Asia and Religion: The Aryans, an Indo-European people, move into the Indus River valley (now part of Pakistan) about 1500 BCE. Their religion will become known as Vedism, which contains elements drawn from the religion of the ancestors of today’s Iranians and also that of the Babylonians. The Aryans will help lay the basis for the Hindu caste system. In the third century BCE, Hinduism will become a distinct religion apart from Vedism and Brahmanism.

g89 4/8 24–27.

Before 1597 BCE - back

Miriam Born: Miriam is born to Amram and Jochebed sometime before Aaron and Moses are born. She will live to age 124 or more and will die shortly before Aaron dies in 1474  BCE.

Exodus 2:1–10; it MIRIAM 1.

1597 BCE - back

Aaron Born: Aaron is born to Amram and Jochebed (Jochebed is a sister of Amram’s father). Aaron will live 123 years, until 1474 BCE. At this time, the Israelites are already enduring forced labor under Egypt’s “new king, one who did not know Joseph.” After Aaron’s birth and before Moses’ birth, Pharaoh decrees that the Hebrew midwives kill all Hebrew male babies.

Exodus chapter 1; 6:13, 16–20; it AARON; AMRAM 1; JOCHEBED.

1593 BCE - back

Moses Born: Moses is born to Amram and Jochebed (both descendants of Levi). When Moses is three months old, his mother hides him in a little ark, which is found by Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopts him and rears him in the royal household. Moses’ mother becomes his wet nurse, and no doubt trains him according to Jehovah’s ways.

Exodus 2:1–10; 6:16–20; it AMRAM 1; JOCHEBED; MOSES.

1553 BCE - back

Moses Flees Egypt: Moses, age 40, prematurely offers himself as deliverer to Israel by killing an Egyptian who was oppressing an Israelite. Moses then flees to Midian, where he lives for the next 40 years and shepherds the flocks of Jethro, the Kenite Arabian chief and priest of Midian. Moses marries Jethro’s daughter Zipporah, and has two sons, Gershom and Eliezer.

Exodus 2:11–25; 18:3, 4; it ELIEZER 2; GERSHOM 2; JETHRO; KENITE; MIDIAN 3; MOSES; ZIPPORAH.

1514 BCE - back

Moses Commissioned: Moses is commissioned at the burning thornbush to deliver Israel from bondage in Egypt. (The appearance of the “burning bush” may have been in late spring about the same time that Pentecost was later celebrated; compare references for w98 and Insight “Sinai-1 (Events).”) Moses, who already knows that God’s name is Jehovah (Genesis 2:4, and ftn.), asks the angel speaking for Jehovah what he should say to the Israelites if they ask for the name of the one who sent him. “In effect, he was saying: ‘What can I tell your people Israel about you that will build their faith in you, that will convince them that you really will deliver them?’” (cl 9) God says to Moses: “I Will Become What I Choose to Become” or, “I Will Prove to Be What I Will Prove to Be.” Regarding these words and the meaning of the name “Jehovah,” NW Appendix A4 comments: “In the strictest sense, those words do not fully define God’s name. Rather, they reveal an aspect of God’s personality, showing that he becomes what is needed in each circumstance to fulfill his purpose. So while the name Jehovah may include this idea, it is not limited to what he himself chooses to become. It also includes what he causes to happen with regard to his creation and the accomplishment of his purpose.” The account continues at Exodus 3:15:

Then God said once more to Moses: “This is what you are to say to the Israelites, ‘Jehovah the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and this is how I am to be remembered from generation to generation.”

Jehovah then promises at verse 17: “I will take you away from the affliction at the hands of the Egyptians . . . to a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Read “I Well Know the Pains They Suffer” (w09 3/1 15) on WOL.

Exodus 3:1–22; Acs 7:35; si 294; it SINAI-1 (Events); w07 9/1 5; cl 9; cf 106; w06 2/15 9, 17; w04 8/1 29; w98 3/1 9 par. 5; w51 4/1 221.

1513 BCE - back

Moses Returns to Egypt: Jehovah tells Aaron to meet Moses in the wilderness. Moses and his family leave for Egypt, either in 1514 or no later than early 1513. Aaron meets up with Moses “in the mountain of the true God” (Mount Sinai) and Moses tells Aaron “all the words of Jehovah, who had sent him, and all the signs that He had commanded him to do.” When back in Egypt, Moses and Aaron gather all the older men of the sons of Israel, and Aaron, serving as Moses’ “mouth” or “spokesman,” tells them of Jehovah’s words to Moses and performs the signs as proof that their messages are from Jehovah. The people believe, knowing that “Jehovah had turned his attention to the Israelites and that he had seen their affliction.”

Exodus 4:14–31; it AARON; w09 3/1 15.

The Ten Plagues: Moses, age 80, and Aaron, age 83, appear before Pharaoh, who refuses to let the Israelites leave Egypt to celebrate a festival to Jehovah in the wilderness. Pharaoh replies: “Who is Jehovah, that I should obey his voice to send Israel away? I do not know Jehovah at all, and what is more, I will not send Israel away.” Pharaoh increases the workload on the Israelites who are making bricks. The foremen of the Israelites complain first to Pharaoh, then to Moses and Aaron. (Exodus chapter 5) Jehovah assures Moses He will bring them out from under the burdens of the Egyptians and deliver them from their slavery. Jehovah tells Moses to speak to Pharaoh again “that he should send the Israelites away out of his land.” When Moses and Aaron appear before Pharaoh, Aaron throws down his rod before Pharaoh and it becomes “a big snake.” However, the magic-practicing priests do the same with their magic arts, but “Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. Still, Pharaoh’s heart became obstinate, and he did not listen to them.” The next day, Moses and Aaron meet Pharaoh by the Nile River and tell him that because he did not send Jehovah’s people away, Jehovah has said, “By this you will know that I am Jehovah.” Aaron then lifts Moses’ rod and strikes the Nile and “the river was turned into blood.” The first of the Ten Plagues has begun. (Exodus chapter 7) Ten Plagues or blows must fall upon Egypt before Pharaoh finally allows the Israelites to leave. (Exodus chapters 7–12) These plagues are not random blows, but each one is a calculated humiliation of one or more of the mythological gods of Egypt.

  1. Nile to Blood: Turning the Nile and waters of Egypt into blood disgraces the Nile-god Hapi. (See more on Hapi at www.touregypt.net/hapi.htm.) When all the fish in the Nile die, some of them are certain kinds of fish that the Egyptians venerate.
  2. Frogs: The plague of frogs, which were a symbol of fertility and resurrection, brings disgrace to the Frog god and the Frog-goddess, Heqt; it embarrasses the gods of creation, and also the fertility gods such as Osiris, Ptah, and Sebek.
  3. Gnats: The third plague disgraces the god Thoth, who was the inventor of the magic arts, and defeats the magic-practicing priests who proved unable by their secret arts to turn dust into gnats. It also disgraces Geb, god of the earth, who could not prevent the dust of the earth from turning into gnats.
  4. Gadflies: Goshen, where the Israelites reside, is untouched by the swarms of gadflies, while other sections of Egypt are brought to ruin, thus disgracing Buto, a tutelary goddess, and the god Horus, who could no longer control happenings in that part of the land for which they were responsible.
  5. Pestilence: The pestilence on the livestock humiliates Hathor, the cow-goddess; Apis, the sacred bull; and Nut, the sky goddess who is also depicted as a cow.
  6. Boils: The gods and goddesses who possessed healing powers — Thoth, Amon-Ra, Isis, and Ptah — could not prevent the boils and blisters from breaking out upon man and beast, and even upon the magic-practicing priests.
  7. Hail, thunder, and fire: The gods who helped control the weather — Shu; Tifnut; Reshpu, who controlled lightning; Min, who controlled thunder and lightning; and Thoth, who had power over rain and thunder — could not prevent the lightning and hail that “shattered all the trees of the field,” and barley “in the ear” and flax plants with “flower buds.” (Barley harvest in nearby Israel begins in March/April, and the flax harvest, when it is in “flower buds,” begins in Israel in February/March or March/April.)
  8. Locusts: The locust plague defeated the gods thought to ensure a bountiful harvest, such as the fertility god Min, god of the harvest.
  9. Darkness: The three-day plague of darkness disgraces the sun gods, such as Ra and Horus; and Sekhmet, the goddess who wore the solar disk; and also Thoth, the god of the moon and systematizer of sun, moon, and stars. (If this plague occurred just before the full moon, which was full during the tenth plague at the time of the first Passover, the plague of darkness would be as noticeable at nighttime as was the darkness during the daytime.)
  10. Firstborn Die: The death of the firstborn humiliates the rulers of Egypt, who styled themselves as gods, the sons of Ra, or Amon-Ra; thus the death of Pharaoh’s firstborn actually meant the death of a god. Bes, the protector of the royal house, and Buto, the defender of the king, were defeated. The death of all the firstborn proves the complete impotence of all the deities of Egypt who were unable to save the firstborn from death.

Exodus 3:1–22; 4:1–31; 12:12; si EXODUS; sh 59–64; w93 7/15 3, 4; g89 2/8 20–24; it AARON; BARLEY; FLAX; GODS AND GODDESSES (The Ten Plagues); JEHOVAH (Early Use of the Name and Its Meaning); MOSES.

Exodus: The first Passover celebration is held on the 14th of Abib (later called Nisan) in Egypt. Egypt’s firstborn die during the Passover, but obedient ones are spared from their firstborn dying in this tenth plague. The Exodus from Egypt begins; perhaps three million or more people leave Egypt. Josephus records a pursuing army of 600 chariots, 50,000 horsemen, and 200,000 infantry. The Israelites are delivered through the Red Sea while Pharaoh and his armies drown. Egypt’s power is shaken. (It is impossible to identify the pharaoh at this time, but Egyptologists have suggested it could have been Thutmose III, Amenhotep II, or Ramses II, among others. See Ramses II in the 13th Century BCE.) The Exodus of the Israelites marks the end of the 400-year affliction of Abraham’s seed. (See 1913 BCE.)

Read “From Egypt to the Promised Land” (gl 8) on WOL.

See MAP of the route Israel took (gl 9) on WOL.

Exodus chapters 11–15; Psalm 136:1–15; g89 2/8 22 ftn.; it ARMY; Josephus, “Antiquities” 2.15.3.

In the Wilderness: Moses makes the bitter water sweet at Marah (Exodus 15:22–26). About one month after leaving Egypt, in the wilderness of Sin, Jehovah sends quail, then manna for bread. (Exodus chapter 16) Arrangements for the weekly sabbath are announced. Near Rephidim (Massah or Meribah), Moses strikes a rock for miraculous water. The Amalekites attack Israel; while Moses keeps his hands raised, Joshua leads the Israelites to victory over them. Jehovah decrees ultimate extinction for the Amalekites (see 1818 BCE). Moses’ wife, Zipporah, their two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, and Zipporah’s father, Jethro, join Moses. Zipporah and their two sons had apparently left from Egypt to visit her parents, perhaps before the momentous events connected with the Exodus occurred (Exodus 18:5–12), and therefore, Moses’ father-in-law Jethro had not yet heard of “all that Jehovah had done to Pharaoh and Egypt in behalf of Israel, all the hardship that had befallen them along the way, and how Jehovah had delivered them.” The next day, after observing that Moses alone was carrying the heavy load of judging the people, Jethro wisely suggests that Moses select qualified assistant chiefs to aid in the judging. Afterward, Jethro returns to his land (Exodus 18:13–27).

At Mount Sinai: At Mount Sinai (Horeb), early in the third month (Sivan) after leaving Egypt, Jehovah makes a covenant with Israel as a special property. The Ten Commandments (aka Ten Words) are given and the Law Covenant is made; Israel agrees to obey. Traditionally, the Ten Commandments were given on the same day that corresponds to Pentecost. (See discussion in Insight PENTECOST and w69 8/1 479.) Moses goes up in the mountain to receive the Law; Joshua goes with Moses part of the way; both remain on the mountain 40 days and nights. During this time, at the instigation of the people, Aaron fashions the golden calf. (See the archaeology entry for Ashkelon at 1990 CE.) Upon returning and seeing what is happening, Moses shatters the tablets, calls for those who would take Jehovah’s side and is joined by the tribe of Levi, whom he orders to slay the revelers. About 3,000 false worshipers are slaughtered. Moses returns to the mountain to receive a second carving of the Ten Commandments on blank tablets that he carries up with him. Moses sees the glory of Jehovah passing by, and his face emits rays when he returns.

Exodus chapters 12–32; Numbers 24:20; Psalm 136:1–15; si EXODUS; NUMBERS; g89 2/22 17–20; it AMALEK, AMALEKITES; CALF; CHRONOLOGY (From Human Creation to the Present); COVENANT (Law Covenant); EXODUS; JETHRO; LAW 1 (Law of God to Israel — The Law of Moses); MANNA; MARAH; MASSAH; MERIBAH 1; MOSES (A fitting mediator); PASSOVER; QUAIL; REPHIDIM; SABBATH DAY; SIN, II 1; it-I 536–37 Exodus map and illustrations; w83 11/1 31.

The 400-Year Affliction and the 430-Year Period End: The 400-year affliction that began in 1913 BCE has come to an end. The 430-year period also ends, counting from the validating of the Abrahamic covenant in 1943 BCE, and divided into two periods of 215 years each.

Exodus 12:40, 41; it CHRONOLOGY (From Human Creation to the Present); EXODUS.

The 480 Years Begin: This year begins the count of 480 years (479 full years) from the Exodus to the start of the temple construction in 1034 BCE during the reign of Solomon (1 Kings 6:1, 480th year). This year, the Israelites are commanded to begin counting their years in the spring month of Abib (later called Nisan) instead of in the fall. It is uncertain whether this will involve a loss or a gain of six months in the counting of time.

si Study 3; it CHRONOLOGY (From Human Creation to the Present).

Bible (Book of Genesis): Bible writing begins when Moses compiles the Bible book of Genesis in the wilderness. The book’s name means “origin,” or “birth.” The book covers from “in the beginning” of the physical creation of the universe, including that of earth and man, down to the death of Joseph in Egypt in 1657 BCE. Notable Bible characters in this book are Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Enoch, Noah and his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, Nimrod (one of the bad guys), Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Esau, Rachel and Leah, and the twelve sons of Jacob, including Joseph. Notable events are the creation of and preparation of the earth for man, the creation of Adam and Eve, their sin and resultant loss of the paradise of Eden, the promise of a “seed” or “offspring” (Genesis 3:15) who will deliver mankind from inherited sin and death, the sinning of some of the “sons of God” and the violence of their Nephilim offspring (more bad guys), Noah’s building an ark to survive the Flood that wipes out wicked mankind, the new beginning with Noah and his family after the Flood, Nimrod’s defiant building of the Tower of Babel and the confusing of man’s languages, and His special dealings with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons, including special covenants that are connected to the Genesis 3:15 promise of the delivering “seed” or “offspring.”

John 5:46; si GENESIS; it GENESIS, BOOK OF; w04 1/1 29–31; 1/15 26–29.

1512 BCE - back

Early Happenings: The Tabernacle construction is completed and it is inaugurated. The Aaronic priesthood is installed, Nisan 1–7. Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s two oldest sons, offer illegitimate fire before Jehovah and are consumed by fire from Jehovah. In the second month, a census of the men of Israel is taken. The men age 20 and upward, excluding the Levites, total 601,550. (See 1473 BCE for the second census.) The entire camp of Israelites (including women, children, and the Levites) may amount to over three million people.

Exodus 35–40; Leviticus 8:33–36; Numbers 1:1–3, 45, 46; si LEVITICUS; it ABIHU; ARMY; NADAB 1; PRIEST; REGISTRATION; TABERNACLE; it-I 538–39 illustrations; w04 8/1 24– 27.

Complaining About Food: The Israelites long for the food of Egypt and grumble over having no meat to eat. A month’s supply of quail is sent, but Jehovah slaughters many greedy Israelites. The place is named the “Burial Places of the Craving” (Hebrew, Kibroth-hattaavah).

Numbers 11; it KIBROTH-HATTAAVAH; QUAIL.

More Complaints and Rebellions: Miriam and Aaron complain against Moses; Miriam is struck with leprosy, and then healed. Israel moves to Kadesh near the Promised Land; twelve spies are sent into Canaan. Ten spies give a faithless report; only Joshua and Caleb give a good report. Forty years of living in the wilderness are decreed, one year for each day the spies were spying out the land — this time being counted from the time of the Exodus in 1513 BCE. Some Israelites attempt an invasion of Canaan and are defeated by the Amalekites and Canaanites. After this, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram rebel against Moses and Aaron; the earth swallows the rebels. The people complain about this and a scourge wipes out 14,700 of them.

Numbers 13; 14; 16; it AARON; ABIRAM 1; CALEB 2; DATHAN; HORMAH; JOSHUA 1; KADESH, KAESH-BARNEA; KORAH 3; MIRIAM; SPIES.

Bible (Book of Exodus): Moses completes the Bible book of Exodus in the wilderness. Exodus covers a period of 145 years, from Joseph’s death in Egypt in 1657 BCE to the completion of the tabernacle at Mount Sinai in 1512 BCE. The book is the record of how Jehovah delivers Israel from slavery in Egypt and gives them the Law through Moses.

si EXODUS; it EXODUS, BOOK OF; w04 3/15 24–27.

Bible (Book of Leviticus): Moses completes the Bible book of Leviticus in the wilderness. (The book’s name is from a Greek word meaning “Pertaining to a Levite [Levites].”) Leviticus covers one lunar month of 1512 BCE, and is written while Israel is camped at Mount Sinai. The book is about God’s laws, especially those laws concerning the priests (of the tribe of Levi) in Israel.

Leviticus 27:34; si LEVITICUS; it LEVITICUS, BOOK OF; w04 5/15 21–24.

Circa 1511 BCE - back

Wandering in the Wilderness: The Israelites leave Kadesh-barnea. They will camp in some 18 different places in the wilderness before they arrive at Mount Hor in 1473 BCE, 38 years later.

Numbers chapter 33; it KADESH, KADESH-BARNEA.

15th CENTURY BCE   (1499–1400)

1490 - 1480 - (1473) - 1470 - 1450 - 1430

In This Century: During this 15th century BCE, the Israelites will complete their wandering in the wilderness and enter the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua. Moses will complete the Bible books of Job, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Aaron, Miriam, and Moses will die without entering the Promised Land. Joshua will complete the book of Joshua. The Canaanites will be either destroyed or subjugated as the Israelites enter the Promised Land. The period of the judges begins (1473 BCE to 1117 BCE).

Read “Israel in Its Surroundings” (gl 10) on WOL.

See the MAP of the nations Israel was to displace from the Promised Land (gl 11) on WOL.

1481 BCE - back

Wars: A survey of history shows that beginning this year until the end of World War II in 1945 CE, for a total of 3,426 years, the world will have only 268 years of peace, with about 8,000 international peace agreements or treaties being made and broken.

w71 5/15 299.

1474 BCE - back

Miriam and Aaron Die: Miriam dies and is buried at Kadesh-Barnea. Aaron dies on Mount Hor at age 123, on the frontier of Edom. Aaron’s oldest son Eleazar, age about 70, succeeds him as high priest.

Numbers 20:1, 28; 33:37–39; it AARON; ELEAZAR 1; MIRIAM.

Before 1473 BCE - back

Archaeology (Tel el-Amarna): The collection of clay tablets called the Tel el-Amarna (or El-Amarna) letters (first discovered in 1887 CE at Tel el-Amarna, about 200 miles south of Cairo, Egypt) are perhaps written shortly before Israel enters Canaan. The rulers of Jerusalem, Megiddo, Hazor, Shechem, Lachish, Hebron, Gaza, and other city-states in Palestiine wrote these letters to the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaton of the 18th Dynasty, a worshiper of the sun disk Aton, and to his father Amen-hotep III. Biblical cities named in the letters are Acco (Judges 1:31), Ashkelon, Arvad (Ezekiel 27:8), Aroer (Numbers 32:34), Ashtaroth (Deuteronomy 1:4, etc.), Gebal (Ezekiel 27:9), Gezer (Joshua 10:33, 1 Kings 9:15, etc.), Gath, Gaza, Jerusalem, Joppa, Keilah (1 Samuel 23:1), Lachish (Joshua 10:3, etc.), Megiddo, Sidon, Tyre, Shechem, Sharon, Taanach, Zorah (Judges 13:2), and Beth-Ninurta, which is probably Beth-Shemesh (Joshua 15:10, etc.).

w88 2/1 23–27; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Egypt); BARTON 152–3; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amarna_letters.

Circa 1473 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Job): Job dies shortly before this year. Moses completes the Bible book of Job while the Israelites are wandering the wilderness. The book covers over 140 years between 1657 and 1473 BCE. The book is the account of Job’s experiences when Satan challenges his integrity before Jehovah.

si JOB; it JOB, BOOK OF.

1473 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Numbers): Moses completes the Bible book of Numbers in the wilderness and on the Plains of Moab. The name of the book is derived from the two censuses (numberings) of the Israelites (Numbers chapters 1–4, 26) taken about 38 years apart. The book covers events over a period of 38 years and 9 months, from 1512 to 1473 BCE, during the time of Israel’s wandering from place to place in the wilderness en route to the Promised Land.

si NUMBERS; it NUMBERS, BOOK OF; w04 8/1 24–27.

Bible (Book of Deuteronomy): On the Plains of Moab, Moses writes the book of Deuteronomy (from Greek, meaning “Second Law,” that is, an explanation of the Law), with the closing chapter about Moses’ death being added possibly by Joshua or High Priest Eleazar. The book covers a little over two months of 1473 BCE, just before Israel enters the Promised Land. The book consists of discourses explaining portions of the Law, and of exhortations to Israel to love and obey Jehovah in the land they are about to enter.

si DEUTERONOMY; it DEUTERONOMY, BOOK OF; w04 9/15 24–27.

Census: A second census is taken, and the number of men for the army from age 20 and upward number 601,730. (See 1512 BCE for the first census.)

Numbers 26:2, 51; it ARMY.

Entering the Promised Land: A covenant is made with Israel at Moab (Deuteronomy 29). Moses dies at age 120 on Mount Nebo in Moab and is buried by Jehovah (Deuteronomy 34). Two spies are sent into Canaan and are hidden by Rahab of Jericho (Joshua 2). Israel enters Canaan under Joshua (Joshua 3; 4). The men are circumcised at Gilgal (Joshua 5). Jericho falls (Joshua 6). Joshua pronounces a curse that any man who lays the foundation of Jericho will do so at the forfeit of his firstborn, and at the forfeit of his youngest if he puts up the doors. This will be fulfilled over 500 years later during the reign of Ahab of Israel (see Circa 940 BCE to 919 BCE).

The Israelites are routed at Ai. Achan, the culprit who caused this defeat by stealing goods from Jericho, is pointed out by Jehovah and stoned (Joshua 7). On the second attempt against Ai, the city is destroyed (Joshua 8). The Gibeonites, by a ruse, conclude a covenant with Joshua and are spared destruction (Joshua 9). The Israelites come to their rescue when a Canaanite coalition threatens Gibeon. In the ensuing battle, Joshua commands the sun and moon to stand still. After this, Joshua leads the Israelite army into many victories over the Canaanites (Joshua 10).

it AI 1; COVENANT (Covenant With Israel at Moab); JERICHO; JOSHUA 1; KADESH, KADESH-BARNEA; MOSES; RAHAB 1; SPIES.

The Period of the Judges: The period of the judges begins this year, and will last until 1117 BCE.

it CHRONOLOGY (From 1513 B.C.E. to division of kingdom); HEBREW, II.

Circa 1467 BCE - back

Conquest Completed (Shiloh): When the major conquest of the land is completed, the Ark of the Covenant is moved to Shiloh, where it will stay until about the time of high priest Eli’s death. (See the 12th Century BCE).

Joshua 18:1; it ARK OF THE COVENANT; SHILOH 2.

1467 BCE - back

Apportioning the Land: After six years, the major conquest of the Promised Land is completed. The land is apportioned to the tribes by lot.

About 450 Years Ends: The ‘about 450 years’ period, spoken of by the apostle Paul, ends. It began with the birth of Isaac in 1918 BCE.

Numbers 34; Acts 13:17–20; it CHRONOLOGY (p. 462).

Circa 1450 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Joshua): In Canaan, Joshua completes the Bible book of Joshua. The book covers 22 years from 1473 BCE to about 1450 BCE and is the record of how Jehovah gave the land of Canaan to the Israelites.

si JOSHUA; it JOSHUA, BOOK OF; w04 12/1 8–12.

Joshua Dies: Joshua dies at age 110 and is buried at Timnath-serah, the city in the mountainous region of Ephraim that was given to him as his inheritance.

it JOSHUA 1.

1424 BCE - back

Jubilee: The first jubilee year for the Israelites begins in the month of Tishri, or Ethanim (September/October). This is counting from 1473 BCE, the year the Israelites entered the Promised Land. It is not known the Jubilee years or Sabbath years were ever celebrated.

Leviticus 26:34, 35, 43; 2 Chronicles 36:20, 21; it AGRICULTURE (Israelite Agriculture); JUBILEE; SABBATH YEAR.

14th CENTURY BCE   (1399–1300)

In This Century (Judges): The 14th century BCE occurs during the period of judges in Israel, which lasts more than 350 years. Before the time of Samuel the prophet and Saul the king (see 1117 BCE), the Bible lists twelve judges, or “saviors,” whom Jehovah raises up to save the Israelites from their various enemies. They are Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Barak, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson. The exact time period for most of these judges is not indicated in the Bible; however, some of their judgeships may have overlapped each other due to their living in different areas of the country and due to their dealing with different sets of enemies.

Read the article ‘“When Jehovah Raised Up Judges’” (gl 14) on WOL.

See the MAP of judges (gl 15) on WOL.

Judges 2:16; Acts 13:20; w86 6/1 31; it CHRONOLOGY (From 1513 B.C.E. to division of kingdom); JUDGE.

Bible (Book of Ruth): The events recorded in the book of Ruth likely occur early in this century.

it BOAZ I.

China: Sometime before the year 1300 BCE, wheat is introduced into China.

g97 6/22 29.

India: The Hindu Rig-Veda is introduced about 1300 BCE.

kl 19.

13th CENTURY BCE   (1299–1200)

In This Century (Judges): The period of judges in Israel continues during this 13th century BCE. Judge Gideon lives during this century, and with a small band of 300 men delivers Israel from the Midianites.

Judges 6:1–8:35; w77 8/1 455–58.

Egypt: Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II, who is generally considered by historians to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus, is not likely to have lived before this century, but he may have lived during this century. (Barton sets the dates for Ramses II’s reign as 1292–1225.) Pharaoh Merneptah, the son of Ramses II, is of the 19th Dynasty (1320–1200 BCE).

w88 2/1 26; it EGYPT (History); RAAMSES, RAMESES; AAEnc 7: “Egypt, ancient"; BARTON 154.

12th CENTURY BCE   (1199–1100)

1180 - 1120 - 1110 - 1100

In This Century (Judges and a King): In this 12th century BCE, the period of judges in Israel ends, and the first king of Israel, Saul, begins to rule.

The Ark of the Covenant: Sometime during the latter part of this century, the Ark, after being returned by the Philistines, is taken to Kiriath-jearim rather than back to Shiloh, where it had been since Circa 1467 BCE. It will remain there until moved to Jerusalem by King David about 70 years later. (See 1070 to 1040 BCE.)

1 Samuel 4:1–7:2; 1 Chronicles 13:5,6; 16:1; 2 Chronicles 1:4; it KIRIATH-JEARIM; SHILOH 2.

Archaeology (Megiddo): In Megiddo, some 400 ivory pieces will be found, including beautifully carved panels, ivory inlaid boxes, and gaming boards, estimated as dating from about this 12th century BCE.

it ART (Artwork under the monarchy).

China: The Chinese treatise on divination, the I Ching (pronounced Yee Jing), with its explanation of yin and yang, may have been written in this century. It is one of the Five Classics of Confucianism. Throughout the following centuries it becomes the basis for fortune-telling, geomancy, and other forms of divination in China.

sh 83; g88 12/22 19.

1173 BCE - back

Judge Jephthah: Jephthah begins a six-year judgeship approximately this year. Jephthah refers to “three hundred years” of Israelite control east of the Jordan (Judges 11:26), thus his judgeship would begin about 300 years from the time the Israelites entered the Promised Land in 1473 BCE.

it JEPHTHAH.

1117 BCE - back

Twelve-tribe Kingdom: The period of the judges ends, and that of the kings begins. The prophet Samuel anoints Saul as king, and Saul begins his 40-year rule over the 12 tribes, until 1078 BCE.

Contemporary Prophet: Samuel, who is considered the first of the line of the prophets.

High Priests: Ahijah, Ahimelech.

it SAUL, Acts 3:24; w05 3/15 22.

1107 BCE - back

Twelve-tribe Kingdom: David, the youngest son of Jesse and future king of the 12 tribes, is born at Bethlehem. He will begin ruling in 1077 BCE.

it DAVID (As King); w62 1/15 42.

Circa 1100 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Judges): Samuel completes the Bible book of Judges. The book, written in Israel, covers some 330 years, from Circa 1450 BCE to circa 1120 BCE. The book is an account of the deliverances that Jehovah performed for Israel through the judges. The 12 judges are Othniel (Judges 3:7–11), Ehud (Judges 3:12–30), Shamgar (Judges 3:31), Barak (Judges 4:1–5:31), Gideon (Judges 6:1–9:57), Tola (Judges 10:1, 2), Jair (Judges 10:3–5), Jephthah (Judges 10:6– 12:7), Ibzan (Judges 12:8–10), Elon (Judges 12:11, 12), Abdon (Judges 12:13–15), and Samson (Judges 13:1–16:31).

si JUDGES; it JUDGES, BOOK OF; w05 1/15 24–27.

11th CENTURY BCE   (1099–1000)

1090 - 1080 - 1070 - 1040 - 1030 - 1020 - 1000

In This Century (Twelve-tribe Kingdom): Three kings rule over Israel during this 11th century BCE: Saul, David, and Solomon. The Bible books of Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, The Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes are written during this century. Solomon builds the temple in Jerusalem.

Circa 1090 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Ruth): In Israel, Samuel completes the Bible book of Ruth, which covers an 11-year period during the early days of the judges. (Boaz, whom Ruth marries, is the son of Rahab of Jericho and Salmon, the son of a chieftain of Judah. See 1473 BCE.) The book shows how Jehovah blessed the God-fearing Moabitess, Ruth, by her becoming part of the Messianic line. Regarding the son born to Ruth and Boaz, Ruth 4:17 says: “And they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, David’s father.”

si RUTH; it RUTH, BOOK OF; w05 3/1 26–29; Matthew 1:5, 6.

Circa 1080–1078 BCE - back

David: Continuing to live as a fugitive from King Saul, David, his two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail, and his 600 men leave the territory of King Saul and come to the Philistine king, Achish, in the city of Gath, where they dwell for an unstated (but perhaps short) period of time. Then Achish gives David the city of Ziklag (aerial view), which at that time had come under Philistine control. David lives in Ziklag for one year and four months, until he hears that Saul and Jonathan had died in battle (in 1078 BCE). During the 16 months that David lives in Ziklag, he and his men make raids southward on the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites, thus securing the southern borders of Judah. Achish, though, is led to believe that David is making raids on Judean towns. (1 Samuel chapter 27)

When Achish calls David to Gath to join him when the Philistines are organizing an attack on King Saul, the other “axis lords” insist that David not be included, so they send David back to Ziklag. (1 Samuel chapter 29) Before David can reach Ziklag, the Amalekites raid the area, including Ziklag, burning it with fire, and carry off the women and children as captives, including Ahinoam and Abigail, David’s wives. The men who have lost their wives and children become bitter and threaten to stone David, who promptly inquires of Jehovah through Abiathar the priest. David is told: “Go in pursuit, for you will certainly overtake them, and you will make the rescue.” David and his 600 men go in chase, but 200 of the men become too tired to continue, so David continues the pursuit with the 400, strikes down the Amalekites, and recovers the women and children, plus a great deal of spoil. However, some “bad and worthless” men among the 400 who went with David do not want to divide the spoil with the 200, but David says: “The share of the one who went down into the battle will be the same as the share of the one who sat by the baggage. All will have a share together.” From this day forward, this becomes a “regulation and a rule for Israel.” David donates some of the spoil to the older men of Judah. (1 Samuel chapter 30)

w04 6/1 22; it Achish; David; Gath; Ziklag.

Circa 1078 BCE - back

Bible (Book of First Samuel): In Israel, Samuel, Nathan, and Gad complete writing the Bible book of 1 Samuel. The book covers a period of 102 years, from circa 1180 to 1078 BCE, and is the record of the end of the judges and the beginning of the kingship in Israel.

si 1 SAMUEL; it SAMUEL, BOOKS OF; w05 3/15 21–24.

1078 BCE - back

Twelve-tribe Kingdom: Saul and Jonathan die in battle. David, in lamentation, composes a dirge entitled “The Bow.”

2 Samuel chapter 1; it ABDI I; DAVID (As King); w07 9/15 19.

1077 BCE - back

One-tribe Kingdom: At Hebron, David, age 30, begins ruling as king of the one tribe of Judah. The first split in the national government comes when only the tribe of Judah recognizes David as king, but the rest of the tribes make Ish-bosheth (aka Esh-Baal), a son of Saul, king. The Bible does not state when Ish-bosheth was made king, but he will rule for two years until he is assassinated. During the next seven and one-half years, David will take more wives and have a number of sons and daughters. He will move his capital to Jerusalem in 1070 BCE. David reigns a total of 40 years, until 1037 BCE.

Contemporary Prophets: Nathan, Gad, Zadok (also a priest).

High Priests: Abiathar, Zadok.

2 Samuel 5:4–10; 15:27; 1 Chronicles 11:4–9; it ASAPH 1; DAVID (As King), (Rule at Jerusalem); ISH-BOSHETH; ZADOK.

1077 BCE to 1070 BCE - back

One-tribe Kingdom: David reigns in Hebron, and has sons by six wives during this period. His firstborn is Amnon by Ahinoam. His second is Chileab (also called Daniel) by Abigail, the widow of Nabal. His third is Absalom by Maacah (Maacah also bears a daughter, Tamar, whose birth year is unknown). His fourth is Adonijah by Haggith. His fifth is Shephatiah by Abital. His sixth is Ithream by Eglah.

2 Samuel 3:2–5; 1 Chronicles 3:1–4; it ABIGAIL 1; ABITAL; AHINOAM 2, ABSALOM.

1070 BCE - back

Twelve-tribe Kingdom: David begins ruling over all 12 tribes. He captures the “stronghold of Zion” and makes Jerusalem his capital. (See archaeological note at 1867 CE.) Jerusalem is now also called “the City of David.”

it DAVID (Rule at Jerusalem); JUDGES, BOOK OF.

1070 to 1040 BCE - back

Twelve-tribe Kingdom: David twice defeats the attacking Philistines. David starts to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, but Uzzah dies when he touches the Ark, and in fear David has the Ark kept at the house of Obed-edom. After three months David brings the Ark to Jerusalem. David’s wife Michal is punished with barrenness for speaking disrespectfully to David regarding his dancing when the Ark is brought to Jerusalem.

A covenant is made with David for a kingdom, but the prophet Nathan informs David that he will not build a house for Jehovah.

David has more sons and daughters by his wives in Jerusalem. Sons by Bath-sheba are Shammua, also called Shimea and likely named after Shimea, an older brother of David; Shobab; Nathan, through whom comes the natural line of Jesus through Mary (Luke 3:31); and Solomon, who succeeds David as king and through whom the legal line of Jesus comes through Jesus’ foster father Joseph (Matthew 1:8). Other wives of David bore to him Ibhar; Elishama, or Elishua, which is considered the correct name, for there is another son named Elishama; Eliphelet; Nogah; Nepheg; Japhia; Elishama; Eliada, called Beeliada at 1 Chronicles 14:7; and Eliphelet, which is either a scribal error repeating the name of the other son Eliphelet, or a second son given this name after the death of the first one.

2 Samuel 5:4–10; 6:1–23; 1 Chronicles 3:5–9; it COVENANT (Covenant With King David); DAVID.

Sacred Secret: Sometime between 1070 BCE and 1038 BCE, King David learns that the promised Seed will descend from him and will rule forever as King. (See After 4026  BCE, 1711 BCE, and 29 CE.)

2 Samuel 7:13–16; Psalm 89:35, 36; w97 6/1 16 (chart).

Circa 1040 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Second Samuel): Nathan and Gad complete the Bible book of 2 Samuel, in Israel. The book covers the years 1077 BCE to circa 1040 BCE and is a record of David’s kingship.

si 2 SAMUEL; it SAMUEL, BOOKS OF.

1037 BCE - back

Twelve-tribe Kingdom: Sometime before Nisan, David’s son Solomon begins a 40-year rule, until Circa 998 BCE. Shortly after Solomon begins ruling, David dies and is buried in the City of David, Jerusalem. Solomon’s rule occurs during “the kingdom’s zenith.”

Contemporary Prophets: Nathan, Ahijah, and Iddo.

High Priests: Abiathar, Zadok.

it CHRONOLOGY (From Human Creation to the Present); si 284–85.

1034 BCE - back

Twelve-tribe Kingdom: The construction of the temple by Solomon begins in the second month Ziv. The temple will take seven years to complete. This year marks the end of the 480th year period (479 full years) from the Exodus in 1513 BCE.

1 Kings 6:1; it CHRONOLOGY (From Human Creation to the Present); TEMPLE (Solomon’s Temple).

1027 BCE - back

Twelve-tribe Kingdom: The Temple in Jerusalem is completed. This temple will last 420 years, until Babylonian invaders destroy it in 607 BCE.

it TEMPLE (Solomon’s Temple).

1026 BCE - back

Twelve-tribe Kingdom: The Temple is inaugurated in the seventh month. At the close of Solomon’s prayer, fire comes down from heaven and consumes the sacrifices, and Jehovah’s glory fills the temple. Twelve years later, after Solomon finishes other building projects, Jehovah will verbally acknowledge Solomon’s prayer.

2 Chronicles 7:1–3; 11–22; it SOLOMON (Building Projects).

Circa 1020 BCE - back

Bible (Book of The Song of Solomon): Solomon completes the Bible book of The Song of Solomon, in Jerusalem. The time period is uncertain, but the events covered in the book evidently occur quite early in Solomon’s reign (1037 BCE–998 BCE). The story is about the unswerving love of a Shulammite maiden for a shepherd boy in spite of King Solomon’s attempts to win her.

si THE SONG OF SOLOMON; it SONG OF SOLOMON, THE.

Before 1000 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Ecclesiastes): Solomon completes the Bible book of Ecclesiastes, in Jerusalem, sometime in the latter part of his kingship after he had engaged in the numerous pursuits he describes. The book is a description of works that are vain or futile and those that are worthwhile.

si ECCLESIASTES; it ECCLESIASTES.

10th CENTURY BCE   (999–900)

999 - 980 - 970 - 960 - 950 - 940 - 930 - 920 - 910

Judah: The kings who rule over Judah during this century are Solomon (undivided kingdom), Rehoboam (undivided and divided kingdom), Abijah (Abijam), Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat), Ahaziah (son of Jehoram), and usurper Queen Athaliah. Prophets in Judah during this century are Shemaiah, Iddo, Azariah, Oded, Hanani, Jehu (son of Hanani), Eliezer, Jahaziel, and Elijah.

it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart).

Israel: The kings who rule over Israel during this century are Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah (son of Ahab), Jehoram (son of Ahab), and Jehu. Prophets in Israel during this century are Ahijah, Jehu (son of Hanani), Elijah, Micaiah, and Elisha.

it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart).

Greece: In this century, classic paganism is flourishing in Greece. The gods Zeus (Roman Jupiter), Hera (Roman Juno), Poseidon, Demeter, Apollo, Artemis (Roman Diana), Ares (Roman Mars), Aphrodite (Roman Venus), Athena, Hermes (Roman Mercury), and others become prominent.

it GREECE, GREEKS (Greek Religion).

Egypt: During this millennium, cotton is used in Egypt and Palestine.

it COTTON.

Clothing styles: A form of safety pin for holding together items of clothing may have been introduced into Israel during this century.

it DRESS.

Circa 998 BCE - back

Twelve-tribe Kingdom: Solomon dies. He ruled for 40 years, from 1037 BCE to Circa 998 BCE. Jeroboam, who had fled to Egypt and the protection of Pharaoh Shishak (Sheshonk) when Solomon had sought to put him to death, now returns to Judah.

1 Kings 11:40–43; it JEROBOAM; SHISHAK; SOLOMON.

997 BCE - back

Judah: Rehoboam, son of Solomon and Naamah, the Ammonitess, begins a 17-year rule at age 41, and will rule until 980 BCE. Regarding Rehoboam, 2 Chronicles 12:1 says: “Soon after the kingship of Rehoboam was firmly established and he had become strong, he abandoned the Law of Jehovah, and also all Israel with him..” Elaborating on Judah’s sins, 1 Kings 14:22–24 says: “And Judah was doing what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah, and by the sins they committed they provoked him more than their forefathers had done. They too kept building for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and sacred poles on every high hill and under every luxuriant tree. There were also male temple prostitutes in the land. They acted according to all the detestable things of the nations that Jehovah had driven out before the Israelites.”

Judah and Israel: Soon the kingdom splits into two parts: Judah and Israel. (Compare 1077 BCE.) Ten of the tribes set up Jeroboam as king over their newly formed northern kingdom of Israel. Rehoboam congregates 180,000 men from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to fight the house of Israel to bring the kingship back to Rehoboam. The prophet Shemaiah tells Rehoboam that Jehovah said they must not fight their brothers, so Rehoboam’s men of war obey and return to their homes.

Judah: The tribes of Judah and Benjamin and the priestly tribe of Levi form the southern kingdom of Judah, with Jerusalem as the capital.

Contemporary Prophets: Shemaiah, Iddo.

Israel: Jeroboam becomes the first king of the ten northern tribes and the founder of the first dynasty of Israel. He will rule 22 years, until Circa 977 BCE. These ten tribes (other than the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and the priestly tribe of Levi) form the northern kingdom of Israel, with Shechem as its capital at first, then later Tirzah, then Samaria.

At 1 Kings 14:7–11, Jehovah through the prophet Ahijah proclaims calamity against Jeroboam and his house: “Go, tell Jeroboam . . . ‘You have not become like my servant David, who kept my commandments . . . But you have done worse than all those who were prior to you, and you have made for yourself another god and molten images to offend me, and it is I whom you have turned your back on. For that reason I am bringing calamity on the house of Jeroboam . . . and I will make a clean sweep of the house of Jeroboam, just as one clears away the dung until it is all gone! Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city, the dogs will eat; and anyone who dies in the field, the birds of the heavens will eat, for Jehovah has spoken it.’”

Jeroboam is the first of 19 kings over Israel (not counting Tibni). (See Circa 951 BCE). Not one king of the northern kingdom will practice true religion.

Contemporary Prophet: Ahijah, who foretold how Solomon’s kingdom would be divided, and who pronounced doom to Jeroboam and his house.

Good Kings, Bad Kings: Beginning with Rehoboam, the southern kingdom of Judah will have 19 kings (not counting the usurper queen, Athaliah), but only a handful of them will practice true religion. Besides David in the undivided kingdom, the good kings of Judah are Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jotham, Hezekiah, and Josiah. Although some of the other kings did a few things during their reigns that were considered right, only the six listed had a fine enough record for it to be said about them that they did what was right in the eyes of Jehovah. Beginning with Jeroboam, the northern kingdom of Israel will also have 19 kings (not counting Tibni), but not one of them will practice true religion.

1 Kings chapters 12, 13; 2 Chronicles chapters 10, 11; 12:14; w62 2/1 70; g89 2/22 17–20; it AHIJAH 7; CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); IDDO 3; JEROBOAM 1; REHOBOAM; SHEMAIAH 6.

Calf Worship, the “Sins of Jeroboam”: Fearing that his kingdom would return to the house of David when the people went up to Jerusalem to worship at the temple, Jeroboam introduces a new religion into Israel based on calf worship. He places golden calves at Dan and Bethel and establishes his own priesthood and festival days. Succeeding Israelite kings will perpetuate Jeroboam’s apostate worship, which the Bible refers to as the “sins that Jeroboam had committed and has caused Israel to commit.”

A prophet comes out of Judah to Bethel and prophesies against the altar on which Jeroboam is making “sacrificial smoke”: “Look! A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David! He will sacrifice on you the priests of the high places, those making sacrificial smoke on you, and he will burn human bones on you.” (See 648 BCE for the fulfillment of this prophecy.) As a portent to Jeroboam, the prophet says the altar would be ripped apart and the fatty ashes spilled out. Jeroboam reaches out and commands his men to seize the prophet. Instantly, his hand is dried up, and the altar splits apart as foretold. Jeroboam entreats the prophet regarding his hand, and it is restored to him.

The eventual outcome of calf worship for the ten-tribe kingdom is stated at 2 Kings 17:21–23: “He ripped Israel away from the house of David, and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. But Jeroboam caused Israel to stray from following Jehovah, and he caused them to commit a great sin. And the people of Israel kept walking in all the sins that Jeroboam had committed. They did not depart from them until Jehovah removed Israel from his sight, just as he had declared through all his servants the prophets. So Israel was taken into exile from its land to Assyria, where they remain to this day.” (See 740 BCE.)

1 Kings 12:25–33; 13:1–6; 14:16; w08 8/15 5 pars. 11–12; it CALF (Calf Worship); JEROBOAM 1.

997 BCE to 993 BCE - back

Judah: Rehoboam leaves Jehovah’s worship and allows sex worship in Judah, which provokes Jehovah into allowing Egyptian King Shishak (Sheshonk I) to invade Judah in 993 BCE.

1 Kings 14:21–24; 2 Chronicles 12:1; it REHOBOAM; SHISHAK.

993 BCE - back

Judah: Egyptian King Shishak (Sheshonk I, “Twenty-second Dynasty”) invades Judah and strips great treasures from the temple in Jerusalem. One purpose of Shishak’s invasion is to extend Egypt’s power by gaining control over important trade routes.

Israel: Shishak captures many cities and villages in Israel. A relief on the southern wall of the temple of Amon at Karnak (ancient Thebes) depicts Shishak’s campaign and lists many captured cities of Judah and Israel, such as Megiddo, Shunem, Gibeon, and also the “Field of Abram.”

1 Kings 14:25, 26; 2 Chronicles 12:9; w88 2/1 23–27; it EGYPT, EGYPTIAN (After Israel’s conquest of Canaan); REHOBOAM; SHISHAK; si 332.

980 BCE - back

Judah: Rehoboam dies at age 58. He began ruling in 997 BCE. Abijah (Abijam), the son of Rehoboam and Maacah (Micaiah), the granddaughter of Absalom, succeeds Rehoboam as king. Abijah begins a 3-year rule, until 978 BCE.

Although Abijah condemns the calf worship of Jeroboam, he fails to remove the high places, the sacred pillars and poles, and the male temple prostitutes from Judah. Regarding Abijah (Abijam), 1 Kings 15:3 says: “He went on walking in all the sins that his father committed prior to him, and his heart was not complete with Jehovah his God like the heart of David his forefather.”

Contemporary Prophet: Iddo.

1 Kings 14:21–31; 15:1–8; 2 Chronicles 12:16; 13:1–22; it ABIJAH 5; IDDO 3; MAACAH 9.

After 980 BCE - back

Judah and Israel: Warfare takes place between Jeroboam’s 800,000 men (Israel) and Abijah’s 400,000 men (Judah). Abijah ‘leans upon Jehovah’ and defeats Jeroboam, who loses half a million of his men. Abijah captures Bethel, where an apostate priesthood had been installed and a golden calf is kept. Bethel later reverts to the northern kingdom, at least by the time of Baasha’s reign when he tries to rebuild Ramah, which is located south of Bethel. (See Circa 975 BCE and Circa 962 BCE.)

1 Kings 12:28–32; 15:7; 2 Chronicles 13:3–20; ABIJAH 5.

978 BCE - back

Judah: King Abijah (Abijam) dies after a 3-year reign. He began ruling in 980 BCE. Asa, the son of Abijah, begins to rule this year, although his first regnal year counts from 977 BCE.

Contemporary Prophets: Azariah, Oded, Hanani.

Contemporary Kings of Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, and Ahab.

1 Kings 14:23, 24; 15:3, 8; 2 Chronicles 14:1; it ABIJAH 5; ASA 1; CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart).

Circa 977 BCE - back

Israel: About this year, Jehovah deals King Jeroboam a blow so that he dies. He began ruling in 997 BCE. Jeroboam’s son Nadab succeeds him. Nadab’s rule is counted from Circa 976 BCE.

1 Kings 14:20; 2 Chronicles 13:20; it NADAB 4.

977 BCE - back

Judah: Asa, the son of Abijah (Abijam), is sometimes counted as ruling from this year, although he began to rule in 978 BCE. Asa will rule 41 years, until 937 BCE. Regarding Asa, 2 Chronicles 14:2 says: “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of Jehovah his God.” Although Asa erred at times, he is considered one of the six good kings out of the 43 kings who ruled in Israel and Judah. (See “Good Kings, Bad Kings” at 997 BCE.) During his reign, Asa removes his grandmother, Maacah (see 980 BCE), from being “queen mother” due to her making “an obscene idol” to the sacred pole (Asherah).

1 Kings 15:8–13; 2 Chronicles chapters 14–16; it ASA 1.

Circa 976 BCE - back

Israel: Nadab succeeds his father Jeroboam as king and rules for parts of two years, until Circa 975 BCE. Regarding Nadab, 1 Kings 15:26 says: “He kept doing what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah and walked in the way of his father and in his sin that he caused Israel to commit.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.)

1 Kings 14:20; 15:25–31; it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); NADAB 4.

Circa 975 BCE - back

Israel: Nadab is assassinated by Baasha. Nadab began ruling Circa 976 BCE. Baasha becomes the third king of the ten tribes and the founder of the second dynasty of Israel. He will reign 24 years, until Circa 952 BCE. Baasha strikes down the entire house of Jeroboam, as had been prophesied by Ahijah at 1 Kings 14:10. Regarding Baasha, 1 Kings 15:34 says: “But he kept doing what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah, and he walked in the way of Jeroboam and in his sin that he caused Israel to commit.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.) Because Baasha continues the calf worship of Jeroboam, the prophet Jehu prophesies that Baasha’s house will be wiped out. (See Circa 951 BCE.)

Contemporary Prophet: Jehu, the son of Hanani, who foretells the destruction of the house of Baasha.

1 Kings 14:10; 15:27–34; 16:1–7, 12; it AHIJAH 7; BAASHA; CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); JEHU 2.

967 BCE - back

Judah: Zerah the Ethiopian, with one million warriors and 300 chariots, comes against Judah and King Asa in war, but is soundly defeated.

2 Chronicles 14:9–15; it ASA 1; CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); ZERAH 6.

967 BCE to 963 BCE - back

Judah: Asa cleanses Judah of false worship and renews the altar of Jehovah.

2 Chronicles chapter 15; it ASA 1.

963 BCE - back

Judah: Many Israelites from the northern kingdom abandon that region to join in a grand assembly at Jerusalem. King Asa, who reigns from 977 BCE to 937 BCE, concludes a covenant for the people to seek Jehovah, with the death penalty for those not keeping this covenant.

2 Chronicles 15:8–15; it ASA 1.

Circa 962 BCE - back

Israel: In an effort to block any Israelites who might want to return to Judah again (see 963 BCE), King Baasha of Israel fortifies the frontier city of Ramah, located on the main road to Jerusalem and only a short distance north of Jerusalem and Gibeah.

Judah: In response to Baasha’s fortifying the city of Ramah, Asa, the king of Judah, resorts to sending a bribe to King Ben-hadad I of Syria to have the Syrians attack the northern border of Israel to divert King Baasha from fortifying Ramah. Asa then carries off the stones and timbers and uses them to build up the cities of Geba and Mizpah. For failing to put his trust in Jehovah and instead ‘leaning on the king of Syria,’ the seer Hanani tells Asa that he will now face continued warfare.

1 Kings 15:33, 34; 16:1–7; 2 Chronicles chapter 16; it ASA 1; BAASHA.

Circa 952 BCE - back

Israel: King Baasha dies. He began ruling Circa 975 BCE. Elah succeeds his father Baasha as fourth king of Israel. He will rule for parts of two years in Tirzah, until assassinated by Zimri Circa 951 BCE. Regarding Baasha and his son Elah, 1 Kings 16:12, 13 says that Zimri “annihilated the whole house of Baasha . . . for all the sins that Baasha and his son Elah had committed and the sins they had caused Israel to commit by offending Jehovah the God of Israel with their worthless idols.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.)

1 Kings 16:8–14; it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); ELAH 3.

Circa 951 BCE - back

Israel: King Elah is assassinated by Zimri, chief over half of the king’s chariots. Elah began ruling Circa 952 BCE.

Zimri becomes the fifth king of Israel, but he rules for only seven days. Zimri’s killing of Elah, the son of Baasha, and all the house of Baasha fulfills the prophecy of Jehu the son of Hanani who prophesied “a clean sweep” of the house of Baasha. (See Circa 975 BCE.) Zimri may have been a descendant of Saul and Jonathan who was trying to recover the kingship because of being a member of Saul’s household. Zimri dies by burning the king’s house down upon himself.

Though brief his reign, 1 Kings 16:19 says that Zimri died “for his own sins that he had committed by doing what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah by walking in the way of Jeroboam and for the sin he had caused Israel to commit.” See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE. Omri, the chief of Israel’s army under King Elah, succeeds Zimri.

Omri becomes the sixth king of Israel and is the founder of the third dynasty of Israel. Omri will reign 12 years, until Circa 940 BCE, when his son, Ahab, will succeed him. Regarding Omri, 1 Kings 16:25, 26 says: “And Omri kept doing what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah, and he was worse than all who were prior to him. He walked in all the ways of Jeroboam the son of Nebat and in the sin he had caused Israel to commit by offending Jehovah the God of Israel with their worthless idols.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.)

During the first four years of Omri’s rule, a rival king, Tibni, also becomes king over part of the people, and the populace is divided in their support of Omri and Tibni. Civil war rages until the supporters of Omri overthrow the supporters of Tibni. Omri is a mighty king who is credited on the Moabite stone with bringing Moab into subjection. (The Moabite stone is discovered in 1868 CE.) During his reign, Omri moves his capital from Tirzah to Samaria. (See Circa 945 BCE.)

1 Kings 16:1–28; 1 Chronicles 8:33–36; 9:42; it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); OMRI 3; ZIMRI 3, 4.

Circa 947 BCE - back

Israel: Tibni, Omri’s rival for the throne, dies. Omri begins about eight years of sole rule, until Circa 940 BCE.

it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart).

Circa 945 BCE - back

Israel: Omri moves his capital from Tirzah and begins ruling from Samaria (which means “Belonging to the Clan Shemer”). He purchased the mountain of Samaria from Shemer and builds the city of Samaria on its relatively flat top. The hill upon which Samaria is built rises 295 feet above the valley floor. The city is strongly fortified with sturdy double walls as much as 33 feet wide. Samaria will serve as the capital of the ten-tribe northern kingdom of Israel for more than 200 years, until it falls to the king of Assyria in 740 BCE.

1 Kings 16:23, 24; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Palestine and Syria); CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); SAMARIA; SHEMER 3.

Circa 940 BCE - back

Israel: King Omri dies and is succeeded by his son Ahab. Omri began ruling Circa 951 BCE. Ahab begins his rule in Samaria as the seventh king over Israel and will rule for 22 years, until either 920 BCE or Circa 919 BCE. Regarding Ahab, 1 Kings 16:30–33 says: “Ahab the son of Omri was worse in the eyes of Jehovah than all those who were prior to him. As if it were a trivial thing to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he also took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, the king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and to bow down to him. Further, he set up an altar to Baal at the house of Baal that he built in Samaria. Ahab also made the sacred pole. Ahab did more to offend Jehovah the God of Israel than all the kings of Israel prior to him.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.) Thus Ahab, through the influence of his Sidonian wife Jezebel, introduces Baal worship into Israel in addition to calf worship.

Contemporary Prophets: Elijah, Micaiah.

1 Kings 16:23–30; it AHAB 1; BEZER 2; CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); JEHORAM 2; OMRI 3.

Circa 940 BCE to 919 BCE - back

Israel: Influenced by his Baal-worshiping wife, Jezebel, Ahab introduces a new and more potent form of Baal worship into Israel than that which was already in existence. He builds a temple for Baal and erects a sacred pole to Ashtoreth. Ahab reigns 22 years, until either Circa 920 BCE or Circa 919 BCE.

The prophet Elijah, who begins his career as a prophet during the reign of King Ahab, foretells a drought of rain and dew, his first miracle. The drought lasts three years and six months. During the drought, Elijah is miraculously fed by ravens. Then Elijah moves to Zarephath near Sidon, Jezebel’s hometown, and stays with a widow, miraculously multiplying her flour and oil until the drought ends, his second miracle. When her son dies, Elijah resurrects him, his third miracle and the first resurrection recorded in the Bible.

Near the end of the drought, Elijah calls for a test of gods — of Jehovah versus Baal — on top of Mount Carmel. (To see photos of Mount Carmel, click here.) The Baal worshipers keep calling in vain for Baal to consume their sacrifice. But when Elijah prays over his water-soaked sacrifice, in answer to Elijah’s prayer, fire falls from heaven and consumes the sacrifice, the altar, and the water around the altar to Jehovah that Elijah rebuilt for the occasion. This is his fourth miracle. This fire test proves Baal to be a false god and Jehovah to be the true God. Elijah has the prophets of Baal seized, brought down to the torrent valley of Kishon, and slaughtered. Elijah then prays for rain and the drought is broken, his fifth miracle.

Jezebel seeks to kill Elijah, who flees to Mount Horeb. Jehovah sends Elijah back with the commission to anoint Hazael as king over Syria, Jehu as king over Israel, and Elisha as prophet to succeed him. Elijah appoints Elisha as his successor, and Elisha joins Elijah and serves with him perhaps six years, from about 923 BCE until about 917 BCE.

Ben-hadad II of Syria besieges Samaria, but Ahab prevails. The next year Ben-hadad returns but is dealt a crushing defeat by Ahab’s forces. Ahab lets Ben-hadad live and covenants with him to have the streets of Damascus assigned to Ahab, evidently for the establishment of bazaars to promote Ahab’s commercial interests. Jehovah condemns Ahab for doing this.

Ahab desires the hereditary vineyard of Naboth in Jezreel bordering his residential palace. Jezebel connives to have Naboth killed and the possession of the vineyard transferred to Ahab. Elijah denounces Ahab as a murderer and prophesies that the dogs will lick up Ahab’s blood and that Jezebel will become food for dogs.

Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter Athaliah marries Jehoram, the son of Judean King Jehoshaphat. About three years after Naboth’s death, Ahab induces King Jehoshaphat of Judah to help him retake Ramoth-gilead from the Syrians, but Jehovah’s prophet Micaiah predicts calamity. In addition, Micaiah tells of a vision about Jehovah’s throne in which Jehovah asks his assembled angels: “Who will fool Ahab, so that he will go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?” When one angel says he would put a deceptive spirit into the mouths of Ahab’s prophets, Jehovah tells him, “You will fool him, and what is more, you will be successful. Go out and do that.”

Ahab does not heed Micaiah’s warning and hustles off to war. During the battle, a random arrow hits Ahab, and he dies. When his body is returned and his war chariot is washed out by the pool of Samaria (possibly the 17- by 33-foot pool found by archaeologists at the northwest corner of the summit), the “dogs went licking up his blood” just as prophesied.

1 Kings 16:30–33; 17:1; 18:1; 19:1–8; chapters 20–22; 2 Chronicles chapter 18; Luke 4:25: James 5:17; it ABIRAM 2; AHAB 1; ARCHAEOLOGY (Palestine and Syria); ELIJAH 1; ELISHA.

Prophecy Fulfilled: Sometime during the reign of Ahab, both Abiram, the firstborn son of Hiel the Bethelite, and Segub, Hiel’s youngest son, die when Hiel attempts to rebuild Jericho. Their deaths are in fulfillment of Joshua’s prophecy given over 500 years previously in 1473 BCE.

Joshua 6:26; 1 Kings 16:33, 34; it ABIRAM 2; HIEL; JERICHO; SEGUB 2.

937 BCE - back

Judah: King Asa dies after suffering an illness of the feet (perhaps gout) for three years. He began ruling in 978 BCE, but his rule is counted from 977 BCE. Asa’s son Jehoshaphat begins to rule, although Jehoshaphat’s first regnal year is counted from 936 BCE.

Contemporary Prophets: Jehu (son of Hanani), Eliezer, Jahaziel.

High Priest: Amariah.

it ASA 1; CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart).

936 BCE - back

Judah: This is counted as Jehoshaphat’s first regnal year, although he began to rule in 937 BCE. He will rule 25 years, until Circa 911 BCE. In 913 BCE, Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram becomes coregent with his father.

At 2 Chronicles 17:3, 4, 6, the Bible says about Jehoshaphat: “Jehovah continued with Jehoshaphat because he walked in the former ways of his forefather David and did not search for the Baals. For he searched for the God of his father and followed his commandment and not the practices of Israel. His heart became bold in the ways of Jehovah, and he even removed the high places and the sacred poles from Judah.”

Jehoshaphat is considered one of the six good kings out of the 43 kings who ruled in Israel and Judah. (See “Good Kings, Bad Kings” at 997 BCE.) His reign is marked by prosperity and relative peace with neighboring lands.

Contemporary Kings in Israel: Ahab, Ahaziah (son of Ahab), and Jehoram (son of Ahab).

2 Chronicles chapters 17–20; 21:1; it JEHOSHAPHAT 3.

Circa 923 BCE - back

Israel: Elisha may have joined the prophet Elijah as his attendant this year. Elisha does prophetic work in Israel during the rules of Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram, Jehu, and on into the rule of Jehoash. In Judah, he does prophetic work during the rules of Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Ahaziah, Queen Athaliah, Jehoash, and, likely, Amaziah. Elisha will have about 60 years of ministry by himself after Elijah’s departure Circa 917 BCE.

About this year, Jezebel conspires to have Naboth and his sons killed in order to give Naboth’s hereditary vineyard to Ahab. Jehovah tells Elijah to prophesy to Ahab: “In the place where the dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, the dogs will lick up your own blood. . . . The dogs will eat up Jezebel in the plot of land of Jezreel. Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs will eat up, and anyone who dies in the field the birds of the heavens will eat up.” (See fulfillment at Circa 919 BCE and Circa 905 BCE.)

1 Kings chapter 21; it ELISHA; NABOTH.

Circa 920 BCE - back

Israel: King Ahab dies either in this year or the next. See notes at Circa 919 BCE.

Circa 919 BCE - back

Judah: Before Ahab’s death in either 920 BCE or 919 BCE, Athaliah, daughter of Israel’s Ahab and Jezebel, marries Jehoram, the son of Judah’s King Jehoshaphat.

Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, becomes associated in some way with his father in the government. (See 913 BCE.)

CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); JEHORAM 3.

Israel: King Ahab dies either by this year or in 920 BCE (see it BEZER 2 and NWT App. A6). He is slain by a chance arrow in an ill-advised war against the Syrians. His blood is washed from his chariot at a pool in Samaria, and the “dogs licked up his blood,” as prophesied. (See Circa 923 BCE.) Ahaziah, son of Ahab, succeeds to the throne. Ahaziah’s two years of rulership probably count from this year.

Contemporary Prophets: Elijah, Elisha.

1 Kings chapter 22; it AHAB 1; AHAZIAH 1; CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart).

Circa 919 BCE to Circa 917 BCE - back

Israel and Judah (Kings with the Same Names): There are two kings named Ahaziah: King Ahaziah of Israel, son of Ahab and Jezebel, and King Ahaziah of Judah, son of Jehoram and Athaliah. There are two kings named Jehoram: King Jehoram of Israel, also a son of Ahab and Jezebel, and King Jehoram of Judah, son of Jehoshaphat.

Israel: King Ahaziah continues Baal worship in Israel. Ahaziah will rule for two years, until he dies sometime after accidentally falling through the grating in his roof chamber.

King Mesha of Moab had revolted after the death of King Ahab, as recorded on the Moabite Stone, but King Ahaziah does not attempt to crush Mesha’s rebellion.

Ahaziah forms a maritime alliance with King Jehoshaphat of Judah for a shipbuilding enterprise at Ezion-geber on the Gulf of Aqaba, but Jehovah disapproves of the project because of Ahaziah’s wickedness, and the ships are wrecked.

While on his sickbed, King Ahaziah sends messengers to inquire of the Philistine god Baal-zebub about his prospects of recovery. Elijah intercepts the messengers and foretells that Ahaziah’s sickbed will become his deathbed. Ahaziah sends a force of 50 men to bring Elijah in to him, but they are consumed by fire (Elijah’s sixth miracle). A second group of 50 men is also consumed by fire (Elijah’s seventh miracle). A third group is sent, but they escape due to the captain’s plea to Elijah. Elijah himself delivers the death message to Ahaziah.

King Ahaziah dies without an heir and is succeeded by his brother Jehoram Circa 917 BCE. Regarding Ahaziah, 1 Kings 22:52, 53 says: “And he kept doing what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes and went walking in the way of his father and his mother and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had caused Israel to sin. He continued serving Baal and bowing down to him and kept offending Jehovah the God of Israel, just as his father had done.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.)

1 Kings 22:48, 49; 2 Kings chapters 1, 2; 2 Chronicles 20:35–37; it AHAZIAH 1; CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart).

Circa 917 BCE - back

Israel: King Ahaziah, son of Ahab and Jezebel, who began ruling Circa 919 BCE, dies without an heir. His brother Jehoram succeeds him.

Elijah and Elisha: About this year or shortly thereafter, during Jehoram’s rule, Elijah performs his eighth and last miracle by parting the waters of the Jordan river. Elisha sees Elijah ascending in the windstorm, thus receiving assurance that two parts of Elijah’s spirit have come upon him and that he is Elijah’s successor. Elijah is transferred to an assignment in Judah (see 913 BCE). Elisha performs his first miracle when he takes Elijah’s official garment and parts the waters of the Jordan.

it ELISHA.

Circa 917 BCE to Circa 905 BCE - back

Israel: King Ahaziah, son of Ahab and Jezebel, who began ruling Circa 919 BCE, dies without an heir. His brother Jehoram succeeds him.

During his rule from about 917 to about 905 BCE, King Jehoram of Israel removes the sacred pillar of Baal that his father Ahab had erected, but he does not remove the calf worship instituted by Jeroboam. Jehoram rules until Jehu kills him Circa 905 BCE. Regarding Jehoram (of Israel), 2 Kings 3:2, 3 says: “He kept doing what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, but not to the extent of his father or his mother, for he removed the sacred pillar of Baal that his father had made. However, he clung to the sins that Jeroboam the son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit. He did not depart from them.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.)

Contemporary Prophet: Elisha.

Elisha: After his miraculous parting of the Jordan, Elisha performs fifteen more miracles: He sweetens the bad water of Jericho; near Bethel he calls down evil upon a group of jeering children who show no respect for his office as prophet, resulting in two she-bears coming out of the woods and tearing to pieces 42 of them; he causes ditches to fill with miraculous water, which reflects the sun like blood and lures the Moabites into an ambush in the camp of the combined armies of Israel, Judah, and Edom (this event takes place between 917 and 913); he multiplies the widow’s oil; he promises the woman of Shunem a son, and when the son later dies, he resurrects him, the second resurrection in the Bible and Elisha’s seventh miracle.

At Gilgal during a famine, Elisha removes poison from a pot of wild gourds; he miraculously feeds a hundred men and has leftovers; he performs a miraculous cure of Naaman’s leprosy, then because of his attendant Gehazi’s greed and lies, he attaches the leprosy of Naaman to Gehazi. Near the Jordan, he causes a lost ax head that was borrowed to float and be recovered. Near Dothan, he causes his attendant to see the mountainous region full of horses and war chariots of fire, then he strikes the Syrian military force surrounding the city with blindness. After leading them to Samaria, he opens their eyes. Elisha’s sixteenth miracle occurs after his death.

2 Kings chapters 1, 2; 3:1–3; it AHAZIAH 1; CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); ELIJAH 1; ELISHA; JEHORAM 2, 3.

913 BCE - back

Judah and Israel: Note that beginning this year, the coregent king of Judah and the king of Israel are both named Jehoram.

Judah: Jehoram becomes the official coregent with his father Jehoshaphat. It is from this time that Jehoram’s kingship of eight years may be counted, until Circa 907 BCE. (2 Kings 8:17) The last time Elijah is mentioned as serving as a prophet, this time in Judah instead of in Israel, is sometime toward the end of Jehoram’s reign. (2 Chronicles 21:12–15)

Contemporary Prophets: Elijah, Elisha.

it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); ELIJAH 1; ELISHA; JEHORAM 2, 3; JERUSALEM: Divided Kingdom (997–607 BCE).

Circa 911 BCE - back

Judah: King Jehoshaphat dies. He began ruling in 937 BCE, but his rule is counted from 936 BCE. He is considered to be one of the few good kings of Judah. His firstborn son, Jehoram, becomes the sole ruler.

Jehoram will rule until Circa 907 BCE. To make sure he has no competition for kingship from his six brothers, he murders them, along with some of the princes of Israel. Regarding Jehoram (of Judah), 2 Chronicles 21:6 says: “And he went on walking in the way of the kings of Israel, just as those of the house of Ahab had done; for Ahab’s own daughter had become his wife, and he continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes.”

2 Chronicles chapter 21; it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); JEHORAM 3; JERUSALEM: Divided Kingdom (997–607 BCE).

Circa 907 BCE - back

Judah: King Jehoram dies either this year or Circa 906 BCE. His widow Athaliah will usurp the kingship Circa 905 BCE. Ahaziah, the son of King Jehoram, may have been anointed to kingship this year, although he begins to rule Circa 906 BCE.

it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); JERUSALEM: Divided Kingdom (997–607 BCE).

Circa 906 BCE - back

Judah: Ahaziah (also known as Azariah and Jehoahaz), age 22, the youngest son of King Jehoram and Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, begins to rule for one year. Regarding Ahaziah, 2 Chronicles 22:3, 4 says: “He too walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother became his adviser in acting wickedly. And he kept doing what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, like the house of Ahab, for they became his advisers after the death of his father, to his destruction.”

High Priest: Jehoiada.

Israel: Jehu is anointed by one of the sons of the prophets associated with Elisha sometime during Ahaziah’s one-year reign in Judah. (See Circa 905 BCE.)

2 Kings 8:25–29; 9:1–28; 2 Chronicles 22:1–9; it AHAZIAH 2; CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); JEHU 3.

Circa 905 BCE - back

Judah and Israel: King Ahaziah of Judah accompanies King Jehoram of Israel (Ahaziah’s maternal uncle) in a fight against Syria at Ramoth-gilead. Jehoram is wounded, and Ahaziah visits the convalescing Jehoram at Jezreel.

An attendant of Elisha anoints Jehu as king over Israel. Jehu races toward Jezreel, and kings Ahaziah and Jehoram ride out to meet him. Jehu shoots King Jehoram of Israel with an arrow so that he dies, and Jehu has his body thrown onto the tract of land of Naboth as prophesied. At Jezreel, Jehu has Jezebel’s servants throw her down from the palace window. As foretold by Elijah, the dogs eat Jezebel. (See Circa 923 BCE.)

King Ahaziah of Judah flees as far as Samaria where Jehu’s men capture him. He is taken to Jehu who is near Ibleam. Jehu orders his men to kill Ahaziah in his chariot, but he is only wounded and flees to Megiddo where he dies of his wounds. Jehu slaughters Ahaziah’s 42 brothers.

Jehu’s years of kingship in Israel are counted from Circa 904 BCE to Circa 877 BCE.

Judah: After Ahaziah’s death, his mother, Athaliah, usurps the throne of Judah for six years, from about 905 BCE until about 899 BCE. To prevent rivalry, she has all the royal offspring killed off (excluding her own sons). Unknown to her, Athaliah’s grandson, Jehoash, the infant son of slain King Ahaziah, is kept hidden by the high priest and his wife, Jehoash’s aunt. (See 898 BCE.)

1 Kings 19:15, 16; 2 Kings 9:1–37; 10:1–14; 19:22–26; 2 Chronicles 22:1–12; 23:1–15; it AHAZIAH 2; ATHALIAH 1; CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); ELIJAH 1; JEHORAM 2; JEHU 3.

Circa 904 BCE - back

Israel: The years of Jehu’s kingship are counted from about this year. Jehu will rule 28 years as king of Israel in Samaria, until Circa 877 BCE, when his son Jehoahaz succeeds him.

Although Jehu annihilates Baal worship from Israel (at least temporarily), 2 Kings 10:29, 31 says: “However Jehu did not turn away from the sins that Jeroboam the son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit as regards the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan. But Jehu did not take care to walk in the Law of Jehovah the God of Israel with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins that Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.)

it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); JEHU 3.

9th CENTURY BCE   (899–800)

899 - 880 - 870 - 860 - 850 - 830 - 820 - 810

Greece: The earliest reference to Greece in the Bible is in this century. Joel 3:4–8 speaks of Judeans being sold by Tyre, Sidon, and Philistia as slaves to “the sons of the Greeks.”

Assyria: In this century, Shalmaneser III of Assyria follows his father Ashurnasirpal to the throne. The Black Obelisk found in Nimrud (Calah) has a relief showing King Jehu of Israel (ruled Circa 904 BCE to Circa 877 BCE) paying tribute, perhaps through an emissary, to Shalmaneser. (See 1846 CE.) During this century the prophet Jonah is sent to warn Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, of coming destruction. (See Circa 844 BCE.)

2 Kings 10:31–33; it ASSYRIA; GREECE (Democratic Experiments); NINEVEH; w88 2/15 24–28.

898 BCE - back

Judah: Athaliah, the queen who usurped the throne Circa 905 BCE, is slain in 899 BCE or 898 BCE. Jehoash, the youngest son of King Ahaziah who has been kept hidden from Athaliah is installed as king of Judah at age seven. His rule is counted from this year and he will rule 40 years, until 859 BCE or 858 BCE.

At 2 Kings 12:2, 3, the Bible says about Jehoash: “Jehoash continued doing what was right in Jehovah’s eyes all the days that Jehoiada the priest instructed him. However, the high places were not removed, and the people were still sacrificing and making sacrificial smoke on the high places.”

Later, though, after the death of high priest Jehoiada, Jehoash succumbs to the bad influence of idolatrous princes, and 2 Chronicles 24:18–22 tells of the outcome: “They abandoned the house of Jehovah the God of their forefathers and began serving the sacred poles and the idols, so that God’s anger came against Judah and Jerusalem because of their guilt. He kept sending prophets among them to bring them back to Jehovah, and they kept warning them, but they did not listen.” Jehoash has his cousin Zechariah, the son of high priest Jehoiada, stoned to death after he was moved by God’s spirit to tell the people: “Because you have abandoned Jehovah, he will, in turn, abandon you.” Zechariah’s dying words were: “May Jehovah see to it and call you to account.”

2 Kings 12:1; 1 Chronicles 3:11; Luke 11:50–51; it JEHOASH 1.

Circa 877 BCE - back

Israel: Jehu, king of Israel, dies and is succeeded by his son Jehoahaz, who begins ruling in 876 BCE. Jehu began ruling about 904 BCE.

2 Kings 10:35; it JEHU 3.

876 BCE - back

Israel: Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, becomes king. He will rule for 17 years, until Circa 860 BCE. Regarding Jehoahaz, 2 King 13:2, 3 says: “He continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, and he persisted in the sin that Jeroboam the son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit. He did not turn away from it. So Jehovah’s anger grew hot against Israel, and he gave them into the hand of King Hazael of Syria and into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael all their days.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.)

it JEHOAHAZ 2.

Circa 862 BCE - back

Israel: Jehoash becomes associated in the kingship with his father Jehoahaz. He will begin ruling as sole ruler Circa 859 BCE.

it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart).

Circa 860 BCE - back

Israel: Jehoahaz dies and is succeeded by his son Jehoash, who begins to rule Circa 859 BCE.

it JEHOAHAZ 2.

Circa 859 BCE - back

Israel: Jehoash, son of Jehoahaz, becomes sole ruler over the northern kingdom of Israel. (He is called Joash at Hosea 1:1 and Amos 1:1.) He will rule for 16 years, until Circa 844 BCE. During the beginning of his reign, another king named Jehoash, the son of Ahaziah, is also ruling as king over the southern kingdom of Judah. (See 859 BCE.) Regarding Jehoash (of Israel), 2 Kings 13:11 says: “He continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, not departing from all the sins that Jeroboam the son of Nebat had made Israel commit. He continued in these sins.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.)

2 Kings 13:10; it JEHOASH 1 [Judah]; JEHOASH 2 [Israel].

859 BCE - back

Judah: King Jehoash’s servants murder him, either in this year or in 858 BCE. He began ruling in 898 BCE. Jehoash’s son Amaziah, age 25, succeeds him as king of Judah and begins ruling in 858 BCE.

Not long before Jehoash’s death, a military force from Syria invaded Judah and Jerusalem, and they brought ruin on the princes in Judah. Regarding this event and the death of Jehoash, 2 Chronicles 24:24, 25 says: “For although the invading Syrian army had a small number of men, Jehovah handed over to them a very large army, because they had abandoned Jehovah the God of their forefathers; so they executed judgment upon Jehoash. And when they withdrew from him (for they left him severely wounded), his own servants conspired against him because he had shed the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest. They killed him on his own bed.”

2 Kings 12:19–21; it JEHOASH 1.

858 BCE - back

Judah: Amaziah, son of Jehoash, begins ruling and will rule 29 years, until 830 BCE. During his rule, Amaziah executes those who murdered his father, and he engages in two military campaigns: one against Edom (Seir) that is successful, and one against King Jehoash of Israel that is disastrous. Regarding Amaziah, 2 Chronicles 25:2 says: “He continued to do what was right in Jehovah’s eyes, but not with a complete heart.”

2 Kings 14:1–21; 2 Chronicles chapter 25; it AMAZIAH 2; JEHOASH 2.

858 BCE to 844 BCE - back

Judah and Seir (Edom): Amaziah engages in a successful military campaign against Seir, using a force of 300,000 from Judah and Benjamin. He hires 100,000 mercenaries from Israel, but upon the advice of a man of God, sends them home. The 100,000 who were dismissed raid towns of Judah on their return north. Amaziah kills 20,000 Edomites, but he brings the gods of Seir back with him and begins worshiping them, thus incurring Jehovah’s anger and dooming his next military campaign to disaster.

Judah and Israel: King Amaziah of Judah engages in a military campaign against Jehoash of Israel, likely in retaliation for Israel’s raids on the towns of Judah. But Jehovah has doomed Amaziah to defeat because of his idolatry. Amaziah is captured at the battle at Beth-shemesh and taken to Jerusalem. King Jehoash of Israel breaches the wall of Jerusalem, and loots the temple and house of the king of gold and silver, which is taken back to Samaria along with hostages.

2 Kings 14:1–21; 2 Chronicles chapter 25; it AMAZIAH 2.

Circa 844 BCE - back

Israel: King Jehoash dies by this year, if not sooner. He began ruling Circa 859 BCE. Jeroboam II succeeds his father Jehoash as king of the northern kingdom of Israel. He will rule 41 years, until 804 BCE. Regarding Jeroboam II, 2 Kings 14:24 says: “He continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes. He did not depart from all the sins that Jeroboam the son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.)

2 Kings 14:23–29; it JEROBOAM 2.

Assyria: Inscriptions show Assyrian king Adad-nirari III attacking Damascus, the capital of Syria, and receiving tribute from King Jehoash of Samaria. The prophet Jonah is sent on a mission to Assyria’s capital Nineveh to warn of coming destruction, and the Assyrians heed his message. The Assyrian king who repented as a result of Jonah’s preaching is not known for certain, but he may have been Adad-nirari III. Three of Adad-nirari’s sons succeed him, and history shows that during this period there is a decline in Assyrian aggression. (Compare Assyria’s later record of aggression during the following century.)

it ASSYRIA (Adad-nirari III and his successors); JONAH.

Assyria and Jonah: The prophet Jonah is sent on a mission to Nineveh, Assyria’s capital, to warn of coming destruction. Instead, he flees by sea to Tarshish, but on the voyage is cast overboard by the sailors to quell a storm sent by Jehovah. Jonah is then swallowed by a great fish, but is vomited out later at the command of Jehovah. After Jonah’s rescue, he goes to Nineveh as commanded to preach to over 120,000 pagan Ninevites of their coming destruction. The entire city including its king repents, and Nineveh is spared (for now).

it JONAH; JONAH, BOOK OF.

Bible (Book of Jonah): Jonah completes the book of Jonah. The book is about his experiences when he is sent to pagan Nineveh to warn them of coming destruction.

Jonah 1:1–2; 3:2–6; si JONAH; it JONAH, BOOK OF.

830 BCE - back

Judah: Either in this year or 829 BCE, conspirators force King Amaziah to flee to Lachish, but they put him to death there. He began ruling in 858 BCE.

2 Kings 14:17–21; 2 Chronicles 25:25–28; it AMAZIAH 2; BETH-SHEMISH 1; LACHISH.

829 BCE - back

Judah: Amaziah’s son, Uzziah (Azariah), age 16, succeeds Amaziah as king of Judah. Uzziah will reign 52 years, until about 778 BCE, when he dies a leper. Regarding Uzziah (Azariah), 2 Kings 15:3–5 says: “He continued to do what was right in Jehova’s eyes, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. However, the high places were not removed, and the people were still sacrificing and making sacrificial smoke on the high places. Jehovah afflicted the king, and he remained a leper until the day of his death; and he stayed in a separate house, while the king’s son Jotham was in charge of the house, judging the people of the land.”

it AMAZIAH 2; UZZIAH 3.

829 BCE to 778 BCE - back

Judah: At some point during his reign, King Uzziah (Azariah) is struck with leprosy due to becoming haughty and unlawfully burning incense in the temple.

2 Chronicles 26:16–21.

Contemporary Prophets: Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, (perhaps) Joel.

2 Kings 15:1, 2, 13; Isaiah 1:1; 6:1; Hosea 1:1; Amos 1:1; it AMAZIAH 2; AZARIAH 13; UZZIAH 3.

Circa 820 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Joel): Joel completes the Bible book of Joel, in Judah, possibly about this year. The book is a prophecy about Jehovah’s vengeance and mercy.

Joel 1:1; si JOEL; it JOEL, BOOK OF.

Circa 817 BCE - back

Judah: Uzziah becomes king a second time, perhaps by being freed from the domination of Israelite King Jeroboam II, this domination beginning when Uzziah’s father Amaziah was defeated by King Jehoash of Israel sometime between 858 BCE and 844 BCE.

it UZZIAH 3.

814 BCE - back

Founding of Carthage: The city of Carthage, North Africa, is founded this year by the seafaring Phoenicians. This city will figure in the three Punic Wars beginning in the 3rd Century BCE. According to Serge Lancel, a specialist in North African antiquity: “The founding of Carthage, around the end of the ninth century BC, was for many hundreds of years a determining factor in the political and cultural destiny of the western Mediterranean basin.” Eventually, Carthage will reputedly become the richest city in the ancient world. The Carthagenians practice the Baal worship of the Phoenicians, including child sacrifice.

Read “Carthage — The City That Nearly Toppled Rome” online at WOL in Awake! November 8, 2001.

g01 11/8 14–18.

Circa 804 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Amos): Amos completes the Bible book of Amos, in Judah. The book is directed especially against the northern ten-tribe kingdom of Israel for their false religious practices at Bethel. Jeroboam II is king in Israel. The book foretells Jehovah’s judgments against Syria, Philistia, and Tyre for their cruel treatment to Israel; against Edom and Ammon for their hatred and mistreatment of the Israelites; against Moab for burning the bones of the king of Edom for lime; against Judah for rejecting the law of Jehovah; and against Israel for oppressing the poor, for immorality, and for treating disrespectfully the prophets and Nazirites raised up by God.

Amos 1:1; si AMOS; it AMOS, BOOK OF.

804 BCE - back

Israel: King Jeroboam II dies this year. He began ruling Circa 844 BCE. Jeroboam’ son Zechariah succeeds him. (See Circa 803 BCE and Circa 792 BCE.)

it JEROBOAM 2.

Circa 803 BCE - back

Israel: Zechariah begins to reign about this year, but his kingship will not be fully confirmed until Circa 792 BCE.

it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); ZECHARIAH 14.

8th CENTURY BCE   (799–700)

799 - 790 - 780 - 770 - 760 - 750 - 740 - 720 - 700

Greece: In this century the Greek poet Hesiod is credited with systemizing Greek myths and legends. Hesiod’s Theogony, and the Homeric poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, credited to Homer of the ninth or eighth century, form the principal sacred writings, or theology, of the Greeks. These Greek myths, which contain stories of Creation, of “gods” coming to earth and marrying mortals, and of a great Flood, have their origins in ancient Mesopotamia and Babylon.

it GREECE (Greek Religion); sh 42–44; g89 3/8 20–24.

Hebrew and Aramaic Languages: The difference between Hebrew and Aramaic has become wide enough to mark them as separate languages. Aramaic, originally spoken by the Assyrians, is now the lingua franca of the Middle East, although not understood by the majority of Judeans. Aramaic will continue in use until about 500 CE.

it ARAMAIC; HEBREW, II (Question of the Language’s Stability).

Assyria: During this century, Assyria begins to rise as the dominant world power. During the first half of this century, the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III (Pul of 2 Kings 15:19; 1 Chronicles 5:26) rules Babylonia. He is the ruler who initiates the deportation of people from the northern kingdom of Israel, possibly beginning the 65-year period mentioned at Isaiah 7:8. His rule possibly runs from the time of Israel’s King Menahem down to that of King Hoshea, Israel’s last king. His annals, found at Calah, say: “I received tribute from . . . Menahem of Samaria.”

Shalmaneser V, who succeeds Tiglath-pileser III (Pul), puts Samaria, the capital of Israel, under siege. Sargon II succeeds Shalmaneser in the year Samaria falls (see 740 BCE), and Sargon may have completed the conquest of Samaria.

Later, the Chaldean Merodach-baladan becomes king of Babylon. After 12 years, Sargon II ousts Merodach-baladan. Then Sennacherib succeeds Sargon II. Later Sennacherib must put down another revolt by Merodach-baladan, who proclaims himself king of Babylon. Sennacherib destroys Babylon; his son Esar-haddon rebuilds it.

The Assyrian transplantation of people to and from Samaria, begun during the reign of Tiglath-pileser III, continues until the reign of Esar-haddon (see Circa 712 BCE). After Esar-haddon comes his son Ashurbanipal (Asenappar of Ezra 4:9, 10). Ashurbanipal is a contemporary of King Manasseh of Judah (ruled 716 BCE to 662 BCE). Under Ashurbanipal, Assyria reaches its greatest heights.

In excavations that begin in 1845 CE, the great library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh is unearthed. This first systematically organized library in the ancient Middle East containing some 22,000 clay tablets and texts, including religious works and business documents, and treatises on history, geography, astronomy, mathematical tables, medicine, and grammar is a valuable source of information about Assyria. The Epic of Gilgamesh, the famous Akkadian myth that contains a Flood legend, comes from this library.

it ASENAPPAR [Ashurbanipal]; ASSYRIA; BABYLON (Israel’s Age-Old Enemy); ESAR-HADDON; SENNACHERIB; TIGLATH-PILESER (III); sh 48; w88 2/15 24–28; EncBrit “Ashurbanipal.”

Egypt: Isaiah foretells the unsettled state of governmental affairs in Egypt that occurs during the latter part of this century and the first of the next, and which is confirmed by history.

Isaiah chapter 19; it EGYPT (History); PHARAOH.

Rome: Toward the middle of the century, the city of Rome is founded.

g89 3/8 20–24.

Circa 792 BCE - back

Israel: Zechariah is confirmed as king of the northern kingdom about this year, although he had already become king in some way after the death of his father, Jeroboam II. Zechariah’s official kingship lasts only six months, until Shallum assassinates him. (See 804 BCE, Circa 803 BCE, and Circa 791 BCE.) Regarding Zechariah, 2 Kings 15:9 says: “He did what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, just as his forefathers had done. He did not depart from the sins that Jeroboam the son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.)

2 Kings 15:8–12; it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); ZECHARIAH 14.

Circa 791 BCE - back

Israel: Shallum, through “the conspiracy that he formed,” becomes king of the ten-tribe kingdom by assassinating King Zechariah, the last of Jehu’s descendants to rule. The death of Zechariah completes the prophecy to Jehu that his sons to the fourth generation would sit on the throne of Israel. SShallum rules for only one month until he also is assassinated.

Menahem assassinates King Shallum and becomes king of the ten-tribe kingdom. The years of Menahem’s rulership are counted from Circa 790 BCE.

2 Kings 10:28–30; 15:14–22; w88 2/15 24–28; it ASSYRIA (Tiglath-pileser III); CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); MENAHEM; SHALLUM 5.

Circa 790 BCE - back

Israel: Menahem begins to rule for ten years, until 781 BCE. Regarding Menahem, 2 Kings 15:18 says: “He continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes. He did not depart from all the sins that Jeroboam the son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit, all his days.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.)

Sometime during his reign, Menahem pays tribute of 1000 silver talents (worth over $6.6 million) to the invading Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III, who is called Pul in the Bible at 2 Kings 15:19.

2 Kings 15:13–22; it MENAHEM.

781 BCE - back

Israel: King Menahem dies. He began ruling Circa 790 BCE. Menahem’ son Pekahiah suceeeds him. (See 780 BCE.)

2 Kings 15:22; it ASSYRIA (Tiglath-pileser III); MENAHEM.

780 BCE - back

Israel: Pekahiah begins ruling as king and will rule two years, until assassinated Circa 778 BCE. Regarding Pekahiah, 2 Kings 15:24 says: “He continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes. He did not depart from the sins that Jeroboam the son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.)

2 Kings 15:22–26; w88 2/15 24–28; it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart).

Circa 778 BCE - back

Judah: King Uzziah (Azariah) dies. He began ruling in 829 BCE. Uzziah’s son Jotham succeeds him in 777 BCE.

Contemporary Prophet: Isaiah, who begins serving as a prophet to Judah by this year, if not earlier.

2 Chronicles 26:22, 23; Isaiah 1:1; 6:1; it ISAIAH; UZZIAH 3; ip-1 7.

Israel: Pekah assassinates King Pekahiah and begins to rule. Pekah will rule for 20 years, until he is assassinated Circa 759 BCE. Regarding Pekah, 2 Kings 15:28 says: “He continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, and he did not depart from the sins that Jeroboam the son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.)

2 Kings 15:23–31; it ASSYRIA (Tiglath-pileser III); CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); PEKAH; PEKAHIAH.

777 BCE - back

Judah: Jotham, son of Uzziah, begins to rule this year. He will rule until 762 BCE. Regarding Jotham, 2 Kings 15:34 says: “He kept doing what was right in Jehovah’s eyes, just as his father Uzziah had done.” Jotham is considered one of the six good kings out of the 43 kings who ruled in Israel and Judah. (See “Good Kings, Bad Kings” at 997 BCE.)

Contemporary Prophets: Micah, Hosea, and Isaiah.

2 Kings 15:32–38; 2 Chronicles 27:1–9; it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); JOTHAM 3.

The Prophet Micah: The activity of the prophet Micah of Moresheth begins this year. He prophesies during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. He will complete writing the book of Micah by 717 BCE.

Micah 1:1; w07 11/1 13.

762 BCE - back

Judah: King Jotham dies this year. He began ruling in 777 BCE. Sometime near the end of Jotham’s reign, Israel and Syria began to exert military pressures on the land of Judah. Jotham’s son Ahaz begins to rule this year, although his rule is counted from 761 BCE.

2 Kings chapter 16; 2 Chronicles chapter 28; it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart).

761 BCE - back

Israel: Sometime within the next three years during the early part of the reign of King Ahaz of Judah (761 BCE to 746 BCE), King Pekah of Israel (Circa 778 BCE to Circa 759 BCE) and King Rezin of Syria team up and invade Judah.

Judah: King Ahaz begins to count his rule from this year, although he evidently began ruling in 762 BCE. He will rule 16 years, until 746 BCE. Regarding Ahaz, 2 Chronicles 28:1–3 says: “He did not do what was right in the Jehovah’s eyes as David his forefather had done. Instead, he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and he even made metal statues of the Baals. Moreover, he made sacrificial smoke in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom and burned up his sons in the fire, following the detestable practices of the nations that Jehovah had driven out from before the Israelites.”

Sometime between this year and Circa 759 BCE, King Pekah of Israel and King Rezin of Syria invade Judah. Although the prophet Isaiah assures Ahaz that the attack of Israel and Syria and their intention of installing someone else in place of a king of the Davidic line on Judah’s throne “will not succeed, nor will it take place” (Isaiah 7:5–7), Ahaz shortsightedly sends a bribe to Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III to induce Assyria to attack the Israel-Syria combine. This action puts Judah in a subservient position to Assyria. (See Circa 759 BCE.)

2 Kings chapter 16; 2 Chronicles chapter 28; it AHAZ 1; ASSYRIA (Tiglath-pileser III); CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); ip-1 104–111.

Circa 760 BCE - back

Israel: Approximately this year, the prophet Isaiah prophesies that within 65 years, “Ephraim [Israel] will be completely shattered and cease to be a people.” Within 20 years, the Assyrians will destroy Israel’s capital Samaria (see 740 BCE), but even after that, Assyria will continue further deportations of Jews from the territory of Israel and transplantations of foreign people into the land. See Circa 695 BCE.

Isaiah 7:8; it AHAZ; w06 12/1 9; w71 11/1 672.

Circa 759 BCE - back

Judah: It is probably in this year that King Ahaz becomes tributary to the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III. As a vassal king, Ahaz travels to Damascus, recently captured by Assyria, to render homage to Tiglath-pileser. While there, he sees a pagan altar he likes and then has priest Urijah build a duplicate of it. He moves out the original altar of Jehovah at the temple in Jerusalem, places his pagan copy in its place, and sacrifices on it.

Israel: Sometime between 761 BCE and this year, the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III captures a number of cities in the northern part of Israel and regions in Gilead, Galilee, and Naphtali, and deports some of the Israelites. The Assyrian king also captures Damascus and puts the Syrian King Rezin to death.

Israel: Hoshea assassinates King Pekah, who began to rule Circa 778 BCE.

2 Kings chapter 16; 2 Chronicles chapter 28; it AHAZ 1; ASSYRIA (Tiglath-pileser III); CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart).

Circa 758 BCE - back

Israel: Hoshea ‘begins to reign’ as king, but not fully until Circa 748 BCE. Regarding Hoshea, 2 Kings 17:2 says: “He continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, only not to the extent of the kings of Israel prior to him.” (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.) Hoshea will be the last king to rule in the northern kingdom of Israel.

2 Kings 15:30; chapter 17; it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); HOSHEA 4.

753 BCE - back

Rome: Tradition has it that the city of Rome is founded this year by its first king, Romulus.

it ROME.

Circa 748 BCE - back

Israel: King Hoshea’s control of the kingdom becomes fully established, perhaps in part due to receiving the backing of the Assyrian monarch Tiglath-pileser III.

it ASSYRIA (Tiglath-pileser III); CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); HOSHEA 4.

746 BCE - back

Judah: King Ahaz dies. He began ruling in 761 BCE. Ahaz’s son Hezekiah succeeds him. His first regnal year is counted from Nisan of 745 BCE.

it ASSYRIA (Tiglath-pileser III); HEZEKIAH 1.

Archaeology: The name of Ahaz appears as Yauhazi in an inscription of the Assyrian monarch Tiglath-pileser III.

it AHAZ 1.

745 BCE - back

Judah: Hezekiah, age 25, succeeds Ahaz as king of Judah. He will reign 29 years, until 717 BCE. Regarding Hezekiah, 2 Kings 18:3–7 says: “He kept doing what was right in Jehovah’s eyes, just as David his forefather had done. He was the one who removed the high places, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the sacred pole. He also crushed the copper serpent that Moses had made, for down to that time the people of israel had been making sacrificial smoke to it and it used to be called the copper serpent idol. He trusted in Jehovah the God of Israel; there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him nor among those prior to him. He held fast to Jehovah. He did not turn away from following him; he continued to keep the commandments that Jehovah had given to Moses. And Jehovah was with him.” Hezekiah is considered one of the six good kings out of the 43 kings who ruled in Israel and Judah. (See “Good Kings, Bad Kings” at 997 BCE.)

Hezekiah has the temple doors opened that his father Ahaz had nailed shut, and has the temple cleansed and repaired. He concludes a covenant with Jehovah to obey the Law of Moses. He reorganizes the Levites for service and then calls for a celebration of the Passover. Couriers are sent to all the 10 tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel inviting them to come to Jerusalem and join in the celebration. The general response of the people of Israel to the couriers’ invitation is that “they were making fun of them and mocking them.” However, a great number of individuals from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun humble themselves and respond to the invitation.

After the people and the priests and Levites cleanse themselves, they celebrate the Passover in the second month. Following that, they hold another seven-day celebration, after which the people return to their homes and “smashed the sacred pillars, cut down the sacred poles, and tore down the high places and the altars.”

The tithe for the priests and Levites is restored, and the response of the people is so positive that “from the time they started bringing the contributions into the house of Jehovah, the people have been eating to satisfaction and there is still an abundant surplus, for Jehovah has blessed his people, and this great plenty is left over.”

2 Kings chapters 18–20; 2 Chronicles chapters 29–32; gm 117; it ASAHEL 3; ASAPH 3; HEZEKIAH 1.

After 745 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Hosea): The prophet Hosea completes the Bible book of Hosea, in the district of Samaria. The book covers from before 804 BCE to not long after 745 BCE, which is shortly before Israel is taken into exile by Assyria. The prophecies are directed mainly to Israel, the northern ten-tribe kingdom, also called Ephraim after the name of its dominant tribe. The message of Hosea warns that adverse judgment is coming. (See 740 BCE.) They are to be held accountable because they had been forming unwise alliances with other nations rather than trusting in Jehovah and practicing great sins such as fraud, hypocrisy, stealing, murder, idolatry, and fornication in both a physical and spiritual sense. Hosea’s message calls for them to search for Jehovah and return to him, and it emphasizes Jehovah’s extraordinary mercy if only they would give evidence of heartfelt repentance.

si HOSEA; it HOSEA, BOOK OF; w05 11/15 17–31.

742 BCE - back

Israel: The Assyrian army under Shalmaneser V begins a three-year siege of Samaria. (See 740 BCE.)

it ASSYRIA (Biblical and Secular History); CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart).

740 BCE - back

Israel: Assyria under either Shalmaneser V or his successor, Sargon II, destroys the northern kingdom of Israel after a three-year siege of Samaria. Israel is exiled, with many of its leading inhabitants being resettled in Mesopotamia and Media. (See 1843 CE.) The rule of the northern kingdom of Israel that began in 997 BCE has come to its end.

2 Kings chapter 17; gm 47; it ASSYRIA (Biblical and Secular History); CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); SAMARIA; SARGON; SHALMANESER 2.

732 BCE - back

Judah: Assyrian King Sennacherib, son of Sargon II, captures Sidon, Achzib, Acco, and other cities on the Phoenician coast. Moab, Edom, and Ashdod submit and send tribute. Sennacherib then invades Judah, capturing many fortified cities and towns, including Lachish. King Hezekiah sends tribute worth over $13 million to Lachish. Not satisfied, Sennacherib sends the Rabshakeh, the Tartan, and the Rabsaris from Lachish to Jerusalem with a military force in an attempt to force Hezekiah to surrender. (Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh will be discovered in 1847 CE.)

In the event of siege, Hezekiah strengthens Jerusalem’s fortifications, makes missiles and shields, and stops up the sources of water outside the city of Jerusalem. He engineers a tunnel from the well of Gihon to the Pool of Siloam within Jerusalem’s walls. (See 1909 CE.)

Tirhakah, the Ethiopian king of Egypt thought to be Pharaoh Taharqa, invades Canaan and temporarily diverts Assyria, but Assyrian King Sennacherib defeats Tirhakah. Sennacherib, however, fails to capture Jerusalem because an angel destroys 185,000 Assyrian troops in one night.

2 Kings 18:13–17; chapter 19; w88 2/1 23–27; 2/15 24–28; it EGYPT (History); HEZEKIAH 1 (Assyrian Pressure Builds Up), (Building and Engineering Works), (Sennacherib’s Failure at Jerusalem); LACHISH; SENNACHERIB; TIRHAKAH.

Circa 732 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Isaiah): Isaiah completes the Bible book of Isaiah, in Jerusalem. The book covers Circa 778 BCE to after 732 BCE and includes the reigns of Judean kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. The prophecies are directed to Judah and Jerusalem and are given to stimulate the people to fear Jehovah rather than the surrounding nations and to look to Jehovah for deliverance. Isaiah prophesies that Cyrus will command the rebuilding of Jerusalem, a prophecy that is not fulfilled for almost two hundred years. (See 539 BCE and 537  BCE.) Many of Isaiah’s prophecies apply to Jesus Christ.

si ISAIAH; it ISAIAH, BOOK OF; rs 60–61.

Circa 717 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Proverbs): The Bible book of Proverbs is compiled, in Jerusalem. It consists mostly of the writings of Solomon, but part is also by Agur and Lemuel. The book consists of sections in the form of discourses and of collections of wise sayings about practical matters of life.

si PROVERBS; it AGUR; LEMUEL; PROVERBS, BOOK OF.

717 BCE - back

Judah: King Hezekiah dies. He began ruling in 745 BCE. His son Manasseh succeeds him in 716 BCE.

Bible (Book of Micah): Micah completes the Bible book of Micah, in Judah. The book covers 777 BCE to 717 BCE during the reigns of the Judean kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. The book forecasts the desolating of Samaria (see 740 BCE) and Jerusalem (see 607 BCE) and also promises restoration. Micah prophesies that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. (See 2 BCE.)

Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:3–6; w07 11/1 13–16; si Bible Book 33, Micah, 155–58; it ASAPH 3; MICAH; MICAH, BOOK OF.

716 BCE - back

Judah: Manasseh succeeds his father Hezekiah as king of Judah. Manasseh will rule for 55 years, until 662 BCE.

At 2 Chronicles 33:2, 6, 9, the Bible says that Manasseh “did what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, following the detestable practices of the nations that Jehovah had driven out from before the people of Israel. He did on a grand scale what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, to offend him. Manasseh kept leading Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, causing them to do worse than the nations that Jehovah had annihilated from before the Israelites.”

Among Manasseh’s many sins during the first years of his rule are rebuilding the high places that Hezekiah had destroyed, setting up altars to Baal, worshiping the “army of the heavens,” building false religious altars in two of the temple courtyards, making “his own sons pass through the fire,’ practicing magic, using divination, practicing sorcery, appointing spirit mediums and fortune tellers, and putting the graven image of the sacred pole in the house of Jehovah. Manasseh sheds innocent blood in great quantity, and Jewish literature says that Isaiah was sawed apart at Manasseh’s command.

At some point during Manasseh’s reign, Assyrian King Esar-haddon captures Manasseh. (See Circa 695 BCE.) While in captivity in Babylon, Manasseh repents, humbles himself, and prays to Jehovah, who hears his request for favor and restores him to the kingship in Jerusalem. After that, even though Manasseh begins to produce works befitting his repentance by removing the foreign gods and altars and begins sacrificing to Jehovah, the land of Judah will still suffer for the gross sins he had committed.

2 Kings 21:1–18; 2 Chronicles 33:1–17; Jeremiah 15:3–5; Hebrews 11:37; w97 1/1 27; w88 2/15 24–28; it ASENAPPAR; MANASSEH 4.

Circa 712 BCE - back

Assyria: The death of Sennacherib is considered as coming about 20 years after his siege of Jerusalem (see 732 BCE). The Bible reports that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer “struck him down with the sword” when he entered the house of his god Nisroch. Until the discovery of a fragment of the Prism of Esar-haddon that states that Esar-haddon’s brothers killed their father, history will erroneously record that only one son killed him. (See 1847 CE.)

Esar-haddon succeeds his father Sennacherib as king of Assyria. Early in his reign he begins restoring Babylon, which his father had destroyed. He will capture King Manasseh of Judah, perhaps in Circa 695 BCE, and imprison him at Babylon.

2 Kings 19:37; 2 Chronicles 32:21; 33:11; Isaiah 37:37, 38; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Relative worth of inscriptions); ESAR-HADDON; SENNACHERIB.

Circa 700 BCE - back

Persia: Ecbatana becomes the capital city of ancient Media (see 550  BCE). In the sixth century BCE, Cyrus’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem is kept in this city.

Ezra 5:1–17; it ECBATANA.

Greece: It is about this year that a tendency toward democratic government in the Grecian city-states begins.

w71 12/15 742.

7th CENTURY BCE   (699–600)

699 - 690 - 670 - 660 - 650 - 640 - 630 - 620 - 610

World Powers: At the beginning of this century, Assyria is the dominant world power. In 632 BCE, Babylon rises over Assyria and becomes the dominant world power and will remain such until 539 BCE. The Assyrians are weakened by the rise of the Medes; with the help of the Medes, the Babylonians rally around Nabopolassar, make him king, and liberate Babylonia. Nabopolassar begins the Neo-Babylonian dynasty that continues until Belshazzar. This dynasty is represented by the head of gold in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image and by a lion with the wings of an eagle and the heart of a man in Daniel’s vision of the four beasts.

Daniel 2:37–45; 7:2–4; it ARAMAIC; ASSYRIA; SC-I:223.

Babylonia: Babylonia is called “the land of Shinar” in the Scriptures. It is also called “the land of the Chaldeans.” Babylonia grew out of two areas; the northern part that is called Akkad (Accad) and the southern part that is called Sumer or Chaldea. The name Akkadian (Accadian) is used today to describe the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian languages.

Daniel 7:4; it ACCAD; BABYLON 2.

Assyria: Ashurbanipal (Asenappar) of Assyria, the son of Esar-haddon and grandson of Sennacherib (see 732 BCE), expands the Assyrian empire to its greatest extent, with the boundaries of the Assyrian Empire embracing the regions of Elam, part of Media up into Ararat, as far west as Cilicia in Asia Minor, through Syria and Israel (but not Jerusalem), and down into Egypt, Arabia, and Babylonia.

sh 48; w88 2/15 24–28; it ASENAPPAR; ASSYRIA (Ashurbanipal); AAEnc 2: “Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria.”

Etruscans: During this century, or perhaps in the eighth century BCE, the Etruscans probably migrate to Italy from the Aegeo-Asian area. Their elaborate religious observances, their use of temples, statues, and images, will later be adopted by the Romans. The Etruscans will give Rome its earliest significant contact with the Greek gods and goddesses. The Romans merely change the names of the Greek deities.

g89 3/8 20–24.

Egypt: Pharaoh Necho II of Egypt begins, but does not complete, construction on a canal to link the Nile to the Red Sea (see 522 BCE). He sends a Phoenician fleet on a successful three-year voyage circumnavigating Africa, which is about 2000 years before the Portuguese Vasco da Gama sails around Africa to India in 1497 CE–1499 CE.

See www.encyclopedia.com/html/N/Necho.asp and www.encyclopedia.com/html/g/gama-v1as.asp.

it NECHO(H); AAEnc 9 “Gama, Vasco da”; AAEnc 14 “Necho II, King of Egypt.”

Greece: Greek architecture enters its “golden period” during this century, which will last until the fourth century BCE. Buildings such as the Parthenon in Athens and the Temple of Apollo in Corinth will be built during this period.

it ARCHITECTURE (Grecian and Roman Styles and Methods).

Circa 695 BCE - back

Assyria, Israel (Ephraim), and Judah: King Esar-haddon of Assyria captures King Manasseh of Judah, who began ruling in 716 BCE, and imprisons him in Babylon. This occurs during Assyria’s final transplantation of foreign people into Israelite territory. With this final colonization of foreigners, the prophecy of Isaiah 7:8 is fulfilled that within 65 years Ephraim was to be “completely shattered and cease to be a people.” (See Circa 760 BCE.)

Prior to Manasseh’s imprisonment in Babylon, “he did on a grand scale what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes . . . on a grand scale.” He “kept leading Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, causing them to do worse than the nations that Jehovah had annihilated from before the Israelites.” He “also shed innocent blood in very great quantity until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to the other.” Because Manasseh and the people “paid no attention” when Jehovah kept speaking to them, Jehovah brought the army of Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh “and bound him with two copper fetters and took him to Babylon.”

The Bible does not state the length of time for Manasseh’s imprisonment in Babylon, but during that time “he begged Jehovah his God for favor and kept humbling himself greatly before the God of his forefathers. He kept praying to Him, and He was moved by his entreaty and heard his request for favor, and He restored him to Jerusalem to his kingship.” After his return to Jerusalem, Manasseh builds more and higher walls in Jerusalem, puts military chiefs in the fortified cities of Judah, and removes the foreign gods and restores the worship of Jehovah, saying to Judah “to serve Jehovah the God of Israel.” After his release from Babylon, Manasseh will continue to rule until 662 BCE.

1 Chronicles 33:1–20; 2 Kings 21:1–18; w06 12/1 9; w71 11/1 672.

Circa 684 BCE - back

Assyria and Egypt: Ashurbanipal (son of Esar-haddon and grandson of Sennacherib) invades Egypt and sacks wealthy Thebes in Upper Egypt (later called No-amon at Nahum 3:8–10). He completely subjugates Egypt, ending Ethiopian dominance of the Nile valley. This fulfills the prophecy uttered about a half century earlier by the prophet Isaiah at Isaiah 20:3–6.

it ASENAPPAR; CUSH 2.

Circa 672 BCE - back

Judah: Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, a priest of Anathoth, is born approximately this year. He will be commissioned as a prophet in 647 BCE and will write four books of the Bible: Jeremiah, Lamentations, and First and Second Kings.

jd 7, 19 (chart); it JEREMIAH 6.

662 BCE - back

Judah: King Manasseh dies. He began ruling in 716 BCE. His son Amon succeeds him in 661 BCE.

it MANASSEH 4.

Archaeology: The name of King Manasseh of Judah will be found on a prism of Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, which lists 20 kings as tributaries of Assyria.

it ASENAPPAR.

661 BCE - back

Judah: Amon, age 22, the son of King Manasseh, begins to rule. Regarding Amon, 2 Chronicles 33:22, 23 says: “And he continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, just as his father Manasseh had done; and Amon sacrificed to all the graven images that his father Manasseh had made, and he kept serving them. But he did not humble himself before Jehovah as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; instead, Amon greatly increased his guilt.”

Amon rules for two years, until 660 BCE, when he is murdered by his servants.

2 Kings 21:19–26; 2 Chronicles 33:20–25; it AMON 2; CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart).

660 BCE - back

Judah: King Amon, who has ruled for about two years, from 661 BCE, is killed at age 23 or 24 when his servants conspire against him and murder him.

The “people of the land,” the “am haarets,” put the conspirators to death and install Amon’s young son Josiah on the throne. Josiah’s rule will be counted from 659 BCE.

2 Kings 21:19–26; 2 Chronicles 33:20–25; it AMON 2.

659 BCE - back

Judah: Josiah, age 8, the son of Amon, begins to rule. He will rule 31 years, until about 629 BCE. During his reign he will have at least two wives: Hamutal, the mother of the future kings Shallum (Jehoahaz) and Mattaniah (Zedekiah), and Zebidah, the mother of the future king Eliakim (Jehoiakim). Regarding Josiah, 2 Kings 23:25 says: “There was no king like him prior to him, who returned to Jehovah with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, according to all the Law of Moses; nor did anyone like him rise up after him.” Josiah is considered the last one of the six good kings out of the 43 kings who ruled in Israel and Judah. (See “Good Kings, Bad Kings” at 997 BCE.)

Contemporary Prophets: Zephaniah, Jeremiah (beginning in 647 BCE), the prophetess Huldah.

1 Kings 22:1, 2; 2 Kings 23:31, 34, 36; it CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); HAMUTAL; HULDAH; JEREMIAH 6; JOSIAH 1; ZEBIDAH; ZEDEKIAH 4; ZEPHANIAH 2.

Circa 653 BCE - back

Judah: Eliakim (Jehoiakim), the second son of Josiah, age 14, is born. Jehoiakim will be king of Judah from 628 BCE to 618 BCE.

it JOSIAH 1.

652 BCE - back

Judah: During the eighth year of his reign, Josiah starts “to search for the God of David his forefather.” It is about this time that Josiah’s son Shallum (also called Jehoahaz) is born. Jehoahaz will succeed his father as king early in 628 BCE but will reign for only three months.

2 Kings 22:1; 23:31; 2 Chronicles 34:3; Jeremiah 22:11; it JEHOAHAZ 3; JOSIAH 1.

Before 648 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Zephaniah): Zephaniah, who is possibly a descendant of King Hezekiah, completes the book of Zephaniah, in Judah, sometime before this year, perhaps early in Josiah’s reign before the reforms he began about 648 BCE. The book of Zephaniah contains messages of divine judgment against Judah and Jerusalem and other nations such as the Philistines, the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Ethiopians, the Assyrians, and the Ninevites. Zephaniah foretells the coming of Jehovah’s day, urges the meek ones of the earth to seek Jehovah and meekness and righteousness, and foretells the giving of a pure language so that a restored remnant can call on Jehovah’s name and “serve him shoulder to shoulder.”

si ZEPHANIAH; it ZEPHANIAH 2; ZEPHANIAH, BOOK OF.

648 BCE - back

Judah: In this 12th year of his reign, Josiah, age about 20, heeds the prophecy of Zephaniah and begins to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem of idolatry. This reform will take six years to complete, until about 642 BCE.

At some point during this time, Josiah’s efforts at reform extend into the area formerly occupied by the northern ten-tribes of Israel. A prophecy given about 350 years prior to this time about a son of David being born who would be named Josiah, and who would burn false prophets’ bones on the altars erected to false gods and then tear down the altars, is fulfilled. Josiah has the idolatrous priests sacrificed on the altars where they had offered up sacrifices, and the bones of idolatrous priests dug up and burned on the altar, and the altars in Bethel and other places torn down. (See “Calf Worship” at 997 BCE.)

2 Kings 23:1–30; 2 Chronicles 34:3–8, 33; it JOSIAH 1; ZEPHANIAH, BOOK OF.

647 BCE - back

Judah: Jeremiah is commissioned as prophet in this 13th year of King Josiah to warn Judah of her impending destruction. Jeremiah may have been close to 25 years old, which was the age when a priest could enter the first phase of his service. He prophesies in Jerusalem for 40 years, until taken into exile to Egypt in 607 BCE. (See 625 BCE.)

Jeremiah 1:2–5; 43:5–7; Numbers 8:24; jd 7, 19 (chart); si JEREMIAH; it CAPTIVITY (Beginning of the Exile); JEREMIAH 6; JEREMIAH, BOOK OF.

Circa 645 BCE - back

Babylon: The Chaldean Nabopolassar founds a new dynasty (Neo-Babylonian) in Babylon.

it BABYLON 2; CHRONOLOGY (Babylonian Chronology); NEBUCHADNEZZAR.

643 BCE - back

Judah: The prophet Ezekiel is born. He receives a commission as prophet in 613 BCE.

it EZEKIEL.

642 BCE - back

Judah: King Josiah commands that the ark of the covenant be returned to the temple. It is not known whether an apostate king had removed it or if it was removed to allow repairs on the temple.

2 Chronicles 33: 1, 2, 7; 35:3; it ARK OF THE COVENANT (Locations Where the Ark Was Kept).

Circa 638 BCE - back

Judah: Mattaniah (Zedekiah), son of King Josiah and Hamutal, is born. He will be the last king over Judah, from 617 BCE to 607 BCE.

it ZEDEKIAH 4.

635 BCE - back

Judah: Jehoiachin, son of Jehoiakim and grandson of Josiah, is born. He will rule for only 3 months in 618 BCE.

it JEHOIAKIM.

Before 632 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Nahum): Nahum completes the book of Nahum, in Judah, sometime before Nineveh is destroyed in 632 BCE. The book is a pronouncement against the Assyrian capital city of Nineveh.

si NAHUM; it NAHUM, BOOK OF.

632 BCE - back

Assyria and Babylon: The combined forces of Nabopolassar, the king of Babylon, and of Cyaxares the Mede, and of hordes from the North (probably Scythians) besiege and capture Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, thus fulfilling Zephaniah’s and Nahum’s prophecies against Nineveh. (See Before 648 BCE and Before 632 BCE.) (Note: Secular histories generally give the date of 612 BCE for the fall of Nineveh.)

Babylon now replaces the Assyrian world power and becomes the third world power of Bible history.

Nahum 1:1; 2:6–10; 3:1–7; Zephaniah 2:13–15; it ASSYRIA (The fall of the empire); BABYLON 2; NINEVEH; ip-1 178–79; w01 11/15 26; w96 3/1 12; w88 2/15 24–28; 3/1 28–31.

Archaeology: The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, under “Nineveh” says: “So complete was the desolation that in Greek and Roman times Nineveh became almost like a myth. Yet all the while part of the city lay buried under mounds of apparent rubbish.” The archaeological excavation of Nineveh will not begin until the 19th Century CE.

si Zephaniah.

Circa 629 BCE - back

Judah: Pharaoh Necho (II) marches toward the river Euphrates to aid Assyria in fighting against Babylon. The Assyrian king is perhaps Ashur-uballit II, who had been attempting to rule the remnant of the Assyrians from Haran after the fall of Nineveh in 632 BCE, but who had been driven out of Haran. The Assyrians are now ruling from Carchemish. The Assyrian king wants to reconquer Haran but will not succeed.

Necho, on his way to help the Assyrian king, meets King Josiah of Judah at Megiddo and mortally wounds him. Josiah dies at age 39. He began ruling in 659 BCE. His son Jehoahaz succeeds him in 628 BCE.

www.encyclopedia.com/html/N/Necho.asp; 2 Kings 23:28–30; 2 Chronicles 35:20–25; it ASSYRIA (The fall of the empire); EGYPT (History); NECHO(H); JOSIAH 1; w88 2/1 23–27.

Circa 628 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Habakkuk): Possibly about this year, Habakkuk completes the Bible book of Habakkuk, in Judah. This book prophesies against the Chaldeans (Babylonians) who are rising in prominence (see 632 BCE and 625 BCE), but who have not yet made Jehoiakim their vassal (see 620 BCE).

si HABAKKUK; it HABAKKUK, BOOK OF.

628 BCE - back

Judah: Judah is now tributary to Egypt, paying an initial sum equivalent to almost $1,046,000. Jehoahaz (whose name prior to coming to the throne may have been Shallum), the son of Josiah, becomes king at age 23 and reigns for a brief three months in the early part of the year. He is removed from the kingship by Pharaoh Necho II and imprisoned at Pharaoh’s encampment at Riblah. Later, Pharaoh Necho takes Jehoahaz to Egypt where he will die in captivity as prophesied by Jeremiah. Regarding Jehoahaz, 2 Kings 23:32 says: “He began to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, according to all that his forefathers had done.”

Pharaoh Necho replaces Jehoahaz with his brother Eliakim (renamed Jehoiakim), age 25, as tributary king to Egypt. Jehoiakim will reign 11 years, until 618 BCE. His rule will be a bad one marked by injustices, oppression, and murder. Jehoiakim will burn Jeremiah’s scroll, piece by piece. (See 624 BCE.) Regarding Jehoiakim, 2 Kings 23:37 says: “He continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, according to all that his forefathers had done.”

2 Kings 23:30–35; Jeremiah 22:10–12; it EGYPT, EGYPTIAN (History), (Assyrian invasion); JEHOAHAZ 3; JEHOIAKIM; NECHO(H); RIBLAH 2; dp 18, 32.

625 BCE - back

Babylon: Babylon becomes a “golden cup” for Jehovah to pour out his indignation against unfaithful Judah and Jerusalem, and also against Egypt.

Battle of Carchemish: Babylonian crown prince Nebuchadnezzar II defeats Pharaoh Necho II of Egypt in the battle of Carchemish by the Euphrates, over 370 miles north of Jerusalem. Egypt’s downfall, as prophesied, begins at Carchemish. With this victory, Nebuchadnezzar II demolishes Egyptian domination over Syria and Palestine; the Babylonians now have mastery over western Asia. (Note: Traditional, non-Biblical chronologies usually give the date 605 BCE for the Battle of Carchemish.)

A translation of the “Jerusalem Chronicle,” an account of Nebuchadnezzar’s early conquests, can be found here: www.livius.org/cg-cm/chronicles/abc5/jerusalem.html.

Babylon: King Nabopolassar dies and his son, Nebuchadnezzar II, returns to Babylon to assume kingship in August/September. He will reign at least 43 years, until 582 BCE.

Bible (Book of Jeremiah): Jeremiah begins dictating to his secretary Baruch the words Jehovah directed against Israel, Judah, and all the nations, recording messages that he began delivering from the 13th year of Josiah’s reign (at which time Jehoiakim was about six years old) onward. (See 647 BCE.) Jeremiah foretells a 70-year desolation of Jerusalem and Judah. Jeremiah likens King Nebuchadnezzar to a drinking cup of Jehovah’s rage; after Jerusalem is served the cup, other countries who must also drink follow: Egypt, Uz, Philistia, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, Sidon, Dedan, Tema, Buz, Arabia, Simri, Elam, Media, then finally Sheshach (Babylon). Jeremiah will complete the Bible book of Jeremiah in 580 BCE.

Jeremiah 25:1–11, 15, 17–26; 46:1–10; 51:7, 41; w88 2/1 23–27; w64 604–5; si JEREMIAH; it BABYLON 2; BARUCH 1; EGYPT (History); NEBUCHADNEZZAR; JEHOIAKIM; JEREMIAH 6; JEREMIAH, BOOK OF; dp 31.

624 BCE - back

Babylon: This is the first official (regnal) year of Nebuchadnezzar II, the eldest son of Nabopolassar, as the second ruler of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. He will reign until 582 BCE. Note: Many secular sources list the first year of Nebuchadnezzar as being 605 BCE, with his reign ending in 562 BCE. These dates conflict with those determined by the chronology in the Bible, in part because many secular authorities reject the fact that there was a full 70-year period of desolation of Judah during the Babylonian captivity. (See Daniel 9:2 and Jeremiah 25:11; 29:10.)

Judah: In the ninth lunar month (Chislev, November/December), Jehudi reads the scroll containing Jeremiah’s dictated message before King Jehoiakim. As soon as Jehudi reads three or four page-columns, Jehoiakim cuts off that section and throws it into the fire burning in the brazier, until the entire scroll is burned. Jehovah commands Jeremiah to write another roll, this time adding even more to the scroll than previously.

Jeremiah 36; it BABYLON 2; BARUCH 1; NEBUCHADNEZZAR; JEHOIAKIM; JEHUDI.

620 BCE - back

Judah: Toward the end of King Jehoiakim’s eighth year of rule, or early in this year, Nebuchadnezzar II makes Jehoiakim a tributary king to Babylon, thus beginning Jehoiakim’s three-year vassalage to Babylon. This eighth year of Jehoiakim’s rule is actually the first year of his kingship as vassal to Babylon, as referred to in Daniel 1:1.

2 Kings 24:1; it JEHOIAKIM; dp 18, 19, 32, 64.

618 BCE - back

Judah: King Jehoiakim revolts against Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar II besieges Jerusalem. Jehoiakim, age 36, dies, perhaps by assassination or in a revolt during the early part of the siege. Jehoiakim began ruling in 628 BCE. Earlier, the prophet Jeremiah had prophesied the death of Jehoiakim and that “with the burial of a donkey he will be buried, dragged about and thrown away, outside the gates of Jerusalem.” The Bible does not record Jehoiakim’s death, but Jewish tradition recorded by Josephus says that Nebuchadnezzar killed Jehoiakim and commanded that his dead body be thrown outside Jerusalem’s walls without a burial.

Jeremiah 22:18, 19; 36:30; it JEHOIAKIM; jr 24, 158.

Jehoiakim’s son, Jehoiachin, age 18, succeeds to the throne, but rules only 3 months and 10 days before he surrenders to Nebuchadnezzar in 617 BCE. Jehoiachin is also called Jeconiah and Coniah.

At 2 Kings 24:9, the Bible says about Jehoiachin: “And he continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, according to all that his father had done.”

it BABYLON 2; CHRONOLOGY (Kings Chart); JEHOIACHIN..

Bible (Book of Daniel): The events later recorded in the book of Daniel begin about this year.

dp 13.

617 BCE - back

Judah and Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar conquers Jerusalem. King Jehoiachin surrenders to Nebuchadnezzar and is taken captive to Babylon along with other nobility, court officials, craftsmen, and warriors. Ezekiel, Daniel, and the youths Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshech), and Azariah (Abednego) are taken. (Note: Some older Watchtower publications put the date that the captives were taken to Babylon as 618 BCE, for example, in the chronological chart in w51 4/1 222.)

Nebuchadnezzar also takes some of the utensils from the temple in Jerusalem as spoil and puts them in the temple of his false god, Marduk. Deposed King Jehoiachin will remain in a prison in Babylon until released in 581 BCE by Nebuchadnezzar’s successor.

Nebuchadnezzar appoints Jehoiachin’s 21-year-old uncle, Mattaniah, son of Josiah, to the throne and changes Mattaniah’s name to Zedekiah. Zedekiah is the last Judean king to reign. He will reign 11 years, until 607 BCE. Regarding Zedekiah, 2 Chronicles 36:12–14 says: “He continued to do what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah his God. He did not humble himself before the prophet Jeremiah, who spoke at the order of Jehovah. He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him take an oath by God, and he remained stubborn and hard-hearted and refused to return to Jehovah the God of Israel. All the chiefs of the priests as well as the people were exceedingly unfaithful, practicing all the detestable things of the nations, and they defiled the house of Jehovah that he had sanctified in Jerusalem.”

Jeremiah 39:4, 5; 43:7, 8; Daniel 1:1–7; dp 32–33, 64; it ABEDNEGO; AZARIAH 21; BABYLON 2; HANANIAH 7; JEREMIAH 6; SHADRACH; ZEDEKIAH 4.

614 BCE - back

Judah: Jeremiah writes a prophecy setting out in detail the coming fall of Babylon.

Babylon: King Zedekiah and Seraiah, his quartermaster, visit Babylon to take the tribute due to Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah has Seraiah take along the roll containing the prophecy on Babylon’s fall to read aloud at Babylon.

Jeremiah Chapter 51; w64 10/15 638.

613 BCE - back

Judah and Babylon: Ezekiel, age 30, receives a commission to be a prophet. He was taken captive to Babylon in 617 BCE.

it EZEKIEL.

612 BCE - back

Judah and Babylon: Ezekiel, in Babylon, has a vision in which he was transported in spirit back to Jerusalem. He writes about the detestable things that he sees inside the temple of Jehovah.

Ezekiel Chapters 8, 9; w72 1/15 42.

609 BCE - back

Judah and Babylon: Zedekiah revolts against Babylon. Jerusalem comes under final siege by the Babylonians.

it BABYLON 2.

Circa 607 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Obadiah): Obadiah completes the Bible book of Obadiah, the shortest book in the Hebrew Scriptures. He prophesies against Edom (Mount Seir) due to Edom’s taking part in desolating Jerusalem and plundering Judah. (See 1858 BCE, Before 602 BCE, the 6th Century BCE, and After 443 BCE.)

Psalm 137:7; si OBADIAH; it OBADIAH 8; OBADIAH, BOOK OF.

607 BCE - back

Judah (Desolating of Jerusalem and the Babylonian Captivity): Babylon breaches Jerusalem’s walls on Tammuz 9 (June–July) and destroys Jerusalem, burning Solomon’s Temple. King Zedekiah flees to Jericho, is captured and taken to Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah. Zedekiah’s sons are killed before his eyes, then he is blinded and taken captive to Babylon. Most Judeans are taken captive to Babylon.

Nebuzaradan, under orders from Nebuchadnezzar, releases Jeremiah and grants him some supplies. Nebuzaradan is also spokesman for the king of Babylon in appointing Gedaliah governor over those remaining.

The king of Ammon enlists the cooperation of Ishmael to assassinate Gedaliah, after which the remaining people flee to Egypt, taking Jeremiah and Baruch with them.

2 Kings 25:22; Jeremiah 39:11–14; 40:1–7; 41:10; it GEDALIAH 4; NEBUCHADNEZZAR (Conquest of Jerusalem); RIBLAH 2; ZEDEKIAH.

Judah (70 years): The “seventy years” of desolation prophesied by Jeremiah (25:8–12; 29:10) begin about October 1. Archaeology confirms that “there is not a single known case where a town of Judah proper was continuously occupied through the exilic period.” The desolation will end in 537 BCE.

For a detailed discussion of why 607 BCE is used for the date of the destruction of Jerusalem and the beginning of the 70-year desolation of Judah, see The Watchtower issues listed below.

Jeremiah 25:8–12; 29:10; w11 10/1 26–31 “When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed — Part One — Why It Matters; What the Evidence Shows”; w11 11/1 22–29 “When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed — Part Two: What the Clay Documents Really Show”; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Palestine and Syria).

Chronology (607 BCE to 1914 CE): The Appointed Times of the Nations, or the “Times of the Gentiles,” or the “seven times” of 2520 years’ length, begin counting in early October. They will end in 1914 CE. See additional chronology information at 1914 CE.

Daniel 9:1–3; bh 215–18, “1914 — A Significant Date in Bible Prophecy”; dp 96–97; w86 11/1 4–7; si Study 3; rs 95–97.

Bible (Book of Lamentations): Jeremiah completes the Bible book of Lamentations, near Jerusalem, soon after its fall. The book consists of five lyrical poems lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. The book of Lamentations shows the truth of the words of Deuteronomy 28:63–65, that disobedience to Jehovah would bring exile upon the Jews.

si LAMENTATIONS; it LAMENTATIONS, BOOK OF.

After 607 BCE - back

Babylon and Tyre: Nebuchadnezzar begins a 13-year siege against Tyre sometime after Jerusalem falls (date uncertain). For serving as executioner for Jehovah against Tyre, Jehovah will give him the wealth of Egypt. (See Circa 588 BCE.) This destruction is not the final one for Tyre; Alexander the Great will complete Tyre’s destruction in 332 BCE.

With the destruction of Tyre, the leadership of the western Phoenicians will be taken up by Carthage. (See 814 BCE and the 3rd Century BCE.)

Ezekiel chapters 26–28; w77 7/1 389; g01 11/8 14–18; it NEBUCHADNEZZAR; TYRE.

606/605 BCE - back

Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar dreams a God-sent dream about an immense metal image, which Daniel interprets as successive world powers. [These particular powers are those “that have had a direct influence on God’s people, either on the ancient nation of Israel or on the congregation of anointed Christians.”] Each world power is represented by a different metallic part of the image. The head of gold is the world power of Babylon [beginning with Nebuchadnezzar], which will last from 607 BCE until 539 BCE. The breasts and arms of silver will be the next world power, Medo-Persia [beginning with Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian], which will last from 539 BCE until 331 BCE. The belly and thighs of copper will be the world power of Greece [beginning with Alexander the Great], which will last from 331 BCE until 30 BCE. The legs of iron will be the world power of Rome, beginning in 30 BCE. The feet and toes of iron [strength] mixed with moist clay [divisive elements within its ‘realm of influence’ such as civil rights campaigns, labor unions, independence movements, opposing political ideologies] will be the Anglo-American world power, which will exist during the foretold time of the end until the stone that “was cut not by hands” out of the mountain strikes the image on its feet and totally crushes the entire image. The stone represents God’s Kingdom, the rightful and righteous government that will fill the whole earth. Daniel concludes his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream by saying:

“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. And this kingdom will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it alone will stand forever, just as you saw that out of the mountain a stone was cut not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the copper, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The Grand God has made known to the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and its interpretation is trustworthy.”

Daniel 2:31–45; w12 6/15 7–11; w12 6/15 14–18; dp 46–59; Matthew 6:9–10.

Before 602 BCE - back

Babylon: Edom is captured and plundered by Nebuchadnezzar. See the 6th Century BCE.

Obadiah 6, 7; w57 8/15 490; si OBADIAH.

602 BCE - back

Babylon: Nebuzaradan, chief bodyguard of Nebuchadnezzar, takes more Jews into exile from Judah. These evidently were some who escaped to other lands in 607 BCE and had later returned to Judah.

Jeremiah 52:30; it NEBUZARADAN.

6th CENTURY BCE   (599–500)

599 - 590 - 580 - 570 - 560 - 550 - 540 - 530 - 520 - 510

Babylon and Medo-Persia: In this century Babylon ceases to be a world power and is replaced by the fourth world power, Medo-Persia.

Babylon and Edom: About mid-century, the Babylonian Nabonidus, with troops that include Jewish soldiers, conquers Edom, fulfilling the prophecies of Jeremiah, and in part, Ezekiel and Obadiah. By the fourth century BCE, Nabataeans inhabit Edomite territory, and the Edomites are never able to return. See 312 BCE and Circa 105 CE.

Jeremiah 40:11, 12; 43:5–7; Ezekiel 25:14; w81 7/1 26; it EDOM.

Rome: During this century, the Romans use the true arch formed with wedge-shaped stones in an impressive way when they build the great sewers of Rome.

it ARCHITECTURE (Grecian and Roman Styles and Methods).

Circa 591 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Ezekiel): This is the time of Ezekiel’s last dated prophecy. He completes the Bible book of Ezekiel in Babylon, most of it having been written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 BCE, though parts of it are written as late as this year. The book covers events from 613 BCE to circa 591 BCE. The book contains Ezekiel’s prophecies about the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon and the restoration of a faithful remnant.

Ezekiel 29:17; 40:1; si EZEKIEL; it EZEKIEL, BOOK OF.

Circa 588 BCE - back

Babylon and Egypt: This is Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th year, during which a Babylonian record says he engaged in a campaign against Egypt. This may be the time when Egypt is brought under the control of Pharaoh, as was foretold by Jeremiah (chapters 42–44; 46:13–26) and by Ezekiel (chapters 29–32), or it may be a subsequent military campaign against Egypt. Egypt was to be given to Nebuchadnezzar as spoil (Ezekiel 29:17–20) in payment for his fulfilling prophecies regarding the destruction of Tyre (see After 607 BCE). Ezekiel (29:8–16) prophesied that Egypt would be desolated for a period of 40 years, and Jeremiah (44:30) named the ruling Pharaoh as Hophra, aka Apries.

Herodotus (5th century BCE) did not record that Nebuchadnezzar invaded Egypt, thus raising doubt that the Bible prophecy was fulfilled. However, regarding Herodotus, the Bible Commentary by F. C. Cook says: “It is notorious that Herodotus, while he faithfully recorded all that he heard and saw in Egypt, was indebted for his information on past history to the Egyptian priests, whose tales he adopted with blind credulity. . . . The whole story [by Herodotus] of Apries [Hophra] and Amasis [successor to Hophra] is mixed with so much that is inconsistent and legendary that we may very well hesitate to adopt it as authentic history. It is by no means strange that the priests should endeavour to disguise the national dishonour of having been subjected to a foreign yoke.”

Regarding Egypt, Josephus records the following about events after Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Jerusalem: “Accordingly, both the people and Johanan disobeyed the counsel of God, which he gave them by the prophet [Jeremiah], and removed into Egypt, and carried Jeremiah and Baruch along with them. And when they were there, God signified to the prophet that the king of Babylon was about making an expedition against the Egyptians, and commanded him to foretell to the people that Egypt should be taken, and the king of Babylon should slay some of them, and should take others captive, and bring them to Babylon; which things came to pass accordingly; for on the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem, which was 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, and set up another; and he took those Jews that were there captives, and led them away to Babylon.”

it BABYLON 2; CUSH 2; EGYPT, EGYPTIAN; NEBUCHADNEZZAR; Josephus Antiquities, Book 10, Chapter 9, 6 and 7.

587 BCE to 586 BCE - back

Chronology: Both 587 BCE and 586 BCE are cited by secular historians as dates for the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, but these dates are in conflict with the chronology given in the Bible. Historians base their reckoning, not on the Bible, but on the king lists of Ptolemy, who lived in the 2nd Century CE. See more information at 607 BCE.

w11 10/1 26–31; w11 11/1 22–28; w69 2/1 88–92; kc 186–89.

582 BCE - back

Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar II dies in October after a 43-year reign. According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary and Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Nebuchadnezzar was 83 or 84 years old when he died, which would make him about age 40 at the Battle of Carchemish in 625 BCE and about age 58 when he destroyed Jerusalem in 607 BCE.

For the Easton’s Bible Dictionary article “Nebuchadnezzar,” click here.

2 Kings 25:27–30; it BABYLON 2.

581 BCE - back

Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar’s oldest son, Evil-Merodach (aka Awil-Marduk, Amil-Marduk, Amel-Marduk), succeeds Nebuchadnezzar II. Evil-Merodach shows kindness to captive 54-year-old King Jehoiachin (in this year or in 580 BCE) by granting him favor above all the other kings in captivity, releasing him from the house of detention where he had been since 617 BCE and giving him a daily allowance of food. Jehoiachin’s son Shealtiel has a nominal son, Zerubbabel, who will become governor of rebuilt Jerusalem, and who is also one through whom the line of descent to Jesus comes. Evil-Merodach may reign two years (according to Claudius Ptolemy and Berossus, as quoted by Josephus) or 12 years (according to Polyhistor) or 18 years (according to Josephus).

2 Kings 25:27–30; it EVIL-MERODACH; w11 10/1 26–31; w69 2/1 88–92; w65 1/1 29; bf 183–84.

Archaeology: Cuneiform tablets listing the workers and captives to whom provisions were given are uncovered near the Ishtar Gate in Babylon. “Yaukin, king of the land of Yahud” (“Jehoiachin, the king of the land of Judah”) is listed, along with the names of five of Jehoiachin’s sons.

it ARCHAEOLOGY.

580 BCE - back

Bible (Book of First Kings): Jeremiah began writing the Bible book of First Kings while he was still in Jerusalem and Judah. (He is later taken to Egypt.) The book covers from Circa 1040 BCE to 911 BCE and is a record of the history of the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel from the last days of David until the death of Judean King Jehoshaphat. The book of First Kings was originally part of one scroll with Second Kings. The writing is completed in Egypt.

si 1 KINGS; it KINGS, BOOKS OF.

Bible (Book of Second Kings): In Egypt, Jeremiah completes the scroll that contains the book of Second Kings, which he began writing while in Judah. The book of Second Kings covers from circa 920 BCE to 580 BCE and is a continuation of the history of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel begun in First Kings. It tells of the destruction of both Samaria (the capital of Israel) and Jerusalem (the capital of Judah).

si 2 KINGS; it KINGS, BOOKS OF.

Bible (Book of Jeremiah): In Egypt, Jeremiah completes the Bible book of Jeremiah, which he began writing while in Judah. It covers from 647 BCE to 580 BCE. The book is a record of Jehovah’s judgment proclamations through Jeremiah and is an account of Jeremiah’s experiences and the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. Jeremiah began writing about 18 years before Jerusalem fell in 607 BCE (see 625 BCE), and he completes his writing this year, 27 years after Jerusalem fell.

si JEREMIAH; it JEREMIAH, BOOK OF.

Circa 579 BCE - back

Babylon: Babylonian king Evil-Merodach may have been murdered this year by Neriglissar, his brother-in-law, after a reign of two years. However, Polyhistor gives Evil-Merodach a reign of 12 years, which would have his reign lasting until about 569 BCE, and Josephus gives him a reign of 18 years, which would have his reign lasting until about 563 BCE. Neriglissar (Nergal-sharezer) will succeed Evil-Merodach and will reign four years. Most secular sources date Neriglissar’s reign from 560 to 556 BCE.

w11 10/1 26–31; w65 1/1 29; it EVIL-MERODACH.

563 BCE - back

Babylon: According to Josephus, Evil-merodach may have died this year (instead of 579 BCE or 569 BCE). He is succeeded by his brother-in-law and murderer, Neriglissar. (But see 581 BCE and Circa 579 BCE.) Neriglissar (Nergal-sharezer) will reign four years. (See 560 BCE.) After Neriglissar, his young son Labashi-Marduk, “a vicious boy,” will succeed him and then be assassinated within nine months. Nabonidus, the favorite son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar, will take the throne about 556 BCE and reign until the fall of Babylon in 539 BCE.

w65 1/1 29; it EVIL-MERODACH.

560 BCE - back

Babylon: Secular sources set this year as the first year of Neriglissar’s reign, who may have reigned four years. See Circa 579 BCE.

560–559 BCE - back

Medo-Persia: Cyrus succeeds his father Cambyses I to the throne of Anshan in ancient Persia, which is under the suzerainty of the Median king Astyages.

dp 149; it CYRUS.

556 BCE - back

Babylon: Nabonidus begins ruling in Babylon this year (if not sooner).

it NABONIDUS.

Circa 551 BCE - back

Prophecy (Medo-Persia): Referring to the coming Medo-Persian Empire, the prophet Daniel writes about a ram with two horns, with one horn higher than the other, and “the higher one came up later. . . . And no wild beasts could stand before it, and there was no one who could provide rescue from its power.” (See Daniel 8:1–4, 20.) This prophecy is soon fulfilled. First, the Persians (the higher horn that comes up later) gain ascendancy over the Medes (the first horn) in 550 BCE. Then the capital of the Babylonian Empire falls before the combined armies of the Medo-Persians (the two-horned ram) in 539 BCE, and the Medo-Persian Empire gains control as a world power.

g84 8/22 22–23 chart; dp 165–67.

551 BCE - back

Religion and China: Confucius (551–479 BCE) is born in China. Confucianism will become one of China’s three great religions, the other two being Taoism and Buddhism. Traditionally, the founder of Taoism, Lao Tze, is considered a contemporary of Confucius.

g89 5/8 19–21.

550 BCE - back

Persia: Media, previously dominant over Persia, is made subject to Persia when Cyrus (II) the Great is victorious over Median King Astyages, and captures the capital city of the Medes, Ecbatana (modern Hamadan in western Iran). (Compare Daniel 8:3, 20. See Circa 551 BCE.) The Medes and Persians join forces. Cyrus the Great is the first of the “three kings” of Persia in Daniel 11:2. He will rule until 530 BCE.

Ezra 1:1; 4:5; Daniel 8:1–4, 20; dp 52, 149; 165–67; it CYRUS; ECBATANA; AHASUERUS 3; PERSIA, PERSIANS (Development of the Medo-Persian Empire).

Circa 547 BCE to 546 BCE - back

Persia: Cyrus defeats the paragon of wealth, King Croesus of Lydia, which is Western Turkey today. The Lydian capital Sardis becomes the seat of a Persian satrap. Asia Minor is now under Persian rule, with the Persian Empire extending west to the Aegean Sea and the Hellespont. Cyrus is now the major rival of Babylon and King Nabonidus.

For the saying “Rich as Croesus,” see www.bartleby.com/81/4356.html and www.infoplease.com/ce6/people/A0814078.html.

w65 1/15 53; it CYRUS; AAEnc-12 Lydia.

539 BCE - back

Babylon Falls to Persia: Mighty Babylon falls to Cyrus and the combined forces of the Medes, Persians, and Elamites, fulfilling the prophecies at Isaiah 21:2, 9; 44:26–45:7 (where Cyrus is named more than 150 years in advance), and Daniel 5:28, and, in part, the prophecy of Isaiah 13:1–20. See also Circa 551 BCE. Belshazzar, the son of Nabonidus, is slain. Medo-Persia becomes the fourth world power.

Babylon falls on Tishri 16, 539 (5 October, Gregorian calendar, or 11 October, Julian calendar). This is the pivotal date in the Hebrew Scriptures for determining Bible chronology back to Adam.

Cyrus enters Babylon on 3 Marchesvan (October 22–23). Governor Gubaru (Gobryas), appoints sub-governors in Babylon, and, according to cuneiform records, serves for 14 years as governor of the city of Babylon and the entire Fertile Crescent (basically the same area as that of the fallen Babylonian Empire). It is not known if Gubaru is the same person as Darius the Mede in the Bible.

Daniel 5:31; w88 3/1 28–31; w72 6/1 349–51, “Who Was ‘Darius the Mede’?”; w65 52–56, 250–53; g 1/11 “Babylon in Bible History”; si Studies 2, 3; gm 123; it BABYLON 2; BELSHAZZAR; CYRUS; DARIUS 1; PERSIA, PERSIANS (Development of the Medo-Persian Empire).

537 BCE - back

Persia: The first year of Cyrus ends in the spring of 537. During this first year Cyrus decrees that the Jews return to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon. He also returns 5,400 vessels of gold and silver that Nebuchadnezzar had taken as spoil from Solomon’s temple. About 50,000 men, plus women and children make the four-month trip to Jerusalem. This fulfills a number of prophecies, including Isaiah 35:10: “Those redeemed by Jehovah will return and come to Zion with a joyful cry.” Cyrus was a king known for repatriating various peoples to their homelands, as attested to on the Cyrus Cylinder.

See information about the Cyrus Cylinder at the British Museum: www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/me/c/cyrus_cylinder.aspx.

Ezra 1:1–11; 2:64–70; 3:1; it CHRONOLOGY (Babylonia); ip-1 376–77.

Judah: Jerusalem’s 70-year desolation ends (see 607 BCE). When the Jews return to their homeland, the prophecies of Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22 respecting a “new heavens and a new earth” have their initial fulfillment in the restoration of a cleansed society (“a new earth”) under rulership of a new governmental system (“a new heavens”).

1 Chronicles 36:22, 23; it CHRONOLOGY (From Human Creation to the Present); re 301; ip-2 381–82.

Circa 536 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Daniel): Daniel completes the book of Daniel in Babylon by about this year. The book covers from about 618 BCE to 536 BCE. Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks foretells the year of the earthly appearance of “Messiah the Leader” (see 29  CE). Daniel’s prophecy of the “seven times” foretells the time of the royal Presence of Christ Jesus in Kingdom power (see 1914 CE). Other prophecies in Daniel foretell the rise and fall of various world powers until the Kingdom arrives and crushes all of them and takes over world rulership.

si DANIEL; it DANIEL, BOOK OF.

536 BCE - back

Judah: The temple foundation is laid in Jerusalem, but opposition from the Samaritans discourages the builders from continuing to rebuild the temple. (See 522 BCE and 520 BCE.)

it DARIUS 2; TEMPLE (The Temple Built by Zerubbabel).

530 BCE - back

Persia: Cyrus the Great dies this year while on a military campaign, and is succeeded by his son, Cambyses II. Cambyses is evidently the Ahasuerus of the Bible book of Ezra to whom the opposers of the temple rebuilding work send false accusations against the Jews. Cambyses is the second of the three kings mentioned in Daniel 11:2.

A photograph of the tomb of Cyrus the Great in Iran is in w88 3/15 29, dp 150, and here: www.livius.org/pan-paz/pasargadae/pasargadae_tomb.html.

Ezra 4:6; dp 52, 152; it AHASUERUS 2; DARIUS 2; PERSIA, PERSIANS (From Cyrus’ Death to Darius’ Death).

529 BCE - back

Persia: Cambyses, the son of Cyrus the Great who conquered Babylon in 539 BCE, succeeds his father and begins to reign this year. He will reign until 522 BCE (according to the traditional chronology) or 521 BCE (according to dated tablets). Cambyses is the Ahasuerus of Ezra 4:6.

it AHASUERUS 2; PERSIA, PERSIANS (From Cyrus’ Death to Darius’ Death).

525 BCE - back

Persia and Egypt: By this year Egypt has been subjugated by Cambyses II. Egypt will continue under Persian rule until the conquest of Alexander the Great in 332 BCE.

it EGYPT, EGYPTIAN (Under Persian domination), (Under Greek and Roman rule).

522 BCE - back

Persia: Either in this year or in 521 BCE, while Cambyses II is absent in Egypt, his throne is usurped by either Bardiya, the brother of Cambyses (who is called Smerdis), or by Gaumata, the pseudo Smerdis, a Magian who poses as Bardiya. Other historians, however, think that the usurper is Darius I. Traditional chronology has the usurper Gaumata ruling for seven or eight months, and then Nidintu-Bel, the next ruler, being defeated and killed by Darius after just two months of rule. Another view, according to the Behistun inscription of Darius, is that after Cambyses’ death, three persons ruled for a short time: Gaumata, Nebuchadnezzar III (Nidintu-Bel), and Nebuchadnezzar IV. Recently discovered evidence from cuneiform tablets, however, indicates that instead of one or two years between Cambyses and Darius, there may have been as many as five or six years after the death of Cambyses before Darius I begins to rule.

Whoever the usurper is, whether he is Bardiya or Gaumata, or someone else, the Bible name given him is Artaxerxes (perhaps a throne name or title). He is the ruler of Ezra 4:7–23 to whom a second charge against the Jews by their enemies results in the royal ban against further construction on the temple. (For the first charge made to Cambyses II, see 530 BCE.) This ban lasts until 520 BCE (or possibly even some years later).

Traditionally, the usurper is given a reign of seven or eight months in this year, but dated cuneiform tablets indicate that he ruled at least 18 months. Traditionally, this year is also considered to be the accession year of Darius I, although if the longer reign for the usurper is correct, and there are two usurpers who follow him, the actual ascension year of Darius may well be several years later. (See the detailed discussion in Persian Chronology and the Length of the Babylonian Exile of the Jews, by Rolf Furuli, ©2012.)

Darius will become one of the outstanding rulers of the Persian Empire, extending Persian dominion east to India and west to Thrace and Macedonia. During his rule he will reorganize the administrative structure throughout the empire, form an imperial law code called the Ordinance of Good Regulations, and reopen the canal connecting the Nile River of Egypt to the Red Sea (see the 7th Century BCE). Darius is the third king mentioned at Daniel 11:2. At least by Darius’ time, the Persian rulers have fulfilled the “bear” and “ram” prophecies of Daniel 7:5 and 8:4.

Ezra 4:7–23; w88 3/15 26–29; w86 1/15 7; it AHASUERUS 3; ARTAXERXES 1; DARIUS 2; NABONIDUS; PERSIA, PERSIANS (From Cyrus’ Death to Darius’ Death); si EZRA.

521 BCE - back

Persia: The reign of King Darius I — also known as Darius Hystaspis or Darius the Great, and simply Darius in the Bible — is traditionally counted from this year. Traditionally, it is accepted that Darius ascended the throne in 522 BCE; however, evidence in cuneiform tablets indicates that Darius may have begun ruling as late as 516/15 BCE.

Ezra 4:5, 24; 6:1–15; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Persia).

520 BCE - back

Judah: The prophets Haggai and Zechariah stir up the Jews to renew construction work on the temple. Governor Tattenai sends a letter to King Darius requesting an investigation to see if there is written evidence of the legality of the building project. An official search at the archives in Ecbatana uncovers the decree by Cyrus. Darius orders Governor Tattenai and the other officials to refrain from interfering with the temple work and to provide building funds from the royal treasury. (Note: These events may occur a few years later than this year. See notes at 522 BCE.)

Ezra 4:24; it DARIUS 2.

Bible (Book of Haggai): Haggai completes the Bible book of Haggai in Jerusalem, 17 years after the Jews returned from Babylonian exile. The book covers 112 days of 520 BCE. The book contains four messages; its purpose is to motivate the Jews to get on with the temple rebuilding. (Note: The date for the writing of the book of Haggai may occur later than this year, if the reign of Darius was delayed by several years. See notes at 522 BCE.)

si HAGGAI; it HAGGAI, BOOK OF.

Circa 519 BCE - back

Persia and Egypt: Egypt, which had thrown off the Persian yoke, is reconquered by Darius I, either this year or in 518 BCE, although this event may occur even later than this year. (See notes at 522 BCE.)

it DARIUS 2.

518 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Zechariah): Zechariah completes the Bible book of Zechariah in Jerusalem, during the reign of Persian King Darius I. The book covers 520 BCE to 518 BCE. The messages in the book encourage the Jews, who had returned about 19 years previously from exile in Babylon, to resume and complete the temple rebuilding. The book also provides foregleams of the Messiah’s coming. (Note: If the reign of Darius began several years after traditionally accepted, that is, in 516/15 BCE instead, then the events in the book of Zechariah will occur later than this year. See notes at 522 BCE.)

si ZECHARIAH; it ZECHARIAH, BOOK OF.

515 BCE - back

Judah: The temple is completed by March 6. (This event may have occurred several years later than this year. See notes at 522 BCE.)

Ezra 6:1–15; it DARIUS 2.

Circa 509 BCE - back

Rome: The Roman Republic is established.

it CHRONOLOGY (Historians of the Classical Period).

5th CENTURY BCE   (499–400)

499 - 490 - 480 - 470 - 460 - 450 - 440 - 430 - 410

Persia and Greece: During this century (c. 490–431 BCE), Athens reaches its “Golden Age,” and gains leadership of Greece; it produces its most renowned works of art and architecture. This is also the century of the Persian Wars. Several Greek historians live during this century: Herodotus (c. 488–428 BCE, or c. 484–425 BCE), Thucydides (c. 460–400 BCE, or c. 471–401 BCE); Xenophon (c. 431–352 BCE), and Ctesias. Of these, Thucydides is noted for his meticulous research and is considered the most reliable historian.

it CHRONOLOGY (Historians of the Classical Period; GREECE (Period of the Persian Wars), (Athenian Supremacy); gm 19.

499 BCE - back

Persia and Greece: Darius I orders the first Persian invasion of Greece.

it GREECE (Period of the Persian Wars); yw 224.

496 BCE - back

Persia: Xerxes I, the son of the Persian king Darius the Great (Darius I or Darius Hystaspis), ascends the throne as coregent with his father. Xerxes I is evidently the Ahasuerus of the Bible book of Esther. In the Bible, Xerxes’ regnal years are counted from his coregency with his father, Darius the Great, although secular history customarily counts his rule as beginning in 486 BCE. Xerxes is the “fourth” king mentioned in prophecy at Daniel 11:2 who will “rouse up everything against the kingdom of Greece.” (The three preceding kings were Cyrus the Great, Cambyses II, and Darius Hystaspis.) Xerxes’ capital is Shushan in Elam, which is excavated by archaeologists from 1880 to 1890 CE.

Esther 1:1, 2; it AHASUERUS 3; ARCHAEOLOGY (Persia); PERSIA, PERSIANS (The Reigns of Xerxes and Artaxerxes).

495 BCE - back

Persia: This is the first regnal year (as counted by Biblical history, but not secular history) of Xerxes I, who is called Ahasuerus of the Bible book of Esther. Note that the Bible counts his coregency with his father, Darius the Great (Darius I), as his regnal years, but secular history counts his regnal years as beginning in 485 BCE, when he succeeded his father.

it AHASUERUS 3.

493 BCE - back

Persia: During a period of 180 days, King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) shows his nobles and officials the riches and beauty of his kingdom. During a final seven-day feast, Vashti, the wife of Ahasuerus, refuses to come at his bidding, so he dismisses her as his queen.

Esther 1:1–22; it AHASUERUS 3; w06 3/1 8–9; w79 3/15 13.

492 BCE - back

Persia and Greece: Darius I demands tribute of earth and water, symbolic of surrender, from the principal states of Greece. Some comply, but Athens, Sparta, and Eretria refuse.

it GREECE (Period of the Persian Wars); TF 600–400 BC, p. 63.

490 BCE - back

Persia and Greece: In early summer, a Persian force numbering about 20,000 embarks for Greece. Eretria falls. The Persians cross to the plain of Marathon, 26 miles from Athens, where they are met by 10,000 Athenian foot soldiers and are defeated. According to legend, a messenger runs the 26 miles to Athens with news of the astonishing victory over the Persians and cries, “We have won,” then drops dead.

it DARIUS 2 (Later Campaigns in Greece); GREECE, GREEKS (Period of the Persian Wars); TF 600–400, pp. 63, 64.

Circa 489 BCE - back

Persia: Esther is selected by Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) in the seventh year of his reign to replace his deposed queen Vashti. (See 493 BCE.)

Esther Chapters 1–2; it AHASUERUS 3.

486 BCE - back

Persia: According to the traditional chronology, Darius I dies and is succeeded by his coregent son Xerxes I, who is called Ahasuerus in the Bible book of Esther. Xerxes’ rule is customarily counted from this year by secular references, but the Biblical record counts his rule from his coregency with his father in 495 BCE. It may be that Darius actually died about 480/479 BCE, his 36th year if counted from 516/15 BCE. (See notes at 522 BCE.)

it AHASUERUS 3; DARIUS 2.

485 BCE - back

Persia: This is the first regnal year of Xerxes I as counted by secular history, but note that the Bible counts his regnal years as beginning with his coregency with his father, Darius. (See 496 BCE and 495 BCE.)

it AHASUERUS 3; PERSIA, PERSIANS (The Reigns of Xerxes and of Artaxerxes).

484 BCE - back

Persia: On Nisan 13, in the 12th year of Xerxes I, Haman, the prime minister of Xerxes I (Ahasuerus), casts Pur (the Lot) to determine an auspicious day to exterminate the Jews. However, Esther, the Jewess wife of Xerxes I, and her guardian cousin, Mordecai, thwart the plot. Haman is hanged on the 73-foot-high stake that he had prepared to hang Mordecai. Mordecai is made prime minister. A new royal decree is issued to allow the Jews the right to fight their attackers when the time comes.

Esther Chapters 3; 7–9; w79 3/15 12–22; it AHASUERUS ; HAMAN.

483 BCE - back

Persia: Early this year, on 13 Adar (February/March), the Jews defend themselves against their enemies, killing over 75,000 throughout the Persian realm, including 800 in Shushan. Mordecai obligates the Jews to celebrate Adar 14 and 15 each year with banqueting and rejoicing and the giving of gifts to the poor. The celebration is known as the Festival of Lots (Festival of Purim).

Esther Chapters 8, 9; w79 3/5 12–22; it PURIM.

480 BCE - back

Persia and Greece: Xerxes I, the fourth king of Daniel 11:2, determines to “rouse up everything against the kingdom of Greece” and avenge the Persian defeat at Marathon in 490 BCE. At Thermopylae, the Persians defeat the Spartans under King Leonidas. Xerxes burns Athens, and the Acropolis is destroyed. Then at Salamis the Athenians wreck most of the Persian fleet, numbering about 1,200 warships (compared with 380 smaller Greek ships). Xerxes collects his remaining ships and sails home, leaving an army commanded by his brother-in-law Mardonius to winter over.

it GREECE (Period of the Persian Wars); yw 225; TH -500 to -451; TF 600–400 BC, pp. 65–72.

479 BCE - back

Persia and Greece: On 27 August, the Greeks, under the Spartan general Pausanias, defeat the Persians on land at Plataea and defeat the remainder of the Persian fleet at Mycale. Xerxes I is the last Persian king to invade Greece.

it GREECE (Period of the Persian Wars); yw 225; TH -500 to -451; TF 600–400 BC, pp. 65–72.

478 BCE - back

Persia and Babylon: Babylon is plundered by Xerxes I, completing the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 13:17–20. Note: Some sources (such as TH-479) say this event occurred in 479 BCE.

it BABYLON (History); gm 125.

475 BCE - back

Persia: Xerxes I is murdered in bed by a group of conspirators led by the royal chamberlain and the commander of the palace guard. He is succeeded by his son Artaxerxes, age 16, known as Artaxerxes Longimanus, who is is referred to in Ezra 7:1–28, Nehemiah 2:1–18, and Nehemiah 13:6. (Note: Most secular reference works give 465 BCE as accession year of Artaxerxes, but see the cited references for details on the soundness of taking 475 BCE as his true accession date.)

it ARTAXERXES 2; PERSIA, PERSIANS (The Reigns of Xerxes and of Artaxerxes); TF 600– 400 BC, p. 71.

Circa 475 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Esther): Mordecai completes the book of Esther in Shushan, Elam. The book covers 493 BCE to circa 475 BCE. The book is the account of how Esther was used by Jehovah to save the Jews from the extermination plot of Haman. (See Circa 489 BCE, 484 BCE, and 483 BCE.)

Read “She Stood Up for God’s People” (in w11 10/1 pp. 18–23 on WOL) and “She Acted Wisely, Bravely, and Selflessly” (in w12 1/1 pp. 24–29 on WOL).

si ESTHER; it ESTHER, BOOK OF; HAMAN; Highlights from Esther in w06 3/1 8–11.

474 BCE - back

Persia: This is the first regnal year of Artaxerxes I (Longimanus). (Regarding the conflict in secular histories regarding this date, see 465 BCE). Artaxerxes I will rule until either 424 BCE or 423 BCE.

Ezra 6:14; 7:1–26; Nehemiah 2:1–18; it PERSIA, PERSIANS (The Reigns of Xerxes and of Artaxerxes).

468 BCE - back

Persia, Babylon, and Judah: In the seventh year of his rule, Persian ruler Artaxerxes Longimanus grants Ezra aid to journey to Jerusalem to render aid to the Jews there. The king’s decree authorizes Ezra to appoint magistrates and judges to teach God’s law and the king’s law to the people and to use capital punishment against violators where necessary. Perhaps 6,000 persons (1,500 men and their families) accompany Ezra to Jerusalem with foodstuffs and valuable treasures for the temple worth more than $43 million. When Ezra arrives in Jerusalem, he finds Jews married to foreign wives (evidently pagan unbelievers); this uncleanness is cleared out in the space of about three months.

Ezra 6:14; 7:6, 25, 26; w88 3/15 26–29; si EZRA; it AMMONITES (Intermarriage With Israelites); ARTAXERXES 2; EZRA.

465 BCE - back

Persia: Most secular references give 465 BCE instead of 475 BCE as the accession year for Artaxerxes Longimanus, but see the cited references for detailed information confirming that 475 BCE is the correct date for the his accession year. The 20th year of Artaxerxes’ reign begins in 455 BCE. This date is important because the counting of the 70 ‘weeks of years’ of Daniel’s prophecy begins in the 20th year of Artaxerxes’ reign.

Daniel 9:24, 25; it ARTAXERXES 2; PERSIA, PERSIANS (The Reigns of Xerxes and of Artaxerxes).

Circa 460 BCE - back

Bible (Book of First Chronicles): Ezra completes the Bible book of 1 Chronicles, possibly in Jerusalem. After 1 Chronicles 9:44, the book covers the 40-year period from 1077 BCE to 1037 BCE. The genealogy and details regarding true worship at Jehovah’s temple is especially what the Jews need at this time. Originally, First and Second Chronicles are part of one scroll.

si 1 CHRONICLES; it 1 CHRONICLES, THE BOOKS OF.

Bible (Book of Second Chronicles): Ezra completes the Bible book of Second Chronicles, possibly in Jerusalem. The book covers the 500-year period from 1037 BCE to 537 BCE, and is a vivid summary of the history under the kings of the royal house of David.

si 2 CHRONICLES; it CHRONICLES, THE BOOKS OF.

Bible (Book of Ezra): Ezra completes the Bible book of Ezra, in Jerusalem. The book covers the 70-year period from 537 BCE to circa 467 BCE, and is about the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem and the restoration of true worship there after the Jews returned from Babylonian exile.

si EZRA; it EZRA, BOOK OF.

Bible (Book of Psalms): The Bible book of Psalms is a compilation of 150 sacred songs (psalms) written over a time period of about 1,000 years by Moses (1 psalm), the sons of Korah (11), David (73), Solomon (1), Asaph (or descendents) (12), Heman (1), Ethan (1), possibly Hezekiah (1), and possibly other persons. Ezra may have arranged the book in its final form.

si PSALMS; it PSALMS, BOOK OF.

Religion and Medicine: The foremost ancient scientific healer Hippocrates is born on the Greek island of Kos. According to The Book of Popular Science, the prevailing theory of disease of Egyptian and Babylonian healers “at that time, and for generations to come was that fevers, infections, aches and pains were caused by evil spirits, or demons, invading the body.” Therefore, medical treatment generally involved religious offerings, spells, or incantations. Hippocrates, however, will reject this notion of disease, including epilepsy, as being a punishment from a deity and will argue that disease has a natural cause. He is the first known healer to observe the symptoms of various diseases and record them for future reference. Even though he is sometimes scientifically incorrect, he will later become known as “the father of medicine.” However, at least 1,000 years before Hippocrates is born, the “medicine” of the Bible proves superior to that of Hippocrates. A doctor commented in The AMA News that “the best informed medical researchers now doing the best work are arriving at the conclusion that the Bible is a very accurate scientific book. . . . The facts of life, diagnosis, treatment, and preventive medicine as given in the Bible are far more advanced and reliable than the theories of Hippocrates, many still unproven, and some found to be grossly inaccurate.”

g01 6/8 5; g93 4/22 21–22; g91 11/22 5.

455 BCE - back

Judah: The “seventy weeks” (490 years) of Daniel 9:24–27 begin to count in this important 20th year of the Persian ruler Artaxerxes Longimanus. Nehemiah is permitted to return and rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem, although “in times of distress,” amid much opposition from Sanballat, the governor of Samaria (see 1903 CE), Tobiah, and others. The first seven weeks (49 years) will see the restoration of much of Jerusalem’s glory. Sixty-nine of the 70 weeks (483 years) will end in 29 CE with the baptism and anointing of Jesus. The last or 70th week will run from 29 CE to 36 CE, during which time the ‘covenant for the many’ (the Jews) will be kept in force, after which the Christian preaching work will be extended to the Gentiles (see 36 CE).

w86 10/1 4–7; it ARTAXERXES 2; NEHEMIAH; PERSIA, PERSIANS (The Reigns of Xerxes and of Artaxerxes); gm 131–2.

443 BCE - back

Persia: Nehemiah returns for a time to the court of King Artaxerxes, in this 32nd year of Artaxerxes Longimanus.

it ARTAXERXES 2.

After 443 BCE - back

Bible (Book of Nehemiah): Nehemiah completes the book of Nehemiah in Jerusalem. The book covers 456 BCE to after 443 BCE, and relates events occurring shortly before and during Nehemiah’s governorship in Judah. It tells of the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and the clearing out of wrong practices among the Jews.

si NEHEMIAH; it NEHEMIAH, BOOK OF.

Bible (Book of Malachi): Malachi completes the book of Malachi, in Jerusalem, about 95 years after the first Jewish exiles return from Babylon. The book censures the people for failure to keep Jehovah’s way, and foretells the restoration work by the prophet Elijah. It emphasizes accountability to Jehovah when his requirements are disregarded.

si MALACHI; it MALACHI, BOOK OF

Edom: The prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah (625 BCE), and Obadiah (Circa 607 BCE) regarding the desolation of Edom by means of the Babylonians have been fulfilled by Malachi’s time, so that Malachi could write that Jehovah had “made his mountains desolate and left his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.” (See the 4th Century BCE.)

Isaiah 34:5–15; Jeremiah 25:15–17, 21; Malachi 1:3 it EDOM; ip-1 367.

431 BCE - back

Greece: Because of resentment of Athenian preeminence by the Peloponnesian League, headed by Sparta, the Peloponnesian War breaks out. It will run from 431 to 404 BCE, when the Athenians suffer complete defeat at the hands of the Spartans.

it GREECE, GREEKS.

428 BCE - back

Religion and Greece: Greek philosopher Plato is probably born this year. His teaching of a philosophic trinity of attributes, based on even older religious trinities, will give birth to the later belief of three divine persons as taught in Christendom’s churches. Plato believed that “the soul is immortal and imperishable, and our souls will truly exist in another world.” It is chiefly through his philosophy about the immortality of the soul that Jews who came into contact with Greek thought began to believe in an immortal soul. Plato’s philosophies also lay the basis for belief in the purgatory teaching for “those who appear to have lived neither well nor ill” and must be “purified of their evil deeds” and then “they are absolved,” and also the teaching of eternal torment where the wicked are hurled into Tartarus and “they will never come out.” Plato will live until 347 BCE.

w90 5/1 22; g84 10/8 9; ti 11.

423 BCE - back

Persia: This is the first regnal year of Darius II (Darius Ochus or Nothus), who is mentioned at Nehemiah 12:22. Darius will rule until 405 BCE.

it DARIUS 3; PERSIA, PERSIANS (The Reigns of Xerxes and of Artaxerxes).

404 BCE - back

Greece: Athenians suffer complete defeat at the hands of the Spartans, in a war that began in 431 BCE.

it GREECE (Athenian Supremacy).

4th CENTURY BCE   (399–300)

360 - 340 - 330 - 320 - 310

Persia and Greece: The book Everyday Life in Babylonia & Assyria by H.W.F. Saggs describes the following collision between the Persian and Greek world powers:

After 500 B.C. the Persian Empire came into collision with Greece, and conflict continued intermittently until in 331 B.C. the Macedonian Alexander the Great overthrew the Persian power at a battle near Arbela, proceeding afterwards to extend his authority to the borders of India. Had Alexander lived, it was his intention to establish a world empire with its capital at Babylon, but his premature death at Babylon in 323 B.C., at the age of thirty-two, left his territories to be divided up amongst his generals. The eastern provinces, including Babylonia and Assyria, eventually fell to Seleucus I (301–281 B.C.). Under the Seleucids Babylonia and Assyria came increasingly under Hellenistic cultural influence, and Akkadian, which had already been superseded by Aramaic as the language of everyday speech, was no longer even written, except for religious or astronomical purposes. The old culture of Babylonia and Assyria was dead, and the future lay with Palestine, Greece, and Rome.

Bible (Greek Language): Common (koine) Greek, made up of the many dialects of the Greek soldiers who follow Alexander the Great into conquest, becomes the lingua franca. The Christian Greek Scriptures will be written in koine Greek during the first century CE. The Samaritan “Pentateuch” (or first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures) is produced during this century. It is not a translation but a transliteration of Hebrew text into Samaritan characters.

it GREECE (Greece Under Alexander the Great); VERSIONS; yw 194.

Greece (Plato): The writings of this century’s Greek philosopher Plato (circa 427 BCE–347 BCE), who was influenced by the Greek mythology of the soul, will later strongly influence early Christian apostates to accept the doctrines of the immortal soul and the Trinity. According to the Nouveau Dictionnaire Universel, Plato’s “conception of the divine trinity . . . can be found in all the ancient religions.” The Watchtower article “The Antichrist Exposed” says:

In his book The Church of the First Three Centuries, Dr. Alvan Lamson states that the doctrine of the Trinity “had its origin in a source entirely foreign from that of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures; that it grew up, and was ingrafted on Christianity, through the hands of the Platonizing Fathers.” Who were these “Platonizing Fathers”? They were apostate clerics who were infatuated with the teachings of pagan Greek philosopher Plato.

w06 12/1 4–7; sh 54–55; rs 406.

Edom: The Nabataeans, who are possibly descendants of Ishmael’s son Nebaioth of Genesis 25:13, become powerful from this century onward. They have moved into the land formerly inhabited by the Edomites and made their capital at Petra in Edom. (See After 443 BCE and Circa 125 BCE. To see photos of Petra, click here.)

it ARABIA (Biblical References); EDOM.

356 BCE - back

Greece: Alexander the Great is born at Pella in Macedonia. He is the son of Philip II of Macedonia and his wife Olympias. Alexander will be educated by the Greek philosopher Aristotle and be greatly influenced by Homer’s writings, such as “The Iliad,” which he learns by heart.

g89 3/8 20–24; it ALEXANDER 1; GREECE (Greece Under Alexander the Great).

338 BCE - back

Greece: Macedonia under Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great, conquers Greece.

it GREECE, GREEKS (Athenian Supremacy); MACEDONIA, MACEDONIAN (History).

336 BCE - back

Greece: Philip II of Macedon is murdered, and his son Alexander (the Great) inherits the throne.

Persia: Darius III (Codomannus) becomes king. He is the last king of the Persian Empire.

w88 4/15 22–25; w59 9/1 538, it PERSIA, PERSIANS (Down to the Fall and Division of the Empire).

334 BCE - back

Greece and Persia: Alexander sets out to avenge Persian attacks on the Greek cities. He enters Asia near the ancient Hellespont to begin his conquest of Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and the entire Medo-Persian Empire that reaches to India, an empire 50 times the size of his own kingdom. By doing so, he will fulfill the prophecy of Daniel 8:5–7, 20, 21. See 331 BCE.

Greece and Persia: Alexander wins his first battle against the Persians at the Granicus River in northwest Asia Minor (Turkey).

w88 4/15 22–24; it ALEXANDER 1; GREECE (Greece Under Alexander the Great).

333 BCE - back

Greece: After the Battle of Issus, in the southwestern corner of Asia Minor, Alexander defeats a Persian army estimated at half a million men. Darius III of Persia flees, leaving his family to Alexander. The island of Cyprus (Kittim) falls to Alexander the Great.

it CYPRUS.

332 BCE - back

Greece and Tyre: Tyre falls to Alexander the Great in July after a seven-month siege. To build a half-mile-long causeway to the island city, he uses the rubble from the old mainland city of Tyre previously destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (see After 607 BCE), thus fulfilling the prophecies of Zechariah (9:3, 4) and Ezekiel in all its details. Ezekiel 26:3, 4, 12 says:

Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: “Here I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring up many nations against you, just as the sea brings up its waves. They will destroy the walls of Tyre and tear down her towers, and I will scrape away soil and make her a shining, bare rock. They will loot your resources, plunder your merchandise, tear down your walls, and pull down your fine houses; then they will throw your stones and your woodwork and your soil into the water.”

w08 6/1 27; w88 4/15 22–25; it ALEXANDER 1; yw 194.

Greece and Judah: The changeover from Medo-Persian to Greek control comes when Alexander the Great marches through Judah. According to Jewish tradition, after Alexander destroys Tyre and is approaching Jerusalem, he is met by the Jewish high priest and shown the prophecies recorded by Daniel foretelling the conquests by Greece. Jerusalem survives the change of control without damage. By taking control of Judah, Greece now becomes the fifth successive world power in connection with God’s people; the previous four were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Medo-Persia. Daniel 11:3 is fulfilled: “And a mighty king will stand up and rule with extensive dominion and do as he pleases.”

it ALEXANDER 1; GREECE (Greece Under Alexander the Great); JERUSALEM (Hellenic and Maccabean Control); gm 121–22; yw 194–95.

Greece and Egypt: Alexander defeats Egypt and orders the building of the city of Alexandria, which will rival Athens and bear Alexander’s name into the 21st century CE.

w88 4/15 22–25; it ALEXANDER 1; ALEXANDRIA; yw 194–95.

331 BCE - back

Greece and Persia: Alexander the Great defeats Persian King Darius III and (reputedly) a million men at Gaugamela, near Nineveh. Babylon falls to Alexander, ending Persian domination of Babylonia. To read an eyewitness account of the battle, click here.

Greece now becomes the fifth world power in Bible history and third world power in the dream image of Daniel chapter 2. This also fulfills Daniel 8:5–7, 20, 21:

As I kept watching, look! there was a male goat coming from the west crossing the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground. And the goat had a conspicuous horn between its eyes. It was coming toward the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing before the watercourse; it was running toward it in a powerful rage.

I saw it closing in on the ram, and it was filled with bitterness toward it. It struck down the ram and broke its two horns, and the ram was powerless to stand up to it. It threw the ram to the ground and trampled it down, and there was no one to rescue it from its power.

The two-horned ram that you saw stands for the kings of Media and Persia. The hairy male goat stands for the king of Greece; and the great horn that was between its eyes stands for the first king.

w88 3/15 26–29; 4/15 22–25; it BABYLON 2; yw 195.

323 BCE - back

Greece: Alexander the Great, age 32, dies in Babylon of malarial fever complicated by reckless living. “But as soon as it became mighty, the great horn was broken.” (Daniel 8:8.) Alexander fails to rebuild Babylon as his capital, reinforcing Jehovah’s decree at Jeremiah 50:35–40 that “she will never again be inhabited, nor will she be a place of residence throughout all generations.” Babylon eventually falls completely into ruins by the fourth century CE.

w88 4/15 22–25; it ALEXANDER 1; it BABYLON (History); yw 195.

312 BCE - back

Seleucids and Babylon: Seleucus I Nicator conquers Babylon and transports much of its material to the banks of the Tigris River to use in building Seleucia, his new capital located about 50 miles north of Babylon. From this time forward, the city of Babylon and other Babylonian cities begin to decay into villages.

it BABYLON (History).

Ptolemaic Egypt: Ptolemy I captures Jerusalem, and thus Judah becomes a province of Ptolemaic Egypt until 198 BCE.

it EGYPT (Under Greek and Roman rule); CHRONOLOGY (Astronomical Calculations).

Petra, Edomites, and the Nabataeans: After Nebuchadnezzar captured and plundered the Edomites sometime before 602 BCE, they attempted to rebuild their empire (Malachi 1:4). By this year, however, rebuilt Petra will have fallen to the Nabataeans, who drive the Edomites from their homeland into the Negeb south of Judah, and Petra becomes the capital city of the Nabataeans. See Circa 105 CE and 1812 CE.

w57 8/15 489–92: “Strangest City Built by Man.”

301 BCE - back

Greece: By this year, four of Alexander’s generals, the four symbolic horns, have taken over separate sections of the former empire, fulfilling the prophecies of Daniel 8:8 and 11:4.

General Cassander: Macedonia and Greece
General Lysimachus: European Thrace and Asia Minor
General Seleucus I Nicator: Babylonia (Mesopotamia), Media, Syria, Persia, and the eastern provinces to the Indus River
General Ptolemy Lagus: Egypt, Libya, and Palestine.

w88 4/15 22–25; it ALEXANDER 1; yw 195.

Greece: Seleucus I (Nicator) founds the city of Antioch in Syria, which he names after his father Antiochus. In the first century CE, it is in this city that the disciples are first called “Christians.”

Acts 11:26; it ANTIOCH 1.

3rd CENTURY BCE   (299–200)

290 - 280

Religion: In the middle of this century, King Asoka, whose empire embraces most of the Indian subcontinent, strengthens Buddhism and sends out missionaries. By the 20th century CE, there will be over 300 million Buddhists worldwide. Buddhist missionaries were found in Athens at the end of the previous century, the 4th century BCE.

g89 4/22 15–19.

Religion: In this century, Hinduism becomes a distinct religion apart from Vedism and Brahmanism.

g89 4/8 24–27.

Egypt: Coptic is the form of Egyptian language spoken from this century forward.

it EGYPT (Language).

Carthage, Rome, and the Punic Wars: The Phoenicians found the city of Carthage in North Africa in 814 BCE. A dispute over a town in Sicily, which is under the control of Carthage and which appeals to Italy for protection is considered the immediate cause for start of the Punic Wars. (The word “Punic” is derived from the Latin word for Phoenicians.) The resulting three Punic Wars cover a period of 119 years. The first Punic War is from 264 BCE to 241 BCE, with the Carthaginian general Hamilcar as leader in this war and the loser; his son Hannibal will figure in the second Punic War. The second Punic War is considered to be the result of Hannibal’s desire to avenge his father’s defeat in the first war and is fought from 218 BCE to 201 BCE. It is during this war that Hannibal (with elephants) crosses the Alps and invades Italy. Hannibal is eventually defeated by Scipio Africanus. The third Punic War occurs in the 2nd Century BCE after Carthage regains much of its prosperity and takes up arms against Masinissa, the pro-Roman king of Numidia in Northern Africa. Cato is the Roman leader of the anti-Carthaginian faction; he ends every speech with the words, “Carthage must be destroyed.” Rome beseiges Carthage from 149 BCE to 146”BCE. Out of a population of half a million or more, only 50,000 are left in Carthage to surrender and be sold as slaves. The book Ancient and Medieval History (by Hayes and Moon, ©1929) outlines the general effects of the Punic Wars:

The general effects of the Punic Wars were of the utmost importance. (1) The victory of the legions meant that the ancient civilization of the Mediterranean world would come down to us through Europe rather than through Africa. (2) Rome emerged from the Punic Wars a great power. To her legions she had added a navy. To Italy she had added the subject provinces of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica, Spain, and finally “Africa” (Carthage). In the western Mediterranean she was supreme. (3) A third result was Philhellenism (fondness for Hellenism). . . . Enthusiasm for Greek art and literature, and for Greek luxury too, swept over the Roman upper classes. . . . (4) Finally, the Punic Wars hastened the development of class conflicts in Rome. During the wars the Senate had taken charge of diplomacy and military affairs to such an extent that the popular assemblies and plebeian tribunes were completely overshadowed. This political revival of aristocracy was paralleled in economic life by a rapid growth of the wealth of rich men. War usually affords opportunities for shrewd contractors to amass fortunes. The Punic War not only had this effect, but also weakened the peasantry.

The third Punic War will be officially ended when the mayor of Rome and the mayor of Carthage belatedly sign a peace treaty in 1985 CE, after 2,130 years.

Punic Wars on Wikipedia; g 4/09 18 (box); g01 11/8 14–18; g85 5/8 29.

Circa 281 BCE - back

Berossus” Babyloniaca: It is about this year that Berossus, a Babylonian “priest of Bel,” wrote Babyloniaca, a history of Babylon. The original work has been lost, but other historians such as Josephus and Eusebius Pamphilus quoted Berossus. Ptolemy may have based some of his writing on Berossus, but this is not certain. Although Babyloniaca contains some history, some parts of it have been proven incorrect, and other parts clearly consist of fables.

w11 10/1 26–31; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Relative worth of inscriptions); CHRONOLOGY (Berossus); w69 2/1 90–91, “Babylonian Chronology — How Reliable?”

Circa 280 BCE - back

Bible (LXX): The Greek Septuagint (LXX), the first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, is begun by Jews in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy (II) Philadelphus (285–246 BCE). The translation will be finished during the second century BCE. This is the Bible that will be used by Jesus’ followers during the first century CE.

w88 2/1 23–27; it ALEXANDRIA; VERSIONS.

2nd CENTURY BCE   (199–100)

199 - 180 - 170 - 150 - 140 - 130 - 110

Judah: This century witnesses the extreme point of the Hellenization of the Jews. It is during this period when home-rule by the Maccabeans or Hasmonaeans begins, and when the parties of the pro-Hasmonaean Sadducees and the anti-Hasmonaean Pharisees begin to develop. To protect the Law of Moses from the inroads of Greek culture, the Scribes and Pharisees initiate their oral traditions during this century. The Mishnah says that “greater stringency applies to the observance of the words of the Scribes than to the observance of the words of the written Law.” Thus they ‘skillfully disregard the commandment of God in order to keep their tradition.’ (Matthew 15:1–9; Mark 7:5–13.)

w90 10/1 11; it GREECE; ISRAEL (After the Babylonian Exile); kc 186–89.

198 BCE - back

Greece and Judah: After the division of Alexander’s empire, Judah became a border state belonging to the (Greek) Ptolemaic regime ruling out of Egypt (see 312 BCE). This year, Antiochus the Great, ruling in Syria, seizes control of Judah. Thus Judah comes under Seleucid rule, which will last 30 years (see 168 BCE). Hellenic culture, Greek religion, language, literature, and attire are promoted.

it GREECE (Effect of Hellenization on the Jews).

196 BCE - back

Archaeology: The Rosetta stone, which contains the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics, is dated from this year. See 1799 CE and 1822  CE.

it EGYPT (Language).

180 BCE - back

Apocrypha (Ecclesiasticus): Sometime between 180 and 175 BCE, Jesus Ben Sira (Sirach) pens in Hebrew the book of Ecclesiasticus, also called “The Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach.” This work is accepted in the Roman Catholic Bible canon, but is noncanonical for Jews and Protestants. Shortly after 132 BCE, Sira’s grandson will translate this work into Greek for Greek-speaking Jews. (Note: Do not confuse this non-canonical book of Ecclesiasticus with the canonical book of Ecclesiastes written by Solomon.)

One contradiction to the Bible canon is found at Ecclesiasticus 25:33, Dy: “From the woman came the beginning of sin, and by her we all die.” Compare Romans 5:12–19, Dy. Verses 12, 17, and 19 say: “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned. . . . For if by one man’s offence death reigned through one; . . . For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; . . .”

EncBrit “Ecclesiasticus"; it APOCRYPHA.

175 BCE - back

Greece: The Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes begins to reign. He will rule until 164 BCE. He wants to unite his empire in Greek (Hellenistic) culture, so he attempts to force Greek customs and religion on the Jews.

g89 5/22 19–22.

168 BCE - back

Bible: Syrian ruler Antiochus IV attempts to destroy all copies of the Hebrew Scriptures throughout Palestine. The Jewish Encyclopedia says:

The king’s attention was next turned to the destruction of the national religion. A royal decree proclaimed the abolition of the Jewish mode of worship; Sabbaths and festivals were not to be observed; circumcision was not to be performed; the sacred books were to be surrendered and the Jews were compelled to offer sacrifices to the idols that had been erected. The officers charged with carrying out these commands did so with great rigor; a veritable inquisition was established with monthly sessions for investigation. The possession of a sacred book or the performance of the rite of circumcision was punished with death.”

But, providentially, copies of the Scriptures did survive among the Jews in Palestine and those living in other lands.

g 11/07 12–14, “How the Bible Came to Us"; Jewish Encyclopedia: “Antiochus IV Epiphanes”; Wikipedia “Maccabees.”

Judah: In this year (or in 167, according to some sources), Syrian King Antiochus IV Epiphanes desecrates the temple at Jerusalem in an effort to eradicate the religion of the Jews. He erects an altar to Zeus within the Temple and requires that the Jews sacrifice swine flesh to Zeus. He prohibits the observance of the Sabbath and commands that the Jews leave their sons uncircumcised, with death as the penalty for noncompliance. He also seeks out ‘the books of the Law,’ burns them, and declares that anyone possessing such Scriptures be put to death. While many Jews accept this Hellenization, a new group (called Hasidim, “pious ones”) arises and encourages stricter obedience to the Law. Many common people side with them, which leads to a period of martyrdom for Jews who refuse to conform to the pagan customs. This also leads to the Maccabean revolt.

w11 9/1 14; g 11/12 5; w09 12/1 13; w96 1/15 27; it ALTAR (Postexilic Altars); DISGUSTING THING, also LOATHSOME THING (‘Disgusting Things Leading to Desolation’); FESTIVAL OF DEDICATION; ISRAEL (Israel After the Babylonian Exile).

Judah: The Maccabean revolt begins when Jewish priest Mattathias and his five sons rebel, at first religiously, then politically. They are called Maccabeans (Maccabee probably means “hammer”) or Hasmonaeans (possibly from the town Heshmon or from a forefather of that name; compare Joshua 15:21, 27). It is during the home rule by the Maccabeans that the parties of the pro-Hasmonaean Sadducees and the anti-Hasmonaean Pharisees develop.

w98 11/15 22–23; g89 5/22 19–22; it ISRAEL (Israel After the Babylonian Exile); JERUSALEM (Hellenic and Maccabean Control); dp 227 par. 37.

167 BCE - back

Judah: Some sources list this year instead of 168 BCE for when Syrian King Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) desecrates the temple at Jerusalem.

w06 9/15 11; w98 11/15 22–23; w97 10/1 11; g90 12/8 11–13; it DISGUSTING THING (‘Disgusting Things Leading to Desolation’); GREECE (Effect of Hellenization on the Jews); ISRAEL (Israel After the Babylonian Exile); dp 227 par. 37.

165 BCE - back

Judah: The Jewish leader, Judas Maccabaeus (son of Mattathias, now dead), recaptures the temple in Jerusalem. He cleanses its utensils and rededicates the temple on Chislev 25 (December), three years to the day from its defilement. (Some sources say 164 BCE.) This event is still celebrated by Jews and is known as Hanukkah, the festival of dedication (or the festival of lights). The period of the Maccabees (Hasmonaeans) runs from 164 until 63 BCE, when General Pompey captures Jerusalem, and Judah (renamed Judea by the Romans) comes under Roman rule.

John 10:22; w11 9/1 14; w98 11/15 22–23; g90 12/8 11–13; g89 5/22 19–22; it FESTIVAL OF DEDICATION; ISRAEL (Israel After the Babylonian Exile); JERUSALEM; dp 227 par. 37; sh 213; The Jewish Encyclopedia “Hanukkuh”.

161 BCE - back

Judah: Probably this year, Judah Maccabee makes a treaty with Rome for support in his fight against Seleucid (Greek) domination. He is killed in battle (this year or in 160 BCE), but his brothers continue the fight. Jonathan is also killed, and his brother Simon (or Simeon), the last of the Maccabees, takes over.

dp 227 par. 38.

Circa 142 BCE - back

Judah: Simeon Maccabaeus makes Jerusalem the capital of a region ostensibly free from subservience to or taxation by Gentile nations.

it JERUSALEM (Hellenic and Maccabean Control).

141 BCE - back

Judah: The last vestiges of Seleucid domination are removed. Simon (Simeon) Maccabee renews the alliance with Rome, giving him leadership as ruler and high priest, thus establishing an independent Hasmonaean dynasty.

w98 11/15 24.

Circa 134 BCE - back

Judah: Simeon Maccabaeus dies this year. (See 161 BCE).

it APOCRYPHA (First Maccabees).

After 132 BCE - back

Apocrypha (Ecclesiasticus): The apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus, aka “The Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach,” is translated from Hebrew into Greek about this time by the grandson of the author. (See 180 BCE.) According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “the translation was probably intended to encourage adherence to ancestral beliefs and customs and to defend Jewish religious doctrines by showing the essential agreement between Judaism and Hellenistic philosophical truths. The concept of ‘wisdom’ as an active emanation from God, for example, closely approximates the Stoic concept of the universal logos.”

EncBrit “Ecclesiasticus”; it APOCRYPHA.

Circa 125 BCE - back

Judah and Edom: According to Josephus, the Edomites (Idumeans) are subjugated by John Hyrcanus I and allowed to remain in the land only if they submit to circumcision and adhere to Judaism. The southern part of Judah where the Edomites settled has become known as Idumea, and they are known as Idumeans. They will be absorbed by the Jews after this, and after 70 CE cease to exist as a people, as had been prophesied by Obadiah and Jeremiah. The family of Herods who became political rulers over the Jews were Idumeans, and their being Jewish proselytes accounts for the Jewish toleration of the rulership of Herod the Great and other members of his family.

Obadiah 10, 18; Jeremiah 49:17, 18; it EDOM (Later History and Disappearance); HEROD; IDUMEA; PROSELYTE; si OBADIAH; sl 225.

109 BCE - back

Judah and Edom: John Hyrcanus I, a Maccabean leader, extends the kingdom of Judah to include the western part of the lands of Edom. This is another step toward the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy regarding Edom’s extinction.

Jeremiah 49:17, 18; rs 61.

104 BCE - back

Judah: Aristobulus I, high priest in Jerusalem, assumes the title of king, but he is not of the Davidic line.

it JERUSALEM (Hellenic and Maccabean Control).

1st CENTURY BCE   (99–1)

70 - 60 - 50 - 40 - 30 - 20 - 10 - 1 BCE

Ammon: The land of the Ammonites, descendants of Lot through his son Ammon, becomes part of the Nabataean kingdom. By the 3rd Century CE, the Ammonites as a people disappear from history, in fulfillment of Jehovah’s prophecy at Zephaniah 2:8–10.

it AMMONITES.

Greece and Rome: Greek historians Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, and Alexander Polyhistor, and Roman historians Titus Livius or Livy (59 BCE–17 CE) and Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus live during this century.

it CHRONOLOGY (Historians of the Classical Period).

63 BCE - back

Judah/Judea and the Roman Government: In response to a violent quarrel between Aristobulus II and his brother Hyrcanus, Rome sends General Gnaeus Pompey to arbitrate the dispute. In order to enter Jerusalem and settle the dispute, Pompey lays a three-month siege to the city, captures it, and then annexes Judah to the Roman Empire. The Idumean Antipater II (father of Herod the Great) is installed as Roman governor for Judah, with a Maccabean being left as high priest. The Romans rename the country Judea (also spelled Judaea).

dp 229 par. 38; w88 5/1 26–29; g89 5/22 19–22; it ISRAEL (Israel After the Babylonian Exile); JERUSALEM; Library of Nations: Israel, by Time-Life Books, p. 58.

55 BCE - back

Roman Government: Roman General Julius Caesar, who becomes dictator of Rome in 46 BCE, invades Britannia and attempts (unsuccessfully) to establish a permanent settlement there. (Compare 43 CE and 122 CE.)

dp 137.

46 BCE - back

Roman Government: Gaius Julius Caesar is appointed dictator of Rome for ten years, but will be assassinated in 44 BCE.

it CAESAR.

Calendar (Julian): Julius Caesar replaces the old lunar calendar with a solar calendar of 365 days to a year, with added leap years and the New Year beginning on January 1. Because the old lunar calendars had shifted to about three months ahead of the sun’s schedule, this year is known as “the year of confusion” due to the necessity of making it 445 days long. The addition of the extra days allowed the sun to catch up with the new calendar. This new calendar becomes known as the Julian calendar and will be used until 1582 CE.

See a discussion of the old and Roman calendars at personal.ecu.edu/mccartyr/caesar.html.

See also Calendar Reform at www.newadvent.org/cathen/03168a.htm.

w68 8/15 489; it CAESAR; si 281; rs 180.

44 BCE - back

Roman Government: Gaius Julius Caesar (100 BCE–44 BCE), who had been appointed dictator of Rome for ten years in 46 BCE, is assassinated.

w88 5/1 26–29; it CAESAR.

Religion (Crosses): According to The Companion Bible (Appendix No. 162), crosses with equal-length arms “were used as symbols of the Babylonian sun-god, and are first seen on a coin of Julius Caesar, 100–44 B.C., and then on a coin struck by Caesar’s heir (Augustus), 20 B.C.

rs 91; w87 8/15 21.

42 BCE - back

Roman Government: Tiberius, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla, is born. He will be adopted by Augustus in 38 BCE and will become the second Roman emperor in 14 CE.

it TIBERIUS.

Roman Government: Octavian and Mark Antony defeat the armies of Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, the assassins of Julius Caesar, on the Plain of Philippi in Macedonia.

it PHILIPPI.

40 BCE - back

Judea: Herod has to flee for his life because of a successful revolt by the Hasmonaean Antigonus. Herod flees to Rome so as to gather to himself a Roman army of sufficient size to return and take Jerusalem and establish himself king of Judea. (See 37 BCE.)

w54 1/15 42.

Circa 39 BCE - back

Judea: Herod the Great, son of Herod Antipas II, is appointed king of the Jews by the Roman senate, but is not able to establish himself as de facto king until about 37  BCE. Herod is the grandson of Antipater (Antipas) I, whom Alexander Jannaeus the Hasmonaean (Maccabean) king had made governor of Idumea.

dp 229 par. 38; it HEROD 1; ISRAEL (Israel After the Babylonian Exile); JERUSALEM.

38 BCE - back

Roman Government: When Livia, the mother of Tiberius, marries Augustus this year, her son Tiberius, who was born in 41 BCE, becomes the adopted son of Augustus. Tiberius will become the Roman emperor in 14 CE.

it TIBERIUS.

37 BCE - back

Judea: Herod the Great, who was appointed king circa 39 BCE by Rome, takes Jerusalem and deposes the Jewish Hasmonaean prince, Antigonus, son of Aristobulus. Herod persuades the Roman Mark Antony to kill Antigonus and to seek out the principal members of Antigonus’ party, putting them to death. The Hasmonaean rule is crushed, and thus ends the period of the Maccabees or Hasmonaeans that began in 165 BCE (or 164 BCE). Herod’s rule effectively began in either 37 or 36 BCE.

dp 229 par. 38; w54 1/15 42; it HEROD 1; ISRAEL (Israel After the Babylonian Exile); JERUSALEM (Hellenic and Maccabean Control).

31 BCE - back

Roman Government: At the naval battle of Actium, Octavian defeats Mark Antony, and Queen Cleopatra of Egypt deserts the fleet of her Roman lover Mark Antony. Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (Octavian — later titled Augustus in 27 BCE) establishes his rulership and the Roman Empire. He will rule until 14 CE and will be the Roman emperor when Jesus is born. Octavian is the great-nephew of Julius Caesar.

w88 5/1 26–29; g89 3/8 20–24; it AUGUSTUS; EGYPT, EGYPTIAN (Under Greek and Roman rule).

30 BCE - back

Greece, Egypt, and Rome: Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and her lover Mark Antony commit suicide. The Grecian World Power, which existed for about 300 years, since Alexander the Great, comes to its final end when Octavian subjugates the Greek Ptolemaic kingdom in Egypt, the last of the four Hellenic kingdoms. Octavian annexes Egypt as a Roman province, thus ending the Ptolemaic kingdom that began in 301 BCE. The city of Alexandria serves as the administrative center of Egypt and will continue as such until the Arabic conquest in the 7th century CE.

dp 249; w88 4/15 22–25; 5/1 26–29; it ALEXANDRIA; EGYPT (Under Greek and Roman rule).

Rome (the Sixth World Power): By this year, Rome emerges as the sixth world power in Bible prophecy. The previous five world powers were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. The Roman Empire will eventually subjugate an area extending from the British Isles, through much of Europe, all around the Mediterranean, and beyond Babylon in Mesopotamia to the Persian Gulf.

dp 55, 135; w88 5/1 26–20.

27 BCE - back

Roman Empire: The Senate bestows on Octavian the title “Augustus” (meaning “Exalted,” “Sacred”) and he now becomes the first emperor of Rome and will be known as Caesar Augustus or “August One.” In this year Augustus reorganizes the two provinces of Greece: Macedonia to the north and Achaia to the south. Augustus will rule until 14 CE and is the emperor when Jesus is born.

Luke 2:1; w88 5/1 28; it AUGUSTUS; ACHAIA; dp 248–49.

20 BCE - back

Roman Empire: A coin stuck in this year by Augustus uses the symbol of the cross. (See also 44 BCE.)

rs 91; w87 8/15 21.

17 BCE - back

Judea: Herod the Great begins rebuilding the temple of Zerubbabel at Jerusalem. This will include the temple sanctuary itself (completed in about 18 months) and other main structures plus additions. The building work will be completed in 64 CE.

See DIAGRAM of the temple (gl 31) on WOL.

it HEROD 1 (Temple and Other Building Works); w59 3/1 155.

12 BCE - back

Roman Empire and Religion: After the death of Lepidus this year, Caesar Augustus assumes the title of “Pontifex Maximus” (high priest), after which the office becomes inseparable from the office of the reigning emperor. When the Roman Empire begins to decay, the title will fall to the popes as administrators of religious law.

dp 249; it AUGUSTUS; w66 1/1 27.

5 BCE - back

Judea: This year is the one of traditional dates for the birth of Jesus.

it CHRONOLOGY (Lunar eclipses).

4 BCE - back

Judea (Herod the Great): This year is the traditional year of the death of Herod the Great, although some even say 5 BCE. But see 1 BCE, which is the most likely year of his death.

it CHRONOLOGY (Lunar eclipses); HEROD 1 (Date of his death).

3 BCE - back

Judea: Probably around late spring or early summer, the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah, a priest whose turn it is to offer incense at the temple. Gabriel tells him that his long-barren wife, Elizabeth, will become a mother to a son, John, who will be filled with holy spirit from his mother’s womb and will go to the sons of Israel to turn them back to Jehovah. Zechariah, who doubts, is struck dumb by the angel.

Luke 1:5–25; it ZECHARIAH 31; gt 1.

Judea: Toward the end of this year (or by the first of the next year), when Elizabeth is six months pregnant, the angel Gabriel visits Mary in Nazareth and tells her she will bear God’s son who will be called Son of the Most High, and that Jehovah will give to him the throne of David and there will be no end of his kingdom.

Luke 1:24–38; it MARY; gt 2.

2 BCE - back

Judea: The now pregnant Mary of Nazareth visits her cousin Elizabeth in Judea and stays with her about three months. In the spring, Mary returns to Nazareth, where she marries Joseph, to whom she is betrothed. John is born to Zechariah and Elizabeth. Zechariah regains his speech and utters a prophecy about the work of his son and that of the Messiah.

Matthew 1:18–25; Luke 1:39–80; it ZECHARIAH 31; gt 2, 3.

Judea: Caesar Augustus decrees that all the people be registered in their cities. Joseph and Mary go from Nazareth into Judea to the city of David, Bethlehem, because of Joseph being of the house and family of David. Jesus is born in Bethlehem to Mary in the autumn in the Jewish month of Ethanim, or about October 1. Adam was also created in the month of Ethanim (see 4026 BCE). (For the December 25 date later assigned to Jesus’ birth, see 274 CE.)

After 40 days (or near mid-November), Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present a sacrifice of two turtledoves or pigeons, the sacrifice of poor people. Up until this time, it is apparent that the astrologers had not yet arrived with their valuable gifts, nor has Joseph been told to flee to Egypt. At the temple, Simeon prophesies over Jesus being the “means of salvation,” and the prophetess Anna speaks of him as their promised savior.

Leviticus chapter 12; Matthew 2:1–12; Luke 2:1–39; it ANNA; CHRONOLOGY (From 537 BCE to conversion of Cornelius); ETHANIM; HEROD 1 (Date of His Death); SIMEON 3; w10 4/1 12–13; sh 283; gt 4–6.

1 BCE - back

From Judea to Egypt: While Joseph, Mary, and Jesus are living in a house in Bethlehem, Magi (Greek, ma'goi, astrologers, not numbered in the Bible) from the East come to Jerusalem to find the one born king of the Jews. Their visit likely occurs sometime after mid-November of 2 BCE but before Herod’s death, which occurs sometime between the lunar eclipse of January 8 but before the Passover of 1 BCE. The astrologers inquire first of King Herod about the whereabouts of this newborn king of the Jews. All Jerusalem becomes agitated. The astrologers visit the “young child” in Bethlehem and give gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then they withdraw, being given divine warning, and return without reporting to Herod. Joseph is warned in a dream and flees immediately with Mary and Jesus to Egypt, which is now a Roman province — see 30 BCE. Herod orders that all the boys in Bethlehem be killed from two years of age and under, thus fulfilling a prophecy of Jeremiah. (If, however, Herod did not die until early 1 CE — a possibility some have suggested — Jesus would still have been well under the age of two.)

Jeremiah 31:15, 16; Matthew 2:1–23; it EGYPT, EGYPTIAN (Under Greek and Roman Rule); w10 4/1 13 and footnote; gt7, 8.

From Egypt to Galilee: Joseph, in Egypt, after hearing of Herod’s death and that his tyrannical son Archelaus is now king of Judea, and also because of being given divine warning in a dream, returns to live in Nazareth, which is outside of Archelaus’ territory. (To see photos of modern-day Nazareth, click here.) This fulfills the prophecy of Hosea 11:1: “When Israel was a boy, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”

In Nazareth, Joseph works as a carpenter, and Jesus will grow up in Nazareth, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 11:1: “A twig will grow out of the stump of Jesse, and a sprout from his roots will bear fruit.” (Nazareth means “Sprout-town.”)

Isaiah 11:1 (and Ref. ftn.); Matthew 2:23 (and Ref. ftns.); Matthew 2:15, 19–23; Luke 2:39, 40; 51, 52; it ARCHELAUS; NAZARENE; NAZARETH.

Judea (Herod the Great): It is likely that Herod the Great dies early this year. According to Josephus, Herod dies shortly after a lunar eclipse and before Passover. The most likely eclipse is the highly visible total lunar eclipse of 8 January (10 January, Julian calendar), in which the moon was blacked out for 1 hour 41 minutes. In 2007 CE, Ehud Netzer of the Hebrew University will discover the site of Herod’s burial at Herodium.

See archaeology.about.com/od/ancientcivilizations/ss/expedition_week_9.htm.

See www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0009_0_08817.html.

it CHRONOLOGY (Astronomical Calculations), (Lunar Eclipses); HEROD 1 (Date of His Death).

1st CENTURY CE   (1–99)

0 CE - 10 - 20 - (29) - 30 - (31) - (32) - (33) - (36) - 40 - 50 - 60 - (66) - 70 - 80 - 90

World Population: One estimate for the total population of the world for the year 1 CE is 170 million people. Another estimate is 200 million. And yet another estimate is 250 million.

See IBM.com and geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/worldpopulation.htm and worldhistoryforusall.sdsu.edu/eras/era4.php.

First Century Historians: Greek historian Plutarch lives during this century and part of the next. Roman historian and naturalist Pliny the Elder lives during this century (23 CE–79 CE); he dies during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus is born in the year 37 CE and will witness and write about the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies in 70 CE.

it CHRONOLOGY (Historians of the Classical Period); w94 3/15 28–31, “The Fascinating Chronicles of Josephus”; Pliny the Elder on Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pliny_the_Elder.

Bible: The last writings to be included in the Hebrew Scriptures section of the Bible (often called the “Old Testament”) were written in the fifth century BCE. This first century CE sees the revival of writing and the conclusion of all the writings that will finally be included in the Bible. Eight different Bible writers pen a total of 27 Bible books, many consisting of letters written to newly established Christian congregations. These will be included in the part of the Bible that is called the “New Testament” or, more appropriately, the Christian Greek Scriptures. The eight writers are Matthew (1 book), Mark (1 book), Luke (2 books), John (5 books), Paul (14 books), Peter (2 books), James (1 book), and Jude (1 book).

Mediterranean Area: At the beginning of the Common Era, 10 percent of the Mediterranean world is Jewish, due to conquest during the period of the Maccabees and to proselytism.

sh 213.

Judea (Languages): Four languages are current in Palestine during this century: Hebrew, Latin, Greek, and Aramaic.

it HEBREW II (When Did Hebrew Begin to Wane?)

The Year Zero - back

Calendar: There is no year zero. The next year after 1 BCE is 1 CE, which makes one full year, not two, between the dates 1 BCE and 1 CE.

si 282 (No Zero Year); it CHRONOLOGY (The Biblical Count of Time).

1 CE - back

Calendar: See 525 CE for more information about this year being the supposed date of Jesus’ birth.

Circa 6 CE to 7 CE - back

Judea: Annas is appointed Jewish high priest by Quirinius, the Roman governor of Syria. Annas will serve until about 15 CE. He is high priest in 12 CE when Jesus at about age twelve and a half amazes the rabbinic teachers at the temple. (Luke 2:40–49) Annas is also the chief priest to whom Jesus is first taken for questioning before his trial in 33 CE. (John 18:12, 13, 19–24) Annas’ five sons and his son-in-law Caiaphas (see 18 CE) will also hold the office of high priest.

it ANNAS; w06 1/15 11.

12 CE - back

Judea: Jesus, at about age twelve and a half, gets “lost” from his family in Jerusalem during a trip there to celebrate the Passover. His parents later find him in the Temple, listening to and questioning the teachers.

Luke 2:41–51; it MARY 1.

14 CE - back

Roman Empire (Pax Romana): Caesar Augustus dies on 17 August (Gregorian Calendar). For about two hundred years under the rule of Augustus and his successors, the Mediterranean world will experience a period of internal peace known as the Pax Romana. Early Christians will be able to spread the good news more easily through the relatively safe travel allowed by this peace. Tiberius is named emperor by the Roman Senate on 15 September. Tiberius will rule until 37 CE and will be the Roman ruler during Jesus’ ministry.

Luke 3:1–3; F-Light 210; w99 8/15 22; w88 5/1 26–29; it TIBERIUS; si 283.

Chronology: The year 14 CE is important in arriving at the “pivotal date” of 29 CE for determining dates in the Christian Greek Scriptures.

w91 11/15 31; si 283.

Circa 15 CE - back

Roman Empire: A silver denarius coin bearing the head of Tiberius is put into circulation about this year. This coincides later with Jesus’ use of the denarius coin bearing the head of Caesar.

Mark 12:15–17; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Relating to the Christian Greek Scriptures).

Circa 18 CE - back

Judea: Caiaphas became high priest about this year. When Pontius Pilate is appointed governor of Judea in 26 C.E., Caiaphas is kept in office throughout Pilate’s ten-year governorship, so he is high priest during Jesus’ trial in 33 CE. See also the archaeology entry at 1990 CE.

w06 1/15 10–13: “The High Priest Who Condemned Jesus.”

29 CE - back

Chronology: The year 29 CE is considered a “pivotal date” from which to reckon events in the Christian Greek Scriptures, that is, a date from which can be reckoned many events in connection with early Christianity, and especially the year of the appearance of Jesus as Messiah.

w91 11/15 31; si 283.

Judea: John the Baptizer begins his ministry in this 15th year of Tiberius, sometime in the spring. If the years are counted from the death of Augustus in 14 CE, the 15th year ran from August 28 CE to August 29 CE. If counted from when Tiberius was formally proclaimed emperor in 14 CE, the year would run from September 28 CE to September 29 CE.

Luke 3:1–3; w91 11/15 31; it JOHN 1.

Jesus’ Ministry: In the autumn, Jesus, about age 30, is baptized and anointed by holy spirit, thus becoming the Messiah (Christ). The 69 “weeks” of years of Daniel 9:24–27 that began in 455 BCE end this year, and the 70th week begins.

See detailed chart of Jesus’ ministry for the year 29 CE in NWT Appendix A7, pages 1748–1751, with scriptures from the four Gospels set in chronological order. (See Appendix A7, in 8 parts, on WOL.)

Click here to see “Jesus ‘in the Country of the Jews’” and the MAP of the land of Jesus’ Ministry (gl pp. 28–29) on WOL.

Luke 1:34–38; 3:1–3, 21–23; si 283, 291; w98 9/15 13–14; it JOHN 1; TIBERIUS.

Sacred Secret: During Jesus’ three-and-a-half-year ministry, he will be identified as the promised “seed” or “offspring” of the prophecy at Genesis 3:15, the Messiah (Christ), the future judge, and the King-Designate. It has been over 4,000 years since the first Kingdom promise was given in Eden, and it will be another 1885 years before the Kingdom will be established in 1914 CE. (See After 4026 BCE, 1070 to 1040 BCE, and 36 CE.)

In addition, Jesus progressively reveals that he will have fellow rulers and judges in the coming Kingdom, which will have earthly subjects, “other sheep, which are not of this fold,” and that all his followers are to preach the good news about this Kingdom to the ends of the earth. He reveals that this Kingdom will be established at a definite time, the establishment of which will be corroborated by world events that indicate the “sign” of Christ’s royal invisible heavenly presence (Greek, parousia) as the ruling king of that Kingdom.

Click here to read “What Jesus Taught About God’s Kingdom.” (See After 4026 BCE, 1070 to 1040 BCE, and 36 CE.)

Matthew 5:3–5; 6:10; 24:3–22; 28:19, 20; Luke 10:1–9; 12:32; 21:24; 22:29, 30; John 1:17; 4:25, 26; 10:16; 14:2, 3; Acts 10:42, 43; 2 Corinthians 1:20; 1 Timothy 3:16; NW App. A7 “Main Events of Jesus’ Earthly Life: The Four Gospels Set in Chronological Order”; w10 4/1 8–10; w97 6/1 16 (chart).

30 CE - back

Jesus’ Ministry: In the spring, Jesus comes to Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem and drives out those who are making “the house of my Father a house of commerce.” See also 33 CE. Jesus calls Matthew Levi from the tax office to be his follower, either late this year or in early 31 CE, before the Passover.

See detailed chart of Jesus’ ministry for the year 30 CE in NWT Appendix A7, pages 1750–1753, with scriptures from the four Gospels set in chronological order. (See Appendix A7, in 8 parts, on WOL.)

John 2:13–16; w87 6/15 12–13; it MATTHEW; gt 27.

31 CE - back

Jesus’ Ministry: After the Passover, Jesus selects his twelve apostles: Simon, whom Jesus also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John, sons of Zebedee; Philip; Nathaniel Bartholomew; Matthew Levi; Thomas; James “the Less,” son of Alphaeus; Simon “the zealous one,” Judas the son of James; and Judas Iscariot who turned traitor.

Jesus delivers the Sermon on the Mount. (To see photos of the possible area where this sermon was given, click here.) Shortly after the Passover, in the first of two reported instances, the party followers of Herod and the Pharisees, who are openly opposed to one another politically, consult together on how best to do away with their common enemy, Jesus. Late in this year (or in early 32 CE), Jesus resurrects the daughter of Jairus.

See detailed chart of Jesus’ ministry for the year 31 CE in NWT Appendix A7, pages 1752–1755, with scriptures from the four Gospels set in chronological order. (See Appendix A7, in 8 parts, on WOL.)

Mark 3:1–6; 5:21–43; Luke 6:12–16; it CAPERNAUM; HEROD, PARTY FOLLOWERS OF; JAIRUS; MATTHEW.

32 CE - back

John the Baptizer: Herodias, the wife of King Herod Antipas, has John the Baptist beheaded.

Matthew 14:1–13; it HERODIAS.

Jesus’ Ministry: The apostles return from their preaching tour. At the Sea of Galilee Jesus miraculously feeds 5,000. The people attempt to crown Jesus as king; he withdraws from them. Jesus walks on water. He goes to Tyre and Sidon, then feeds 4,000 near the Sea of Galilee. He foretells his death and resurrection. The transfiguration occurs before Peter, James, and John, probably at Mount Hermon. (To see a photo of Mount Hermon, click here. At Caesarea Philippi Jesus heals the demoniac that his disciples could not heal. In Galilee he again foretells his death and resurrection. At Capernaum he miraculously provides tax money. At Jerusalem Jesus publicly teaches at the Festival of Booths. Probably in Judea he sends out the 70 to preach. He gives the illustration of the neighborly Samaritan and visits the home of Martha and Mary in Bethany. He attends the festival of Dedication in Jerusalem. He teaches, gives many illustrations, and performs many healings.

See detailed chart of Jesus’ ministry for the year 32 CE in NWT Appendix A7, pages 1754–1759, with scriptures from the four Gospels set in chronological order. (See Appendix A7, in 8 parts, on WOL.)

it JESUS CHRIST (chart on pages 64–65).

33 CE - back

Jesus’ Ministry: The last days of Jesus’ human life.

See DIAGRAM of the temple (gl 31) on WOL.

See detailed chart of Jesus’ ministry for the year 33 CE in NWT Appendix A7, pages 1760–1763, with scriptures from the four Gospels set in chronological order. (See Appendix A7, in 8 parts, on WOL.)

See the Chart on page 4 of the Watchtower reference. For more details, see the All Scripture reference. See also Appendix B12 in NWT “The Final Week of Jesus’ Life on Earth” for a chart that shows nighttime events and daytime events, with scriptural references:

Appendix B12-A (Nisan 8–11)

Appendix B12-B (Nisan 12–16)

w98 3/15 3–9; si 290.

Nisan 7: Jesus and his disciples travel from Jericho to Jerusalem.

gt 101.

Nisan 8 (Sabbath): Jesus arrives in Bethany.

gt 101; NWT Appendix B12.

Nisan 9: Jesus has a meal with Simon the leper. Mary anoints Jesus with costly nard. The next morning Jesus rides into Jerusalem to present himself as king.

Mark 11:1–11; Luke 19:41; 21:20, 21; rs 61–62; gt 101–102; NWT Appendix B12.

Nisan 10: Jesus comes to the temple on Nisan 10 as the official “messenger of the covenant” in fulfillment of Malachi 3:1. He cleanses the temple and overturns the tables of the money changers.

Mark 11:1218; gt 103–104; w87 6/15 12–13.

Nisan 11: Jesus’ ministry in and around Jerusalem. He gives the sign of his future presence.

gt 105–111; NWT Appendix B12.

Nisan 12: Jesus spends a quiet day in Bethany with his disciples. Judas arranges to betray Jesus.

gt 112; NWT Appendix B12.

Nisan 13: Peter and John make Passover preparations in Jerusalem. Jesus and the other apostles arrive in the late afternoon.

gt 112; NWT Appendix B12.

Nisan 14: Jesus celebrates the Passover with his disciples. He then institutes the Lord’s Evening Meal. He retires to the Garden of Gethsemane and is betrayed by Judas, then led to trial. He is impaled, and dies on Friday afternoon, April 3, Julian calendar (April 1, Gregorian calendar). Darkness occurs, an earthquake throws dead bodies from the tombs, and the curtain of the sanctuary in the Temple is torn in two. A second earthquake occurs two days later when Jesus is resurrected.

w84 4/15 7; w59 8/15 489–92; it EARTHQUAKE; gt 113–127; NWT Appendix B12.

Nisan 15 (Sabbath): Pilate approves the posting of guards at Jesus’ grave.

NWT Appendix B12.

Nisan 16: Jesus is resurrected and afterward appears to his disciples a number of times. At some point, while in Galilee, Jesus appears to the eleven apostles and about 500 others and commissions them to “go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations.” (Matthew 28:16–20)

Matthew 28:1–10; Luke chapter 24; gt 128–130.

Forty Days After Nisan 16: Jesus ascends to heaven.

Acts 1:1–11; gt 131.

Fifty Days After Nisan 16 (Pentecost): The Christian congregation is founded. Holy spirit is poured out on about 120 disciples gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem. The disciples begin to speak to the crowds of foreigners in their native languages; Peter tells the multitude that this is a fulfillment of Joel 2:28, 29. About 3,000 believers are baptized.

Acts chapter 2; gt 131–132.

Early Christians: Following Pentecost, the disciples preach daily. Peter heals a lame man. Opposition arises; Peter and John are arrested and ordered not “to teach on the basis of the name of Jesus.” The disciples pray; holy spirit enables them to keep “speaking the word of God with boldness.” Ananias and his wife Sapphira conspire to lie, then collapse and die for their lying. The apostles are arrested and jailed for preaching, but are released by an angel, and continue teaching. Arrested again, Peter and the others tell the high priest: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” The Pharisee Gamaliel advises: “Do not meddle with these men . . . otherwise, you may even be found fighters against God himself.” Either this year or in 34, the disciple Stephen is falsely charged; just before being stoned to death, Stephen receives a vision and exclaims: “Look! I see the heavens opened up and the Son of man standing at God’s right hand.” A great persecution arises against the congregation in Jerusalem and the disciples are scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. A Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, is one of the leading persecutors of the Christians. Either this year or in 34, Philip is directed to preach to an Ethiopian eunuch in his chariot; the eunuch becomes a believer in Christ and is baptized.

Acts 4:34–37; 5:1–10; 6:11, 13; 8:1; w93 11/15 8; it ANANIAS 1; bt 12.

Circa 34 CE - back

Early Christians: Saul of Tarsus, later referred to by his Roman name Paul, is probably converted to Christianity this year.

Acts 9:1–22; it APOSTLE (The Selection of Paul); PAUL; SEVENTY WEEKS; w08 12/15 16 par. 2; w81 3/1 15; w71 5/15 320; bt 12.

Circa 34–36 CE - back

Early Christians: Paul preaches in Damascus.

Acts 9:19–25; bt 12.

36 CE - back

Sacred Secret: Jehovah reveals to Peter that non-Jews will also be Kingdom joint heirs. (See After 4026 BCE, 29 CE, and 55 CE.)

Acts 10:30–48; w97 6/1 16 (chart).

Early Christians: About this year Paul first visits Jerusalem as a follower of Christ, where he reports to the apostles “in detail” all that had happened to him. (Acts 9:23–27) When Greek-speaking Jews attempt to kill him, the brothers send him off to Tarsus. (Acts 9:28–30) In Lydda, Peter heals a paralytic named Aeneas. (Acts 9:31–35) In Joppa, Peter resurrects the disciple named Tabitha (Dorcas), who had “abounded in good deeds and gifts of mercy that she was making.” (Acts 9:36–42) In Caesarea, Peter is divinely directed to preach to the Gentile army officer, Cornelius, “a devout man who feared God,” and his household and friends, and “the holy spirit came upon all those hearing the word” and they are baptized. (Acts chapter 10) This occurs in the fall of this year.

w08 2/15 10–11 par. 19; it CORNELIUS; PAUL; SEVENTY WEEKS; si 292.

37 CE - back

Judea (Josephus): Joseph ben Matthias, better known as Flavius Josephus, is born. He will record the history of the Jewish people in several works: The Jewish War (which chronicles the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans); The Jewish Antiquities (a 20-volume history of the Jews beginning with Genesis and creation); Life (a personal narrative defending himself against accusations); and Against Apion (a defense of the Jews against misrepresentations).

w94 3/15 28–31, “The Fascinating Chronicles of Josephus"; g80 8/8 16–19.

Roman Empire: Pontius Pilate, who handed Jesus over to be impaled in 33 CE, is replaced as Roman governor of Judea and ordered to return to Rome to answer charges of serious wrongdoing in the matter of his slaughter of some Samaritans. There is no reliable data on the outcome of Pilate’s trial, but Eusebius records the following: “It is worthy of note that, as the records show, in the reign of Gaius [Caligula], . . . Pilate himself, the governor of our Saviour’s day, was involved in such calamities that he was forced to become his own executioner and to punish himself with his own hand: divine justice, it seems, was not slow to overtake him.”

it PILATE; Eusebius, The History of the Church, II, VII, I.

Roman Empire: Tiberius Caesar dies, and Gaius Caesar (nicknamed Caligula) begins a 4-year rule of the Roman Empire, until 41 CE.

w88 5/1 29; it ROME.

38 CE - back

Judea: Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great, returns from Rome where he was educated, after having been appointed by Gaius Caesar (Caligula) to be king of Judea. (See 41 CE.)

it HEROD 3; HERODIAS..

41 CE - back

Bible (Book of Matthew): Approximately this year Matthew writes the Bible book of The Good News According to Matthew. This book is an account of the life of Jesus written primarily with the Jews in mind and demonstrating that Jesus is the foretold Messianic King. Matthew may have originally written in Hebrew and then later translated his writing into Koine (common) Greek.

w88 5/1 26–29; it GREEK; MATTHEW, GOOD NEWS ACCORDING TO; si MATTHEW.

Early Christians (Paul): It is approximately this year that the apostle Paul has a vision of “paradise” or “the third heaven.”

2 Corinthians 12:1–6; it PAUL (Persecution, Conversion, Early Ministry); w04 10/15 8–11; w00 7/15 27; bt 12.

Roman Empire: Claudius becomes the Roman ruler after Gaius (Caligula) is assassinated. Claudius will rule until 54 CE. He is named in the Bible at Acts 18:2 in connection with his order in Circa 49–50 CE that all Jews leave Rome.

it CLAUDIUS; HEROD 3; ROME.

Judea: Herod Agrippa I becomes king of all Palestine, with Claudius awarding him rulership of Judea, Samaria, and the kingdom of Lysanias. Herod, who curries the favor of the Jews, will persecute Christians.

it HEROD 3.

43 CE - back

Roman Empire: Emperor Claudius begins a more permanent conquest of southern Britain. Many of the inhabitants (Celts) are driven into Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. (Compare 55 BCE and 122 CE.)

For more information about Roman Britain click here.

dp 137–38; g71 12/22 20.

44 CE - back

Early Christians: Approximately this year in Antioch, Syria, the Christian prophet Agabus foretells a great famine. The congregation in Antioch will have about two years to prepare for this emergency and arrange for relief to be sent to Judea (see 46 CE).

After a period of peace for the congregation in Jerusalem (Acts 9:31), Herod Agrippa I had instigated the persecution of Christians in Judea. It is likely in this year that Herod puts the apostle “James the brother of John to death by the sword.’ Herod next arrests Peter, who is jailed, then miraculously released. After the Passover, Herod Agrippa I dies at age 54, eaten up by worms as an expression of Jehovah’s adverse judgment.

Acts chapters 11, 12; w68 8/15 506; it AGABUS; HEROD 3; PETER (Later Ministry); JAMES 2; si 292; bt 12.

46 CE - back

Early Christians: Approximately this year the congregation at Antioch sends relief by Paul and Barnabas to the governing body in Jerusalem for the brothers due to the famine in Judea, which was prophesied by the Christian prophet Agabus in about 44 CE.

it AGABUS; ANTIOCH 1.

Judea: The famine foretold by Agabus in 44 CE begins in Judea. According to Josephus, the famine lasts three years or more.

Acts 11:27–30; w89 12/15 19; Antiquities of the Jews, XX, 2, 5; 5, 2.

47 CE - back

Early Christians: Acting by divine message, elders in the congregation of Syrian Antioch set aside Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for the missionary work.

w92 9/1 11.

Paul Begins First Missionary Journey (Circa 47 CE to 48 CE): Paul begins his first missionary trip with Barnabas, taking John Mark as their attendant. John Mark, a cousin of Barnabas, later writes the Bible book of Mark. (See Circa 60 to 65 CE.) They sail to Cyprus and visit Salamis (eastern coast) and go through the whole island to Paphos (western coast), perhaps a walking trip of 140 miles. In Paphos, the proconsul Sergius Paulus summons Barnabas and Paul, for he “was eager to hear the word of God.” His advisor, the sorcerer and false prophet Elymas Bar-Jesus, opposes the message, “trying to turn the proconsul away from the faith.” Paul blinds the sorcerer, and the proconsul becomes a believer.

From Paphos, they sail to Asia Minor. In Perga, for some unstated reason, John Mark leaves them and returns to Jerusalem. They travel 110 miles northward through mountain passes, ‘in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers,’ to Antioch in Pisidia. There they teach in the synagogue. The Jews are “filled with jealousy” and begin “blasphemously contradicting the things Paul was saying,” but many of the nations who “were rightly disposed for everlasting life became believers.” The Jews raise up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and throw them out Antioch. They travel eastward to Iconium, where many Jews and Greeks become believers. But “both the people of the nations and Jews with their rulers” make an attempt to “treat them insolently and stone them.” On being informed of it, they flee to Lycaonia, a region in southern Galatia.

In Lystra, Paul heals a man crippled from birth. The crowd begins shouting that the “gods have become like humans and have come down to us!” and then try to sacrifice to them. Jews from Pisidian Antioch and Iconium arrive and stir up trouble so that the crowds stone Paul and drag him outside the city, thinking he is dead. He is not. Paul and Barnabas go on to Derbe, where they make numerous disciples. Then they revisit Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and appointing elders in the congregations of Galatia. They return to Antioch in Syria, probably in 48 CE.

See MAP of Paul’s travels (gl 33) on WOL.

Acts 13:1–14:28; 2 Corinthians 11:26; w92 9/1 10–14; w90 6/15 10–12; it ANTIOCH; MARK I; PAUL (First Missionary Journey).

Archaeology: Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark visit Cyprus about 47 CE and preach to the interested Roman proconsul Sergius Paulus, “an intelligent man,” who becomes a believer. Excavations in Cyprus in the middle of the nineteenth century will uncover an inscription dating from 55 CE that includes the words “in the proconsulship of Paulus,” although whether the inscription refers to the Biblical Sergius Paulus is uncertain.

Acts 13:1–12; it CYPRUS; PAULUS; gm 64.

48 CE - back

Paul Concludes First Missionary Journey (Circa 47 CE to 48 CE): Paul and Barnabas conclude the missionary trip they began about 47 CE and return to Syrian Antioch.

See MAP of Paul’s travels (gl 33) on WOL.

it PAUL (First Missionary Journey).

Judea: About this year, Herod, the king of Chalcis and brother of Herod Agrippa I, appoints Ananias, the son of Nedebaeus, as Jewish high priest. The apostle Paul will appear before Ananias about 56 CE. Ananias serves as high priest until 58 CE. The Jews kill Ananias in 66 CE due to his collaboration with the Romans.

Acts 23:2–5; it ANANIAS 3.

49 CE - back

Early Christians: About this year in Syrian Antioch the matter of circumcision of the Gentile converts arises. Paul, Barnabas, Titus, and others are sent to Jerusalem for a decision by the governing body, which issues a decree “to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality,” thus showing that circumcision of Gentile converts is not necessary.

Acts 15:1–35; Galatians 2:1–3; w68 8/15 506; it TITUS.

Paul Begins Second Missionary Journey (Circa 49 CE to 52 CE): Paul and Barnabas decide to visit the brothers in the cities where they had preached on the first missionary trip, but they have a dispute because Barnabas wants to take his cousin John Mark and Paul does not. They decide to travel separately. Paul begins his second missionary journey, possibly during the summer, with Silas (Silvanus); they travel through the districts of Syria and Cilicia. Barnabas and John Mark travel to Cyprus.

See MAP of Paul’s travels (gl 33) on WOL.

Acts 15:36–41; w99 2/15 26–29; it BARNABAS; PAUL (Second Missionary Journey).

Circa 49–50 CE - back

Early Christians: In his ninth year of reign (either in 49 CE or early 50 CE), Roman Emperor Claudius issues an edict for all Jews to leave Rome. Being Jews, the Christians Aquila and Priscilla have to leave Rome. They go to live and preach in Corinth, where they meet the apostle Paul in the fall (likely in 50 CE) during Paul’s second missionary tour.

Acts 18:1–4; w60 8/15 507; it AQUILA; CHRONOLOGY (From 537 B.C.E. to conversion of Cornelius); CLAUDIUS.

Paul Continues Second Missionary Journey (Circa 49 CE to 52 CE): In the spring, still on the second missionary trip, Paul and Silas travel through Asia Minor. At Lystra, young Timothy joins them. At Troas, Luke joins them and travels with them as far as Philippi, where he stays until Paul’s third missionary tour when he again rejoins Paul. After Paul has a vision of a Macedonian man saying, “Step over into Macedonia and help us,” they cross into Europe for the first time. They establish new congregations at Philippi, Thessalonica, Beroea, and Athens. In Athens, Paul delivers one of his most famous speeches atop the Areopagus (Mars’ Hill). In the autumn, Paul begins an 18-month stay in Corinth, Greece, living in the home of Aquila and Priscilla and making tents with them part-time. In 15 months, Paul has traveled about 1,300 miles.

See MAP of Paul’s travels (gl 33) on WOL.

Acts 16:1–18:17; w99 2/15 26–29; w96 12/15 23; w68 8:15 506; it CHRONOLOGY; LUKE; LYSTRA; TROAS; si 292, 336.

Bible (Book of First Thessalonians): Paul writes his first of two letters to the newly established congregation in Thessalonica, probably while he is in Corinth. This is perhaps the first letter composed by Paul. The book is Paul’s letter of commendation and encouragement to the Christians in Thessalonica.

it THESSALONIANS, LETTERS TO THE; si 1 THESSALONIANS.

51 CE - back

Paul Continues Second Missionary Journey (Circa 49 CE to 52 CE): Paul, still on his second missionary trip, is staying 18 months in Corinth, Greece, at the home of Aquila and Priscilla. (See Circa 49–50 CE.)

See MAP of Paul’s travels (gl 33) on WOL.

Acts 18:1–18.

Bible (Book of Second Thessalonians): From Corinth, Paul writes his second letter to the Christians in Thessalonica in order to correct a wrong view about Christ’s presence and to offer counsel on how to treat disorderly ones.

it THESSALONIANS, LETTERS TO THE; si 2 THESSALONIANS.

52 CE - back

Paul Concludes Second Missionary Journey (Circa 49 CE to 52 CE): In the spring, Paul sails from Corinth for Syria at the end of his second missionary tour. Aquila and Priscilla go as far as Ephesus with him, and they will remain in Ephesus until about 55 CE.

See MAP of Paul’s travels (gl 33) on WOL.

Acts 18:18–22; w96 12/15 22–24.

Early Christians: Apollos, a Jew from Alexander, Egypt, “an eloquent man who was well-versed in the Scriptures,” arrives in Ephesus and begins speaking in the local synagogue, but he is acquainted with only the baptism of John. Aquila and Priscilla, whose home is used for the local meeting place for the congregation, take Apollos into their company and explain “the way of God more accurately to him.”

Acts 18:24–28; it APOLLOS; AQUILA.

Paul Begins Third Missionary Journey (Circa 52 CE to Circa 56 CE): Paul begins his third missionary tour this year, heading into Asia Minor again. He reaches Ephesus in the winter of this year (or in early 53), where he will spend almost three years.

See MAP of Paul’s travels (gl 33) on WOL.

it PAUL.

Bible (Book of Galatians): Paul writes to the Galatians, that is, to the congregations of Galatia (which include Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe), either from Corinth or from Syrian Antioch, somewhere between 50 CE and 52 CE. His letter is in response to the news that false teachers, Judaizers, have led some in the Galatian congregations to believe that circumcision and observing the Law of Moses is a necessary part of true Christianity. Paul shows that it is by faith one is declared righteous, not by following the now abolished Law of Moses, and that circumcision is no longer necessary for one to gain salvation.

it GALATIANS, LETTER TO THE; si GALATIANS.

53 CE - back

Paul Continues Third Missionary Journey (Circa 52 CE to Circa 56 CE): Paul reaches Ephesus either late in 52 CE or early this year, and will spend about three years in Ephesus.

See MAP of Paul’s travels (gl 33) on WOL.

si 293.

54 CE - back

Paul Continues Third Missionary Journey (Circa 52 CE to Circa 56 CE): Paul remains in Ephesus this year.

See MAP of Paul’s travels (gl 33) on WOL.

Roman Empire: Agrippina, wife and neice of Emperor Claudius, poisons him. Her son Nero succeeds Claudius as ruler of the Roman Empire. Nero rules from 54 CE to 68 CE and will severely persecute the Christians, the first in a wave of ten major persecutions against Christians. (See 64 CE.) From Nero until the third century, all Roman emperors will either actively persecute Christians or permit persecution of them.

w93 7/1 10; w88 5/1 29.

55 CE - back

Sacred Secret: The apostle Paul explains that the Kingdom heirs will be resurrected to immortality and incorruption during Christ’s presence (which will begin in 1914 CE). (See After 4026 BCE, 36 CE, and 96 CE.)

1 Corinthians 15:51–54; w97 6/1 16 (chart).

Paul Continues Third Missionary Journey (Circa 52 CE to Circa 56 CE): This is the last year of Paul’s almost three-year stay in Ephesus. He writes his first letter to the Corinthians from Ephesus, then sends Titus to Corinth to assist the brothers in the collection for the needy brothers in Judea and to access that congregation’s reaction to his first letter. Meanwhile, in Ephesus, due to Paul’s success in making disciples, the silversmith Demetrius fears losing business in selling silver shrines of the goddess Artemis and stirs up his fellow craftsmen and incites the entire city to riot against Paul in the theater. After the rioters are calmed by the city recorder, Paul takes his leave of the brothers and heads toward Macedonia. This is sometime after the festival of Pentecost. He travels all the way to Corinth, Greece, in time to spend three winter months there.

See MAP of Paul’s travels (gl 33) on WOL.

it CORINTHIANS, LETTERS TO; DEMETRIUS 1; PAUL; TITUS; si 293.

Bible (Book of First Corinthians): Approximately this year while in Ephesus during his third missionary tour, Paul writes his first letter to the Corinthians. He had just received shocking reports about factions and sexual immorality within the Corinthian congregation, so his letter is written to address this situation and to answer a query they had sent about marriage.

it CORINTHIANS, LETTERS TO THE; si 1 CORINTHIANS.

Bible (Book of Second Corinthians): Paul writes his second letter to the Corinthians, from Macedonia, probably in the late summer or early fall of this year. It is a follow-up letter to the one he wrote earlier this year. In addition to showing how he and his associates are qualified by God as ministers, Paul encourages them to help the brothers in Judea who are experiencing adversity due to a material need (it Hebrews, Letter to the; 1 Corinthians 16:1–3; 2 Corinthians 9:1–5). Paul is now on his way to visit Corinth a few months later for his second and, whether he knows it or not, final visit.

it CORINTHIANS, LETTERS TO THE; si 2 CORINTHIANS.

Circa 56 CE - back

Bible (Book of Romans): Paul writes the Bible book of Romans from Corinth while still on his third missionary tour, likely early in this year. The letter explains that righteousness does not come from ancestry from Abraham or through works of the Mosaic Law, but through faith in Jesus Christ and as a result of God’s undeserved kindness.

it ROMANS, LETTER TO THE; si ROMANS.

Paul Concludes Third Missionary Journey (Circa 52 CE to Circa 56 CE and Is Arrested: From Corinth, Paul travels north as far as Philippi by Passover time of this year. He sails by way of Troas. In Troas, sleepy Eutychus falls from a high window during Paul’s late discourse, and is killed, but Paul resurrects him. At Miletus, Paul meets with the overseers from the congregation at Ephesus and informs them that they will see him no more, that “from city to city the holy spirit repeatedly bears witness to me, saying that imprisonment and tribulations are waiting for me.” He sails to Caesarea, where the Christian prophet, Agabus, foretells Paul’s future arrest in Jerusalem. But Paul is not deterred and continues his journey to Jerusalem, arriving at the city by Pentecost.

See MAP of Paul’s travels (gl 33) on WOL.

A mob of Jews in Jerusalem seeks to kill Paul, but Roman soldiers from the Tower of Antonia next to the temple rescue him. He then gives a witness to the crowd from the stairs of the Tower, but the crowd will not hear him. The Romans take him inside to examine him by scourging, but because it is illegal to torture or scourge a Roman citizen (which Paul is) to extract a confession, Paul appeals to Caesar (the infamous Nero).

The military commander takes Paul to the chief priests and Sanhedrin to determine why the Jews have a problem with him. The Jewish high priest Ananias (see 48 CE) orders Paul to be struck in the face. Paul calls Ananias a “whitewashed wall,” but then excuses himself because of being unaware that Ananias was the high priest. Paul divides the Sanhedrin by cleverly setting the Sadducees and Pharisees against each other over the issue of the resurrection.

A murderous plot against Paul makes it necessary for the Roman soldiers to transfer him from Jerusalem to Caesarea, a headquarters for Roman troops that is about 54 miles northwest of Jerusalem. In Caesarea, Paul testifies before Governor Felix, showing there is no evidence to the charges the Jews have brought against him. Felix, however, “hoping that Paul would give him money,” keeps Paul in custody for the next two years, which also correspond to the last two years of his governorship, until he is replaced by Governor Festus in 58 CE.

Acts 20:22, 23; 21:8–11; 22:1–24:27; it AGABUS; ANANIAS 3; ARMY OFFICER; CITIZEN, CITIZENSHIP; CHRONOLOGY; JERUSALEM (Under Herod the Great); PAUL.

Circa 56 CE to 58 CE - back

Bible (Book of Luke): The physician Luke writes the Bible book of The Good News According to Luke, from Caesarea, sometime during this time period. The book is the second Gospel written, and is an account of the life of Jesus written in a manner to appeal to people of all nations. The chronological material in the book of Luke aids in determining when John the Baptist and Jesus were born and when they began their ministries.

it LUKE, GOOD NEWS ACCORDING TO; si LUKE.

Apostle Paul: Paul remains in custody in Caesarea. (See why at Circa 56 CE.)

Acts 24:24–27.

58 CE - back

Roman Empire: Festus succeeds Felix as governor approximately this year. Paul testifies before Herod Agrippa II and Festus. He appeals to Caesar, is sent to Rome in custody, and suffers shipwreak on the way.

See MAP of Paul’s travels (gl 33) on WOL.

Acts 24:27 to 26:32; bt chapters 25–26; it CHRONOLOGY.

Circa 59 to 61 CE - back

Paul Imprisoned in Rome: Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome begins (until Circa 61 CE).

bt chapter 27.

Circa 60 to 61 CE - back

Bible (Book of Colossians): Paul writes to the Christians in Colossae while he is in prison in Rome. This letter emphasizes appreciation for the God-given position of Christ.

it COLOSSIANS, LETTER TO THE; si COLOSSIANS; bt 212.

Bible (Book of Ephesians): Paul writes to the Ephesians from Rome where he is imprisoned awaiting trial before Caesar. Because Ephesus is a wealthy city, full of immorality and demonistic practices, plus having the famous temple of Artemis there, Paul counsels the Ephesian Christians against materialism and encourages them to “put on the new personality.” With unity as his theme, he writes about God’s making known “the sacred secret of his will,” about God’s purpose for an administration to “gather all things together in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth,” about proper subjection, and about putting on the “complete suit of armor from God so that you may be able to stand firm against the crafty acts of the Devil.”

si EPHESIANS; it EPHESIANS, LETTER TO THE; bt 212.

Bible (Book of Philemon): Paul’s letter to Philemon, written while Paul is in prison in Rome, encourages that love and mercy be shown to Onesimus, Philemon’s runaway slave, who has become a Christian.

it PHILEMON, LETTER TO; si PHILEMON; bt 212.

Bible (Book of Philippians): Paul’s letter to the Philippians, written while he is in prison in Rome, reflects the love that existed between him and the Christians at Philippi. Paul had established the congregation at Philippi about 50 CE while on his second missionary tour.

it PHILIPPIANS, LETTER TO THE; si PHILIPPIANS; bt 212.

Circa 60 to 65 CE - back

Bible (Book of Mark): Sometime during this time period, Mark, in Rome, completes the writing of the Bible book of The Good News According to Mark. The book is a fast-moving account of the ministry of Jesus, representing him as the miracle-working Son of God. This is the third and shortest Gospel to be written, and is evidently written with non-Jews in mind. The book covers the years 29 to 33 CE.

it MARK, GOOD NEWS ACCORDING TO; si MARK.

Circa 61 CE - back

Bible (Book of Hebrews): While in prison in Rome, Paul writes a legal argument to the Jews in Jerusalem in support of Christ as being pointed to by features of the Mosaic Law, and to fortify the Hebrew Christians and enable them to help fellow countrymen during the final years of the Jewish system.

it HEBREWS, LETTER TO THE; si HEBREWS; bt 212.

Bible (Book of Acts): While in Caesarea, Luke, a close associate of the apostle Paul, writes the Bible book of the Acts of the Apostles. The book covers the 28 years from the ascension of Jesus in 33 CE to the second year of Paul’s imprisonment in Rome about 61 CE. It describes the founding of the congregation as a result of the operation of the holy spirit and the expansion of the witness, first among the Jews and Samaritans, then to the nations. The appearances of the resurrected Jesus to his disciples and the activities of the apostles Peter and Paul are featured.

it ACTS OF APOSTLES; si ACTS.

62 CE - back

Bible (Book of James): Sometime before this year, James writes his letter from Jerusalem, emphasizing that faith has to be supported, not just by words, but also by works.

it JAMES, LETTER OF; si JAMES.

Judea: Governor Festus, the Roman procurator, dies this year. Josephus says that during the interval between the death of Festus and the arrival of his successor Albinus, the high priest “convened the judges of the Sanhedrin and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law and delivered them up to be stoned.” (Jewish Antiquities, XX, 200 [ix, 1].)

Acts 12:1–3; it JAMES 2; w91 3/15 23.

Circa 62 to 64 CE - back

Bible (Book of First Peter): Peter writes his first letter, from Babylon, sometime between 62 and 64, to encourage Christians to be vigilant and to endure faithfully despite trials. His letter is written shortly before Nero launches his persecution against Christians in 64 CE.

it PETER, LETTERS OF; si 1 PETER.

64 CE - back

Judea: The work of rebuilding the Temple, begun by Herod in 17 BCE, is finally completed. This temple remains standing for only six more years. (See 70 CE.)

it HEROD 1 (Temple and Other Building Works); w59 3/1 155.

Ten Persecutions (No. 1 of 10) and Early Christians: In July, a great fire destroys about one-fourth of the city of Rome. According to the Roman historian Tacitus, Emperor Nero was unable to “banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. . . . Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.”

See more about Nero, the burning of Rome, and Christians at “Tacitus on the Christians.”

Nero thus began the first of ten major persecutions of Christians by the Roman emperors. These persecutions will continue nearly three hundred years. See the next wave of persecution at 81 CE and the last one at 303 CE.

w97 11/15 29; w88 5/1 29; w51 9/1 516–19.

Bible (Book of First Timothy): Paul’s first letter to Timothy, written sometime between 61 and this year, from Macedonia, is regarding Timothy’s responsibilities and the qualifications for those who serve in the congregations.

it TIMOTHY, LETTERS TO; si 1 TIMOTHY.

Bible (Book of Titus): Paul, writing to Titus, possibly from Macedonia, sometime between 61 and this year, gives counsel to him regarding handling situations in a difficult assignment in Crete.

it TITUS, LETTER TO; si TITUS.

Bible (Book of Second Peter): Peter writes his second letter approximately this year, possibly from Babylon, to encourage Christians to exert themselves, to follow the model of the Christ, and to cling to the prophetic word. He includes warnings against apostasy.

it PETER, LETTERS OF; si 2 PETER.

65 CE - back

Early Christians: It is approximately this year that the apostle Paul is imprisoned for the second time in Rome, then executed by the orders of Nero. (See 64 CE.) Tradition has it that soon after Paul wrote to Timothy that “only Luke is with me” and requested that Timothy and Mark come to him (2 Timothy 4:6–8, 11), he was executed as a martyr by beheading.

w07 11/15 20; w99 9/15 31; w97 11/15 29; w94 7/1 20; w91 1/15 31; w88 5/1 29; w73 12/15 740; bt 214; it PAUL.

Bible (Book of Second Timothy): Writing his second letter to Timothy during his second imprisonment in Rome, possibly this year, Paul encourages Timothy to remain firm in the difficult times ahead.

it TIMOTHY, LETTERS TO; si 2 TIMOTHY.

Bible (Book of Jude): Jude, the half brother of Jesus, probably writes his short book (consisting of only 25 verses) about this year, possibly from Palestine. Because of “ungodly men” who had slipped in among the Christians, he urges them to “put up a hard fight for the faith” and “build yourselves up on your most holy faith, and pray with holy spirit, in order to keep yourselves in God’s love.” By giving examples of past judgments against the wicked, he proves that Jehovah’s judgment will just as surely be executed upon ungodly persons. Unique to this short book is a reference to the prophesying of Enoch in pre-Flood days (verses 14, 15), and to the dispute between the archangel Michael and the Devil over the body of Moses (verse 9).

it JUDE, THE LETTER OF; si JUDE.

66 CE - back

Judea: The Jewish revolt against the Romans begins. Jewish revolutionaries massacre the Roman garrisons at Masada and Jerusalem. The Roman Twelfth Legion under the command of Cestius Gallus marches into Judea and beats the Jewish rebel forces back to Jerusalem and pins them within the city. Cestius enters Jerusalem and begins undermining the temple walls. The “disgusting thing that causes desolation” that Jesus prophesied at Matthew 24:15 is now “standing in a holy place.”

Josephus relates in Wars of the Jews (Book II, chapter 19) that the attacking Romans even undermined part of the temple wall, and were about to set fire to the gate of Jehovah’s temple. “And now it was that a horrible fear seized upon the seditious, insomuch that many of them ran out of the city, as though it were to be taken immediately.” He relates how some of the Jews were ready to open the gates and admit Cestius as their benefactor “who, had he but continued the siege a little longer, had certainly taken the city; but it was, I suppose owing to the aversion God had already at the city and the sanctuary, that he was hindered from putting an end to the war that very day.”

Josephus continues: “It then happened that Cestius was not conscious either how the besieged despaired of success, nor how courageous the people were for him; and so he recalled his soldiers from the place, and by despairing of any expectation of taking it, without having received any disgrace, he retired from the city, without any reason in the world.” Cestius withdrew his troops approximately 10 November. Rupert Furneaux, a specialist in interpreting military history, comments: “No historian has succeeded in supplying any adequate reason for Gallus’s strange and disastrous decision.”

The lifting of the siege means the fulfillment of Jesus prophecy at Matthew 24:22: “In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short.” When the Roman army unexpectedly retreats, it makes it possible for the “chosen ones,” the Christians, in both Jerusalem and Judea to be saved by heeding Jesus’ warning to flee.

Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place (let the reader use discernment), then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains. (Matthew 24:15, 16)

However, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. Then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains, and let those in the midst of her leave, and let those in the countryside not enter into her, because these are days for meting out justice in order that all the things written may be fulfilled. (Luke 21:20, 21)

The opportunity for the Christians to withdraw comes in mid-November, just before winter. Jesus had warned at Matthew 24:20: “Keep praying that your flight may not occur in wintertime.” There is no time to lose!

The Christians who flee Jerusalem and Judea make their way into the mountainous regions. According to Eusebius they settle at Pella in the province of Perea on the east side of the Jordan River.

The Jewish rebels pursue the retreating Roman troops, but only as far as Antipatris, about 30 miles from Jerusalem, which is located on the way to the Roman capital in Caesarea. As soon the rebels return to Jerusalem, they assemble at the temple to map out their war strategy and recruit youths to strengthen fortifications and to serve in the military.

w97 4/1 5; 12/15 15–16; w96 6/1 16; w94 3/15 30; w90 10/15 4; w84 6/1 16; w74 7/15 425–29; it ANTIPATRIS; JERUSALEM (During the apostolic period); ka 301.

67 CE - back

Galilee: The Romans, now under the command of Vespasian, renew their war operations against the Jews and subdue Galilee this year. See detailed account in Josephus’ Wars of the Jews, Book III.

w96 6/1 16.

68 CE - back

Roman Empire: When Nero loses the support of the Praetorian Guards, he commits suicide. Galba’s Praetorian Guards support him as emperor, and he marches to Rome with Otho and is made Roman emperor, until 69 CE.

it ROME; AAEnc “Galba, Roman Emperor.”

Judea: Vespasian continues in his campaign against the Jews in the Jewish war and subdues Judea. But when Nero dies, Vespasian returns to Rome and gets involved in the Imperial succession. (See 69 CE.)

w85 10/1 12.

Archaeology (Dead Sea Scrolls): Many of the Dead Sea Scrolls later discovered in caves around the Qumran area were likely put there this year by Jews fleeing the Roman army’s advance on Judea. (See 1947 CE.)

w91 4/15 12–13.

69 CE - back

Early Christians: Polycarp is born in Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) approximately this year. It is reported that the apostle John and others who knew Jesus instructed Polycarp in Christianity. Polycarp will become an elder in the congregation of Smyrna and then be martyred in 155 CE.

w09 7/1 29; w94 3/15 5; w93 9/15 7; w93 11/15 10.

Judea: After Vespasian is made Emperor of Rome this year, he will send his son Titus to finish the Judean war.

w85 10/1 12.

Roman Empire: Emperor Galba adopts a successor, which enrages Otho, who then conspires with the Praetorians and murders Galba. The Guards and the Senate proclaim Otho emperor, but at the same time the armies in Germany and Egypt are hailing their generals Vitellius and Vespasian as emperors. Vitellius invades Italy, Otho kills himself, and Vitellius proclaims himself Emperor. But Vespasian is declared Emperor by the eastern armies in July, his general Antonius invades Italy, defeats and kills Vitellius, and Vespasian is confirmed emperor in December. He will rule until 79 CE, during which time he will begin the construction on the Colosseum and other monuments and generally strengthen the Roman Empire. Early in his reign, in 70 CE, his son Titus defeats the Jews and destroys Jerusalem.

w88 5/1 29; it ROME; SEVENTY WEEKS (Desolations to the city and the holy place); AAEnc “Galba, Roman Emperor"; “Vespasian, Roman Emperor"; SC-3 284–5.

70 CE - back

Judea: The Roman legions now under General Titus return to besiege Jerusalem from April to August. They build a fortification of pointed stakes around the city in fulfillment of Jesus’ words at Luke 19:41–44. After a siege of five months, Jerusalem, including the temple, is destroyed. About 1,100,000 Jews die, with 600,000 corpses being thrown out of the city gates. Besides those killed by the Romans, Jews are killed by rival bands of Jews. Starvation leads to cannibalism. Those who try to escape are killed. After Jerusalem falls, 97,000 remaining Jews are either slaughtered or carried off captive, with many later dying in gladiatorial events. General Titus stages gladiatorial events in Caesarea Philippi using these captive Jews as victims. The Romans also send many surviving Jews to Egypt, which is a further fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28:68.

The Jewish historian Josephus (who lived from about 37 CE to about 100 CE) is an eyewitness to Jerusalem’s destruction. He says: “As for the rest of the multitude that were above seventeen years old, he put them into bonds, and sent them to the Egyptian mines. Titus also sent a great number into the provinces, as a present to them, that they might be destroyed upon their theaters, by the sword and by the wild beasts; but those that were under seventeen years of age were sold for slaves.” (The Jewish War, Book 6, chapter 9; 418.)

This year concludes the last days for the Jewish system of things that began in 29 CE. The desolation of the Roman province of Judea is so complete that the Roman Emperor Vespasian sells pieces of land therein as real estate to Gentile buyers. The city of Jerusalem will remain virtually desolate until 130 CE.

w97 12/15 16; w96 6/1 16; 8/15 16–17; w94 3/15 30–31; w80 10/1 23; w68 12/15 747; it CAESAREA PHILIPPI; EGYPT, EGYPTIAN (Under Greek and Roman rule); JERUSALEM; Vol. II p. 751.

Bible: Fragments of the Gospel of Matthew have been dated to approximately this year. (See 1996 CE.)

w98 12/15 29; w96 2/15 32.

73 CE - back

Judea: The last Jewish stronghold in Judea, the fortress at Masada to the west of the Dead Sea, falls to the Romans, thus completing the subjugating of Judea.

w68 12/15 747; it DAGGER MEN; Vol. II p. 751.

79 CE - back

Roman Empire: General Titus, the destroyer of Jerusalem in 70 CE, succeeds his father Vespasian (69–79 CE) as emperor. Titus will be emperor until his death in 81 CE.

w88 5/1 29; it SEVENTY WEEKS (Desolations to the city and the holy place).

Italy: Mount Vesuvius, the only active volcano on the European continent, and thought to be extinct up until this time, erupts and buries the cities of Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Stabiae at its base.

To see photos of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, click here. To read an eyewitness account of the eruption, click here.

w93 3/1 3; g96 9/8 22–26; AAEnc “Vesuvius.”

81 CE - back

Roman Empire: Titus, who led the Roman armies to destroy Jerusalem in 70 CE and who ruled as Roman emperor from 79 CE to 81 CE, dies. His younger brother Domitian succeeds him.

Ten Persecutions (No. 2 of 10): Domitian revives the official persecution of Christians, beginning the second wave of ten persecutions of Christians by Roman emperors. See the first wave at 64 CE and the next wave at 98 CE. Domitian demands that he be worshiped as god, and he assumes the title Dominus et Deus noster (“our Lord and God”). According to tradition, sometime during this persecution the apostle John is exiled to the penal isle of Patmos. Domitian will rule until he is assassinated in 96 CE. It has been said that Domitian acted like a “madman” during the last three years of his reign.

w88 5/1 29; w51 9/1 516–19; si 264, 293.

93 CE - back

Josephus and John the Baptist: The Jewish historian Josephus writes his Antiquities of the Jews this year. In Book XVIII, chapter 5, he writes about the destruction of Herod’s army as being thought by some to be divine vengeance: “Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism.” This is secular confirmation of the existence of John the Baptist. (See 29 CE.)

Matthew 3:1–12; it ARETAS; HEROD 2; sh 66–67; gm 60.

Circa 95 CE - back

Roman Empire and Christians: Some 40,000 Christians are said to have suffered martyrdom during this year under Emperor Domitian’s second wave of persecution against the Christians.

w51 9/1 516.

Bible: Clement of Rome quotes from the Bible book of Acts.

it ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

Circa 96 CE - back

Bible (Book of Revelation): While imprisoned on the isle of Patmos, the apostle John writes the Bible book of the Revelation to John. The book is also called the Apocalypse of John the Apostle (Apocalypse = “Uncovering” or “Unveiling”). The book is a series of sixteen visions that “uncover” or “unveil” Jehovah’s view of what he will accomplish through Christ during “the Lord’s day.” The Lord’s day (that is, Christ Jesus’ day) begins with the crowning of Jesus as heavenly king in 1914 CE and ends when Jesus hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father.

w97 12/15 11; it LORD’S DAY; REVELATION TO JOHN; si REVELATION.

96 CE - back

Roman Empire: Domitian, the Roman emperor from 81 CE to 96 CE, is assassinated. Nerva succeeds him and rules briefly, for thirteen months, until 98 CE, but does not continue Domitian’s persecution against Christians. The apostle John is apparently released from imprisonment on the isle of Patmos sometime during Nerva’s reign (96 to 98 CE).

w88 5/1 29; w51 9/1 516–7.

Sacred Secret: Jesus, who is already ruling in a spiritual kingdom over his followers, reveals to the apostle John that the final number of those who will rule with him in God’s Kingdom will be 144,000. (See After 4026  BCE, 55 CE, and 1879 CE.)

See the article “What Jesus Taught About God’s Kingdom” in w10 4/1 on WOL.

Ephesians 5:32; Colossians 1:13–20; Revelation 1:1; 14:1–3; w10 4/1 8–10; w97 6/1 16 (chart); it KINGDOM.

Circa 98 CE - back

Bible (The Bible Canon): The Bible canon is likely completed this year. The apostle John writes the Bible books of The Good News According to John and the three Letters of John after Trajan begins ruling.

w88 5/1 29.

Bible (Book of John): The apostle John writes the Bible book of The Good News According to John, from Ephesus or nearby. After the prologue, the book covers the years from 29 to 33 CE. This account of the life of Jesus highlights the theme that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and through him eternal life is possible.

it JOHN, GOOD NEWS ACCORDING TO; si JOHN.

Bible (Book of First John): The apostle John writes the Bible book of First John, from Ephesus or nearby. The book is in the style of a treatise designed to safeguard Christians from apostate influences.

it JOHN, THE LETTERS OF; si 1 JOHN.

Bible (Book of Second John): The apostle John writes the Bible book of Second John, from Ephesus or nearby. He addresses the book to “the chosen lady,” perhaps an individual or possibly a congregation, and encourages her to walk in the truth, to cultivate love, and to be on guard against deceivers.

it JOHN, THE LETTERS OF; si 2 JOHN.

Bible (Book of Third John): The apostle John writes the Bible book of Third John, from Ephesus or nearby. It is a letter to Gaius dealing with hospitality to other Christians and with encouragement to avoid bad and imitate what is good.

it JOHN, THE LETTERS OF; si 3 JOHN.

98 CE - back

Roman Empire: Nerva, Roman emperor from 96 to 98 CE, dies. Trajan succeeds him and will rule until 117 CE. It is under Trajan that the Empire reaches its greatest limits, with boundaries extending to the Rhine and the North Sea, the Danube, the Euphrates, the cataracts of the Nile, the great African Desert, and the Atlantic on the west. Although the Empire covers about 2,500,000 square miles, it still has less area than the continent of Australia.

it ROME.

Ten Persecutions (No. 3 of 10): Trajan begins a third wave of persecution against Christians. See 81 CE for the previous wave and 162 CE for the next one. The first wave of persecution began in 64 CE.

w88 5/1 29; w51 9/1 516–19; g64 12/8 24.

2nd CENTURY CE   (100–199)

100 - 110 - 120 - 130 - 150 - 160 - 170 - 190

Bible: The oldest (or perhaps second oldest — see 1996 CE) portion of the Bible is P^52, a fragment of John 18:31–34 found in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, and dated 100 CE–150 CE (perhaps 125 CE), with a gap perhaps as little as 30–40 years from the time John originally wrote his Gospel. The fragment is now in the John Rylands Library, Manchester, England. (See “Rescuing an Ancient Gem From the Trash” in w15 4/1 on JW.org.)

g88 7/22 19–23; w88 11/15 30–31.

Bible: Syriac (an Aramaic dialect) translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures are produced from this century onward. Tatian’s Diatessaron, a Gospel harmony in Syriac, is produced in this century. Versions of the Bible in Latin probably appear in the latter part of this century.

it VERSIONS (Christian Greek Scriptures).

Chronology (Ptolemy’s Canon): Claudius Ptolemy, a Greek astronomer in Alexandria, gathers existing astrological information into the Tetrabiblos, which will serve as a basic text for astrology into modern times. Ptolemy’s Canon, or list of kings, is the basis for secular historians’ setting the incorrect dates of 587 or 586 BCE for the desolation of Jerusalem. In the book The Crime of Claudius Ptolemy, physicist Robert R. Newton concludes that many of Ptolemy’s astronomical observations were “deliberately fabricated” to agree with his preconceived theories “so that he could claim that the observations prove the validity of his theories.” Scientific American magazine (October 1977, p. 80) states: “Ptolemy’s forgery may have extended to inventing the length of reigns of Babylonian kings. Since much modern reconstruction of Babylonian chronology has been based on a list of kings that Ptolemy used to pinpoint the dates of alleged Babylonian observations, according to Newton ‘all relevant chronology must now be reviewed and all dependence upon Ptolemy’s [king] list must be removed.’”

w77 12/15 747; w69 2/1 88–92; sh 87.

Second Century Christians (Sects and Gnostics): In this century sects appear among the Christians. The apostasy develops rapidly after John’s death. Early in this century, Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, introduces the monarchical episcopate with a single churchman in charge of each congregation, replacing the groups of elders. Gnosticism gains prominence early in this century, although it began in the first century CE, possibly with Simon Magus (perhaps the Simon of Acts 8:9). Gnosticism has its origins in Babylonish religion, Persian dualism, and China’s ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ teachings. (See 12th  Century BCE.) Marcion and Montanus of this century are prominent Gnostics, but Valentinus, a Greek poet, becomes the most prominent Gnostic of all time. In the latter part of this century, writers who claim to be Christians begin to introduce the word “trinity” into their writings. Theophilus of Antioch (about 180 C.E) speaks of “the Trinity [Greek trias] of God [the Father], His Word and His Wisdom.” Tertullian (circa 155/160 CE–220/230 CE), the first theologian to write extensively in Latin instead of Greek, introduces the Latin word “trinitas” [for the Greek word trias], although, because he is a subordinationist, his concept of Father, Son, and holy spirit is not the same as that of Christendom’s Trinity doctrine that will be developed afterward. Tertullian confirms that Christians of his day refused to eat blood [Apology (IX, 13, 14)].

w92 4/1 28; w66 5/1 278; g89 6/22 24–27; g86 9/8 23–27; it BLOOD; re 30.

Second Century Christians (Apostolic Fathers): During the late first century and the early part of this second century a number of “Apostolic Fathers” write about Christianity. Some of them are Clement of Rome (see Circa 95 CE and Circa 100 CE), Ignatius of Antioch (see Circa 110 CE), Polycarp of Smryna (see Circa 115 CE and 155 CE), Papias of Hierapolis, and Hermas. Polycarp is the writer of the Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians; Hermas is the writer of the Shepherd, or Pastor. During this same period of time, some unnamed authors write The Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, and the second letter of Clement. Near the middle of this second century and through its end churchmen appear who are called Apologists. Their writings are in defense of the Christianity they know against the hostile philosophies prevalent in the Roman world. Some of the Apologists who write in Greek are Justin Martyr (see Circa 110 CE), Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria. Tertullian is an Apologist who writes in Latin. Irenaeus, born between 120 CE and 140 CE, writes a defense against Gnosticism in “The Refutation and Overthrow of the Knowledge Falsely So Called,” commonly referred to as “Against Heresies.”

w09 7/1 27–29; w92 2/1 19–23; 4/1 24–30; w03 5/15 27–29, “Tatian — Apologist or Heretic?”; w93 9/15 7–8, “Papias Valued the Lord’s Sayings”; w92 2/1 19–23 (Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Hermas, and Papias); w89 11/1 21–23 (Polycarp); w90 7/15 21–23 (Irenaeus).

Circa 100 CE - back

Early Christians (the Apostle John): John, the last of the twelve apostles, probably dies this year.

it APOSTLE (End of the Apostolic Period); si 293.

Non-canonical writings (The Didache): The Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, a short work that deals with things people would need to know to become Christians, dates from before or about this year. It contains no hint of a Trinity, simply referring to Jesus as “your Servant” in a prayer to God. It also prescribes baptism “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” as does Matthew 28:19. However, some teachings diverge from original Christianity, such as passing the wine before the bread in the celebration of the Lord’s Evening Meal (compare Matthew 26:26, 27); using water on the head of a baptism candidate if no body of water was available for total immersion (compare Mark 1:9, 10; Acts 8:36, 38); and observing rituals not set forth in original Christianity such as fasting twice a week and reciting the prayer “Our Father” exactly three times a day (compare Matthew 6:5–13; Luke 18:9–14). It also adds words onto the end of the original “Lord’s Prayer,” adding: “for Thine is the power and the glory for ever and ever.” (Lightfoot translation) For several English translations of The Didache, click here.

w09 7/1 27–29; w92 2/1 19–20.

Non-canonical writings (First Epistle of Clement): Clement of Rome, perhaps born about 30 CE, and thought to have been a bishop in Rome, is believed to have died about this year. He had written in his First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians that Jesus is a reflection of God’s splendor, but not equal to it, and that the Father is ‘God alone,’ sharing His position with no one. Clement, however, may have accepted some non-canonical writings as if inspired; he quotes from the apocryphal works Wisdom and Judith. Clement of Rome is not to be confused with Clement of Alexander, an apologist who lived during this second century CE.

w09 7/1 29; w92 2/1 20; it CANON (Christian Greek Scriptures).

Circa 105 CE - back

Roman Empire and Petra: Rome conquers Petra, the Nabataean capital, and for a while makes it an outpost of the Roman Empire. Soon, though, the old caravan route near Petra will be abandoned and Petra will perish, literally fulfilling the prophecy of Joel 3:19: “Edom will be a desolate wilderness.” Petra formerly belonged to the Edomites before being taken over by the Nabataeans. See the 6th Century BCE, 312 BCE, and 1812 CE.

w57 8/15 491.

Circa 110 CE - back

Bible: Ignatius of Antioch quotes from the Bible book of Acts.

it ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

Second Century Christians (Justin Martyr): Justin Martyr (Circa 110 CE to Circa 165 CE), who becomes a Christian apologist, is born in Flavia Neapolis (modern Nablus). He will write his famous Dialogue With Trypho and The Second Apology of Justin, making numerous quotations from the Hebrew and Christian Greek Scriptures. Justin will also reject Greek philosophy, defend professed Christians, and suffer martyrdom, which is the reason he is called Justin Martyr. But unlike the early Christians, of whom the disciple James had said, “God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name” (Acts 15:14), Justin repeatedly writes that the Provider of all things is “a God who is called by no proper name.”

w10 7/1 6; w92 3/15 28–31.

112 CE - back

Ten Persecutions: During this third wave of persecution of Christians (see 98 CE), Pliny the Younger, governor of Bithynia, writes to Emperor Trajan to ask what to do about Christians. He writes: “This is the course I have taken with those who were accused before me as Christians. I asked them whether they were Christians, and if they confessed, I asked them a second and third time with threats of punishment. If they kept to it, I ordered them for execution.” If they recanted, Pliny says he lets them go. The emperor approves the course taken by Pliny.

To see William Whiston’s translation of Pliny’s letter and emperor Trajan’s reply, click here.

Read the background on this in the article “Early Christianity and the Gods of Rome” on WOL.

Circa 115 CE - back

Bible: Polycarp of Smyrna quotes from the Bible book of Acts.

it ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

117 CE - back

Roman Empire: Hadrian (Adrian), who succeeds his uncle Trajan (98 CE–117 CE), continues the third wave of persecution against Christians begun by Trajan. Hadrian will be emperor until 138 CE. He is credited with unifying and consolidating Rome’s vast empire.

w98 9/1 517; w88 5/1 26–29; EncBrit “Hadrian.”

122 CE - back

Roman Empire (Hadrian’s Wall): Emperor Hadrian authorizes the building of a wall across northern England at its narrowest point to form a permanent northern boundary between Roman-held territory and Scotland, thus marking the northern limit of the Roman Empire. (See 43 CE.) The wall, which runs from the Solway Firth in the west of England to the mouth of the River Tyne on the east coast, is 73.5 miles long (117 km), from 6 to 12 feet thick, and about 23 feet high. Substantial sections of the wall will still be standing in the twenty-first century.

For more about Hadrian’s Wall, see www.aboutscotland.com/hadrian/

g95 11/8 16; sh 60; dp 137–38; AAEnc Vol. 10, “Hadrian’s Wall.”

130 CE - back

Roman Empire (Jerusalem): Emperor Hadrian orders the building of a new city named Aelia Capitolina on the site of Jerusalem, which has been virtually desolate since 70 CE. (See 135 CE.) Hadrian’s plans to build a temple to the Roman god Jupiter on the former site of the Jewish temple plus his edicts against the Jews provoke a Jewish revolt by Bar Kokhba (Bar-Kochba) in 132 CE.

See www.gojerusalem.com/article_520/Aelia-Capitolina-Judaism-Expelled.

w67 12/15 749; w66 2/1 90; it JERUSALEM (Later Periods).

132 CE - back

Judea: The Jews led by Simon Bar-Kochba (Simon ben Kosiba) revolt against Rome. Though at first successful, the revolt will be crushed in 135 CE. See more details at Wars between the Jews and Romans: Simon ben Kosiba (130–136 CE).

Between the years 132 CE and 1744 CE, at least 28 false messiahs will appear.

g89 5/22 19–22; it JERUSALEM (Later Periods).

135 CE - back

Judea: The Jewish revolt against Rome, which began in 132 CE, is crushed. Judea (Judaea) is renamed Syria Palaestina as a reminder of the Jews’ ancient foes, the Philistines, and Aelia Capitolina is founded on the site of Jerusalem. (See 130 CE.) Statues of Jupiter and Emperor Hadrian are set up in the temple area, and a sanctuary to the pagan god Jupiter is built on the temple site. Jews are forbidden to enter the city on pain of death, and this edict continues until 312 CE. The Roman-built Aelia Capitolina (or Jerusalem), with some alterations, has stood until today.

See www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/7079/Aelia-Capitolina.

w67 12/15 749; w66 2/1 90; it JERUSALEM (Later Periods); Library of Nations: Israel, by Time-Life Books, p. 58.

138 CE - back

Roman Empire: Roman emperor Antoninus Pius succeeds Hadrian (Adrian) and rules from this year until 161 CE. Sometime during his rule, the apologist Justin Martyr (Circa 110 CE to Circa 165 CE) writes to him that Christians “more readily than all men” pay their taxes.

w93 7/1 4.

155 CE - back

Second Century Christians: Polycarp (about 69 CE–155 CE) is martyred in Smryna, Asia Minor. He was an overseer in the congregation at Smyrna and apparently was taught by the apostle John.

w89 11/15 21–23.

161 CE - back

Roman Empire: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121 CE–180 CE) becomes the Roman Emperor. He will rule until 180 CE. In his book The Rise of Christianity (1947), E.W. Barnes says: “A careful review of all the information available goes to show that, until the time of Marcus Aurelius, no Christian became a soldier; and no soldier, after becoming a Christian, remained in military service.”

rs 272; it ARMY (Those Known as Early Christians).

162 CE - back

Ten Persecutions (No. 4 of 10): Marcus Aurelius begins a fourth wave of persecution against Christians. See 98 CE for the previous wave and 202 CE for the next one. The first wave of persecution began in 64 CE.

w51 9/1 516–19.

Circa 165 CE - back

Second Century Christians: Justin Martyr (Circa 110 CE to c. 165 CE) dies this year. He said that Christianity “changed our warlike weapons, — our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into implements of tillage.”

w88 5/1 28.

177 CE - back

Second Century Christians: Religious enemies falsely accuse Christians of eating children. A woman named Biblis protests, saying Christians are not even allowed to eat the blood of irrational animals.

g86 9/8 23–27.

197 CE - back

Second Century Christians: Tertullian tells the Roman rulers that their tax collectors have “a debt of gratitude to Christians” for the conscientious way they pay their taxes.

w93 7/1 4.

3rd CENTURY CE   (200–299)

200 - 220 - 240 - 240 - 250 - 260 - 270 - 280 - 290

Bible (Coptic Translations): By this century, the first translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures has been made for the Coptics of Egypt. A number of versions in various Coptic dialects are produced during this century and the next.

it VERSIONS; w08 11/1 24–25.

Historians: Sextus Julius Africanus (circa 180 CE–circa 250 CE), a Roman historian, and Eusebius (circa 260 CE–342 CE), an ecclesiastical historian and bishop of Caesarea, live during this century.

it CHRONOLOGY (Historians of the Classical Period).

Ammonites: By this century the Ammonites, descendants of Lot through his son Ammon, disappear from history as a people in fulfillment of Jehovah’s prophecy at Zephaniah 2:8–10. (See the 1st Century BCE.)

it AMMONITES.

Manes: A prominent Gnostic of this century, Mani, or Manes, strives to form a universal religion by fusing elements of Christianity, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism. Later, Catholic historians will indiscriminately label medieval heretics “Manichaean sects.”

g89 6/22 26; g86 4/22 20 ftn.

Third Century Christians: Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, expands the hierarchical clergy system into a monarchical seven-grade hierarchy with the supreme position being occupied by the bishop, and under him, priests, deacons, subdeacons, and other grades. Eventually the Western church adds an eighth grade; the Eastern church settles for a five-grade hierarchy.

g89 6/22 24–27.

Circa 200 CE - back

Bible: Symmachus translates his version of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek with a translation that attempts to convey the right sense rather than be literal.

it VERSIONS (Later Greek versions).

Third Century Christians: In his treatise “The Chaplet, or De Corona” (XI), Tertullian argues from Scripture the unlawfulness of military life, and concludes: “I banish from us the military life.”

it ARMY (Those Known as Early Christians).

Third Century Christians: The calendar of astrologer Antiochus, composed about this year, notes that December 25 is “the birthday of the Sun; daylight increases.”

w86 12/15 26.

202 CE - back

Ten Persecutions (No. 5 of 10): Emperor Septimius Severus (rules 193 CE–211 CE) issues an edict forbidding Christians to make converts. Of course, this does not stop them from doing just that. It is during the years between 162 CE and 235 CE that a fifth wave of persecution of Christians breaks out, although it is spasmodic in various parts of the empire where existing laws against the Christians are irregularly enforced. See 162 CE for the previous wave and 235 CE for the next wave. The first wave of persecution began in 64 CE.

w93 7/1 6–7; w63 12/1 731; w51 9/1 516–19.

221 CE - back

Chronology: Sextus Julius Africanus, a historian, produces Chronographiai, a five-volume treatise on sacred and profane history from the Creation (placed at 5499 BCE) to 221 CE. Using the Bible as the basis of his calculations, he incorporates and synchronizes Egyptian and Chaldean chronologies, Greek mythology, and Judaic history with Christianity.

The New Encyclopedia Britannica “Africanus, Sextus Julius.”

Religion: The New Encyclopedia Britannica says: “December 25 was first identified as the date of Jesus’ birth by Sextus Julius Africanus in 221 and later became the universally accepted date.”

The New Encyclopedia Britannica “Christmas.”

230 CE - back

Third Century Christians: Tertullian (circa 160 CE–230 CE), who dies this year, had written in his work Apology (IX, 13, 14): “Let your error blush before the Christians, for we do not include even animals’ blood in our natural diet. We abstain on that account from things strangled or that die of themselves, that we may not in any way be polluted by blood, even if it is buried in the meat. Finally, when you are testing Christians, you offer them sausages full of blood; you are thoroughly well aware, of course, that among them it is forbidden; but you want to make them transgress.”

w92 4/1 28; it BLOOD (Observed since apostolic times).

235 CE - back

Ten Persecutions (No. 6 of 10): The sixth wave of persecution of Christians begins during the reign of Emperor Maximinus. Numerous Christians are slain without any trial and their bodies are often piled in heaps without a decent burial. See 202 CE for the previous was of persecution and 249 CE for the next one. The first wave of persecution began in 64 CE.

w51 9/1 516–19.

Circa 245 CE - back

Bible (Hexapla): Origen, scholar of Alexandria, completes a multiple version of the Hebrew Scriptures called the Hexapla (“sixfold”), with parallel columns containing the consonantal Hebrew text, a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew text, Aquila’s Greek version, Symmachus’ Greek version, the Septuagint as revised by Origen, and Theodotion’s Greek version.

it VERSIONS (Later Greek versions).

249 CE - back

Ten Persecutions (No. 7 of 10): Under Emperor Decius, the seventh wave of persecution against Christians is inaugurated. “This assault spread throughout the empire, spared neither age nor sex, and contrived to introduce torture unique to all that had gone before it.” (See 235 CE for the previous wave of persecution and 257 CE for the next one. The first wave of persecution began in 64 CE.)

w51 9/1 516–19.

250 CE - back

Bible (Latin): The whole Bible in Latin seems to have been used in Carthage, North Africa, by this year.

it VERSIONS.

253 CE - back

Third Century Christians: The Third Council of Carthage confirms the practice of infant baptism (a doctrine that does not harmonize with the Bible). Roman Emperor Gallienus, who rules from 253 to 268 CE, is the first Roman emperor to issue a declaration of tolerance for Christians, although Christianity is still a proscribed religion throughout the empire.

Matthew 28:19, 20; w93 7/1 10; w86 5/15 26; rs 55.

254 CE - back

Third Century Christians: Origen (185–254 CE) dies. Regarding infant baptism, he wrote: “It is the custom of the church that baptism be administered even to infants.” (See 253 CE.)

rs 55.

257 CE - back

Ten Persecutions (No. 8 of 10): Under Emperor Valerian, an eighth wave of persecution of Christians begins. This time it is aimed at the overseers and responsible ones in the Christian church with the design to break up the ranks by destroying the leadership. See 249 CE for the previous wave of persecution and 274 CE for the next one. The first wave of persecution began in 64 CE.

w51 9/1 517–8.

258 CE - back

Third Century Christians: Cyprian, the “bishop” of Carthage, North Africa, dies by being beheaded. He was a strong advocate of authority of the bishops — as a group separate from the presbyters (later known as priests), the deacons, and the laity. From Cyprian’s time forward, the distinction between clergy and laity becomes prominent.

w51 9/1 517–18; jv 36.

267 CE - back

Roman Empire: Odaenathus, king of Palmyra, is assassinated. His wife, Zenobia, takes over Odaenathus’ position and plans to make Palmyra the dominant city of the Roman Empire in the East. When a pretender disputing Roman rulership appears in Egypt in 269 CE, Zenobia’s opportunity to expand her regal powers comes, and her army will march into Egypt to crush the rebel. (See 270 CE.)

dp 252–55; w99 1/15 29–31, “The Dark-Haired Mistress of the Syrian Wild”; yw 257.

270 CE - back

Roman Empire: Under Queen Zenobia, the Palmyrene army occupies Egypt and becomes a serious rival to Rome until defeated in 272 CE. At this point, Queen Zenobia comes to occupy the position of “king of the south” of Daniel 11:25, 26.

dp 254; g67 11/8 13–17; it ARABIA (Biblical References).

Roman Empire: Aurelian (rules 270 CE–275 CE) becomes emperor of Rome. For more on Aurelian, see www.roman-emperors.org/aurelian.htm.

w99 1/15 30; g67 11/8 13–17; yw 257.

271 CE - back

Roman Empire: Aurelian, emperor of Rome, takes on the role of king of the north of Daniel 11:25, 26 and fulfills Daniel 11:25 by arousing “his power and his heart against the king of the south [Queen Zenobia of Palmyra] with a great military force.”

w99 1/15 30.

272 CE - back

Roman Empire: Aurelian defeats Palmyra and collects much plunder from the city, including the idol from the Temple of the Sun, for which he will build a temple in Rome after returning to Rome. (See 274 CE.)

w99 1/15 29, 31.

274 CE - back

Ten Persecutions (No. 9 of 10): Roman Emperor Aurelian proclaims a ninth wave of persecution against the Christians. See 257 CE for the previous wave of persecution and 303 CE for the next one. The first wave of persecution began in 64 CE.

w51 9/1 516–19.

Religion (Birthdate of Christ): The New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) says: “The birth of Christ was assigned the date of the winter solstice (December 25 in the Julian calendar, January 6 in the Egyptian), because on this day, as the sun began its return to northern skies, the pagan devotees of Mithra celebrated the dies natalis Solis Invicti (birthday of the invincible sun). On December 25, 274, Aurelian had proclaimed the sun-god principal patron of the empire and dedicated a temple to him in the Campus Martius. Christmas originated at a time when the cult of the sun was particularly strong at Rome.” (See 354 CE.)

The Catholic Encyclopedia says: “The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date. . . . The present writer in inclined to think that, be the origin of the feast in East or West, and though the abundance of analogous midwinter festivals may indefinitely have helped the choice of the December date, the same instinct which set Natalis Invicti at the winter solstice will have sufficed, apart from deliberate adaptation or curious calculation, to set the Christian feast there too.”

rs 177; w82 12/15 10.

284 CE - back

Third Century Christians: Roman Emperor Diocletian (rules 284 CE–305 CE), initially seems friendly to the Christians, but later intensifies the persecution of Christians. See 303 CE.

w93 7/1 10.

295 CE - back

Third Century Christians: Maximilianus of Theveste, a son of a Roman army veteran, is conscripted for military service and refuses, saying: “I am a Christian. . . . I can’t serve; I can’t sin against my conscience.”

sh 347.

4th CENTURY CE   (300–399)

300 - 310 - 320 - 330 - 340 - 350 - 360 - 370 - 380 - 390

Bible: Two famous vellum manuscripts of the Greek Septuagint date from this century: The Vatican Manuscript No. 1209 (designated B) and the Sinaitic Manuscript (designated by the Hebrew letter Aleph). The Gothic version is produced for the Goths in Moesia (Serbia and Bulgaria). An Ethiopic version, used by the Abyssinians, is produced either in this century or in the fifth century.

it VERSIONS, Rbi8 9.

Roman Empire and Religion: In this century, Emperor Constantine decides to unify the people under one “catholic” or “universal” religion for the Roman Empire. He endeavors to fuse Christianity with certain pagan practices and teachings, and his own course sets the stage for such fusion religion eventually to become the official religion of the empire later in this century. See 313 CE and 380 CE.

w88 5/1 29; Constantine in Wikipedia.

Religion: Emperor Constantine assigns the task of determining the place of Jesus’ impalement and his tomb to Bishop Macarius. Constantine orders the demolition of the temple of Aphrodite (Venus) erected on the supposed site of Jesus’ tomb, and the construction of a basilica that will become the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

it GOLGOTHA.

Religion: By this century, the idea of the immortal soul is being adopted, and the doctrine of the Trinity has infiltrated the congregations. According to The New Encyclopædia Britannica, Saint Augustine (354 CE–430 CE) is generally recognized as being “the greatest thinker of Christian antiquity.” He “most completely fused” Christianity “with the Platonic tradition of Greek philosophy,” which is then “transmitted to the Christendoms of medieval Roman Catholicism and Renaissance Protestantism.”

it GREECE, GREEKS; re 30; g89 6/22 24–27.

303 CE - back

Bible: In an effort to stamp out Christianity, Emperor Diocletian orders all Christian Bibles burned, although he does not succeed in destroying all copies of the Bible.

w97 10/1 11; g 12/11 5 “The Bible Attacked”; gm 16.

Ten Persecutions (No. 10 of 10): Diocletian (rules 284 CE until he abdicates in 305 CE) gives in to persuasion and opens the last of the ten waves of persecution against the Christians. It is probably the most ferocious of all; some historians call it “The Great Persecution.” He decrees that Christian meeting places be razed and their ‘Scriptures be consumed with fire.’ In a single month 17,000 are slain, 144,000 professed Christians in Egypt die by violence, and another 700,000 die as a result of fatigues encountered in banishment or under enforced public works. See 274 CE for the previous wave of persecution and 64 CE for the first one.

g 12/11 5, “The Bible Attacked”; w97 10/1 11; w51 9/1 516–19.

306 CE - back

Roman Empire: Constantine (the Great) is raised to the status of emperor by his army, upon the death of his father, Constantius Chlorus, emperor of Rome’s western provinces. Five others also claim they are Augusti, and civil war will take place until 324 CE when Constantine becomes sole ruler of the Roman Empire. Later, Constantine transfers the capital from Rome to Byzantium, which will be renamed Constantinople (after himself, no less).

w98 3/15 26–27; it ROME.

Circa 311 CE - back

Bible: Ulfilas, or Wulfila (his Gothic name), is born about this year. He will be ordained by Eusebius of Nicomedia about 341 CE and trained to work as a missionary among the Goths. He will translate the Bible from the Greek into Gothic (see Before 381 CE), but because Gothic is not a written language, he must invent the Gothic alphabet.

w94 5/15 8; Ulfilas in Wikipedia.

312 CE - back

Roman Empire and Roman Emperor Constantine: Outside Rome, Constantine wins the battle of the Milvian Bridge over his opponent and brother-in-law Maxentius. Christian apologists claim that during this campaign, Constantine sees a vision of a flaming cross (Chi, or X) on which are the words “Hoc vince” meaning “By this conquer,” or “In hoc signo vinces” meaning “In this sign conquer.” The letter is actually the initial of the word “Christ” and has nothing to do with the cross. It is also claimed that in a dream Constantine was told to paint the first two letters of Christ’s name in Greek on the shields of his troops, and this khi rho on his soldiers’ shields becomes his “sacred talisman.”

On October 28 of this year, the Roman Senate appoints Constantine to be chief Augustus and Pontifex Maximus. Emperor Constantine abolishes the Praetorian Guard this year.

w98 3/15 27; w87 8/15 21–24; w66 5/1 278; it PRAETORIAN GUARD; sh 273.

313 CE - back

Religion and Roman Emperor Constantine: Emperor Constantine (rules 306–337 CE) “converts” to “Christianity.” He arranges a partnership with Licinius, the ruler of the eastern provinces. Together they issue the Edict of Milan, which grants freedom of religion to Christians and pagans alike. The Theological Dictionary, by Henderson and Buck, in the article “Constantine, Surnamed the Great” says: “By this, every one was allowed to embrace the religion most agreeable to his mode of thinking, and all the property that had been taken from the Christians during the persecutions was restored to them. They were also made eligible to public offices.”

Although Christianity does not become the official state religion of the Roman Empire at this time, this makes Christianity a religio licita (lawful religion). The Roman state remains officially pagan and Christianity will not become the official state religion until 380 CE. Much of Christianity, however, has already become apostate by this time due to its adoption of Gnostic and pagan beliefs.

w98 3/15 27; w93 7/1 10; w90 1/15 7; w66 5/1 278; g99 1/8 6; g89 6/22 24–27; jv 38; sh 273.

314 CE - back

Religion: The (Scriptural) doctrine of divorce for adultery is approved at the Council of Arles. In later times, however, divorce for adultery is forbidden in the Catholic Church. See 1545 CE.

Matthew 19:3–9; 1 Corinthians 6:18; w09 8/1 5–6; w86 5/15 26; g76 1/22 3–4.

320 CE - back

Religion and Arianism: About this year, Arius, a priest in Alexandria, Egypt, begins spreading views concerning the Trinity doctrine that are considered radical. Arius says that the Son is not God nor equal to him because he had a beginning. See 325 CE.

w02 3/1 27–28.

321 CE - back

Religion and Roman Emperor Constantine: In an edict this year, Emperor Constantine makes a Sunday observance law, recommending Sunday as the ‘venerable day of the Sun,’ a day of rest for all his subjects, both pagans and Christians, except the farmers. The old pagan name associated with astrology and sun worship, Dies Solis (“Sunday”), is retained for the weekly “Christian” festival of the sabbath.

rs 346; it SABBATH DAY; w83 9/15 8.

325 CE - back

Religion and Roman Emperor Constantine: Emperor Constantine becomes head of the eastern and western sections of the Roman Empire. He calls for and also presides over the religious council at Nicaea (Nicene Council) to settle the controversy over the Trinity, which threatens the unity of his empire. He decides in favor of the Trinitarian teaching of Athanasius, that the Son, Jesus, is “of one substance with the Father,” thus declaring him to be all that the Father is: completely divine. This doctrine denies that Jesus was in fact a man.

In opposition to this view, Arius, an Alexandrian priest, maintains that the Christ is inferior to the Father. According to Encyclopedia Britannica: “Arius’ basic premise was the uniqueness of God, who is alone self-existent and immutable; the Son, who is not self-existent, cannot be God. Because the Godhead is unique, it cannot be shared or communicated, so the Son cannot be God. Because the Godhead is immutable, the Son, who is mutable, being represented in the Gospels as subject to growth and change, cannot be God. The Son must, therefore, be deemed a creature who has been called into existence out of nothing and has had a beginning. Moreover, the Son can have no direct knowledge of the Father since the Son is finite and of a different order of existence.” See 320 CE and 451 CE.

John 14:28; 2 John 7; w02 3/1 27–28; w88 5/1 26–29; w86 5/15 24–26; w66 5/1 278; g89 6/22 24–27; EncBrit “Arianism.”

329 CE - back

Roman Empire: Emperor Constantine transfers the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome, Italy, to Byzantium, where he begins a building program to produce a new capital. He lays the foundations of New Rome on 26 November and calls the city Constantinople, after his own name. This city will be the capital of the Roman Empire in the East for eleven centuries, until it falls to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 CE.

w88 5/1 26–29; bf 479.

330 CE - back

Religion, Constantinople, and Schism: According to The Encyclopedia of Religion, this year marks “the schism between Greek and Latin Christendom. . . . The founding of Constantinople, the ‘New Rome’ (330), displacing the ‘old Rome’ as imperial capital, sowed the seeds of a future ecclesiastical rivalry between the Greek East and the Latin West.” According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, “From the beginning of the See of Constantinople to the great schism in 867 the list of these temporary breaches of communion is a formidable one. . . . Of these 544 years (323–867) no less than 203 were spent by Constantinople in a state of schism.”

g90 6/22 4.

337 CE - back

Religion and Roman Emperor Constantine: Emperor Constantine falls sick and is baptized as a “Christian” although still holding onto the pagan office of Pontifex Maximus. He dies in Nicomedia, his capital, while Constantinople is still being built. After his death the pagan Roman Senate places him among the gods, and the eastern religious congregations reckon him among the saints.

The Theological Dictionary, by Henderson and Buck, under “Constantine, Surnamed the Great,” says: “Whatever may have been the true character of Constantine’s conversion to the Christian faith, its consequences were of vast importance both to the empire and to the Church of Christ. It opened the way for the unobstructed propagation of the Gospel to a wider extent than at any former period of its history. All impediments to an open profession of Christianity were removed, and it became the established religion of the empire. Numerous, however, in various points of view, as were the advantages accruing to it from this change, it soon began to suffer from being brought into close contact with the fostering influence of secular power. The simplicity of the Gospel was corrupted; pompous rites and ceremonies were introduced; worldly honours and emoluments were conferred on the teachers of Christianity, and the kingdom of Christ in a good measure converted into a kingdom of this world.”

w66 5/1 279; bf 479; Theological Dictionary, pp. 250–51.

Circa 340 CE - back

Bible: Jerome (340?–420 CE), a Biblical scholar of the Latin church, may have been born this year. He will compile the Latin Vulgate. See 383 CE and 405 CE.

it CANON.

Religion: A professed Christian writer calls for the persecution of pagans.

g99 1/8 6.

354 CE - back

Religion: Augustine of Hippo (354 CE–430 CE) is born. He will write The City of God, in which he states, “The Church even now is the kingdom of Christ, and the kingdom of heaven,” thus shifting the Kingdom from heaven to earth.

jv 38.

Religion: The new Roman bishop, Liberius, orders all his people to celebrate December 25 as the correct day of Christ’s birth. The Calendar of Furius Dionysius Filocalus, composed this year, notes that December 25 is ‘the Birthday of the unconquered Sun.’ (See 274 CE.)

w86 12/15 26; w82 12/15 10.

361 CE - back

Roman Empire: During his reign (361 CE–363 CE), Roman Emperor Julian (Julian the Apostate) makes an attempt to restore paganism and to oppose Christianity, a lawful religion since 313 CE. He also recommends the games that were celebrated at the end of the year in honor of the sun, which was called “the unconquered sun.”

w93 7/1 9, 11; w86 12/15 26.

375 CE - back

Roman Empire: Western Emperor Valentinian I, who ruled 364 CE–375 CE, dies. His son Gratian becomes the Western Emperor and Pontifex Maximus, a title he will later renounce. See 382 CE.

bf 481–82.

378 CE - back

Roman Empire: Eastern Emperor Valens the Arian (364 CE–378 CE) is killed, and Roman Emperor Gratian, who began ruling over the western part of the empire in 375, appoints Theodosius (rules 379 CE–395 CE), one of his generals, as emperor of the eastern part of the empire.

Roman Empire and Religion: The Encyclopedia Britannica article “Theodosius I” says about him: “byname Theodosius The Great, in full Flavius Theodosius Roman emperor of the East (379–392) and then sole emperor of both East and West (392–395), who, in vigorous suppression of paganism and Arianism, established the creed of the Council of Nicaea (325) as the universal norm for Christian orthodoxy and directed the convening of the second general council at Constantinople (381) to clarify the formula.”

w66 5/1 280; bf 481.

379 CE - back

Roman Empire and Religion: Eastern Emperor Theodosius the Great (rules 379 CE to 395 CE) will make Christianity the official religion of the Empire and will suppress public pagan worship. (See 380 CE.)

One historian writes: “Under Constantine Christianity and the Roman empire were allied. Under Theodosius they were united. . . . From henceforward the title of Catholic was to be reserved for those who adored the Father, Son and Holy Ghost with equal reverence. The entire religious policy of this emperor was directed to this end, and resulted in the Catholic Faith becoming the one legal religion of the Romans.”

w93 7/1 11.

380 CE - back

Roman Empire and the State Religion: Regarding Eastern Emperor Theodosius and “Christianity,” the Encyclopedia Britannica (“Theodosius I”) states: “Out of political as well as religious motives, he energetically undertook to bring about unity of faith within the empire. His position was improved by the fact that during 379 the followers of the Nicene Creed gained ground, whereupon Theodosius on Feb. 28, 380, without consulting the ecclesiastical authorities, issued an edict prescribing a creed that was to be binding on all subjects. Only persons who believed in the consubstantiality of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were henceforth to be considered Catholic Christians, a designation that here appears for the first time in a document.”

Regarding the State religion, Jean-Rémy Palanque writes:

Theodosius, while combating paganism, also came out in favor of the orthodox [Catholic] Church; his edict of 380 C.E. ordered all his subjects to profess the faith of Pope Damasus and the [Trinitarian] bishop of Alexandria and deprived dissidents of freedom of worship. The great Council of Constantinople (381) again condemned all heresies, and the emperor saw to it that no bishop would support them. Nicene [Trinitarian] Christianity had well and truly become the State religion. . . . . The Church was closely united with the State and enjoyed its exclusive support.

Compare 313 CE.

w93 7/1 8–11.

Before 381 CE - back

Bible (Gothic): The Gothic Bible translation by Ulfilas, or in Gothic, Wulfila (see Circa 311 CE), is completed before this year for the Goths who are in Moesia (Serbia and Bulgaria). Ulfilas reportedly deletes the books of Samuel and Kings from his translation, thinking it would be dangerous for the warrior Goths to read books that consider warfare and contain information against idolatry. Gothic was not a written language at this time, so it was necessary for Ulfilas to invent a Gothic alphabet of 27 characters in order to translate the Bible.

The Goths who migrate to Spain and Italy will use this translation. The Goths will plunder Rome in 410 CE, but will come to their end as a nation about 555 CE when Byzantine emperor Justinian I reconquers Italy. The Gothic language eventually dies out.

Parts of this Bible translation are online at www.wulfila.be/gothic/.

ba 10; w94 5/15 8–9; w65 11/15 697–98; it VERSIONS (Other ancient translations).

381 CE - back

Religion: The second general Council of Constantinople further develops the Trinity doctrine. The council nominates Nectarius, the bishop of New Rome or Constantinople, to be the Patriarch of Constantinople, and declares the bishop of Constantinople to be next in rank to the bishop of Rome. This paves the way for the future religious split between the Eastern and Western churches.

w66 5/1 280; g89 7/8 21–24; bf 481.

382 CE - back

Roman Empire and Religion: Western Roman Emperor Gratian (rules 367 CE–383 CE) issues a constitution granting Damasus, bishop of Rome, the right to hear appeals by other bishops, even those in “more distant regions” of the Empire. Even though the Eastern bishops and some in the West contest this decision, it gives ascendancy to the bishop of Rome. Bishop Damasus accepts the insignia of Pontifex Maximus, a pagan title and office that Emperor Gratian had renounced, considering it unbefitting a Christian. Pontifex Maximus will eventually be considered one of the “most noteworthy of the titles” borne by the pope.

w83 9/15 8; bf 482.

383 CE - back

Bible: Eusebius Hieronymus, otherwise known as Jerome (340?CE–420 CE), the “best Hebrew scholar” of the early church, publishes his Latin revision of the Gospels from the Old Latin version in comparison with the Greek text. Jerome is the first person to use the word “apocrypha” to describe non-canonical writings. He will not include the apocrypha in his later translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. See 405 CE.

it APOCRYPHA.

385 CE - back

Religion: Regarding the church-state “marriage” of 380 CE, the encyclopedia Great Ages of Man says that “by A.D. 385, only 80 years after the last great wave of persecution of Christians, the Church itself was beginning to execute heretics, and its clerics were wielding power almost equivalent to that of the emperors.”

w00 6/1 5.

392 CE - back

Roman Empire and Religion: Emperor Theodosius I bans paganism within the Roman Empire by means of the Edict of Constantinople, completely prohibiting the worship of the pagan gods.

w02 3/1 28; g99 1/8 6; EncBrit “Theodosius I.”

395 CE - back

Roman Empire, Eastern and Western: Eastern Emperor Theodosius I (rules 379 CE–395 CE) dies. He had imposed Trinitarian “Christianity” as the State religion on the Roman Empire in 380 CE. According to Roman-Emperors.org:

Theodosius’ importance rests on the fact that he founded a dynasty which continued in power until the death of his grandson Theodosius II in 450. This ensured a continuity of policy which saw the emergence of Nicene Christianity as the orthodox belief of the vast majority of Christians throughout the middle ages. It also ensured the essential destruction of paganism and the emergence of Christianity as the religion of the state, even if the individual steps in this process can be difficult to identify. On the negative side, however, he allowed his dynastic interests and ambitions to lead him into two unnecessary and bloody civil wars which severely weakened the empire’s ability to defend itself in the face of continued barbarian pressure upon its frontiers. In this manner, he put the interests of his family before those of the wider Roman population and was responsible, in many ways, for the phenomenon to which we now refer as the fall of the western Roman empire.

The Roman Empire is now officially divided into the Latin Western and the Greek Eastern (or Byzantine) Empires. Although at various times, especially after 283 CE, two or more rulers share the Roman imperial title, it is not until this year that the empire is permanently divided. The Eastern Empire under Arcadius, a son of Theodosius, has its capital at Constantinople (formerly Byzantium, later Istanbul), which will remain the capital until the Eastern Empire ends in 1453 CE. The Western Empire, under Honorius, a son of Theodosius, has its capital, after 402 CE, at Ravenna, Italy. The Western Empire will fall in 476 CE.

w93 7/1 8–11; w66 5/1 280; yw 260; AAEnc 16: “Rome, Ancient.”

397 CE - back

Religion: At the Council of Carthage, the Catholic Church, following Augustine’s lead, includes additional writings (Apocrypha) in the canon of sacred books. (Compare 1546 CE.)

it APOCRYPHA.

5th CENTURY CE   (400–490)

400 - 410 - 430 - 440 - 450 - 460 - 470 - 490

Roman Empire, Western: During this century Rome is sacked by the Visigoths, the Vandals, then finally falls to the German Odoacer. The Dark Ages begin. (See 476 CE.)

g89 6/22 27.

Religion: Nestorius, a patriarch of Constantinople early in this century, teaches that Christ is actually two persons in one, the human Jesus and the divine Son of God.

g89 6/22 26–27.

Bible: During this century the Armenian version is prepared from both Greek and Syriac texts. The Peshitta (“simple”), a Syriac version of the Bible, is in general use during this century. A famous vellum manuscript of the Greek Septuagint Version, also dating from this century, is the Alexandrine Manuscript (designated by the symbol A). Jerome’s Latin Vulgate is published early in this century. (See 405 CE.)

it VERSIONS; Rbi8 9.

405 CE - back

Bible: Jerome’s translation of the Latin “authorized version” of the Bible known as the Latin Vulgate is completed this year. The translating of the Latin Vulgate began with the publishing of the Gospels in 383 CE. At first, Jerome’s version is received with general hostility; only gradually will it gain wide acceptance. After Jerome had enumerated the 22 books of the Hebrew Scriptures, he wrote: “Whatever is beyond these must be put in the apocrypha.” The Vulgate omits the personal name of God.

w10 7/1 7; gm 23; it CANON; VERSIONS.

410 CE - back

Roman Empire, Western: In August, Rome is captured and sacked by the Visigoths (West Goths from the region of the Danube) under Alaric I. A substantial number of Visigoths had accepted Arianism in the middle of the fourth century CE.

w60 10/15 624; g89 6/22 24–27; AAEnc 9: “Goths.”

413 CE - back

Religion: In this year Augustine of Hippo begins to write his 22 books called “The City of God.” He will finish this work in 426 CE.

w58 6/15 361–64.

431 CE - back

Religion: The Council of Ephesus further develops the Trinity doctrine. Also at this Council, Mary is proclaimed by the Church to be Theotokos, meaning “God-bearer” or “Mother of God.”

g 11/09 8; g89 7/8 21–24; rs 257.

438 CE - back

Religion: By means of edicts pertaining to the city of Athens, Emperor Theodosius II abolishes pagan rites and mysteries and closes the pagan temples, which can then be converted into “Christian” churches by purifying them, that is, by installing a cross on them. One of the first temples to be converted is the Parthenon, which will remain in Orthodox usage for eight centuries, afterward to be converted into a Catholic church, and then, in the 15th century, converted into a mosque by the Ottoman Turks.

w97 2/15 28.

440 CE - back

Religion: Leo I, noted as the real founder of the papacy, becomes pope of the Roman Catholic Church, until 461. (He is not to be confused with Leo I who was Eastern Roman Emperor from 457 to 474.) Encyclopedia Britannica says of the Roman Leo:

Byname Leo The Great pope from 440 to 461, master exponent of papal supremacy. His pontificate — which saw the disintegration of the Roman Empire in the West and the formation in the East of theological differences that were to split Christendom — was devoted to safeguarding orthodoxy and to securing the unity of the Western church under papal supremacy.

Jesuit Michael Walsh explains: “Leo appropriated the once pagan title of Pontifex Maximus, still used by the popes today, and borne, until towards the end of the fourth century, by Roman Emperors.”

w67 4/15 231–32; w66 5/1 280; w59 12/15 760; w55 7/1 390–91 sh 271–72; EncBrit “Leo I, Saint.”

451 CE - back

Religion: The Council of Chalcedon states that Christ is God incarnate. (See also 325 CE.)

g89 6/22 24–27; w86 5/15 24–26.

455 CE - back

Roman Empire, Western: In July, Genseric, king of the Vandals, storms Rome and pillages the city for two weeks. (See 410 CE and 476 CE.)

w60 10/15 624.

464 CE - back

Bible: A Syriac Peshitta [meaning “simple”] manuscript of the Pentateuch (lacking Leviticus) dated to approximately this year is the oldest dated Bible manuscript in any tongue in existence today.

it VERSIONS.

476 CE - back

Roman Empire, Western and Eastern: The western wing of the Roman Empire (see 395 CE) falls when the nominal emperor, Romulus Augustulus, is deposed by King Odoacer, a general of German descent.

See the Catholic Encyclopedia, “Romulus Augustulus,” at www.newadvent.org/cathen/13179c.htm and Columbia Encyclopedia “Odoacer,” at www.bartleby.com/65/od/Odoacer.html.

This German warlord Odoacer becomes Rome’s first “barbarian” king. (See also 800 CE and 962 CE.) This year marks the start of the Dark Ages, an era of intellectual darkness and ignorance, especially as regards Christianity. The Eastern part of the Roman Empire, with its capital at Constantinople, will remain in power until it falls to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 CE.

w02 3/1 26; w88 5/1 26–29; g89 6/22 24–27; 7/8 21–24.

Religion: Christendom is now divided under six competing bishops: Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Salamis (Cyprus). Regarding the Roman Church, The New Encyclopædia Britannica states:

A new power was formed: the Roman Church, the church of the bishop of Rome. This church understood itself as the successor of the extinct Roman Empire. . . . the Roman popes . . . extended the secular claim of government of the church beyond the borders of the church-state and developed the so-called theory of the two swords, stating that Christ gave the pope not only spiritual power over the church but also secular power over the worldly kingdoms.

w93 7/1 10; it ROME.

496 CE - back

Religion and France: Clovis, king of the Salian Franks (a Germanic tribe), is baptized into Catholic Christianity this year, a religion he chose instead of the Arian form of Christianity practiced by the Goths (Visigoths). (Compare 325 CE and 379 CE.)

See two accounts of Clovis’s conversion at www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/496clovis.html.

More on Clovis I can be found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulfilas.

This religious choice gives Clovis the advantage of gaining favor with the Gallo-Roman population (predominantly Catholic) and the church hierarchy. Many centuries later, Charles de Gaulle (1890–1970), states one view about the importance of Clovis in history: “For me, the history of France starts with Clovis, chosen as king of France by the tribe of the Franks, who gave their name to France.”

w02 3/1 26–30.

6th CENTURY CE   (500–599)

500 - 520 - 550 - 560 - 570

Bible: Around the beginning of this century, the Codex Argenteus (“Silver Book”) is produced in the Ravenna scriptorium. It is a Gothic language translation, and written in silver ink on parchment dyed purple. (See Before 381 CE.) After the Gothic nation disappears from history (see 555 CE), the Codex Argenteus vanishes, only to turn up later in a monastery in Germany in the mid-sixteenth century. (See more at 1648 CE.)

Bible: Toward the end of this century, the Georgian version of the Bible, made for the Georgians in the Caucasus, is completed. Georgian is one of the earliest languages into which the Bible is translated.

g98 1/22 25; it VERSIONS.

Bible Commentary: Sometime during this century, Oecumenius writes a commentary that is the earliest extant Greek commentary on the book of Revelation. He presents the notion that Armageddon refers to a precise locale, a view that will be perpetuated in succeeding centuries by many literal-minded theologians.

w08 4/1 31, “Where Will the Battle of Armageddon Be Fought?”

500 CE - back

Religion: Catholicism claims as members some 22 percent of the world population, estimated now to be 43 million persons. Compare 1500 CE, 1800 CE, and 1900 CE.

g89 6/22 24–27.

Circa 508 CE - back

Bible: Philoxenus, bishop of Hierapolis, has Polycarp make a revision of the Peshitta Christian Scriptures.

it VERSIONS.

525 CE - back

Chronology: Pope John I commissions the monk and mathematician Dionysius Exiguus (Dionysius the Short) to develop a standard liturgical calendar to allow the churches to set an official date for Easter. In his “Easter Tables,” Dionysius uses the supposed date of Jesus’ birth (1 CE) as the pivotal point, and numbers each year forward from that point, designating that period “A.D.” (Anno Domini, meaning “in the year of our Lord,” equivalent to CE, meaning either “Christian era” or “Common Era”). He designates the years prior to A.D. 1 as “B.C.” (“Before Christ,” equivalent to BCE, or “before the Christian era,” or “before the Common Era”). Most modern scholars agree that Dionysius erred in his calculation of the year of Jesus’ birth (Jesus’ actual birth being before 1 CE), yet the resulting system allows chronologists to locate historical events in the stream of time.

See “Dionysius Exiguus” www.newadvent.org/cathen/05010b.htm
See “General Chronology,” subheading “Christian Era,” at www.newadvent.org/cathen/03738a.htm

w99 11/1 6; g98 3:22 28–29; TH 525.

527 CE - back

Byzantine Empire: Emperor Justinian I, who rules from this year until 565 CE, is known for his greatest accomplishment: the codification of Roman law, called the Corpus Juris Civilis, which greatly influences modern European Civil Law systems.

See www.bartleby.com/65/co/CorpusJu.html and www.bartleby.com/65/ju/Justinia1.html.

g81 1/22 16.

555 CE - back

Byzantine Empire: Emperor Justinian I conquers Italy. See www.bartleby.com/65/by/ByzantinEmp.html.

Goths: The Goths (Visigoths) who plundered Rome in 410 CE come to their end as a nation about this time, and their Gothic language soon disappears. (Compare Before 381 CE.)

w94 5/15 8–9.

560 CE - back

Bible Languages: The Spanish bishop Isidore of Seville, born this year (d. 636 CE), will write: “There are three sacred languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and they are supreme through all the world. For it was in these three languages that the charge against the Lord was written above the cross by Pilate.” No matter that the three languages were those posted by the pagan Romans, religious leaders argued that Hebrew, Greek, and Latin were the only suitable Bible languages, resulting in centuries of often severe opposition to any who would translate the Bible into languages other than these. See, for example, 1401, 1408, and 1526.

g 12/11 6, “They Tried to Keep God’s Word From the Masses.”

567 CE - back

Religion: The Council of Tours proclaims “the 12 days from Christmas to Epiphany as a sacred and festive season.”

w97 12/15 5.

Circa 570 CE - back

Religion: Muhammad bin Abdullah, the founder of Islam, is born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

g89 7/22 21–24.

7th CENTURY CE   (600–699)

600 - 620 - 630 - 680 - 690

Religion: This century sees the establishment of Islam as a religion, beginning in 622 CE. For the history of this religion, see chapter 12, “Islām — The Way to God by Submission,” in Mankind’s Search for God, pages 284–305.

Religion: Late in this century, Caliph ‛Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan builds the Dome of the Rock, a shrine, on or near the former Jewish temple site in Jerusalem. The el-Aqsa (or, al-Aqsa) mosque, considered even more important to Muslims, will be built south of the Dome of the Rock and also in the former temple area.

See photos and illustrations of both here: www.bibleplaces.com/domeofrock.htm and www.atlastours.net/holyland/al_aqsa_mosque.html.

it EARTHQUAKE; JERUSALEM (Later Periods).

Religion: Muslims capture Egypt and other parts of the Byzantine Empire located in North Africa.

g89 8/8 21–25.

601 CE - back

Religion: Regarding the merrymaking of revelers who indulged in gluttonous eating and drinking at Christmas, which has absorbed many features from the harvest festivals of northern Europe, Pope Gregory I writes Mellitus, his missionary in England “not to stop such ancient pagan festivities, but to adapt them to the rites of the Church, only changing the reason of them from a heathen to a Christian impulse.”

w97 12/15 5.

622 CE - back

Religion: The Islamic era begins with the emigrating of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, an event called the hijrah (“emigration” or “flight”). The pilgrimage to Mecca prescribed as a religious duty for Muslims is called a hajj, and a person who makes the pilgrimage to Mecca is called a hajji. Muslim dates are given as A.H. (Anno Hegirae, “in the year of the Hegira”). This is year one of the Muslim calendar.

g89 7/22 21–24; sh 292; TH 622.

630 CE - back

Religion: Muhammad achieves dominance when Mecca surrenders to him in January and he becomes its ruler. He establishes the Kaabah (“The Cube,” the building where a black meteorite stone was revered by the Arabs) as the focal point for pilgrimages to Mecca.

sh 287, 292.

632 CE - back

Religion: Muhammad (circa 570 CE–632 CE), the founder of Islam, dies, provoking a crisis because of not having a clearly defined successor. The question of succession will eventually cause divisions in Islam. The Sunni Muslims accept the principle of elective office rather than blood descent; the Shi‛ite Muslims claim that true leadership comes through Muhammad’s bloodline.

g88 11/8 23–24; sh 286–7, 292–93.

637 CE - back

Religion: The Muslims conquer Jerusalem. The New Jewish Encyclopedia of 1962 (page 237) says: “After the Moslem conquest, Jews were permitted to settle in Jerusalem, but the entire Jewish community was wiped out during the expeditions of the Crusaders.” (See 1096 CE.)

w64 11/1 649.

681 CE - back

Religion: The Council of Constantinople approves of no pulpit preaching by the laity, a doctrine that is not in harmony with the Bible. In Philip Schaff’s History of the Christian Church, he states: “In the apostolic church preaching and teaching were not confined to a particular class, but every convert could proclaim the gospel to unbelievers, and every Christian who had the gift could pray and teach and exhort in the congregation.”

Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8; 4:13; 1 Corinthians 9:16; w86 5/15 24–26.; w53 9/15 554; w51 3/1 138.

692 CE - back

Religion: At the council of Trullan in Constantinople, the rule is set forth that “eating of the blood of animals is forbidden in Holy Scripture,” punishable by excommunication. The first command about not eating the blood of animals was given at Genesis 9:3, 4.

g86 9/8 23–27.

8th CENTURY CE   (700–799)

710 - 720 - 730 - 750 - 780

Religion: Early in this century, Byzantine emperor Leo III prohibits the use of icons in the Eastern Church, although their use will be sanctioned in 843 CE.

g89 7/8 24.

Religion: During this century Islam moves through Spain into France to within about 100 miles from Paris. Many Spanish Catholics convert to Islam, while others adopt Muslim manners and embrace Muslim culture. A vast Islamic empire is created from the Indus River in the East to the Pyrenees in the West.

g89 8/8 22; g88 11/8 23–24, 27.

Paper: By the end of this century, paper is being manufactured in Damascus and quickly replaces papyrus throughout the Islamic empire.

g88 11/8 27.

Mathematics: By this century, Islamic mathematicians are using Arabic numerals (more accurately known as Hindu-Arabic numerals, or Hindu numerals), with the zero and decimal point, a considerable improvement over the former Roman system of numerals by letters. This numeral system was derived from Hindu mathematicians of India who had worked it out in the third century BCE. It becomes more widely known in Europe only after the mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci introduces it in 1202 CE in his book Liber abaci (Book of the Abacus, or, Book of Calculation).

g93 5/8 20–21; g88 11/8 27.

711 CE - back

Islam: Spain is invaded by the Muslim armies composed of Berbers (North African tribesmen) and Arabs (who later form the ruling class). These invaders are called “Moors.”

g88 11/8 23–24.

724 CE - back

Bible: An Arabic version of the Bible is made in Spain.

it VERSIONS.

726 CE - back

Religion: Emperor Leo III of Constantinople prohibits the worship of images and orders them to be destroyed. Pope Gregory II of Rome excommunicates the Eastern emperor, who belongs to the Eastern Church.

bf 483.

730 CE - back

Religion: The Council of Constantinople rejects the use of images in worship, although the use of images will be reintroduced in 787 CE and in 842 CE.

1 John 5:21; Exodus 20:4–6; w86 5/15 24–26.

754 CE - back

Religion: An iconoclastic council declares that the veneration of images was introduced by Satan for the purpose of luring man away from the true God. Compare 730 CE and 787 CE.

w92 2/1 6.

787 CE - back

Religion: The Council of Nicaea reintroduces the use of images, a doctrine that had been rejected by the Council of Constantinople in 730 CE.

w86 5/15 24–26.

9th CENTURY CE   (800–899)

800 - 840 - 860

Religion: At the start of this ninth century CE, Archbishop Agobard of Lyons condemns image worship and the invocation of “saints.”

g89 8/22 17; w81 8/1 12–13.

Bible: The Slavonic version of the Bible is made in this century.

it VERSIONS.

800 CE - back

Roman Empire, Western and Eastern: Charlemagne, king of the Franks, tries to restore the Western Roman Empire. He is crowned emperor by Pope Leo III, who has just broken with the Eastern Church. This year dates the establishment of the “Holy Roman Empire,” which will survive until 1806 CE. The coronation of Charlemagne is actually a usurpation, because the legal governing authority in the empire is still at Constantinople.

g89 7/8 21–24; w88 5/1 26–29; bf 484; yw 261.

842 CE - back

Religion: The Council of Constantinople reintroduces the use of images. A previous Council of Constantinople in 730 CE had rejected the use of images.

w86 5/15 24–26.

843 CE - back

Religion: The use of icons (as opposed to images) is sanctioned in the Eastern Church.

g89 7/8 21–24.

867 CE - back

Religion: This year marks the first split between Rome and the Eastern churches, with the final schism coming in 1054 CE. When Pope Nicholas I challenges Photius’s elevation to the patriarchate, the Byzantine patriarch refuses to bow. Nicholas then excommunicates Photius. In response, a council at Constantinople excommunicates Nicholas.

w83 9/15 8; g90 6/22 4.

10th CENTURY CE   (900–999)

910 - 930 - 960

Spain: During this tenth century CE, with the possible exception of Constantinople, Cordoba, the capital of Islamic Spain, is the most populous city in Europe, with a population of about one-half million. The city boasts a library containing 400,000 volumes. Young noblemen from Christendom’s feudal kingdoms to the north receive their education at the Moorish courts.

g88 11/8 23–27.

916 CE - back

Bible: One of the most important of the Eastern or Babylonian line of Bible texts is cataloged as the Codex Babylonicus Petropolitanus of 916. It is now in Leningrad.

it BABYLON 2.

Circa 930 CE - back

Bible (Aleppo Codex): The Aleppo Codex, dated to approximately this year, preserves the divine name (Tetragrammaton) that appeared in the early Hebrew text at Deuteronomy 32:3, 6. The Aleppo Codex is the earliest available Hebrew manuscript of the Bible until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the twentieth century. (See 1947 CE.)

w08 11/15 32, Reference Bible, Appendix 1C; Aleppo Codex, Israel Museum.

962 CE - back

Holy Roman Empire: Pope John XII crowns Otto I emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation, a title that will be kept until 1806 CE. Later, Voltaire will say the empire was “neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.”

g89 7/8 21–24; w88 5/1 29.

11th CENTURY CE   (1000–1099)

1000 - 1020 - 1050 - 1070 - 1090

Religion: Beginning in this century, the papacy takes over the role of leader in Europe. According to The Columbia History of the World, “the Church was Europe’s greatest government.” The Crusades strengthen the papacy’s position of religious and political leadership. During this century, an archdeacon, Berengar of Tours, is excommunicated for questioning transubstantiation.

w89 9/1 3; g89 8/8 21–25; g89 8/22 16–20.

1000 CE - back

Religion (The “Year-1000 Scare”): Roman Catholic Saint Augustine (354 CE–430 CE) stated that the Millennium began at the birth of Christ and would be followed by the Last Judgment, and that Satan was bound at the time of Christ’s first advent, and according to Revelation 20:3, 7, 8, Satan would be bound for 1,000 years and then be “released . . . to deceive all the nations” (The Jerusalem Bible). Although Augustine had the conviction that there would be no literal millennium, or 1000-year reign of Christ, some people are fearful of what will happen in this year 1000. However, under the subject “Millenarianism,” the New Catholic Encyclopedia (©1967) says, “As the year 1000 neared, millenarianism became more prevalent because many eschatologists believed that the seventh day of creation was to be realized in human history in A.D. 1000 and that there would follow a glorious 10-century reign of the Christ.”

w99 12/1 4–5; w84 12/1 7; w81 4/15 12; ka 14.

Religion: It is about this year that the “first seedbeds of heresy [against Roman Catholicism] appeared in France and northern Italy” (according to The Collins Atlas of World History).

g89 8/22 17.

Religion: By about this year the cult of Mary has become popular throughout Europe. Many of the medieval Gothic cathedrals throughout France will be built and dedicated to Mary, such as the famous Notre Dame (“Our Lady”) of Paris.

g83 4/22 22; g80 7/22 17.

Exploration: Leif Ericson, son of Eric the Red who colonized Greenland, discovers America about this year, landing at Helluland (possibly Baffin Island) and Markland (probably Labrador) and remaining a year in Vinland (possibly Newfoundland). The new land was probably first sighted about 986 CE by Bjarni Herjolfsson, who had been blown off course west of Greenland.

g83 6/8 30; AAEnc “Leif Eriksson,” “Vinland.”

1022 CE - back

Religion: A synod at Pavia, Italy, forbids clerical marriage and concubinage, and condemns the children of such unions to serfdom.

www.catholic.org/saints/saints/benedict8.html.

1054 CE - back

Religion: This year marks the final East-West Schism between the Western Church (Roman Catholic) and the Eastern Church (Orthodox). (See 867 CE.) Patriarch Michael Cerularius of the East and Cardinal Humbert of the West mutually excommunicate each other. Tensions between the Eastern and Western churches will grow until the break between the two churches becomes complete during the Fourth Crusade (1202 CE–1204 CE).

w83 9/15 8; w66 5/1 281; g90 6/22 5; g89 8/8 21–25.

1075 CE - back

Religion: The Turk Seljuk leader Malik Shah conquers Syria and Palestine. Until now, the Arabs who controlled Palestine had protected the “Christians” who had been making frequent pilgrimages to Jerusalem since the beginning of this century. But soon tales of persecution and massacre of “Christians” begin to reach Europe. Pope Gregory VII later addresses the rulers of Europe to make war against the Turks, but his plans are deferred. Only in 1095 CE will Urban II arouse the masses to begin the Crusades to liberate the sacred shrines and atone for injury to the pilgrims.

g50 1/8 3–8; SC-4 585–88; TH 1075.

1095 CE - back

Religion (Crusades): Pope Urban II convenes the Council of Clermont and in what is called “one of the most effective talks in history” calls on European Catholics to “go to the aid of their brothers in the Christian East” and take up the literal sword against the Turks (see 1075 CE) to depose Islam from the holy lands of the Middle East to which Christendom claims exclusive rights. He urges them to “bathe your hands in the blood of the infidels.” Religion will therefore be the force behind the resulting series of wars called the Crusades, the longest armed conflict in history, which lasts for 200 years. The date of departure is set for August 15, 1096.

w94 1/15 6; w89 9/1 4; w82 1/1 4; g89 8/8 21–25; g72 4/22 12.

1096 CE - back

Religion (Crusades): Impatient peasants who were the first recruits did not wait for the set departure in August, and under the leadership of Peter the Hermit, perhaps 60,000 men and women, called pauperes Christi (Christ’s paupers), set out for Palestine in April. Due to the Crusaders’ popular motif of vengeance for the death of Jesus, they plunder local populations and slaughter Jews en route in Rouen and Cologne, the city of departure, and with massacres following in Worms and Mainz. A few thousand finally reach Constantinople and become easy prey in a trap prepared for them, leaving behind only a pyramid of bones to tell their story.

The First Crusade (1096–1099 CE) leaving in August with an estimated 600,000 men, results in the recapture of Jerusalem in 1099 CE (see 637 CE) and the establishment of four Latin states in the East: the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, and the Council of Tripoli. The city of Edessa will later fall to the Muslims and call for another crusade. (See 1147 CE.)

w64 11/1 649; g 97 10/8 12–15; g89 8/8 21–25; g50 10/8 3–8; SC-4 588–92.

12th CENTURY CE   (1100–1199)

1120 - 1130 - 1140 - 1180

Religion: Peter de Bruys and Henry of Lausanne reject infant baptism and worship of the cross; Henry loses his freedom, Peter his life. By the middle of this century, the towns of Western Europe are “honeycombed with heretical sects.” (See Will Durant.) The Waldenses, led by French merchant Pierre Valdes (Peter Waldo), gain prominence at the end of this century; they spread throughout France, northern Italy, Flanders, Germany, Austria, and Bohemia (Czechoslovakia). They disagree with the church on Mary worship, confession to priests, Masses for the dead, papal indulgences, priestly celibacy, and the use of carnal weapons. (See “Waldenses” in Columbia Encyclopedia.) The selling of indulgences originates during the Crusades. During this century Pope Adrian IV officially grants the land of Ireland to the English king, Henry II. In the eyes of the faithful, this will validate the English takeover of Ireland. In the second half of this century, Muslim leader Nureddin builds an efficient military force by unifying the Muslims in northern Syria and upper Mesopotamia.

w82 1/1 4; w81 8/1 12–15; g89 8/8 21–25; 8/22 16–20.

1123 CE - back

Religion: The First Lateran Council is the first Ecumenical Council to be held in Rome. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, this council “forbids priests, deacons, subdeacons, and monks to marry or to have concubines.”

g85 11/8 6; w83 9/15 8.

1139 CE - back

Religion: The Second Lateran Council confirms the First Lateran Council’s ban in 1123 CE on marriage for priests. The Catholic Encyclopedia lists Canons 6, 7, 11 for “Condemnation and repression of marriage and concubinage among priests, deacons, subdeacons, monks, and nuns.” Canon 4 is an “Injunction to bishops and ecclesiastics not to scandalize anyone by the colours, the shape, or extravagance of their garments, but to clothe themselves in a modest and well-regulated manner.”

w70 7/1 391.

1147 CE - back

Religion (Crusades): The Second Crusade (1147 CE–1149 CE) is initiated because of the loss of the County of Edessa to Syrian Muslims in 1144 CE. It ends when the Muslims successfully turn back Christendom’s “infidels.”

g89 8/8 21–25.

1184 CE - back

Religion (Inquisition): The Inquisition is inaugurated by Pope Lucius III at the Synod of Verona, Italy. Bishops are instructed to “seek out” (Latin, inquirere) heretics. This is called the Episcopal Inquisition, that is, one placed under the authority of the Catholic bishops. An even harsher Legatine Inquisition is begun later by several popes who send out papal legates who, with the help of Cistercian monks, are empowered to carry out their own “inquiries” into heresy.

g97 5/8 18; g86 4/22 20–24.

1189 CE - back

Religion (Crusades): The Third Crusade (1189 CE–1192 CE) is undertaken after the Muslims retake Jerusalem. One of its leaders is Richard I, “the Lionhearted,” of England. The Crusade disintegrates “through attrition, quarreling, and lack of cooperation.”

g89 8/8 21–25.

13th CENTURY CE   (1200–1299)

1200 - 1210 - 1220 - 1230 - 1240 - 1250 - 1260 - 1270

Religion: The philosophy of a text of Jewish mysticism written in this century, the Zohar, or Sefer hazohar, is the basis for further means of divination through examination of the face (physiognomy) and palm (chiromancy, or palmistry).

sh 89–91.

1202 CE - back

Religion (Crusades): The Fourth Crusade (1202 CE–1204 CE) is diverted from Egypt to Constantinople for lack of funds. Material assistance is promised in return for helping enthrone Alexius, an exiled Byzantine pretender to the crown.

g89 8/8 21–25.

Mathematics: Leonardo of Pisa (aka Fibonacci) publishes Liber abaci (Book of the Abacus, or, Book of Calculation). In this important book he introduces Europe to the Arabic-Hindu numeral system, a great improvement over the old Roman numeral system that uses letters for numbers. Fibonacci explains: “The nine Indian figures are: 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1. With these nine figures and with the sign 0 . . . any number may be written.” (See the 8th Century CE.)

g93 5/8 20.

1204 CE - back

Religion (Crusades): Constantinople is pillaged during the Fourth Crusade, laying a firm foundation for the Catholic schism. Pope Innocent III establishes a Latin kingdom in Constantinople under a western patriarch.

g89 8/8 21–25.

1209 CE - back

Religion: Pope Innocent III launches a military crusade against heretics in southern France, mostly the Cathars (Cathari), who mix Manichaeism (see the 3rd Century CE) with apostate Christian Gnosticism. They are particularly numerous in the town of Albi, hence they become known as Albigenses.

g86 4/22 20–23; sh 282.

1212 CE - back

Religion (Crusades): The Children’s Crusade brings death to thousands of German and French children who set out without leaders, guides, or provisions. Few if any return to their homes, with many being sold into captivity by slave merchants.

g89 8/8 21–25; g50 10/8 6.

1217 CE - back

Religion (Crusades): The Fifth Crusade (1217 CE–1221 CE) is the last one under papal leadership. It fails due to flawed leadership and clergy interference.

g89 8/8 21–25.

1228 CE - back

Religion (Crusades): The Sixth Crusade (1228 CE–1229 CE) is led by Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, previously excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX.

g89 8/8 21–25.

1229 CE - back

Religion (Inquisition): At the Synod of Toulouse in southern France, Pope Gregory IX arranges for permanent inquisitors, including one priest, in every parish.

g86 4/22 20–23.

1231 CE - back

Religion (Inquisition): Gregory IX enacts a law whereby unrepentant heretics are sentenced to death by fire and repentant heretics are sentenced to life imprisonment.

g86 4/22 20.

1233 CE - back

Religion (Inquisition): Gregory IX relieves the bishops of their responsibility to seek out heretics (see 1184 CE). He sets up the Monastic Inquisition by appointing permanent papal inquisitors, or judges, generally chosen from Dominican monks or the Franciscans. See “Medieval Inquisition” at www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0858833.html.

g97 5/8 18; g86 4/22 20–23; g56 6/8 20–23; sh 282.

1248 CE - back

Religion (Crusades): The Seventh Crusade (1248 CE–1254 CE) is led by Louis IX of France.

g89 8/8 21–25.

Circa 1250 CE - back

Bible: Cardinal Hugo de Sancto Caro is credited with dividing the entire Bible into chapters about this year, if not sooner.

See “Bible Statistics” at www.bootlegbooks.com/Reference/PhraseAndFable/data/131.html.)

The Encyclopedia of Religion, by Vergilius Ferm, credits Stephen Langton (died 1228 CE), Archbishop of Canterbury and framer of the Magna Carta, with introducing the present chapter divisions into the Vulgate.

See also www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Langton and www.encyclopedia.com/html/L/Langton.asp.

w63 2/1 88.

1252 CE - back

Religion (Inquisition): Pope Innocent IV issues the bull “Ad extirpanda” that officially authorizes the use of torture for heretics. By “being burned at the stake, the usual method to put heretics to death by the 13th century, . . . the church was not [considered] guilty of shedding blood.” (Apparently frying, broiling, or roasting people with their blood intact is not considered the same as shedding blood. That minor technicality does not, however, exempt these religious inquisitors from being bloodguilty.)

See also www.newadvent.org/cathen/08026a.htm and www.catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0029.html.

g89 8/8 21–25; g86 4/22 20–23.

1267 CE - back

Archaeology: At the city of Adam on the Jordan River, a lofty mound falls across the river and stops the flow of water for 16 hours. This is similar to the Biblical event of 1473 BCE.

it ADAM.

1270 CE - back

Religion (Crusades): The Eighth Crusade (1270 CE–1272 CE), led by Louis IX of France, collapses after his death in North Africa.

g89 8/8 21–25.

1274 CE - back

Religion (Hellfire): The Council of Lyons approves the doctrine of Hellfire, a doctrine that does not harmonize with the Bible. In 1573 CE this doctrine is again approved.

w12 10/1 12#8211;14 “Does God Punish People in Hellfire?”; w86 5/15 24–26.

14th CENTURY CE   (1300–1399)

1300 - 1330 - 1340 - 1350 - 1370 - 1380 - 1390

The Black Death: About mid-century, the plague (both bubonic and pneumonic), which began in Asia, invades Europe, kills millions of people, and brings about great changes in society. According to Andrew Nikiforuk, author of The Fourth Horseman: “Although the Great Mortality (as it was then called) spared homes and monasteries, it emptied them of their residents so rapidly that the plague hit Europe with the force of several nuclear wars. It achieved a fearful symmetry by recurring in two- and twenty-year cycles (albeit with decreasing intensity) over a period of three hundred years until 1720. The great die-offs that accompanied these epidemics produced great change. Depopulation inexorably raised the scale of wages, subverted feudalism and conserved forests. It also enlarged graveyards, ignited Jew-killings, multiplied sheep, inspired flagellants and even introduced English as the common language of intellectual discourse. . . . The Great Mortality changed every aspect of life in Medieval society. Chroniclers weren’t exaggerating when they wrote that the plague ‘turned Europe upside down.’”

Religion, the Great Schism: The Great Schism begins in this century, in 1378 CE, when two opposing popes are elected. It will last until 1417 CE.

See www.middle-ages.org.uk/the-great-schism.htm.

1309 CE - back

Religion: The papal residence is transferred from Rome to Avignon (France), due to nationalistic dissension and political maneuvering. In all, seven popes, all Frenchmen, will rule from Avignon during a period referred to as the “Babylonian Captivity.” The papal residence will be restored to Rome in 1377 CE, the year before the Great Schism.

g89 8/8 21–25; g71 5/8 13; sh 310–11.

Circa 1330 CE - back

Religion: John Wycliffe (circa 1320 CE or 1330 CE–1384 CE) is born. His anticlerical preaching and emphasis on the Bible will engender the Protestant spirit in England. His writings and portions of the Bible will be distributed throughout England by a body of preachers known as “Poor Priests” or (derisively) Lollards. The English Reformation will trace its roots back to the days of John Wycliffe.

jv 44; sh 310–11, 325.

1347 CE - back

The Black Death: In October of this year, the plague or “Black Death,” which began in China, arrives in Europe (Cyprus). Within three years, about 25 million people will die in Europe, which is about one-fourth the population of Europe, or according to some estimates, about one-half of the population. Worldwide, about 62 million people die from the bubonic plague.

w77 6/15 359; g97 11/22 3; g77 9/22 18.

1348 CE - back

The Black Death: The plague spreads to France, Italy, Germany, and England. According to The Fourth Horseman: “Body counters for Pope Clement VI estimated that between 1348 and 1351, the Great Mortality killed 23,840,000 people — 31 percent. In densely packed countries such as France, Yersinia pestis likely emptied the land of half of its inhabitants. England recorded about a million plague dead or one third of its people.”

FactBook.

1351 CE - back

The Black Death: The Black Death sweeps Russia.

FactBook.

1377 CE - back

Religion: The papal residence is restored to Rome from Avignon, France, where it had been transferred in 1309 CE.

g89 8/8 21–25.

1378 CE - back

Religion (The Great Schism): The Great Papal Schism, or the “Great Schism of the West,” or the “Great Western Schism,” begins when the same group of cardinals elects two popes. In Rome, they first elect Urban VI, an Italian, who proves to be quick-tempered, obstinate, cruel, and autocratic. A few months later in Fondi, they elect rival pope Clement VII, a Frenchman. Clement settles in Avignon, France. He and his successor, Benedict XIII (elected in 1394), are known as anti-popes (popes not correctly elected). Scotland, France, and parts of Germany and Italy under French influence recognize the Avignon popes. Later, in 1409 CE, there will be three papal obediences, with rival popes located in Rome, Avignon, and Pisa, Italy. This Western or Great Schism will be ended by the Council of Constance in 1417 CE.

w81 3/15 25; g90 6/22 5; g89 8/8 21–25; g71 5/8 12–16; FactBook..

Circa 1378 CE to 1381 CE - back

Bible: John Wycliffe translates the Christian Greek Scriptures from Jerome’s Latin version into English.

w81 3/15 25; SC 6:36.

1384 CE - back

Religion: English reformer John Wycliffe (born circa 1320 CE or 1330 CE) dies of a stroke. (See 1415 CE.) Wycliffe’s writings and portions of the Bible, distributed throughout England by the “Poor Priests,” also derisively called “Lollards,” influence at least one-fourth of the population of England.

sh 311; SC 6:31–37.

1394 CE - back

Bible: John Wycliffe’s Bible translation from the Latin Vulgate is completed, the Hebrew Scriptures being translated by Nicholas Hereford and John Purvey. This is the first complete Bible in the English language.

SC 6:36.

15th CENTURY CE   (1400–1499)

1400 - 1410 - 1420 - 1450 - 1460 - 1470 - 1480 - 1490 - 1499

Printing: By 1450 CE, Johannes Gutenberg begins using movable type for printing in Germany.

w97 9/15 26.

Flood Legends: Aztec mythology of this century and the next speaks of an age when the earth was inhabited by giants (compare Genesis 6:4) and of flood legends.

sh 51.

Spain and Portugal: During this century, the two Catholic powers of Spain and Portugal begin a program of exploration and colonial expansion, and begin converting the native inhabitants of the lands they discover.

g89 9/22 16.

Religion: By the end of this century, the Church of Rome will have become the largest landholder in Europe (parishes, monasteries, convents), owning as much as half the land in France and Germany and two-fifths or more in Sweden and England.

sh 306–7.

1401 CE - back

Bible: The English Parliament declares anyone possessing the Bible in the common language should “before the people, in a high place caused to be burnt.”

g79 10/8 11.

1403 CE - back

Religion: Jan Hus (John Huss), born about 1369 CE, who preaches against the corruption of the Roman Church and stresses the importance of reading the Bible, is ordered by the authorities to stop preaching the antipapal ideas of Wycliffe. The church also burns Wycliffe’s books. See also 1410 CE and 1415 CE.

sh 311–12.

1408 CE - back/Users/cjb/Documents/APPS-MP3/Mags-MP3/2012Mags/g_E_201202_06.mp3

Bible: A synod of clergy at Oxford, England, bans translating the Bible into the vernacular, or even reading the Bible, except by permission of a bishop. In part, they declare: “We therefore decree and ordain, that from henceforward no unauthorised person shall translate any part of the holy Scripture into English or any other language . . . under the penalty of the greater excommunication, till the said translation shall be approved either by the bishop of the diocese, or a provincial council as occasion shall require.” Also, no one should read “any such book, pamphlet, or treatise, now lately composed in the time of John Wycliffe or since . . . publicly or privately, upon pain of greater excommunication.”

The thirteen provisions that include this prohibition are known as the Constitutions of Oxford, and will remain in force until the Reformed religion is established in England in the sixteenth century. In spite of the proscription being rigorously enforced, it is ineffectual, because the Wycliffite Bible, the only existing English version, achieves wide popularity. This is shown by nearly 200 manuscripts surviving, most of them being copied between 1420 CE and 1450 CE.

w95 11/15 27; w87 7/15 21–22; w80 8/1 26–27; E-Bible 21; EncBrit “Biblical Literature.”

1409 CE - back

Religion (the Great Schism): The College of Cardinals called at the Council of Pisa depose both popes (the one in Rome and the one in Avignon) and elect Alexander V, but the other two popes refuse to resign, so now there are three popes. (See 1378 CE.)

g71 5/8 12–16; FactBook.

1410 CE - back

Religion: Jan Hus (John Huss) is condemned and excommunicated this year. (See 1403 CE and 1415 CE.) [Note: Some references say Huss was forbidden to preach in 1409 CE and excommunicated in 1411 CE.]

sh 312.

1412 CE - back

Bible and Religion: Giving the people a Bible in their own language tended to make a person unpopular with the Catholic Church. Archbishop Arundel writes to Pope John XXIII about “that wretched and pestilent fellow John Wycliffe, of damnable memory, that son of the old serpent, the very herald and child of antichrist. . . . To fill up the measure of his malice, he devised the expedient of a new translation of the scriptures into the mother tongue.”

w97 9/15 25.

1414 CE - back

Religion: The Council of Constance is called to end the bickering over who is the legitimate pope, and to deal with the heresies of Wycliffe (who died in 1384 CE) and of Jan Hus (John Huss).

w86 5/15 25.

1415 CE - back

Religion: On May 4, the Council of Constance (1414–1418) condemns John Wycliffe, who died in 1384 CE, and orders that his bones be dug up and burned (see 1428 CE).

Religion: The Bohemian (Czech) Catholic priest and follower of Wycliffe, Jan Hus (John Huss), who questions the legitimacy of the papacy and denies that the church had been founded on Peter, has written stinging indictments against the practices of the church, including the sale of indulgences. (See 1403 and 1410 CE.) Hus, falsely guaranteed safe conduct and tricked into attending the Council of Constance to defend his cause, is tried, condemned as a heretic, turned over to secular authorities, and burned to death at the stake.

sh 311–12; AAEnc 20: “Wycliffe;” SC 6:37, 166; w97 9/15 26; w89 5/15 4; g89 8/22 16–20; w86 5/15 25; AAEnc 5: “Constance, Council of.”

1417 CE - back

Religion (the Great Schism): The Council of Constance (1414 CE–1418 CE) elects Martin V as the new pope, ending the Great Schism that began in 1378 CE. Although the church is once again united, it has been seriously weakened. The church, however, refuses to recognize any need for reform, a failure that lays the foundation for the Reformation in the sixteenth century. (See 1517 CE and 1538 CE.)

g89 8/8 21–25.

1428 CE - back

Religion: By demand of the pope, the order given in 1415 CE at the Council of Constance is carried out: John Wycliffe’s remains are dug up, burned, and cast into the river Swift (England).

w97 9/15 26; w74 743.

1450 CE - back

Printing: By this year, Johannes Gutenberg is printing with movable type in Germany. This advancement in mass printing will become one of the most major forces in influencing modern history. The first book Gutenberg prints is the Bible. See 1455 CE.

The Guinness Book of Records 1492.

1452 CE - back

Religion: Girolamo Savonarola (1452 CE–1498 CE) is born. As a Dominican monk of Florence, Italy, he will speak out against corruption in both Church and State.

sh 312–13; g89 8/22 16–20.

1453 CE - back

Roman Empire: The Roman Empire in the East comes to an end when Constantinople and the eastern part of the Roman Empire falls to the Ottoman Turks, cut down not simply by the Islamic sword but also by the empire’s sister church in Rome. (See 330 CE, 1202 CE, and 1204 CE.) Divided Christendom has now given Islam a base for moving into Europe. Constantinople had been the capital of the Roman Empire in the East for eleven centuries, since the fourth century CE when Constantine moved his government there.

g89 8/8 21–25; w88 5/1 26–29; w67 156.

Renaissance: When the Turks capture Constantinople, many Greek scholars flee to Italy. Their influx arouses a new interest in the classics and learning in general, and by the next century the effect of this renaissance will spread throughout the whole European continent.

Country Flowers: Wild Classics for the Contemporary Garden, by Rob Proctor (c) 1991.

1454 CE - back

Printing: The earliest dated type-set document to bear an actual date is a papal bull printed this year from Gutenberg’s press.

The Guinness Book of Records 1492.

1455 CE - back

Bible: The first printed Bible comes off the press by this year (or perhaps by 1456). This two-volume edition of the Latin Vulgate, commonly called the Mazarin Bible, is perhaps more well known as the Gutenberg Bible. It may have numbered about 200 copies, some on vellum and others on paper. Because it is printed in double columns of 42 lines of type, it is also known as the “42-line Bible.”

w97 9/15 26; it BIBLE (Preservation); HBE 24; The Guinness Book of Records 1492.

1457 CE - back

Religion: The Council of Avignon approves of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, a doctrine that does not harmonize with the Bible.

w86 5/15 24–26.

1464 CE - back

Printing: The first printing press outside of Germany is set up at the monastery of Subiaco, near Rome. It later moves to Rome in 1467 CE. In the late 1460s, roman type is introduced, replacing the gothic type lettering used in Germany. Roman type is the direct ancestor of the typefaces used in the coming centuries.

The Guinness Book of Records 1492.

1469 CE - back

Printing: Venice acquires its first printing press and soon becomes Europe’s foremost city of printing. By 1500 CE, Venice will have about 150 printing presses and will have published about 3,750 volumes.

The Guinness Book of Records 1492.

1470 CE - back

Printing: A printing press is set up in Paris in the cellars of the Sorbonne, thus becoming the third printing press set up outside of Germany. By 1500 CE, Paris will have published about 2,200 volumes.

The Guinness Book of Records 1492.

1471 CE - back

Religion: Sixtus IV, pope from 1471 CE–1484 CE, will spend large sums of money to build the Sistine Chapel, named after himself.

sh 308.

1475 CE - back

Bible: The first catalog of the Vatican Library appears. Catalogued in it is the Codex Vaticanus 1209 (designated B), which is one of the three great Greek codices to survive the centuries, the other two being the fourth-century Sinaiticus and the fifth-century Alexandrinus. (See 1809 CE.) The Vatican Manuscript No. 1209 will be in the possession of the Vatican Library (at least from 1481 CE), but will not be made available to the academic world until 1889/1890 CE.

w89 5/1 30–31; g88 7/22 19.

1476 CE - back

Printing: The earliest English press is set up by William Caxton in the precincts of Westminster Abbey, London.

The Guinness Book of Records 1492.

1478 CE - back

Religion (Inquisition): The Spanish Inquisition is established by Ferdinand and Isabella with the consent of Pope Sixtus IV. At first, it is directed against the Marranos, or Spanish Jews, and the Moriscos, or Spanish Muslims. Later, it will be used against Protestants and other dissenters. In Spain, of 342,000 persons punished by the Inquisition, 32,000 will be burned alive. The Inquisition will end only when Napoleon invades Spain; then it is temporarily revived, and finally suppressed in 1834 CE.

See “Spanish Inquisition at www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0858834.html.

g86 4/22 20–23; FactBook 1478.

Due to the operations of the newly-established Inquisition, it becomes important to professed Christians that the Inquisitorial inspectors find pork in the stew (ollo podrida) or dried pork sausages (chorizo) hanging from the rafters, as proof that neither Jew nor Muslim (who both shun pork) live in the house.

The Guinness Book of Records 1492.

Bible: Bonifacio Ferrer’s Catalan translation of the Bible is printed in Valencia. All available copies will be destroyed by the Inquisition before 1500 CE, except for one single leaf now preserved in the Hispanic Society of America.

w94 5/15 6, 7.

1481 CE - back

Religion (Inquisition): The auto-da-fé begins in Sevilla (Seville). Auto-de-fé is the Portuguese name for “act of faith” (and is anything but) and refers to a public ceremony during which the sentences upon those brought before the (religious) Spanish Inquisition are read and then with the sentences being executed by the civil authorities. The auto-da-fé is one of the most hideous spectacles in all history and will last until the nineteenth century. Between 1481 CE and 1808 CE, more than 340,000 persons in Spain alone will suffer punishment at the autos-da-fé, with 32,000 of these being burned to death. The victims are not limited to Catholics. The New Encyclopedia Britannica says: “The victims were most frequently apostate former Jews and former Muslims, then Alumbrados (followers of a condemned mystical movement) and Protestants, and occasionally those who had been accused of such crimes as bigamy and sorcery. Life imprisonment was the extreme penalty that the inquisitor could impose; the death penalty was imposed and carried out by the civil authorities.” The Inquisition will be finally suppressed in Spain in 1834 CE. The last auto-da-fé will take place in Mexico in 1850 CE.

g56 6/8 20–23.

Bible: The famous Vatican Manuscript No. 1209, or Codex Vaticanus (referred to by the symbol “B”) is in the possession of the Vatican Library at least from this date. It will not be made available to the academic world until 1889/1890 CE. It, along with the Codex Sinaiticus, is the basis for the Greek text from which the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures is translated.

g88 7/22 19.

1483 CE - back

Religion: Martin Luther (1483 CE–1546 CE) is born in Germany. He will “start” the Protestant Reformation in 1517 CE, when he takes issue with the church over the sale of indulgences.

jv 39; sh 314–19; g89 8/22 16–20.

1484 CE - back

Religion: Huldrych Zwingli (Ulrich Swingli) (1484 CE–1531 CE) is born in Switzerland. Zwingli, one of the Protestant Reformers, will attack the church on clerical celibacy and Mariolatry.

jv 39; g89 8/22 16–20.

Religion: Pope Innocent VIII issues a Papal Bull against pagan practices, including witchcraft. Although the Catholic Encyclopedia denies the connection, some historians consider this Bull as laying the foundation for the witch-hunting hysteria that follows for the next several hundred years. More than 30 methods of torture will be used to identify those suspected of being witches. The greatest number of “witches” burned will occur in Germany, but France and Britain will also have such trials. According to The World Book Encyclopedia, “From 1484 to 1782, according to some historians, the Christian church put to death about 300,000 women for witchcraft.”

See www.newadvent.org/cathen/08019b.htm (Innocent VIII)
www.newadvent.org/cathen/15674a.htm (Witchcraft)
www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/witches1.html (Text of Bull)

w02 10/15 5 (read article online); g99 6/8 28.

1492 CE - back

Spain: Seven centuries of Moorish rule end this year as the last Moorish kingdom in Granada is conquered. This victory consolidates the monarchy of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. By order of Ferdinand and Isabella, under the influence of inquisitor-general Torquemada, all unbaptized Jews in Spain are given three months either to accept the Catholic faith or to be expelled from the country. Just one day before Christopher Columbus departs on his voyage of discovery to America, the Jews are expelled from Spain — various estimates range from 120,000 to 800,000 — and forced to leave their homes, lands, and money to the crown.

See the Alhambra Decree at www.answers.com/topic/alhambra-decree.

g93 1/8 32; g91 5/8 21; g90 3/8 4–5; g88 11/8 25–26; g84 8/22 29; TH 1492.

Medicine and Religion: Pope Innocent VIII becomes the first reported case of a person receiving a blood transfusion. The operation cost the lives of three youths, and the pope also dies.

See also www.discoveriesinmedicine.com/Bar-Cod/Blood-Transfusion.html.

g86 9/8 26–27; w66 9/15 552, 556.

Religion: The notorious Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia buys enough votes from his fellow cardinals to become Pope Alexander VI this year. He will be pope until 1503 CE, and his papacy will be marked by ambition, greed, nepotism, licentious living, and suspicious deaths. He will openly acknowledge and promote his illegitimate children. The book History of the Popes From the End of the Middle Ages states: “From a Catholic standpoint, it is not possible to condemn Alexander VI with sufficient severity.” The book The Church and the Renaissance (1449–1517) states: “The contemporaries of the Borgia family, though accustomed to similar spectacles, observed their crimes with unspeakable horror, the echoes of which, more than four centuries later, still have not completely died down.”

w03 6/15 26–29, “Alexander VI — A Pope That Rome Does Not Forget”; sh 308.

Circa 1494 CE - back

Bible: William Tyndale (circa 1494 CE–1536 CE) is born. He will translate the Bible into English at the risk of and finally the forfeit of his own life. See 1524 CE, 1526 CE, and 1536 CE.

w97 9/15 25, 27–29; jv 44.

1495 CE - back

Bible and Printing: By this year, all or part of the Bible has been printed in twelve languages: German, Italian, French, Czech, Dutch, Hebrew, Catalan, Greek, Spanish, Slavonic, Portuguese, and Serbian. The printing of an English translation will begin in 1525 CE.

w97 9/15 26.

1497 CE - back

Religion: Girolamo Savonarola (1452–1498), a Dominican monk of Florence, Italy, who is outspoken against corruption in both Church and State, including “the Vatican orgies and Alexander’s celebrated collection of pornography,” is excommunicated by Pope Alexander VI. (See 1492 CE.) “When Savonarola again defied him by continuing to celebrate Mass and give communion, the pope condemned him as a heretic, sentenced him to torture, and finally had him hanged and burned in the Piazza della Signoria.” (See 1498 CE.)

See www.historyguide.org/intellect/savonarola.html andwww.newadvent.org/cathen/13490a.htm.

WLOBF 42, 44; w03 6/15 28; sh 312–13; g89 8/22 17.

1498 CE - back

Religion: Girolamo Savonarola, who was excommunicated in 1497 CE, is arrested, tortured, and hanged. His body is burned and the ashes thrown into the river Arno (Italy).

sh 313.

1499 CE - back

Religion (Unitarianism): Martin Cellarius (1499 CE–1564 CE) is born. He will accept the Bible as God’s Word and reject the doctrine of the Trinity. According to one Web site, he rejected infant baptism but was a firm believer in predestination. According to the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, “Martin Cellarius (1499–1564) a friend of Luther, is usually regarded as the first literary pioneer (1527) of the movement” [Unitarianism].

See also Borrhaus, Martin (1499–1564).

jv 44.

16th CENTURY CE   (1500–1599)

1500 - 1510 - 1520 - 1530 - 1540 - 1550 - 1560 - 1570 - 1580 - 1590

Book Publishing and Bible Distribution: “By the year 1500, the names of more than one thousand printers are known, and the titles of about 30,000 printed works. Assuming that the editions were small, averaging 300 copies, there would have been in Europe by 1500 about 9,000,000 books, as against the few score thousand manuscripts that lately had held all the precious lore of time. In a few years the price of books sank to one-eighth of what it had been before.” (AgeRef 9) During this century, Europe produces from 140 million to 200 million books. At least one-fourth of these books are published in France, with Lyons being a leading center of publishing. In 1525, the French Parliament bans the translation of the Bible into French, and in 1526 forbids the possession of the Bible in the vernacular. In spite of this, many Bibles are smuggled into France and sold by colporteurs (itinerant peddlers). Some colporteurs are caught and executed for doing this.

g01 12/8 25.

Bible Translation: Regarding the reason for opposition to producing an “authorized” translation of the Bible in the vernacular, Roman Catholic official Geiler of Kaysersberg (Germany) said around 1500: “It is dangerous to put knives into children’s hands, for them to cut bread with themselves, for they may cut themselves. So also holy scripture, which contains the bread of God, should be read and explained by such as are already far advanced in knowledge and experience, and will set forth the undoubted meaning. For inexperienced people will easily take harm from their reading. . . . Therefore, if you wish to read the Bible, beware of falling into error.”

g79 10/8 13.

Religion: This sixteenth century CE is the century of the Protestant Reformation. The highest good it achieves is to make the Bible available to the common people in their own language.

sh 328.

Spain and Portugal begin a program of exploration and colonial expansion. The church sets about converting the native inhabitants of the new lands. Papal bulls award Portugal missionary rights in Africa and Asia; Pope Alexander VI (see 1492) divides the Atlantic, giving rights to the west of the line to Spain, and to the east, to Portugal.

g89 9/22 14–17.

1500 CE - back

Religion: Professed Christians number about one fifth of the world’s population. (Compare 500 CE, 1800 CE, and 1900 CE.)

g89 9/22 16.

1503 CE - back

Religion: The notorious Pope Alexander IV (aka Rodrigo Borgia) dies this year. (See 1492 CE.) “Egidio of Viterbo, general of the Augustinians, summed up Pope Alexander’s Rome in nine words: ‘No law, no divinity; Gold, force and Venus rule.’”

WLOBF 131; w03 6/15 26–29.

1509 CE - back

Religion: John Calvin (1509–1564 CE) is born in France. During his lifetime, Calvin will preach the need for the church to return to the original principles of Christianity, teach that Christians must abstain from sin, pleasure, and frivolity, argue that the church must be freed of all civil restrictions, and expound the doctrine of predestination. Calvin will also introduce church law to Geneva under which an estimated 150 people, including Michael Servetus (see 1531 CE and 1553 CE), will be burned at the stake by the end of the sixteenth century.

sh 323–25; jv 39; g89 8/22 16–20.

1516 CE - back

Bible: Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus is the first to publish the Christian Greek Scriptures in the original Greek. On authority of the Vatican 1209 codex, he at first omits the spurious passage at 1 John 5:7, 8. Later, those who feel that this passage is a valuable proof-text for the Trinity doctrine attack him for the omission. He replies that if he could be shown any Greek manuscript that contains the words, he would include them in his next edition. Someone then produces a Greek manuscript translated from Latin that contains the words, although the translation was not more than 20 years old. Erasmus had unthinkingly given his promise, so he will include the passage in his 1522 edition. Erasmus’ translation contains many errors, but an improved text is published in four succeeding editions from 1519 to 1535. William Tyndale uses Erasmus’ Greek Bible to translate his Bible into English (see 1525 CE).

w97 9/15 26; w89 5/1 30–31; g89 8/22 16–20; it Manuscripts of the Bible (What assurance is there that the Bible has not been changed?); HBE 141–42.

Religion: At the Fifth Lateran Council, Pope Leo X formally forbids any Catholic to predict when Antichrist and the Last Judgment are due to come, with the sanction of excommunication for violators.

w84 12/1 7.

1517 CE - back

Religion: This year is considered the starting point of the Protestant Reformation when on October 31 at Wittenberg, Saxony, Germany, Augustinian monk Martin Luther (1483–1546) affixes 95 theses, or points of protest, to the castle church door that was customarily used as a bulletin board. Luther calls his 95 theses Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum (Disputation for the Clarification of the Power of Indulgences). Luther also prepares a German translation to circulate the next day among the crowd who gather for the annual display of relics on All Saint’s Day, November 1.

The 95 theses can be found at www.luther.de/en/95thesen.html.

Read “Martin Luther — The Man and His Legacy” on WOL.

sh 314–16; g89 8/22 16–20; w87 9/15 26–30; WLOBF 140.

Circa 1519 CE - back

Religion: Ulrich Zwingli (1484 CE–1531 CE), a Catholic priest in Zurich, Switzerland, begins to preach against indulgences, Mariolatry, clerical celibacy, and other doctrines of the Catholic Church. Zwingli advocates the removal of all vestiges of the Roman Church — images, crucifixes, clerical garb, liturgical music.

sh 319–20.

1520 CE - back

Religion: On June 15, Pope Leo X issues a bull ordering that no book containing “heresies” be printed, sold, or read in any Catholic land. In most of Europe, the undisputed authority in matters of doctrine, next to the pope, is the faculty of theologians at the University of Paris — the Sorbonne (see www.bartleby.com/65/so/Sorbonne.html). The Sorbonne will soon become known as the chambre ardente, or “burning room,” sending some 60 victims to the stake, including some printers and booksellers who will be burned alive at the Place Maubert. In England, King Henry VIII leaves the task of censorship to Catholic bishop Cuthbert Tunstall (see 1523 CE, 1530 CE, and 1541 CE).

w95 4/15 10–14.

Religion: Martin Luther publishes his views in three works. In his Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation he invites the German princes to take the reform of the church into their own hands. In A Prelude Concerning the Babylonian Captivity of the Church he attacks the papacy and the current theology of sacraments. In On the Freedom of a Christian Man he states his position on justification and good works. Pope Leo X issues a bull on June 15 giving Luther 60 days to recant (which he doesn’t).

AAEnc “Martin Luther.”

1521 CE - back

Religion: Martin Luther, who is cross-examined before the Diet of Worms, is condemned as a heretic and excommunicated, banned from the Holy Roman Empire. He takes refuge in the Wartburg castle where he begins his German translation of the Bible. (See 1522 CE.)

1522 CE - back

Bible: The Halberstaedter Bible in Low German is published. It is the last German Bible published in the pre-Luther period.

w65 11/15 700.

Bible: Martin Luther anonymously publishes his New Testament. It is a translation of Erasmus’ text of the Greek Scriptures into German and is known as the September Bible. Within 12 months, two editions of 6,000 will be published, and 69 editions will follow in the next 12 years..

w03 9/15 28; w97 9/15 27; w95 11/15 29.

1523 CE - back

Bible: William Tyndale seeks permission from Bishop Tunstall (compare 1530 CE, 1541 CE) to translate the Bible from the original Greek into English. (See 1408 CE.) Tyndale is never given permission to translate, so in 1524 CE he eventually leaves England for Germany, never to return.

w95 11/15 26–30.

1524 CE - back

Bible: William Tyndale leaves England for Germany in order to have freedom to translate the Bible into English. The printing of the first edition of his New Testament will begin in 1525 CE.

w97 9/15 27; w95 11/15 27–28; E-Bible 30–31.

Religion: The peasants in Germany revolt, influenced in part by the teachings of Martin Luther. Although initially favorable to their movement, Luther will speak against them in 1525 CE.

w82 1/1 4.

1525 CE - back

Bible: In Cologne, Germany, printing on William Tyndale’s New Testament in English is begun, but interrupted when the printer is forbidden to proceed with the printing. Tyndale flees Cologne and goes to Worms in order to complete the printing. See 1526 CE and 1530 CE. Tyndale’s Bible is translated from Erasmus’ Greek Testament.

w97 8/15 8; w97 9/15 27; w95 11/15 28; w74 12/15 743; E-Bible 30–31, 40.

Religion (Anabaptists): A group of dissenters breaks9c from Zwingli’s followers and become known as Anabaptists (“rebaptizers”). Several groups of Anabaptists appear during this century in Switzerland, Germany, Moravia (Czech Republic), and the Netherlands. An Anabaptist is defined as follows: “A member of a radical movement of the 16th-century Reformation that viewed baptism solely as an external witness to a believer’s conscious profession of faith, rejected infant baptism, and believed in the separation of church from state, in the shunning of nonbelievers, and in simplicity of life.” They view infant baptism as useless. (See 1970 CE.) They also deny the authority of the State over the Church and oppose the use of carnal weapons, even in so-called just wars. (See 1527 CE.) Thousands of Anabaptists will be put to death for their beliefs.

w04 6/15 11–13, “Who Were the Anabaptists?”; g89 8/22 16–20; definition from Answers.com

Religion: Martin Luther recommends that the princes of Germany crush the “Rapacious, Murderous Hordes of Peasants,” who revolted in 1524 CE. The princes will follow his advice with great cruelty.

w03 9/15 29; w82 1/1 4.

1526 CE - back

Bible: On February 11, Cardinal Wolsey, some bishops, and some church dignitaries assemble near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London to burn books, including some copies of the first edition of William Tyndale’s Bible. More Bible burnings will follow. (See 1530 CE.)

w97 9/15 25, 27; w95 11/15 28–29; sh 325.

Bible: A photo of Tyndale’s 1526 Bible can be seen on the US Library of Congress Web site. The caption says, in part: “Tyndale’s Worms New Testament (1526), with the familiar ‘In the begynnynge was that worde/and that worde was with god; and god was thatt worde.’ . . . Reproduced by permission of the British Library.”

See www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9707/tyndale.html.

Religion: The emperor grants each German state the right to choose its own form of religion, either Lutheran or Roman Catholic. This is revoked in 1529 CE. (See 1555 CE.)

sh 317.

Circa 1527 CE - back

Bible: In the Catholic Church’s effort to counteract the effects of Luther’s “presumptuous translation,” the Duke of Saxony authorizes a translation in German by Hieronymus Emser. Emser’s translation, however, will not edge out Luther’s translation, which will remain the most widely distributed German Bible translation.

See www.bartleby.com/65/em/Emser-Hi.html.

w65 11/15 701; g79 10/8 13.

1527 CE - back

Religion (Anabaptists): See Anabaptists at 1525 CE. The basic tenants of Swiss Anabaptist faith are defined this year at Schleitheim, Switzerland, in the Schleitheim Confession. One of the seven articles of faith says: “Baptism shall be given to all those who have been taught repentance and the amendment of life and [who] believe truly that their sins are taken away through Christ, and to all those who desire to walk in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and be buried with Him in death, so that they might rise with Him; to all those who with such an understanding themselves desire and request it from us; hereby is excluded all infant baptism, the greatest and first abomination of the pope.” Because both Catholics and Lutherans want to discourage adult baptism (adults might even refuse to be baptized and thus not come under the power of the church), after 1529 those who perform adult baptism or are baptized as adults become liable to receiving the death penalty.

See also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schleitheim_Confession and www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S345.html.

w04 6/15 11–13: “Who Were the Anabaptists?”

1529 CE - back

Religion: The second Diet of Speyer (Germany) is convened in March, partly for action against the further progress of Protestantism. The emperor reverses the right granted in 1526 CE for each German state to choose its own form of religion. See also 1648 CE. The name Protestant is coined for the Reformation movement when some German princes protest the emperor’s decision.

Find more information at cat.xula.edu/tpr/events/speyer/ and www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Second-Diet-of-Speyer.

sh 317; g89 8/22 19 ftn.

1530 CE - back

Bible: Tyndale’s English translation is outlawed and copies of it that Catholic bishop Cuthbert Tunstall has bought for the purpose are burned at St. Paul’s Cross in London. See 1541 CE.

Read more about Tyndale’s Bible at jehovah.to/exe/translation/tyndale.htm.

w95 4/15 12; w87 7/15 21; w82 1/1 10–14; w74 12/15 744.

1531 CE - back

Religion: Michael Servetus (1511 CE–1553 CE), a Spaniard trained in law and medicine, publishes Errors of the Trinity in which he denounces the Trinity doctrine as blasphemous.

sh 322.

1534 CE - back

Bible: William Tyndale’s revised New Testament is published this year. This edition is the basis of successive revisions to come, such as the Authorized Version, The Revised Version, and the Revised Standard Version.

E-Bible 44.

Religion: The king of England, Henry VIII (1491 CE–1547 CE), becomes head of the Church of England when he declares his independence from papal authority and formally breaks from Roman Catholicism.

sh 325–26; g89 8/22 16–20.

1536 CE - back

Bible: William Tyndale, born about 1494 CE, and translator of the Bible into English, is convicted of heresy, strangled, and burned at the stake in September or October. His final prayer is, “Lord! open the King of England’s eyes.” See 1537 CE, 1538 CE, and 1541 CE.

See a 9-minute video about Tyndale on YouTube.

w97 9/15 28–29; w87 7/15 23; w74 12/15 744.

1537 CE - back

Bible: King Henry VIII gives authorization to the Bible generally known as Matthew’s Bible, decreeing that it should be freely sold and read within his realm. Matthew’s Bible is largely Tyndale’s Bible. See 1434 and 1536 CE.

w87 7/15 23.

1538 CE - back

Bible: By this year, King Henry VIII has ordered that Bibles be placed in every church in England. The translation chosen is essentially Tyndale’s.

w02 1/1 32; w97 9/15 27, 29.

Religion: A memorandum to Pope Paul III from Catholic cardinals calls his attention to parochial, financial, judicial, and moral abuses. The papacy fails to make the needed reforms.

g89 8/22 16–20.

1541 CE - back

Bible: An edition of the Bible translation known as the Great Bible — a revision of Matthew’s Bible, itself mainly Tyndale’s Bible — is issued and commanded to be placed in every church in England. Ironically, the authorization for this is from Bishop Tunstall of London who formerly had so bitterly opposed the translation work of Tyndale. See 1523 CE and 1530 CE.

w87 7/15 23.

1545 CE - back

Religion: The Council of Trent (1545 CE–1563 CE) approves of the doctrines of Celibacy for priests, the forbidding of divorce, and Purgatory, doctrines that do not harmonize with the Bible. See also 1573 CE.

Ecclesiastes 9:5; Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 6:7; Matthew 5:31; Mark 19:3–9; 1 Timothy 4:1–3; w86 5/15 24–26.

1546 CE - back

Bible: At the Council of Trent (1545 CE–1563 CE), which is a council convened to deal with the Protestant revolt, the Roman Catholic Church definitely confirms its acceptance of the Apocrypha into its catalog of Bible books, although it excludes three of the writings that appeared in the approved Latin Vulgate for more than 1,100 years, as approved by the earlier Council of Carthage in 397 CE. The Council reiterates that Jerome’s fifth-century Latin Vulgate is the only translation that people may read; however, only the educated can read Latin.

w95 11/15 27; it APOCRYPHA.

1550 CE - back

Bible: French printer and editor Robert Estienne, or Stephanus, has issued several editions of the Greek New Testament based principally on Erasmus’ text. They include corrections according to the Complutensian Polyglot (1522 edition) and other manuscripts. The third edition of Stephanus’ Greek text is issued this year and becomes known as the “Received Text” (Latin: textus receptus). It will be used for many early English versions, including the King James Version of 1611 CE.

it MANUSCRIPTS OF THE BIBLE (What assurance is there that the Bible has not been changed?).

1551 CE - back

Bible: Robert Estienne, or Stephanus, a French printer and editor, introduces a system of chapters and verses in his Greek New Testament that has two Latin versions (the Vulgate and Erasmus’) in parallel columns. See 1553 CE.

w95 4/15 10–14; si 318; it BIBLE (Divisions).

Religion (Council of Trent): At the Council of Trent (1545 CE–1563 CE), the doctrine of penance (confession of sins to a priest who is authorized to “absolve” them) is reconfirmed, thus giving the clergy tremendous power over the lives of men. The Council decrees that “sacramental confession is of divine origin and necessary for salvation by divine law.”

w57 12/15 745; g74 11/8 27.

1553 CE - back

Bible: Robert Estienne, or Stephanus, first shows the present divisions of numbered verses for the complete Bible in his French Bible published this year. See 1551 CE.

w95 4/15 10–14; si 318.

Religion: Michael Servetus (1511 CE–1553 CE) is executed in Geneva by slow burning, at the instigation of John Calvin, a Protestant reformer. (See 1509 CE and 1531 CE.)

sh 322.

1555 CE - back

Religion (Peace of Augsburg): The Peace of Augsburg brings some religious and national frontiers into unison, allowing local princes to decide which faith his populace is to follow. See 1526 CE and 1529 CE.

w87 10/1 24.

Religion and England: Mary, Catholic queen of England (ruled 1553 CE–1558 CE), has approximately 300 Protestants put to death during her reign. Two of her most famous victims are the Lutheran bishops Hugh Latimer and Ridley, who on 16 October are “burnt alive together, Latimer at the stake comforting his friend by assuring him, ‘This day we shall light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust, shall never be put out.’”

AgeRef 322–23.

1557 CE - back

Bible: Robert Estienne, or Stephanus, publishes a two-version Latin Bible that uses God’s personal name, Jehova, throughout the Hebrew Scriptures.

w95 4/15 10–14.

1558 CE - back

England: Catholic Queen Mary’s reign (1553 CE–1558 CE) ends with her death. “Mary’s reign became more and more hateful to her people until at last it is possible that only the prospect of its speedy termination prevented a rebellion. The popular epithet of ‘bloody’ rightly distinguishes her place in the estimate of history. It is true that her persecution sinks into insignificance compared with the holocausts of victims to the inquisition in the Netherlands. But the English people naturally judged by their own history, and in all of that such a reign of terror was unexampled. The note of Mary’s reign is sterility and its achievement was to create, in reaction to the policy then pursued, a ferocious and indelible hatred of Rome.” (AgeRef 323–24) Elizabeth I, a Protestant, becomes queen of England and will rule until 1603 CE.

g 2/06 10–11; sh 326.

1559 CE - back

Bible: Pope Paul IV rules that no Bible can be printed in the vernacular without church approval (and this the church refuses to grant).

g89 9/8 23–27.

1560 CE - back

Bible: In England, the Geneva Bible is published. The Old Testament is a thorough revision of the Great Bible, and the New Testament a revision of Tyndale’s latest edition with the aid of Beza’s Latin version and his commentary. The Geneva Bible is the first complete English Bible to have both chapter and verse numbers.

w63 2/1 88; E-Bible 86–92.

1564 CE - back

Religion: John Calvin (born 1509 CE), the originator of Calvinism, dies in Geneva. Calvin had greater influence than Luther on the development of the Protestant Reformation. Calvinists influence the French Huguenots and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, help establish the Dutch Reformed Church, play a role in the Reformation in England, and go with the Puritans to America. Many scholars view Calvin as the greatest of the reformers.

sh 324–25; g89 8/22 16–20.

1569 CE - back

Bible: After about ten years of translating, in Basel, Switzerland, Casiodoro de Reina publishes the first complete Spanish Bible translation made from the original languages. Reina has been under fire from the inquisitors, who burned his effigy in Seville in 1562.

In 1551, the Spanish Inquisition had outlawed the Bible “in Castilian romance (Spanish) or in any other vulgar tongue,” but Reina fearlessly writes in the introduction to his translation: “To prohibit the Holy Scriptures in the common language inevitably does singular insult to God and harm to the welfare of men. This is the plain work of Satan and those whom he controls. . . . Seeing that God gave his Word to men, desiring that it be understood and be put into practice by all, he who would prohibit it in any language whatsoever cannot have a good motive.”

Reina restores God’s name (Iehoua) in his translation, which had been eliminated in the Latin text of the Vulgate. The vast majority of future Spanish translations, both Catholic and Protestant, will follow Reina’s precedent and use the divine name throughout.

w96 6/1 30.

1572 CE - back

Religion: Beginning on 24 August in Paris, then throughout France, Catholic forces strike down thousands of French Protestants (Huguenots) in an event that becomes known as the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day.

See more at history.boisestate.edu/westciv/reformat/france05.htm and www.encyclopedia.com/html/s/stb1artho.asp.

w57 2/15 112; g89 8/22 16–20.

1573 CE - back

Religion: The Council of Florence again approves the doctrine of Hellfire, an unscriptural doctrine. An earlier council in Lyons in 1274 CE had approved of the doctrine. The Council also approves of the doctrine of Purgatory, an unscriptural doctrine approved earlier at the Council of Trent in 1545 CE.

w86 5/15 24–26.

1579 CE - back

Bible (Scotland): “The first Bible to be printed in Scotland is that of Alexander Arbuthnot, and is based on the Geneva Bible in 1561.” [AgeRef 355] The printer Alexander Arbuthnot is not to be confused with his well-known contemporary of the same name who was a poet, Principal of King’s College, and Moderator of the General Assemblies at Edinburgh. This Bible, printed in Edinburgh, is also called the Bassandyne Bible. According to the book History of the Bassandyne Bible: The First Printed in Scotland: “The sale of this first Bible printed in Scotland was rather forced, for the Privy Council enacted that each householder worth three hundred merks of yearly rent, and all substantious yeomen and burgesses esteemed as worth five hundred pounds in land and goods, should have a Bible and Psalm-book in the vulgar tongue, under the penalty of ten pounds.”

1582 CE - back

Bible: The Catholic authorized Rheims New Testament in English is issued. It is translated from the Latin Vulgate rather than from the original language texts in Greek. The preface to this Bible says this work has been rendered necessary by the circulation of many “false translations” by Protestants, who have corrupted the truth of Holy Writ. See also 1609 CE.

g79 10/8 13; HBE 114–15.

Calendar (Gregorian): Pope Gregory XIII revises the Julian calendar in use since 46 BCE. Ten days are subtracted from this year to correct the difference between the calendar and the solar year. (When people go to bed on the night of October 4, they wake up the next day on October 15.) This is the Gregorian calendar we use today, and is the basis for the dates used in the Bible encyclopedia Insight on the Scriptures. The Gregorian calendar is quickly adopted by European Catholic countries, but not by Protestant countries until years later: in 1752 CE by England and its colonies, in 1912 CE by China, in 1918 CE by the Soviet Union, and in 1927 CE by Turkey.

w68 5/1 268, 8/15 489; g83 2/8 30; g70 1/8 9; si 281–82; AAEnc 4 “Calendar.”

1588 CE - back

England and Spain: Phillip II of Spain launches the Spanish Armada against England in an effort to bring the country under the Catholic rule of Spain, but the Armada is soundly defeated by both superior English warships and adverse English weather. The defeat of this religiously motivated Armada constitutes a “decisive passing of naval superiority from Spain to England.” (See also 1763 CE.)

See more at www.newadvent.org/cathen/01727c.htm (Catholic Encyclopedia)
and www.nmm.ac.uk/education/fact_files/fact_armada.html (National Maritime Museum: Navies and warships).

w88 5/1 26–29; g66 5/8 20–23; dp 138.

1591 CE - back

Bible: According to Guinness World Records 2003, the oldest publisher of Bibles is the Cambridge University Press, with the Geneva version of 1591 being its first Bible published.

1592 CE - back

Bible: Jerome’s Latin Vulgate is revised, one of numerous revisions. This revision will become the standard edition of the Roman Catholic Church.

it VERSIONS.

1598 CE - back

Edict of Nantes: King Henry IV of France signs the Edict of Nantes, a peace settlement between Catholics and Protestants, after over 30 years of religious wars (Wars of Religion, 1562 CE–1598 CE) and failed peace treaties. The edict grants French Protestants (Huguenots) liberty of conscience “without being questioned, vexed or molested,” and without being “forced to do anything contrary to their religion.” They are granted the same civil status as Catholics. It does, however, limit their freedom of worship to specified geographic areas, and they still have to pay the Catholic tithe and respect Catholic holidays and the Catholic restrictions regarding remarriage. The edict will be revoked in 1685 CE.

See www.encyclopedia.com/html/N/Nantes-E1.asp.

g98 11/22 19–22; AgeRef.

17th CENTURY CE   (1600–1699)

1600 - 1610 - 1620 - 1630 - 1640 - 1650 - 1680

The Enlightenment: During this seventeenth century CE, the Enlightenment, an intellectual movement with its roots in Greek philosophy that sweeps Europe during this century and the eighteenth century, stresses intellectual and material progress and rejects political and religious authority and tradition in favor of critical reasoning. Prominent leaders in France include Voltaire and Denis Diderot; in Great Britain are John Locke and David Hume; in the United States are Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson; in Germany are Christian Wolff, Immanuel Kant, and Moses Mendelssohn (grandfather of composer Felix Mendelssohn). The separation of Church and State in the U.S. Constitution is a reflection of Enlightenment ideas. Many persons persuaded by the Enlightenment blame religion for many of the ills of society; a secular, social humanism thus comes into being. French Enlightenment philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau will advocate “civil religion”; French memoirist Claude-Henri de Rouvroy will advocate a “New Christianity”; and Auguste Comte will speak of a “religion of humanity.”

g89 10/8 21–25.

Religion: Blaise Pascal (1623 CE–1662 CE), a French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher, writes regarding the Inquisition (see 1481 CE): “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.” Pascal’s most famous work, Pensees (Thoughts), expresses his conviction, known as “Pascal’s wager,” that belief in God is rational: “Wager that God exists; if you win, you win everything, if you lose, you lose nothing.” Regarding Jesus’ ability as a teacher, in his “Proofs of Jesus Christ,” he writes: “Jesus said great things so simply that he seems not to have thought about them, and yet so clearly that it is obvious that he thought about them. Such clarity together with such simplicity is wonderful.”

g89 8/8 25; g82 4/8 5; g79 4/8 4; AAEnc 15: “Pascal, Blaise.”

Bible and Science (Hydrologic Cycle): Various ancient, but erroneous beliefs about the source of ground water and rivers persist down to this century. “Only in the late seventeenth century did European scientists reach a clear understanding of the origin of water and its natural cycle,” says www.unesco.org.uy/phi/libros/histwater/1history.html. Regarding some erroneous beliefs during this century, Encyclopedia Britannica says: “René Descartes supposed that the seawater diffused through subterranean channels into large caverns below the tops of mountains. The Jesuit philosopher Athanasius Kircher in his Mundus subterraneus (1664; “Subterranean World”) suggested that the tides pump seawater through hidden channels to points of outlet at springs. To explain the rise of subterranean water beneath mountains, the chemist Robert Plot appealed to the pressure of air, which forces water up the insides of mountains.” The paper, “Historical Knowledge of Ground Water3” says that Edmond Halley (1656–1742), an English astronomer “made an important contribution to hydrology by studying evaporation. He concluded that there was sufficient water evaporating from the ocean to supply all of the rivers and springs on earth.” (See this paper at www.appliedhydrogeology.info/history.htm.)

In contrast, centuries before these scientists, the Bible had accurately described the correct mechanics of the Hydrologic Cycle as water evaporating from the ocean and falling as rain on the land. See the following passages: Job 36:26–28; Ecclesiastes 1:7, Amos 5:8; 9:6; 1 Kings 18:42–45.

w09 1/1 14–17: “Be Thankful for the Rain.”

Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648): The following quotation from the book The Bible — God’s Word or Man’s? shows that this war had its basis in religious hatred:

The Protestant rebellion in the 16th century dislodged Roman Catholicism from power in many European lands. One result was the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) — “one of the most terrible wars in European history,” according to The Universal History of the World. The basic cause of the war? “The hatred of Catholic for Protestant, of Protestant for Catholic.”

An Encyclopedia of World History by William L. Langer summarizes the Thirty Years’ War:

The Thirty Years’ War is generally divided into four periods, which were properly as many different wars. The first two, the Bohemian and the Danish, had a predominantly religious character; they developed from a revolt in Bohemia into a general conflict of Catholic Europe with Protestant Europe. The two latter, the Swedish and the French-Swedish, were primarily political struggles, wars directed against the power of the Hapsburg house and wars of conquest by Sweden and France, fought upon German soil.

gm 33–34; g71 6/22 16–19.

Spain and Portugal: During this century, the two Catholic powers of Spain and Portugal engage in a program of exploration and colonial expansion and begin converting the native inhabitants of the lands they discover.

g89 9/22 16.

1603 CE - back

England: James I (James VI of Scotland), a Protestant, becomes the first Stuart king of England, succeeding Queen Elizabeth I, the last of the Tudor line. King James will soon approve a proposal for an upcoming new Bible translation. (See 1604 CE and 1611 CE.)

AAEnc “James I, King of England"; E-Bible 96.

1604 CE - back

Bible: King James I of England summons a conference of churchmen and theologians during which a resolution is passed that “a translation be made of the whole Bible, as consonant as can be to the original Hebrew and Greek; and this to be set out and printed, without any marginal notes, and only to be used in all Churches of England in time of divine service.” (See 1611 CE.)

E-Bible 96.

1609 CE - back

Bible: The Catholic Douay Version of the Old Testament in English is published between 1609 CE and 1610 CE. It is based on the Latin Vulgate rather than on the original language Hebrew texts. It contains the Apocrypha, usually in the positions in which the additions appear in the Vulgate rather than as an appendix as in some Protestant versions. This translation omits God’s name, Jehovah. Compare 1582 CE. Major revisions of the Rheims-Douay Bible will be published by Challoner beginning in 1749 CE.

w71 7/1 391; it “Jehovah"; E-Bible 123–24.

1611 CE - back

Bible: The King James Version, or Authorized Version of the Bible, sponsored by King James I of England, is published. As much as 90 percent of Tyndale’s translation is carried directly into this version. (See 1524 CE.) Although God’s name Jehovah appears over 6,000 times in the original Hebrew text of the Bible, this version uses Jehovah only four times alone (Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 12:2; 26:4), three times in combination with other words (Genesis 22:14; Exodus 17:15; Judges 6:24), and once in its shortened form (Psalm 68:4). The words Lord and (sometimes) God are substituted for the divine name.

w97 9/15 29; w80 2/1 11; kj 304.

1618 CE - back

Thirty Years’ War: The Thirty Years’ War (1618 CE–1648 CE) begins in Bohemia, Europe, basically as a religious war between Catholics and Protestants, but it devolves into a war of vying for commercial gain and political supremacy in Europe. Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden are drawn into the conflict. Germany and Bohemia will lose some three-fourths of their population in this war. The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 CE finally concludes this war.

w04 3/15 20–23, “The Peace of Westphalia — A Turning Point in Europe”; gm 33–34; g89 9/8 23–27; g72 4/22 13.

1624 CE - back

Bible: Kyrillos Loukaris, the patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt, and in 1621, patriarch of Constantinople, Turkey, offers the Alexandrine Codex to the British ambassador in Turkey as a gift for the English king, James I. (See 1627 CE.) The manuscript arrives too late to be used in preparing the King James Version.

w88 12/15 6.

1627 CE - back

Bible: The Alexandrine Codex manuscript is handed over to King James’ successor, Charles I. (See 1624 CE.)

w88 12/15 6.

1631 CE - back

Bible: An edition of the King James Bible printed this year becomes known as the “Wicked Bible” or “Adulterous Bible.” A one-word misprint in it results in a fine of £300 that puts out of business the Cambridge printers who omitted the word “not” from the Seventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

See www.didyouknow.cd/Bible/errors.htm.

See a picture of the “Wicked Bible” at www.catholicapologetics.net/wicked_bible.htm.

E-Bible 108; g99 2/22 28.

1642 CE to 1649 CE - back

Religion and Politics: English King Charles I wages war against Parliament in a war called the English Civil War, a war in which religion is a determining factor in selecting sides. Most of the king’s opponents belong to the Puritan wing of the Church of England, and the war is sometimes called the Puritan Revolution. It ends with the king’s execution and the establishment of the Puritan commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell. The Friends, or Quakers, come into being during this war.

g89 9/8 23–27.

1644 CE - back

Religion and Politics: Beginning this year and until 1656 CE, the English Parliament purposely meets on December 25, Christmas Day. Legislation banning Christmas is enforced from 1642 CE to 1660 CE.

See www.timetravel-britain.com/articles/christmas/ban.shtml.

See www.scottishchristian.com/topics/christmas.shtml.

In 1647 CE, Parliament decrees that Christmas be a day of penance. In 1652 CE, Christmas is banned outright.

g02 12/8 16.

1648 CE - back

Bible: At the end of the Thirty Years’ War, the victorious Swedes take to Sweden the Codex Argenteus, aka The Silver Bible, a Gothic Bible Translation with silver ink on purple vellum. Since 1669 CE, it has resided in the Uppsala University Library in Sweden. (See the 6th Century CE.)

For more information about this somewhat peripatetic Bible, see the Uppsala University Library online at www.ub.uu.se/arv/codexeng.cfm and www.answers.com/topic/codex-argenteus.

w94 5/15 8–9.

Thirty Years’ War and the Peace of Westphalia: The Peace of Westphalia brings some religious and national frontiers into unison, allowing the local prince to decide which faith his populace is to follow. (See 1526 CE and 1529 CE.) The Thirty Years’ War is the last major religious war in Europe; subsequent wars shift from being religious to being more political or commercial wars.

Read “The Peace of Westphalia — A Turning Point in Europe” in w04 3/15 20–23 on WOL.

w87 10/1 24.

1656 CE - back

Religion: The Upanishads (Hindu sacred writings), which date from the eighth to the fourth centuries BCE, are put into written form.

w85 7/1 4–5; g89 3/22 10–13.

1659 CE - back

Religion: Puritan reformers who view the Christmas celebration as pagan ban it in Massachusetts (United States) from this year until 1681 CE. (See masstraveljournal.com/features/1101chrisban.html.)

g02 12/8 16; w97 12/15 5–6.

1681 CE - back

Religion and Politics: Charles II of England issues a charter to William Penn to found a Quaker colony. The colony later becomes the state of Pennsylvania in the United States.

g89 9/8 23–27.

1685 CE - back

France and the Edict of Nantes: King Louis XIV of France revokes the Edict of Nantes, the peace treaty of 1598 CE that gave Protestants (Huguenots) of France freedom of worship. All religions except Roman Catholicism are now forbidden.

More than 50,000 Huguenot families (perhaps 200,000 people) leave France. At this time, the total number of Protestants in France has reached its maximum of perhaps one-fifth or one-sixth of the population. According to The Guinness Book of Records 1492, the population of France in 1500 is estimated to be about 15 million people, and in 1600, about 16 million.

w98 8/15 25–29; AgeRef; FactBook.

18th CENTURY CE   (1700–1799)

1710 - 1730 - 1740 - 1750 - 1760 - 1780 - 1790

Industrial Revolution: During the second half of this eighteenth century CE, the Industrial Revolution begins, first in Great Britain, then spreading to other countries. (See note on the Enlightenment under 17th Century CE.)

Wars: During this 18th century, war deaths total 4.4 million. (Compare numbers in the 19th Century CE and the 20th Century CE.)

re 250; g89 10/8 21–25.

1712 CE - back

Noah’ Flood: Scientist Cotton Mather writes in his work Thoughts for the Day of Rain that there is no proof that the rainbow existed before the great Flood. His view was that the changes at the time of the Flood, in regard to the shortening human life span and atmospheric changes, corroborated the fact that rainbows first appeared after the Flood.

g65 2/22 24–25.

1717 CE - back

Bible: An edition of the King James Bible printed this year becomes known as the “Vinegar Bible” because a headline to Luke chapter 20 misprinted “Parable of the Vineyard” as “Parable of the Vinegar.”

E-Bible 108–9; F-Light 336; g99 2/22 28.

1734 CE - back

Bible: German Lutheran theologian and New Testament scholar Johann Albrecht Bengel (see 1836 CE) produces a Greek text of the New Testament with an Apparatus Criticus ad Novum Testamentum, which is the basis for modern New Testament textual criticism.

AAEnc 3: “Bengel, J.A.”

1736 CE - back

William Whiston, a Cambridge University colleague of Sir Isaac Newton (the theory of gravity), publishes his translation of the writings of Jewish historian Josephus. The works of Josephus can be found here:

www.sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/index.htm and here: www.earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html.

w94 3/15 26.

1737 CE - back

Bible: Alexander Cruden produces an English Bible concordance this year.

si 318.

1749 CE - back

Bible: Beginning this year, Richard Challoner, a bishop, publishes several revisions of the New Testament of the Douay-Rheims Bible. See 1582 CE, 1609 CE, and 1750 CE. The revisions change many of the almost unintelligible Latinisms so that it now could be said, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, that “in nearly every case Challoner’s changes took the form of approximating to the Authorized Version” [King James Version].

See article on Challoner www.newadvent.org/cathen/05140a.htm.

w52 10/1 582; E-Bible 124.

1750 CE - back

Bible: Bishop Richard Challoner publishes a revision of the Old Testament of the Douay-Rheims Bible. See 1582 CE, 1609 CE, and 1749 CE. This Bible, which also includes a new 1750 revision of the New Testament, is designated by the symbol Dy.

See www.newadvent.org/cathen/03564a.htm.

rs 6; E-Bible 124.

1756 CE - back

The Seven Years’ War: “In 1756, the Seven Years’ War erupted across the world, a lengthy battle for world domination pitting French and British forces against one another.” Spain joined her French monarchial ally late in the war.

Quotation is from the book Pensacola, a Brief History of the First City; g70 12/8 21.

1763 CE - back

Treaty of Paris: The British and the French, who have fought recently in North America and India, sign the Treaty of Paris. Although the treaty appears to be a compromise, in reality it recognizes Britain’s predominance as a power beyond Europe. Great Britain has now emerged as the “foremost commercial and colonial power in the world,” above the Spaniards, Dutch, and French, with whom Britain has engaged in warfare for two centuries. (See 1588 CE.

g70 12/8 21.

This development fulfills the prophecy of Daniel 7:24: “As for the ten horns, ten kings will rise up [the many nations into which the Roman empire finally broke up into] out of that kingdom [the Roman Empire]; and still another one [Great Britain] will rise up after them, and he will be different from the first ones, and he will humiliate three kings [Spain, The Netherlands, and France].” The British Empire will become the largest empire in man’s history.

w88 5/1 26–29; 5/15 24–25; yw 174–78.

1780 CE - back

Religion: Sunday schools are introduced into England and will grow in popularity in the United States due to separation of Church and State barring religious instruction in public schools.

g89 10/22 17–21.

1782 CE - back

Religion: William Miller (1782 CE to 1849 CE) is born. He is a Baptist preacher who initiates the “Great Second Advent movement” of the mid-1800s. This movement will give rise to such denominations as the Seventh-day Adventists and various Church of God groups. (See 1844  CE.)

1783 CE - back

Religion: John Wesley founds the Methodist Church, a movement arising from within the Church of England.

g89 9/8 23–27.

1789 CE - back

France: The French Revolution begins. The Bastille is stormed in Paris on July 14.

g98 12/22 26–28.

Religion: Anglicans in the United States break with the Church of England and form the Protestant Episcopal Church.

g89 9/8 23–27.

1793 CE - back

France: King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette are executed. The revolution causes much upheaval of religion and politics in France and sows ideas that later grow into both democracies and dictatorships.

g89 12/22 26–28.

1798 CE - back

Archaeology (Egypt): “Modern archeology may be said to have had its beginning in 1798, when nearly one hundred French scholars and artists accompanied Napoleon on his invasion of Egypt. They gazed with wonder upon the impressive monuments of that ancient land, wrote out systematic descriptions, copied texts and prepared water-color illustrations.”

F-Light p. 4; w80 10/1 5.

1799 CE - back

Archaeology (Rosetta Stone): The famous Rosetta stone is found in Egypt. It contains the same inscription written three times, once in Greek, and twice in two different forms of Egyptian hieroglyphics. It eventually provides the means for deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics. (See 196 BCE and 1822 CE.

g89 10/22 17–21.

Medicine: Repeated bloodlettings of the first United States President George Washington likely causes his death.

See www.cwru.edu/artsci/dittrick/artifactspages/a-2cuppingset.htm and www.geocities.com/Heartland/Meadows/3122/washington.html.

w82 6/15 31.

19th CENTURY CE   (1800–1899)

1800 - 1805 - 1810 - 1815 - 1820 - 1825 - 1830 - 1835 - 1840 - 1845
1850 - 1855 - 1860 - 1865 - 1870 - 1875 - 1880 - 1885 - 1890 - 1895

World Population: Sometime during the first half of this century, or at least by 1850, the population of the world reaches its first one billion (1,000,000,000) people.

See 1800 at www.atmos.umd.edu/~owen/CHPI/IMAGES/pop.html and 1804 at geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/worldpopulation.htm

Wars: Deaths due to war in this century number 8.3 million. Compare numbers of war deaths in the 18th Century CE and the 20th Century CE.

re 250.

Religion and the Second Coming of Christ: During this century there is a great increase in people predicting various dates for the second coming of Christ.

Religion (Social Gospel): In the late part of this nineteenth century, the American movement known as the social gospel develops among Protestants. It is closely related to the European Enlightenment theories, and asserts that the main duty of a Christian is social involvement. Protestant groups and missionaries will support this idea; Catholic versions will be found in the worker-priests of France and among the clergy of Latin America who teach liberation theology.

g89 10/8 21–25.

United States The following summary of events in the second half of this century is from the 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses:

Our narrative begins in the mid-nineteenth century. Covered wagons still roll across the open plains, carrying settlers to remote sectors of the American West. Vast herds of bison or buffalo — some twenty million in 1850 — yet roam between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountain ranges.

The devastating Civil War ravages the land and takes its deadly toll from 1861 to 1865, followed by an era of industrialization. In 1869 the first transcontinental railway comes to completion. During the 1870’s the electric light and the telephone first come on the scene. The electric streetcar facilitates urban travel by the 1880’s, and by the century’s end a few automobiles noisily proclaim their presence.

What the religious climate of this era would be was unpredictable, to say the least. Charles Darwin had espoused the theory of man’s evolution in his 1859 work Origin of Species. As evolution, higher criticism of the Bible, atheism, spiritism and infidelity assailed organized religion, the Roman Catholic Church held the first Vatican Council (1869–1870), thus making an effort to strengthen her weakening position. Various other groups eagerly anticipated the imminent fleshly return of Christ — but in vain.

yb75 34.

1800 CE - back

Religion: The proportion of professed Christians is now about one fourth of the total world population. (Compare 500 CE, 1500 CE, and 1900 CE.)

g89 9/22 16.

Population: In this year only about 3 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. (Compare 2008 CE.)

g 3/12 4.

1804 CE - back

Bible: The British and Foreign Bible Society is established. Its premise: To provide people with affordable Bibles in their own language. The printings will eliminate commentaries in the margins, hoping to avoid doctrinal controversy, although several times the Bible Society will be divided over the Apocrypha (see 1826 CE), baptism by immersion, and the Trinity doctrine.

w97 10/15 9; w61 11/15 691.

1805 CE - back

Bible: The Berlin-Prussian Bible Society is established.

The Harp of God, 1921 ed. par. 403.

1806 CE - back

Religion and Politics: After 1006 years, what is left of the “Holy Roman Empire,” established in 800 CE and held by the members of the house of Hapsburg of Austria, comes to its end by the hand of Napoleon I. As emperor of France, he refuses to recognize the Holy Roman Empire as existing. German Emperor Francis II releases the Germanic states from their allegiance to the Holy Roman Empire. (See 962 CE and 1871 CE.)

dp 244; w88 5/1 29; w67 3/1 156; yw 262.

1808 CE - back

Bible: The Philadelphia Bible Society is established.

The Harp of God, 1921 ed. par. 403.

1809 CE - back

Bible: Emperor Napoleon of France captures Rome. He takes the Vatican 1209 manuscript to Paris, where it stays until it is returned to the Vatican in 1815 CE. (See 1475 CE.)

w89 5/1 30–31.

1812 CE - back

Archaeology (Petra): Johann Burckhardt, a Swiss explorer, discovers the ruins of Petra south of the Dead Sea. It was a rock city of the Edomites and later the Nabataeans and contains religious temples by the hundreds. (See also 312 BCE, Circa 105 CE, and 1900 CE.)

w57 8/15 489–92: “Strangest City Built by Man”; g00 3/22 18–19, “Petra — A City Hewn out of Rock”; National Geographic Society: “Lost City” of Petra.

1814 CE - back

Bible (Chinese): Bible (Chinese): Protestant missionary Robert Morrison, with the help of William Milne, another missionary, completes the translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures of the Bible into Chinese this year. (See 1819 CE.)

ba 12–13.

1816 CE - back

Bible: The American Bible Society is established. “Its constant aim has been to secure the adequate translation of the Holy Scriptures into all the languages of the earth and to distribute these translations as widely as possible, and especially to reach the destitute of all classes and conditions.”

w61 11/15 691; 1920 Enc. Americana “The American Bible Society”.

Religion: William Miller, who was born in 1782, and who is generally credited as founder of the Adventist Church, predicts the return of Christ visibly and bodily in 1843 or 1844.

w00 10/15 28; w97 7/15 25; w74 8/15 506; g95 6/22 3; g93 3/22 3; ka 185.

1819 CE - back

Bible (Chinese): Protestant missionary Robert Morrison, with the help of William Milne, another missionary, completes the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures of the Bible into Chinese this year. (The Greek Scriptures were completed in 1814 CE.) This translation work is accomplished during a time when the penalty for translating the Bible into Chinese was punishable by death.

w09 6/1 10–11; w74 12/15 744–45.

1822 CE - back

Archaeology (Rosetta Stone): The decipherment of the Rosetta Stone, dated from 196 BCE and discovered in 1799 CE, finally unlocks the meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

it ARCHAEOLOGY.

1826 CE - back

Bible: The British and Foreign Bible Society, founded in 1804 CE, adopts the policy of omitting the Apocrypha from its editions.

E-Bible 111.

Religion (Inquisition): On July 16, Cayetano Ripoll, a schoolmaster of Rizaffa, becomes the last victim of the Spanish Inquisition when he is hanged in Valencia, Spain. He had been arrested in 1824 CE when it had been reported to the Inquisition that he and his scholars used the phrase “Praise be to God” instead of “Ave Maria” in school prayers. It was also charged against him that the only religious teaching he deemed necessary was the keeping of the Ten Commandments. The Tribunal and the junta de fé judged him to be a heretic and sentenced him to be hanged and burned. He was hanged, but owing to the changing opinion of the time, his body was put into a barrel that had flames painted on it. He was buried in this barrel in unconsecrated ground.

g90 3/8 7; The Spanish Inquisition: The End of the Spanish Inquisition, by Jean Plaidy.

1832 CE - back

Religion: The Disciples of Christ is formed by restoration-minded American Presbyterians. The Churches of Christ will divide from this church in 1906 CE.

g89 10/22 17–21.

1835 CE - back

Religion: The Irvingites in England predict this year for the return of Christ. They also predict 1838 CE, then 1864 CE, and finally 1866 CE before giving up. As followers of the Scottish minister Edward Irving, the Irvingites will remain influential in Britain until 1900 CE, then spread to Europe and the United States. In the 1980s, they will number about 50,000, with about half of them in Germany. Membership is listed at about 8 million in 1994 in the Columbia Encyclopedia.

w84 12/1 13; w55 1/1 6; AAEnc 11: “Irving, Edward.”

1836 CE - back

Religion: This is the year German-Lutheran theologian J. A. Bengel (1687 CE–1752 CE) had set for the second return of Christ. Bengel produced a Greek text of the New Testament in 1734 CE.

AAEnc 3: “Bengel, J.A.”

1838 CE - back

Bible: Robert Moffat completes his translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Tswana, a language of southern Africa. (See 1857 CE for the complete Bible.)

w98 4/1 13.

Religion: The Irvingites of England predict 1838 CE for the return of Christ. Their prediction for 1835 had failed to materialize.

w55 1/1 6.

1840 CE to 1850 CE - back

Religion: Baptist lay minister William Miller preaches the second advent of Christ. The Seventh-Day Adventists stem from this movement (see 1782 CE). When the second advent fails to materialize, several members of the movement, including Nelson H. Barbour, will begin proposing 1873 CE and 1874 CE as the date for the return of Christ. (See Circa 1875 CE.)

g89 10/22 17–21; jv 46–47.

1843 CE - back

Religion: William Miller proposes the return of Christ between March 21, 1843 CE, and March 21, 1844 CE. (See 1840 CE to 1850 CE.)

w74 8/15 506; w55 1/1 6.

Archaeology (Sargon’s Palace): Systematic archaeological excavations are begun in Assyria from this year onward. The palace of Assyrian King Sargon II, covering about 25 acres, is discovered near Khorsabad, on a northern tributary of the Tigris River. King Sargon’s annals record his capturing Ashdod (Isaiah 20:1) and his claim of capturing Samaria as the outstanding event of the first year of his reign. (See 740 BCE.) In his “Display Inscription” Sargon says: “I besieged and captured Samaria, carrying off 27,290 of the people who dwelt therein. 50 chariots I gathered from among them, I caused others to take their portion, I set my officers over them and imposed upon them the tribute of the former king.”

it ARCHAEOLOGY (Assyria); SAMARIA (Later History); F-Light 174–75.

1844 CE - back

Bible (Codex Sinaiticus): Konstantin von Tischendorf discovers the first portion of the Codex Sinaiticus at the Monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai. (See the 4th Century CE.) The symbol for the Codex Sinaiticus is aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. (See Alphabet Table.). Tischendorf discovers an additional portion of the manuscript in 1859 CE, and reportedly, 8 to 14 more leaves are discovered in 1975 CE.

To view the Codex Sinaiticus online, click here.

w97 10/15 11; w88 10/15 30–31; w57 3/1 132–33; g88 7/22 19; it MANUSCRIPTS OF THE BIBLE (Sinaitic Manuscript)

Religion and Slavery: In the US, the Methodist Church splits, North and South, over the issue of slavery.

g77 10/8 7.

Religion (Second Advent): October 22 of this year is one date proposed by the second advent movement of William Miller for the return of Christ (see 1840 CE to 1850 CE). The Millerite followers who wait expectantly for this are disappointed and return to their homes; thereafter, they call the day the “Great Disappointment.”

w97 7/15 25; w53 11/1 647.

Religion (Chronology): E.B. Elliott, a British clergyman, draws attention to 1914 CE as a possible date for the end of the “seven times” of Daniel chapter 4. (See also 1849 CE.)

g94 11/8 10; jv 134.

Religion and Politics: Karl Marx declares religion to be “the opium of the people” (or, “opiate of the masses”).

w92 1/1 3; w91 12/1 3.

Technology: On May 24, Samuel F. B. Morse inaugurates the first telegraph between Baltimore and Washington, DC. Morse taps out a message from the Bible: “What hath God wrought!”

Numbers 23:23 KJ; g93 6/8 30.

1845 CE - back

Archaeology (Nineveh): From 1845 CE to 1851 CE, archaeologist Austen Henry Layard excavates the mound of Nimrud (the site of ancient Calah) and the mound of Kuyunjik (the site of ancient Nineveh). Layard unearths the palaces of Ashurnasirpal, Shalmaneser II, Tiglath-Pileser II, Adadnirari [Adad-nirari], and Esarhaddon. See the 8th Century BCE (Assyria).

Genesis 10:9–12; F-Light 4; w72 5/15 314.

Religion and Slavery: This year in the United States, the Baptists split over the issue of slavery.

g77 10/8 7; g73 2/22 4.

1846 CE - back

Archaeology (Nimrud): A black limestone obelisk of Assyrian King Shalmaneser III is found at Nimrud, ancient Calah, a city founded by Nimrod. (See the 9th Century BCE.) It depicts Jehu of Israel, perhaps through an emissary, bowing before Shalmaneser and paying tribute.

it CALAH; KINGS, BOOKS OF; w88 2/15 26.

1847 CE - back

Archaeology (Nineveh): Austen Henry Layard discovers Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh. Sennacherib is mentioned 13 times in the Bible. The annals of Sennacherib found in Nineveh describe the Assyrian campaign against Palestine and King Hezekiah in 732 BCE. The annals also mention the names of Judean Kings Ahaz and Manasseh, Israelite Kings Omri, Jehu, Jehoash, Menahem, and Hosea, and Hazael of Damascus, all confirming the Bible record. Also described in the annals of Esar-haddon (a son of Sennacherib) is the assassination of Sennacherib by two of his sons, named in the Bible at 2 Kings 19:37. (See Circa 712 BCE.)

w88 2/15 25; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Assyria).

1848 CE - back

Religion and Politics: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish the Communist Manifesto, a statement of scientific socialism. They portray Christianity as a tool of oppression and advocate atheism, thus actually fostering a religion, or worship, of the State and its leaders.

w97 10/15 10; jv 40–41.

1849 CE - back

Religion: Robert Seeley, of London, calls attention to 1914 CE as a possible date for the end of the “seven times” of Daniel chapter 4. (See also 1844 CE and 1870 CE.)

g94 11/8 10.

1850 CE - back

Archaeology: Systematic archaeological excavations are begun in Egypt.

it ARCHAEOLOGY; Wikipedia, “Auguste_Mariette”.

1852 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Charles Taze Russell, who in 1879 CE will begin publishing the magazine now known as The Watchtower, is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 16 February, the son of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians Joseph L. and Ann Eliza Birney Russell.

w99 2/1 16; g89 10/22 17–21; jv 42.

1853 CE - back

Religion and War: The Crimean War (1853 CE–1856 CE), with England, France, and the Ottoman State fighting against Russia, arose in large part from a dispute in 1850 CE and from disputes in preceding years between various church leaders (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and other “Christian” religions) over holy sites in Jerusalem. The war cost half a million lives.

g99 2/15 24; w90 12/15 3, 5.

Archaeology (Nineveh): Excavations at Nineveh by Harmuzd Rassam uncover the great library of Ashurbanipal, containing some 22,000 clay tablets and texts. These are viewed as a valuable source of information about ancient Assyria. (See the 8th Century BCE.)

Wikipedia “Ashurbanipal”; Wikipedia “Nineveh”; it ASENAPPAR.

1854 CE - back

Religion (Catholic): Pope Pius IX defines the dogma of Mary’s “Immaculate Conception,” a belief that “the Blessed Virgin Mary was at the very moment of her conception, . . . preserved free from all stain of original sin.” (See Council of Trent 1545 CE.)

w59 3/15 188.

Archaeology: J.E. Taylor tentatively identifies Ur with Tell el-Muqayyar (“Mound of Bitumen”) a few miles west of the Euphrates in present-day Iraq. (See 1869 CE and 1922 CE.) Clay cylinders found here include a prayer for the life of Nabonidus, king of Babylon, and of his firstborn son Belshazzar (Bel-sar-ussur). Nabonidus himself was an archaeologist and restorer of ruins at Ur. Prior to the findings of these cylinders, critics challenged the authenticity of the Biblical account that names Belshazzar as king of Babylon, because up until this time his name had not been found outside the Bible.

Daniel chapter 5; F-Light 42; w00 5/15 11–12; w80 10/1 6.

1856 CE - back

Religion, War, and a Bad Habit: At the end of the Crimean War (1853–1856), a war that grew out of a religious dispute, soldiers return home with “paper cigars” and a habit. The “Crimea fad” spreads across Europe, creating a demand for Turkish cigarettes or their English imitations.

g86 4/8 4.

Archaeology (Noah’s Ark): An Armenian and his son serve as guides to Noah’s ark for three visiting scientists who are intent on proving false the account about the ark. Many years later, the son will relate his story, that the scientists threatened them with death if word of the discovery ever leaked out, and he tells the story only after he is sure those who had threatened them had died.

g75 9/8 17–18.

1857 CE - back

Bible: Robert Moffat completes his translation of the Bible into Tswana, a language of southern Africa. (See 1838 CE.) This is the first complete Bible to be printed in Africa and is also the first complete translation into a formerly unwritten African language. Moffat uses the divine name Yehova in his translation, so that the Tswana refer to the Bible as “the mouth of Jehovah.”

w98 4/1 13; w92 91 4.

1859 CE - back

Bible: Konstantin von Tischendorf discovers another portion of the Codex Sinaiticus at the Monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai. (See 1844 CE.) This codex both confirms the accuracy of more recent papyrus manuscripts of the Bible and helps pinpoint subtle errors that have crept into later copies. The major part of the manuscript is now in the British Museum in London. Along with the Codex Vaticanus (No. 1209), the Codex Sinaiticus is the principal basis for the Greek text from which the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures is translated.

See www.ntcanon.org/codex_Sinaiticus.shtml.

See www.codex-sinaiticus.net/en/.

See manuscript online at www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscript.aspx.

w04 9/15 30; w97 10/15 11; w88 10/15 30–31; w57 3/1 132–3; g88 7/22 19; it MANUSCRIPTS OF THE BIBLE (Sinaitic Manuscript).

Religion and Science: Charles Darwin (1809 CE–1882 CE) publishes his Origin of Species, which directly challenges the Bible’s teaching of creation by God and proposes the theory of evolution. Opposed by religious leaders at first, by the time Darwin dies, most clergy will have concluded that evolution is “wholly compatible with an enlightened understanding of scripture.” Darwin’s books are never placed on the Vatican’s Index of Forbidden Books. Darwin’s Origin will deeply influence scientific and religious thinking, and will weaken the faith of many in the Bible.

jv 41; sh 332; g89 10/8 21–25.

1861 CE - back

American Civil War, Slavery, and Religion: The American Civil War begins as seven Southern states secede from the Union, later to be joined by four more states; they form the Confederate States of America. The war lasts until 1865 and will cost 618,000 lives and additional casualties, more than in any other American war. The greatest issue in the war is over slavery and the nearly four million slaves who are used mainly in the production of cotton, the crop upon which the economy of the Southern Confederate States is based.

According to The Story of Religions in America, by William Warren Sweet, the issue of Negro slavery caused one of the greatest divisions within American churches. He writes:

It was not until church members had become wealthy cotton growers, that the churches ceased to denounce the institution. At the adoption of the Constitution all the churches were unanimous in their opposition to slavery; by the opening of the Civil War the churches had become a bulwark of American slavery.

For a brief overview of the various role religions played in connection with the Civil War, see the essay entitled “Recent Historiography on Religion and the American Civil War,” by Bruce T. Gourley, 2002.

w53 6/15 357; g95 5/8 13–14.

1863 CE - back

American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln, American president, issues the Emancipation Proclamation that abolishes slavery in parts of the Confederate States that are not occupied by Federal Union armies. (See 1861 CE and 1865 CE.)

w62 11/1; 654; g95 5/8 13–14; g76 7/8 9.

1864 CE - back

Religion: This is another year set forth by the Irvingites of England as the year of Christ’s return (see 1835 CE and 1838 CE). They also predict 1866 CE as the year.

w55 1/1 6; jv 40.

1865 CE - back

American Civil War and Slavery: The Civil War ends this year. (See 1861 CE.) Constitutional Amendment 13 is ratified and slavery in all states of the United States is legally abolished.

g76 7/8 9.

1866 CE - back

Religion: This is the last year the Irvingites of England predict for Christ’s return. They had also predicted 1835 CE, 1838 CE, and 1864 CE. Other groups, such as the Elliott and Cumming group, also look to this year for the second advent.

w55 1/1 6.

1867 CE - back

Religion: Among other groups and dates, this year is the one that Brewer and Decker predicted for the second coming of Christ.

w55 1/1 6.

Archaeology (Jerusalem): An old water tunnel is discovered in Jerusalem running from the fountain or spring of Gihon into the hill behind. It possibly illustrates the account of David and Joab’s capture of the city recorded at 2 Samuel 5:6–10.

F-Light 149–50; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Palestine and Syria); GIHON 2.

1868 CE - back

Archaeology (Moabite Stone): The Moabite Stone is found at Dhiban, north of the Arnon Valley and east of the Jordan. The stone presents Moabite King Mesha’s version of his revolt against Israel. It is written in a dialect that differs little from Biblical Hebrew. It mentions King Omri’s name, includes the Tetragrammaton, and mentions fourteen places referred to in the Bible. (See Circa 951 BCE.)

F-Light 157–8; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Palestine and Syria).

1869 CE - back

Religion: The First Vatican Council (1869–1870) is called to strengthen the position of the Roman Catholic Church. It is during this council (in July 1870) that for the first time the pope is declared to be infallible when he speaks officially in matters of faith and morals.

w74 5/1 273; w68 7/15 445–7; w66 5/1 281; AAEnc 5: “Council, ecumenical.”

Archaeology (Ur): Jules Oppert reports to the Collège de France, Paris, that the site tentatively identified as ancient Ur is correct, based on cuneiform-inscribed clay cylinders found there by Taylor. (See 1854 CE and 1922 CE.)

w80 10/1 6.

1870 CE - back

Religion: The First Vatican Council (see 1869 CE) brings about the schism of the “Old Catholics," who break away from the mother church over the question of papal infallibility. This “Old Catholics” movement, which rejects the dogma of papal infallibility (declared in July of this year), is still active in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and other countries.

religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/Oldcath.html
www.episcopalchurch.org/europe/coacce/utrecht.html
www.bartleby.com/65/ol/OldCatho.html.

w52 3/15 177; g90 6/22 3, 5; g89 2/8 6–7.

Religion: This year was predicted by George Storrs of Brooklyn, publisher of The Bible Examiner magazine, as the date for Christ’s return. H.B. Rice, publisher of The Last Trump, also looked to the 1870’s. In a publication edited about this year, Joseph Seiss, a Lutheran minister, points to 1914 CE as a significant date in Bible chronology. (See also 1844 CE and Circa 1875 CE.)

w55 1/1 6; g94 11/8 10; jv 134.

Religion and Politics: Italy is established as a kingdom independent of the Roman popes of the Vatican.

yw 262.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Charles Taze Russell begins his systematic study of the Bible with a small group of associates in Allegheny (now Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania. As described by A. H. Macmillan, an associate of Russell, in these studies “someone would raise a question. They would discuss it. They would look up all related scriptures on the point and then, when they were satisfied on the harmony of these texts, they would finally state their conclusion and make a record of it.”

See this depicted in the video “Jehovah’s Witnesses — Faith in Action, Part 1: Out of Darkness,” available for viewing or downloading at jw.org.

w06 8/15 13; w55 1/1 7; jv 44, 718.

1871 CE - back

Germany: Germany wins the Franco-Prussian War (1870 CE–1871 CE) and begins to build itself up as a European power. The “holy” Roman Empire is revived in the second German Reich (German, “empire”) when William I is crowned emperor and declared Kaiser (Caesar). William I will be succeeded briefly in 1888 CE by his son Frederick III, and then by his grandson William  II (1888–1918). With the emergence of this Second Reich, the modern-day king of the north (Germany) of Daniel’s prophecy (chapter 11) appears on the world scene. The Second Reich will collapse in 1918 CE. See 1933 CE for the Third Reich.

g89 7/8 21–24; g83 9/8 12; dp 244, 259; AAEnc 9: “Germany, History of.”

1872 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Charles Taze Russell and his study group come to appreciate the ransom price that Christ provided.

jv 718.

1873 CE - back

Religion: This is one of the years disappointed Second Adventists have looked to for the fleshly second coming of Christ. They teach that the world and all in it except Second Adventists will be burned up either this year or in 1874 CE.

w55 1/1 6.

Archaeology (Mount Ararat): A group is sent by the Turkish government to investigate avalanches occurring on Mount Ararat. They report coming upon “a gigantic structure of very dark wood protruding from a glacier.” The team entered the structure and found that the interior has been divided into partitions 15 feet high. Genesis 6:15 shows that the three stories of the ark measured 30 cubits in height. One cubit equals about 17.5 inches, thus 10 cubits, or approximately one-third of the height of the rooms of the ark (not considering the measure of the exterior of the structure), would be about 14.6 feet.

g75 9/8 18; it CUBIT.

Circa 1875 CE - back

Religion: When the year 1874 CE fails to materialize as the return of Christ, Nelson H. Barbour, publisher of the religious journal The Herald of the Morning, has a reader draw his attention to a new Bible translation, Benjamin Wilson’s Diaglott that translates the Greek word parousia as “presence” rather than “coming.” This leads to the conclusion that Christ’s return will be invisible rather than visible. (See 1840 CE to 1850 CE, 1844 CE, 1874 CE, and 1879 CE.) Barbour writes that 1914 CE will mark the end of a period that Jesus called “the appointed times of the nations.”

w55 1/1 6; g94 11/8 10; ka 186–87.

1876 CE - back

Technology: Alexander Graham Bell inadvertently transmits the reputed first message by telephone when he calls for his assistant in another room: “Mr. Watson, come here. I want [to see] you.” Bell files a patent for the invention, which actually had been previously invented and developed by the Italian, Antonio Meucci, who could not even afford to file for a patent for his invention.

g93 6/8 20; lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures; www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,738675,00.html.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: While Charles Taze Russell is on a business trip in Philadelphia, he reads a copy of Nelson H. Barbour’s Herald of the Morning. Russell meets Barbour and is soon convinced that the date 1874 CE was the date for Christ’s invisible return. Russell joins Barbour as associate editor of Barbour’s magazine, and Russell’s Bible study group of about 30 persons in Pittsburgh becomes affiliated with the slightly larger Barbour group in Rochester, New York.

jv 443–45; yb75 36.

1877 CE - back

Technology: Thomas Edison invents the phonograph. (See 1933 CE and 1934 CE.)

g94 4/22 21; g84 12/9 6; jv 41.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Charles Taze Russell, age 25, begins a full-time preaching career, traveling from city to city delivering Bible discourses at public gatherings, on the streets, and in Protestant churches. Because of this work, he becomes known as “Pastor” Russell. Disagreeing with the teachings of the Second Adventists regarding the object and manner of Christ’s Second Advent, he publishes 50,000 copies of the pamphlet The Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return.

Russell and N.H. Barbour jointly produce a book called Three Worlds, and the Harvest of This World. The book presents the view that Christ’s invisible presence dated from the autumn of 1874 CE, and identifies the date 1914 CE as the end of the “Gentile Times.” Russell calls a meeting of all the ministers of Allegheny and Pittsburgh, shows them the Scriptures that indicate the presence of Christ, and urges them to investigate and proclaim the message. All ministers of the two cities are present; all refuse to believe.

sh 352; yb75 36; ka 186–87.

1878 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Up until now, C.T. Russell has believed that in 1878 CE “the living saints would be suddenly and miraculously caught away bodily, thenceforth to be with the Lord.” He now explains that after Christ’s presence they would be changed instantaneously at death to be present with him. N.H. Barbour disagrees with this new understanding. Barbour also writes an article in the August issue of the Herald of the Morning denying the doctrine of the Atonement, that is, that the “death of Christ was the Ransom-price for Adam and his race.”

w94 1/1 20–21; w89 3/1 12; jv 47.

1879 CE - back

Archaeology (Sippar): The Cyrus Cylinder, an important cuneiform inscription, is found this year at the site of ancient Sippar, which is located on the Euphrates River north of ancient Babylon and south of present-day Baghdad in Iraq. The cylinder records that after Cyrus conquered the city of Babylon, he applied his policy of returning Babylon’s captives to their homelands. Before this time, many nineteenth century scholars had questioned the Bible record at Ezra 1:1–4 regarding the decree of Cyrus that allowed the Jews to return to their homeland. The cylinder also confirms that a person named Cyrus had conquered Babylon, just as Isaiah had prophesied at Isaiah 44:26–45:3 almost 200 years prior to the event. The Cyrus Cylinder is preserved at the British Museum.

See the British Museum display and Cyrus Cylinder translation. See transliteration and translation at Iran Chamber Society.

w08 12/15 22; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Babylonia); CYRUS; si 335–6.

Germany: The German Reich forms an alliance with Austria-Hungary. It will be extended in 1882 CE to include Italy.

g83 9/8 13.

Religion: Mary Baker Eddy founds the Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science).

g89 10/22 17–21.

Technology: Thomas Edison develops the first commercially practical incandescent lamp (electric light).

jv 41.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: In May, Charles T. Russell, after writing several articles in the Herald of the Morning in defense of the doctrine of the Ransom (see 1878 CE), withdraws completely from association with N.H. Barbour and his journal.

Zion’s Watch Tower begins monthly publication with the July issue of 6,000 copies. The full title is Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. C.T. Russell is the editor, with five other mature Bible students serving as regular contributors. The second issue avows that “it will never beg nor petition men for support,” and that if Jehovah fails to provide the necessary funds, “we will understand it to be time to suspend the publication.”

jv 47–48, 718; sh 352; w79 7/1 4–8.

Sacred Secret: In December, Zion’s Watch Tower gives evidence proving that 1914 CE would be a year of great significance in the outworking of God’s “sacred secret.” Even before this, other students of the Bible had hinted that 1914 CE was possibly a year marked in Bible prophecy (see 1844 CE). (See After 4026 BCE, 96 CE, and 1925 CE.)

w97 6/1 16 (chart), g94 11/8 10.

1880 CE - back

Archaeology (Shushan): Beginning this year, and until 1890 CE, French archaeologists excavate Shushan (Susa), the capital of ancient Elam in the seventh century BCE and a royal city when it later came under Persian domination. The royal palace of the Persian king Xerxes I (King Ahasuerus of the Bible book of Esther) is uncovered, confirming many details in the Bible book of Esther. (See 496 BCE.)

it ARCHAEOLOGY (Persia), SHUSHAN.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The March and June editions of the Watch Tower magazine identify 1914 CE as the time for the close of the 2,520-year-long “Gentile Times,” or “the appointed times of the nations.” The “Bible Students’ Tracts” (also called “Old Theology Quarterly”) are begun this year. These tracts are provided free for distribution by Watch Tower readers.

g89 10/22 17–21; w79 7/1 4–8; yb75 39.

1881 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society is organized as a non-incorporated association, with C. T. Russell as its manager, to provide funds and direction for expanding the preaching activity through printing and distributing Bible literature. (See 1884 CE and 1896 CE.) The associates number about 100.

The colporteur work (forerunner of pioneer publishers) begins when a call for 1,000 colporteurs is published in the April issue of the Watch Tower. The Society publishes pamphlets (actually small books published as additional issues of Zion’s Watch Tower) entitled Tabernacle Teachings and Food for Thinking Christians. Over 1,200,000 copies of Food for Thinking Christians are distributed in the first four months.

w79 7/1 4–8; jv 210, 229, 718; yb75 39; br84 5.

1882 CE - back

Triple Alliance: The German Reich extends the alliance made with Austria-Hungary in 1879 to include Italy. It is called the Triple Alliance. (See 1907 CE and 1914 CE.)

g83 9/8 13.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Trinity Doctrine: In the June issue of Zion’s Watch Tower, a reader asks the question “Do you claim that the Bible does not teach that there are three persons in one God?” In answer, the magazine states:

Yes: On the contrary, it does tell us that there is one God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ of whom are all things (or who created all things). We believe then in One God and Father, and also in one Lord Jesus Christ . . . But these are two and not one being. They are one only in the sense of being in harmony. We believe also in a spirit of God called also the spirit of Christ and spirit of truth. But it is no more a person than is the spirit of devils and the spirit of the World and the spirit of Anti-Christ. The one represents the influence or power or will of God, and the other the power or influence or will of Satan and of the World. The biased views of the New Testament translators . . . led them to translate it when they could, as though it were a person. More on this again.

Then the July issue of the Watch Tower discussed the Trinity doctrine in detail in the article “Hear, O Israel! Jehovah Our God Is One — Jehovah.” The article began as follows:

Our readers are aware that while we believe in Jehovah God and Jesus, and the holy Spirit, we reject as totally unscriptural, the teaching that these are three Gods in one person, or as some put it, one God in three persons. The doctrine of the Trinity had its rise in the third century, and has a very close resemblance to the heathen doctrines prevalent at that time, particularly Hindooism. The only text in Scripture which was ever claimed to prove, or affirm, that the Father, Son and Spirit are one, is a portion of 1 John 5:7, 8. This appears only in Manuscripts written since the fifth century, and is acknowledged by all Trinitarians to be a “forgery.” So undisputable is this, that the translators of the “Revised Version” recently published omit the clause without note of comment, though those Revisors were themselves believers in Trinity.

The article continues:

How straightforward and simple is the scriptural statement, compared with human traditions. For instance, into what a muddle of contradictions do they find themselves, who say that Jesus and the Father are one person. This would involve the thought that Jesus acted the hypocrite, and only pretended to address the Father in heaven, when he himself was the same Father on earth. Such must conclude too, since we read that God tempted not, neither is tempted of any, that the temptation of the devil (Matt. 4.) was only a sham and a farce. So with the death of Jesus if God is immortal he cannot die, and if Jesus was the Father, then he must only have pretended to die. Then all the statements of Jesus and the prophets and apostles relative to Jesus' death and resurrection are false, and they false witnesses in testifying that God raised Jesus from the dead, if he never died.

If they admit that Jesus really died, they take the other horn of the dilemma; for believing that their three Gods are one in person, when the person Jesus died, they must all have died. If they all died, who raised them to life? This, too, would conflict with the statement of Paul (1 Thes. 1:10.) that the Father raised up Jesus from death; for if the Father and Son are the same being, then the Father was dead.

John 5:19; 14:28; 17:20–22; 20:17; w89 3/15 18; jv 123, 125; Zion’s Watch Tower, June 1882.

1883 CE - back

Archaeology (Mount Ararat): The Chicago Tribune of August 10 carries a story about a group sent by the Turkish government to investigate avalanches on Mount Ararat. They “came upon a gigantic structure of very dark wood protruding from a glacier.” They entered the structure and found the interior had been divided into partitions fifteen feet high.

g75 9/8 18.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Watch Tower reaches China. A former Presbyterian missionary begins to witness to others there, and especially to Christendom’s missionaries.

jv 418, 718.

1884 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Technology: This year marks the beginning of the Linotype, used for producing lines of type for printing. The Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society will make full use of it for publishing tracts, books, and magazines during the preaching work to spread the good news during the Last Days.

The history book The People’s Chronology carries two significant references for this year: “The Linotype typesetting machine patented by German-American mechanic Ottmar Mergenthaler, 30, will revolutionize newspaper composing rooms,” and “The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is founded by Charles Taze Russell to publish his books, pamphlets, and periodicals. Russell . . . . preaches that the world is on the brink of annihilation in a monstrous battle of Armageddon.”

g84 12/8 5; jv 41.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society is organized into a corporation and is legally chartered in the State of Pennsylvania. (See 1896 CE.) This is decided so that it would be a legal instrument not dependent upon the life of any individuals. Its purpose, as stated in its charter, is for “the dissemination of Bible truths in various languages by means of the publication of tracts, pamphlets, papers and other religious documents.” Membership consists of those who personally support this activity by their contributions. (See 1944 CE.)

Over a million free copies of the publication Food for Thinking Christians have been distributed since 1881. During the past four years before the Society’s incorporation this year, nearly 200 million pages of tracts, pamphlets, and books have been printed and distributed.

w95 1/1 16; jv 718; br84 5.

1885 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: This year, there are about 300 full-time ministers known as “colporteurs” (literally, “book sellers”) who spend their time calling on people from house-to-house and presenting books, although this is not a book-selling campaign but rather a preaching of the good news. The Watch Tower publications are distributed in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

w82 3/1 16; yb75 39–40; jv 718; br84 7.

1886 CE - back

Archaeology: The January issue of the Watch Tower points to discoveries proving the Bible correct in naming Sargon as King of Assyria (Isaiah 20:1), in contrast to critics who had contended that Isaiah erred in naming Sargon as king of Assyria. (See 1843 CE.)

w79 7/1 4–8.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The book The Plan of the Ages (later called The Divine Plan of the Ages) is published as Volume I of the six-book series called Millennial Dawn (later called Studies in the Scriptures). During the next 40 years, 6 million copies of this book will be distributed. (See 1889 CE for the next volume in the series.)

yb75 40.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Their Position Regarding Human Governmental Authorities: The book The Plan of the Ages correctly identifies the “higher powers” or the “superior authorities” of Romans 13:1 as human governmental authorities. It states:

Neither Jesus nor the apostles interfered with earthly rulers in any way. On the contrary, they taught the Church to submit to these powers, even though they often suffered under their abuse of power. They taught the Church to obey the laws, and to respect those in authority because of their office, even if they were not personally worthy of esteem; to pay their appointed taxes, and, except where they conflicted with God’s laws (Acts 4:19; 5:29) to offer no resistance to any established law. (Rom. 13:1–7; Matt. 22:21) The Lord Jesus and the Apostles and the early church were all law-abiding, though they were separate from, and took no share in, the governments of this world. . . .

The influence of the true Church is now and always has been small — so small as to count practically nothing politically; but however great it might appear, we should follow the example and teaching of our Lord and his apostles. Knowing that the purpose of God is to let the world fully test its own ability to govern itself, the true Church should not, while in it, be of the world. The saints may influence the world only by their separateness from it, by letting their light shine; and thus through their lives the spirit of truth reproves the world. Thus — as peaceable, orderly obeyers and commenders of every righteous law, reprovers of lawlessness and sin, and pointers forward to the promised Kingdom of God and the blessings to be expected under it, and not by the method commonly adopted of mingling in politics and scheming with the world for power, and thus being drawn into wars and sins and the general degradation — in glorious chastity should the prospective Bride of the Prince of Peace be a power for good, as her Lord’s representative in the world.

The Church of God should give its entire attention and effort to preaching the Kingdom of God, and to the advancement of the interests of that Kingdom according to the plan laid down in the Scriptures. If this is faithfully done, there will be no time nor disposition to dabble in the politics of present governments. The Lord had no time for it; the apostles had no time for it; nor have any of the saints who are following their example.

w96 5/1 13; The Plan of the Ages, 1886 edition, pages 266–68.

1887 CE - back

Archaeology (Tel el-Amarna): A collection of clay tablets, the Tel el-Amarna letters, is discovered at Tel el-Amarna, located about 200 miles south of Cairo, Egypt. (See Before 1473  BCE.) The published tablets from the royal archives of Amenhotep III and his son Akhenaton comprise correspondence from vassal princes of Syria and Palestine, including six letters from ‘Abdi-Heba, the ruler of Urusalim (Jerusalem). Some scholars had doubted that Jerusalem was ruled by Canaanite kings before David conquered the city (see 1070 BCE), but these letters confirm that each town had its own king, even as the Bible book of Joshua indicates.

Joshua 2:2, 3; 5:1; 8:1, 2; 9:1; 10:1, 3–5; w08 12/15 22; w88 2/1 23–27; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Egypt).

1888 CE - back

Germany (Kaiser Wilhelm): The grandson of William I (see 1871) comes to the German imperial throne as William II, commonly called Kaiser Wilhelm. The Encyclopedia Americana (1920) article “William II (Friedrich Wilhelm Victor Albert” says of him: “He was a firm believer in the divine right of kings and of kaisers in particular. On numerous occasions he spoke of himself as ‘the instrument of the Lord.’ . . . But his selfish ambition had no bounds. It is now generally conceded that almost from the first day of his reign he began to plan for world domination; that he . . . resolved that he, William, would show the world that one man could raise himself to the topmost pinnacle and not only rule Germany, but through Germany might rule the civilized earth. His effort to attain his ends by means of the cruel World War made him the most hated man on the globe.”

w60 1/1 28–29; yw 266.

1889 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: A Bible Students’ Convention, the first modern-day convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses on record, is held in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Attendance is 225, with 22 baptized.

w46 10/1 294.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Construction is completed on the Society’s four-story Bible House at Allegheny (or Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, although until 1898 the title is held by a private concern managed by C.T. Russell. The Bible House, which has an assembly hall for 200, a small room for printing, shipping facilities, an editorial department, living quarters for the staff, and a storefront for public distribution of literature, will serve as the Society’s international headquarters for the next 20 years.

The Time Is At Hand, Volume II of the Millennial Dawn series, is published. The first volume was published in 1886 CE. See 1891 CE for the next volume.

yb75 41, 42; br84 7.

1889 to 1890 CE - back

Bible: The Vatican 1209 manuscript is first made available to the academic world. (See 1475 CE, 1481 CE, and 1809 CE.)

g88 7/22 19–23.

1890 CE - back

Bible: The Watch Tower Society arranges for a special printing, bearing its own name, of the Second Edition of The New Testament Newly Translated and Critically Emphasised by the British Bible translator Joseph B. Rotherham.

jv 605.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Total active associates of the Watch Tower Society are about 400.

yb75 42.

1891 CE - back

Religion: An encyclical by Pope Leo XIII, called “Rerum novarum,” is the basic document of modern Catholic social philosophy. Although referred to by some as a “Magna Charta of Labor,” the encyclical is only a slap on the wrist for the rich and a token toward improving the lot of the workingman. It claims that the only solution for all economic ills is a return to the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Leo says: “In like manner, the other pains and hardships of life will have no end or cessation on earth; for the consequences of sin are bitter and hard to bear, and they must accompany man so long as life lasts. To suffer and to endure, therefore, is the lot of humanity; let them strive as they may, no strength and no artifice will ever succeed in banishing from human life the ills and troubles which beset it.” [Section 18] But compare God’s promises at Isaiah 65:17–25; Revelation 21:3, 4.

Text of Rerum novarum; g50 9/22 13–15.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Thy Kingdom Come, Volume III of the Millennial Dawn series, is published. The first volume was published in 1886 CE. See 1897 CE for the next volume.

C.T. Russell makes his first trip abroad, extending his program of assistance to the congregations.

yb75 41.

1892 CE - back

Bible (Syriac Translation): A manuscript that is a copy of a translation of the four Gospels into the Syriac language (a dialect of Aramaic) is discovered at the St. Catherine monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai. The manuscript dates from the late second- or early third-century CE, and is a copy of a translation that some scholars believe was made as early as the end of the first century. It is a palimpsest (or erased) manuscript and must wait until the 1980’s to be read by computer-enhancement technology. The manuscript shows that Mark 16 definitely ends at verse 8.

g88 5/8 27.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Watchtower magazine begins semimonthly publication in its English edition. A “Believers’ Convention” is held at Allegheny, Pennsylvania, April 7–14, with about 400 attending from 20 states and Manitoba, Canada.

jv 254; w79 7/1 4–8; w55 46; yb75 44.

1893 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The first major convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses outside the Pittsburg area is held in Chicago on August 20–24, with an attendance of about 360 from the US and Canada and 70 baptized.

jv 255; w46 10/1 294.

1894 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Pilgrim work (pilgrims are later called circuit and district overseers) begins as the Society continues to expand the program of visiting the congregations. The Society receives an appreciative letter from J.F. Rutherford, who has obtained volumes of Millennial Dawn. He states that he and his wife intend to distribute these books among friends, relatives, and the poor. Eventually, in 1917, Rutherford will succeed C.T. Russell as president of the Watch Tower Society.

yb75 41–42; jv 719.

1895 CE - back

Germany: Kaiser Wilhelm declares that “the German Empire has become a world empire.” (See 1888 CE and 1914 CE.)

yw 269.

1896 CE - back

Archaeology (Merneptah Stele): Flinders Petrie, a British archaeologist and Egyptologist, finds the Merneptah Stele in Thebes, Egypt. The stele is over 10 feet high and 5 feet wide. On it is the earliest known non-Biblical reference to the existence of the nation of Israel. This relief contains Pharaoh Merneptah’s boasting about his military campaign into Canaan in the late 13th century BCE, which was during the time of the judges in Israel.

g 5/12 18; Wikipedia with photo; AllAboutArchaeology.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society, formed in 1881 CE and legally incorporated in 1884 CE, changes its name to Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. This will remain the corporation’s name until 1955 CE.

yb75 41.

1897 CE - back

Bible: In Behnesa (anciently called Oxyrhynchus), Egypt, over two tons of papyrus letters, contracts, and official documents are found in the ancient garbage dump. Oxyrhynchus was a center of Egyptian Christianity during the fourth and fifth centuries CE. Thus begins a search for more documents that continues for ten years. Many of the Koine Greek words used in these documents are those that appear in the Bible’s Greek Scriptures, thus giving a clearer understanding of their meanings in the Bible.

A number of fragments of the Bible are also found. The first item, designated P^1 in a catalog of over a hundred papyrus manuscripts from various places, dates from the third century CE and agrees with the recent text drawn up by Westcott and Hort. Another sheet, numbered P^5, is found containing John chapter 1 and parts of John chapter 20 and is dated to the third century CE. Another fragment, numbered P^10, containing Romans 1:1–7, and about one-third of the book of Hebrews, numbered P^13, are dated to the fourth century CE. A papyrus leaf containing parts of Roman chapters 8 and 9, numbered P^27, seems to come from a pocketsize edition of the Scriptures from the third century CE. Parts of six chapters of Genesis, numbered Papyrus 656, date from the second or third century CE and fill in missing or defective chapters in the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus. All these fragments show no major variations from our existing early manuscripts, thus confirming our faith in the reliability and accuracy of God’s Word.

w92 2/15 26–28.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Day of Vengeance (later called The Battle of Armageddon), Volume IV of the Millennial Dawn series, is published. The first volume was published in 1886 CE. See 1899 CE for the next volume.

yb75 41.

1898 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Ownership of the privately owned printing plant is donated to the Watch Tower Society. Zion’s Watch Tower of December 15 discusses the Colporteurs, saying, “Nor do the Colporteurs merely circulate the Dawns [bound books] . . . they . . . note the interested ones and call in the evenings and help them.” The colporteurs’ object is not merely to sell books but to arouse interest and make return visits where possible.

yb75 42: br84 7.

1899 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: An incomplete report shows that 339 groups with 2,501 participants attend the Memorial of Christ’s death on 26 March. The “Volunteer Service,” or work of free tract distribution at church doors on Sundays begins. Thousands of volunteers in the United States, Canada, and Europe distribute 948,459 tracts this year.

The At-one-ment Between God and Man, Volume V of the Millennial Dawn series, is published. The first volume was published in 1886 CE. See 1904 CE for the next volume.

yb75 41–42.

20th CENTURY CE   (1900–1999)

1900 - 1905 - 1910 - 1915 - 1920 - 1925 - 1930 - 1935 - 1940 - 1945
1950 - 1955 - 1960 - 1965 - 1970 - 1975 - 1980 - 1985 - 1990 - 1995

A Biblically Important Century: During this twentieth century CE, the “appointed times of the nations” (the “Gentile times”), which began counting with the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 BCE, end in the fall of 1914 CE. At that time, the royal “presence” of Christ Jesus and the “time of the end” or “conclusion of the system of things” begin. War is fought in heaven between Michael and his angels and the Dragon, Satan, and his angels. Satan and his angels (demons) are cast out of heaven and confined to the vicinity of the earth. Many woes follow on earth, including world wars, widespread food shortages, pestilences, great earthquakes, fearful sights in heaven, man’s ruining of the earth, and many other troubles, all foretold in the Bible.

Matthew 24:3–14; w00 1/1 8 par. 10.

The Most Murderous Century: In his book Age of Extremes, Eric Hobsbawm writes that this twentieth century “was without doubt the most murderous century of which we have record.” Worldwatch Institute says: “War-related deaths in the 20th century were more than three times greater than in all previous centuries combined, back to the birth of Christ.” More than 150 million people are killed this century in wars, revolutions, and other civil disorders, according to one report. Compare numbers of war deaths in the 18th Century CE and the 19th Century CE.

g 3/08 9; w08 8/1 5; w06 9/15 4; w00 10/15 16.

In 1993, Zbigniew Brzezinski (former head of the U. S. National Security Council), writes about this century:

The onset of the twentieth century was hailed in many commentaries as the real beginning of the Age of Reason. . . . Contrary to its promise, the twentieth century became mankind’s most bloody and hateful century, a century of hallucinatory politics and of monstrous killings. Cruelty was institutionalized to an unprecedented degree, lethality was organized on a mass production basis. The contrast between the scientific potential for good and the political evil that was actually unleashed is shocking. Never before in history was killing so globally pervasive, never before did it consume so many lives, never before was human annihilation pursued with such concentration of sustained effort on behalf of such arrogantly irrational goals.

Out of Control — Global Turmoil on the Eve of the Twenty-First Century, quoted in w96 4/1 10.

Many other unfortunate deaths occur during this century. For example, the World Health Organization, Switzerland, reports that “100 million deaths were caused by tobacco in the 20th century.”

g 1/09 30.

European Imperialism and Decolonization: According to Norman Davies in the book Europe: A History, ©1996, the empires of Western Europe dissolve just before, during, and after World War II. The British Empire, the world’s largest, occupied an area roughly 125 times larger than Great Britain. The Dutch Empire occupied an area 55 times larger than the Netherlands. The French Empire occupied an area 19 times larger than France. The Belgian Empire occupied an area 78 times the size of Belgium. And the Portuguese Empire occupied an area 23 times larger than Portugal. Davies says:

At the very time that the Soviet Union was extending and consolidating its empire over the peoples of Eastern Europe, the imperial governments of Western Europe were desperately seeking means to dismantle theirs. For some reason, these twin aspects of European imperialism are rarely discussed under the same heading.

World Population: During this century, earth’s population increases from about 1.5–1.7 billion in 1900 CE to over 6 billion by late 1999 CE. According to a UN report, during this century the world’s population increases from 1.65 billion to 6 billion.

See www.un.org/esa/population/publications/sixbillion/sixbilpart1.pdf. See population figures at www.census.gov/ipc/www/worldhis.html and
geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/worldpopulation.htm.

Find the approximate current world population and the population number at the date of your birth here:

populationaction.org/Articles/Whats_Your_Number/Summary.php.

g99 12/8 2–8, 29.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Jehovah’s Witnesses grow from a few thousand at the beginning of the century to approximately 6 million by the end of the century.

1900 CE - back

Religion: Professed Christians now number about one-third of the world’s population. Compare figures at 500 CE, 1500 CE, and 1800 CE.

g89 9/22 16.

Archaeology (Petra): G.L. Robinson discovers Petra’s Great High Place. He finds a sacrificial table and a rectangular altar atop a mountain reached by a steep flight of rock-cut stairs. (See also 1812 CE.)

w57 8/15 492.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Watch Tower Society’s first branch opens in London, England. By this year, witnessing by the Bible Students has been done in 28 countries, and the message has reached 13 other lands.

jv 210, 719.

1901 CE - back

Bible: The American Standard Version is released this year. This translation departs from the tradition of the King James Version of 1611 CE to omit, with few exceptions, the use of God’s name. It properly renders God’s name as Jehovah for the almost 7,000 times where it appears in the original Hebrew Scriptures.

si 323.

Bible: Arthur S. Way publishes the first edition of a translation of The Letters of St. Paul. (See also 1906 CE.)

E-Bible 211.

1902 CE - back

Bible: The Watch Tower Society arranges a special printing of the Holman Linear Parallel Edition of the Bible, containing among other features, wide margins in which are printed references to places in Watch Tower publications where various verses were explained. This Bible contains the wording of two translations: the King James and the Revised Version.

jv 605–6.

Bible: The Watch Tower Society is given the gift of the printing plates for The Emphatic Diaglott. It includes J.J. Griesbach’s Greek text of the Christian Greek Scriptures (1796–1806 edition) with an English interlinear translation, plus the English rendering by Benjamin Wilson. (See 1926 CE.)

jv 606.

Archaeology (Susa): Expeditions at Susa, Iran, uncover a stela of the Code of Hammurabi. The stela had originally been in the temple of Marduk in Babylon. (See 18th Century BCE.)

g89 2/22 18; it CRIME AND PUNISHMENT (Babylonian); George A. Barton, Archaeology and the Bible (1916), pp. 378–406.

1903 CE - back

Archaeology (Elephantine): Many Aramaic documents, mainly on papyrus, are found in Elephantine, an island in the Nile near Aswan, Egypt, which was the site of a Jewish colony after the fall of Jerusalem in 607 BCE. The documents mention the name of Sanballat, the governor of Samaria who opposed Nehemiah’s efforts to repair the wall of Jerusalem. (See 455 BCE.)

Nehemiah 4:1, 7, 8; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Egypt); SANBALLAT.

1904 CE - back

Entente Cordiale: Britain, feeling threatened by Germany’s rapid naval expansion, forms a military alliance with France, the Entente Cordial. It will be extended in 1907 CE to include Russia.

g83 9/8 13; NG-20C 36.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Sermons by Charles Taze Russell begin to appear regularly in newspapers. The New Creation, Volume VI of the Millennial Dawn series, is published. The first volume was published in 1886 CE. C.T. Russell intends to publish a seventh volume, but does not live to write it. The Watch Tower magazine reaches a circulation of 25,000 copies this year.

jv 719; yb75 41; w55 1/15 46.

1905 CE - back

Archaeology (Noah’s Ark): An Armenian claims that he and his grandfather visited Noah’s ark about this year. He describes the ark as being “like a barge,” long and narrow with a flat nose and a flat bottom, with about 50 window holes about 18 inches high by 30 inches long in the top under an overhanging roof.

g75 9/8 18.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Nathan Homer Knorr is born on April 23. He will become the third president of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society in 1942 CE.

jv 90–91.

1906 CE - back

Bible: Arthur S. Way publishes a thoroughly revised edition of The Letters of St. Paul, which was first published in 1901. This edition includes the Epistle to the Hebrews.

E-Bible 211.

Religion: The Churches of Christ is formed from the Disciples of Christ, which was formed in 1832.

g89 10/22 17–21.

1907 CE - back

Bible: The Watch Tower Society publishes the Bible Students Edition of the King James Version, which includes the “Berean Bible Teachers’ Manual” bound with it as an appendix. Another edition with an enlarged appendix will be published about a year later.

jv 606.

Archaeology (Jericho): The first of several expeditions to excavate ancient Jericho is begun this year. This expedition lasts until 1909. Each expedition will produce a different conclusion by the archaeologists about the approximate dating of their finds. (See 1930 CE, 1952 CE, and 1981 CE.) Jericho was destroyed by Joshua in 1473 BCE.

gm 49–53; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Palestine and Syria) (Differences in dating).

Triple Entente: The Triple Entente — a military alliance of Protestant Britain, republican France, and Russian Orthodox Czarist Russia — is formed this year. (See Entente Cordiale in 1904 CE and see 1914 CE.)

dp 260; w60 1/1 29; g83 9/8 13; NG-20C 36.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: There are about 30 volunteers serving at the Bible House this year at the Society’s headquarters in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

yb75 42.

1908 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Society purchases the old “Plymouth Bethel” and Henry Ward Beecher’s four-story brownstone at 124 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn, New York. (See 1909 CE.) The circulation of the Watch Tower magazine has risen to 30,000 copies.

w79 7/1 4–8; yb75 51.

1909 CE - back

Archaeology (Jerusalem): In Jerusalem, this year and until 1911 CE, the entire system of water tunnels connecting with the Gihon spring is cleared. A tunnel was discovered in 1867 CE. On the tunnel wall of the Siloam tunnel (which runs 1,749 feet from the Gihon spring to the Pool of Siloam) an ancient Hebrew inscription described the cutting of the tunnel. (This inscription is now in the Museum of the Orient in Istanbul.) This account coincides with the project of King Hezekiah of Judah described at 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:30 when Jerusalem was under threat of seige by the Assyrians. (See 732 BCE.) To see tunnel photographs, click here.

it ARCHAEOLOGY (Palestine and Syria); HEZEKIAH 1 (Building and Engineering Works); The Ancient Near East, Vol. I, 1958, by James B. Pritchard, p. 212.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Watch Tower Society moves its headquarters to Brooklyn, New York. Henry Ward Beecher’s brownstone (see 1908 CE) becomes known as “Bethel” (“House of God”) and houses the headquarters staff of over thirty persons. The old “Plymouth Bethel” becomes known as “The Brooklyn Tabernacle”; it houses the Society’s offices and has an auditorium with seating for 800. On January 31, 350 people are present for the dedication of the Society’s new headquarters. By this year, at least 45 local assemblies have been arranged in North America. The name of the Watch Tower magazine is changed from Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence to The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, which will remain its name until 1939 CE.

w79 7/1 4–8; jv 255–56; yb75 51–52.

1910 CE - back

Religion (The Custom of Toasting): The Encyclopaedia Britannica published this year says: “The custom of drinking ‘health’ to the living is most probably derived from the ancient religious rite of drinking to the gods and the dead. The Greeks and Romans at meals poured out libations to their gods, and at ceremonial banquets drank to them and to the dead. . . . Intimately associated with these quasi-sacrificial drinking customs must have ever been the drinking to the health of living men.”

EncBrit 1910, vol. 13, p. 21 as quoted in w07 2/15 30.

1912 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Photo-Drama): Preparation is begun on the “Photo-Drama of Creation,” which will be shown in 1914 CE.

g84 12/8 6.

1914 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Last Days: The August 30, 1914, edition of The World. a leading New York newspaper of this time, comments that the outbreak of war in Europe “has fulfilled an extraordinary prophecy. For a quarter of a century past, through preachers and through press, the 'International Bible Students’ . . . have been proclaiming to the world that the Day of Wrath prophesied in the Bible would dawn in 1914.” On October 2, C.T. Russell announces at Brooklyn Bethel: “The Gentile Times have ended; their kings have had their day.”

re 105; it APPOINTED TIMES OF THE NATIONS (Seven Symbolic Times).

Just Before World War I: “The world of 1914 was full of hope and promise.” (World War I, by Louis Snyder.) “The spring and summer of 1914 were marked in Europe by an exceptional tranquillity.” “Germany seemed with us, to be set on peace.” (Winston Churchill, a member of Britain’s 1914 cabinet.) “A European conflict appeared less likely in 1914 than in 1911, 1912 or 1913 . . . The relations of the two governments were better than they had been for years.” (Under Six Reigns, by historian G.P. Gooch.)

w92 5/1 4: “1914 — The Year That Shocked the World.”

World War I: (See 1879 CE, 1881 CE, 1904 CE, and 1907 CE for the various alliances of the countries involved.) On June 28 in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, a member of a Serbian terrorist group assassinates Archduke Ferdinand, the crown prince of Austria-Hungary, and his wife, Sophie. (Austria-Hungary had annexed Bosnia in 1908.) Austria-Hungary and Germany are allies (see Triple Alliance in 1882), so Germany now uses this opportunity to realize its scheme of world domination. (See 1888 and 1895 CE.) On July 5, Germany assures Austria-Hungary of its support in case Russia intervenes with Austria-Hungary’s plans about invading Serbia. On July 18, Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia and orders his troops to invade. Russia comes to Serbia’s aid. On August 1, Germany declares war on Russia. France (an ally in the Triple Entente) supports Russia. Germany then declares war on France, and on August 3, by order of Kaiser Wilhelm and in order to reach France, the German army invades the kingdom of Belgium (whose neutrality had been guaranteed by Britain). On August 4, Britain declares war on Germany. Czar Nicholas orders the mobilization of the Russian army for war with Germany and Austria-Hungary. And thus the “Great War” (World War I) has begun. Other countries soon join in taking sides in this first “world” war in human history.

The Great War will last until 1918 and will take the lives of more than 9,000,000 fighting men and at least 5,000,000 civilians. The World Book Encyclopedia states: “No one knows how many civilians died of disease, starvation, and other war-related causes. Some historians believe that as many civilians died as soldiers.”

Matthew 24:3–14; Revelation 6:1–8; w92 5/1 5; w79 8/1 4; w60 1/1 29–31; gm 137; yw 269.

Chronology (607 BCE to 1914 CE): See the discussion in the two Watchtower articles: “When Did God’s Kingdom Begin Ruling?” Parts 1 and 2, October 1 and November 1, 2014.

Read the October Watchtower article, Part 1, on WOL.

Read the November Watchtower article, Part 2, on WOL.

Read the Bible Teach appendix “1914 — A Significant Year in Bible Prophecy” on WOL.

See additional chronology information at 607 BCE.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Photo-Drama): The first exhibition of the “Photo-Drama of Creation” is given in January. It consists of an eight-hour program that includes motion pictures and slides and is coordinated with voice recordings. By the end of this year, audiences totaling over 9,000,000 in North America, Europe, and Australia have viewed the “Photo-Drama.”

Read the IMDb writeup about the Photo-Drama.

Read the Wikipedia article about the Photo-Drama.

w01 1/15 8–9; jv 60, 561.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: On June 30, the International Bible Students Association is incorporated in London, England. The good news of God’s Kingdom has reached 43 lands — or 68 lands, if counted by the way the earth is divided in the early 1990s.

jv 229; w94 5/1 15–16.

1915 CE - back

Last Days (Great Earthquakes): An earthquake on January 13 in Abruzzi (Avezzano), Italy, kills 32,610 people.

Luke 21:10, 11; w92 5/1 7; gm 141.

1916 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Charles T. Russell, age 64, dies on board a train. During his lifetime he reportedly preached more than 30,000 sermons and wrote books consisting of over 50,000 pages. He is buried in the Watchtower Society’s burial plot in United Cemetery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Read the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh article on Charles Taze Russell.

sh 354; g89 10/22 17–21; br84 30.

1917 CE - back

Last Days (Great Earthquakes): An earthquake on January 21 in Bali, Indonesia, kills 15,000.

Luke 21:10, 11; w92 5/1 7.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Joseph F. Rutherford is elected second president of the Watch Tower Society in January. The Finished Mystery is released. Its contents are described in the book Our Incoming World Government — God’s Kingdom as follows:

On July 17, 1917, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society released the book entitled “The Finished Mystery.” This book dealt with Revelation and the prophecy of Ezekiel and, unavoidably, it emphasized the destruction of religious Babylon the Great and her political, military, judicial and commercial friends. (James 4:4) This provided further basis for the political authorities, egged on by the clergy of Babylon the Great, to ‘dash to pieces the power of Jehovah’s holy people.’

sh 354; go 131.

1918 CE - back

Last Days (Wars): World War I, the “Great War,” ends this year. The second German Reich, which began in 1871, collapses. In the fall, the Anglo-American Dual World Power and its allies emerge victorious. A military analyst noted: “World War I ushered in the century of Total War, of — in the first full sense of the term — global war. . . . Never had the slaughter been so comprehensive and indiscriminate.” According to one study, World War I was reportedly seven times greater than all the 901 major wars of the previous 2,400 years.

Last Days (Pestilences): The Spanish influenza pestilence of this year and 1919 sickens two billion people around the world. Over 20 million die, or perhaps up to 40 million, according to some sources, which is more people than all the millions killed during the four years of World War I, and more persons in one year than died in the four-year Black Death pestilence that began in 1347 CE. (See 1957 CE and 1968 CE.)

Last Days (Great Earthquakes): An earthquake on February 13 in Kwangtung Province, China, kills 10,000; another on October 11 in western Puerto Rico kills 116.

Luke 21:10, 11; g93 6/22 29; w92 5/1 7; w77 6/15 359; w71 12/1 718; w65 3/1 148; gm 142; World War I. by H.W. Baldwin, 1962, pp. 1, 2; Colliers, September 29, 1945, as cited in w75 10/15 633; g89 7/8 23.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: This year, there are less than 4,000 Witnesses sharing in the preaching work.

ip-2 320.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Leaders Arrested): The Watch Tower Society’s officers are arrested. The events leading to their arrest are summarized in the 1983 Watchtower:

On May 8, 1918, the president of the Watch Tower Society and seven associates of his at the Brooklyn, New York, headquarters were arrested. Earlier, on February 12, 1918, the government of Canada had banned the Society s latest bound book entitled The Finished Mystery, as well as the Society’s free tracts entitled Bible Students Monthly. On March 14 the United States government followed suit and banned The Finished Mystery and a related issue of the Bible Students Monthly, these publications being endorsed by the Society’s president. Then on June 21, after weeks of court trial, the federal court of the United States sentenced to long terms of imprisonment in the Federal Penitentiary at Atlanta, Georgia, the Society’s president, its secretary-treasurer, the two coauthors of The Finished Mystery, three other members of the Brooklyn headquarters staff and the Society’s Italian translator. On July 4, 1918, all eight were transferred from Brooklyn, New York, to the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, while World War I still raged.

w83 7/1 18.

1919 CE - back

Last Days: Before the League of Nations’ Covenant goes into effect in 1920, the Bible Students declare that the League must fail. (See 1939 CE.

w88 5/1 26–29.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: “Babylon the Great has fallen!” from Jehovah’s standpoint, and the remnant of spiritual Israel comes out from under the influence of Christendom, a dominant part of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. The report for the year shows 5,793 Bible Students actively preaching in 43 lands, with 21,411 attending the Memorial. The Watch Tower Society’s officers are released from prison. The 1983 Watchtower reports:

The year 1919 was crowned with divine goodness. On March 21, before ever a nationwide petition work by the International Bible Students could be completed, the eight representatives of the Society were admitted to bail, and on March 25 they were released from the Atlanta Penitentiary, never to return. Why? Because they were later exonerated and found not guilty of any crime against the United States.

w96 4/15 11; w83 7/1 20–21 par. 13; jv 720.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The first convention held in Cedar Point, Ohio, is attended by 6,000, with 300 baptized and 7,000 attending the public lecture. (See also 1922.) In attendance at this September 1–8 convention are the Society’s president and seven other members of the Society’s headquarters who have been released from prison in March on bail. The new 32-page magazine The Golden Age (later renamed Consolation, then Awake!) is announced.

jv 720; re 146; w46 10/1 294.

1920 CE - back

Last Days (Great Earthquakes): An earthquake on January 3 in Veracruz, Mexico, kills 648; one on September 7 in Reggio di Calabria, Italy, kills 1,400; one on December 16 in Ningsia Province, China, kills 180,000 to 200,000 people.

Luke 2:10, 11; w92 5/1 7; w75 10/15 634; gm 141.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Society’s officers are finally exonerated on May 5 (see 1918 CE. For a granddaughter’s personal glimpse of Clayton J. Woodworth, one of the officers who was imprisoned, see the article in w00 10/1 24–29, “Blessed With a Special Heritage.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Individual Witnesses (other than colporteurs) begin reporting their weekly preaching activity. This year in the United States, there are 8,052 “class workers” who turn in reports for their preaching activity. There are also 350 colporteurs (full-time workers) engaging in the preaching work. (See 1881 CE and 1898 CE.)

yb 75 124.

1921 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Society releases the book The Harp of God, outlining Jehovah’s purpose as “ten strings of the Harp of God, the Bible.” It is presented in simple form suitable for beginners in Bible study and is used in individual and group Bible studies.

yb75 128; jv 579.

1922 CE - back

Archaeology (Ur): British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley begins work uncovering ancient Ur. He will work until 1934 and confirm that the Ur of Abraham’s day was a flourishing and highly civilized city. (See 20th Century BCE, 1854 CE, and 1869 CE.)

w80 10/1 6; it UR.

Archaeology (King Tutankhamen): Archaeologist Howard Carter uncovers the fabulous tomb of “King Tut” or Pharaoh Tutankhamen, son of Akhenaton (see more about Akhenaton at 1887 CE). The tomb contains furnishings that are an outstanding demonstration of the wealth of the Pharaohs that Moses had earlier turned his back on. (Hebrews 11:24, 25) Soon after entering King Tut’s tomb, some two dozen Egyptologists mysteriously die, alleged victims of a curse. The cause of death, however, is due to allergic shock reaction from breathing organic dust particles from mold produced by decaying food left to feed the Pharaoh on his “trip to eternity.”

w89 3/15 3; w88 2/1 26; w86 6/8 30.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: On February 26, J.F. Rutherford in California first uses the radio to broadcast a Bible discourse. During the next few years, Jehovah’s Witnesses will use the radio extensively in Kingdom preaching. House-to-house work is simplified. Watchtower studies begin.

jv 720.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): The second Cedar Point, Ohio, convention is held September 5–13. (See 1919 CE.) This is the first of a series of seven annual conventions, 1922 through 1928, that gives great impetus to the preaching work and results in seven striking resolutions expressing God’s judgments against elements of Christendom and this world. In September, the 1,335 days of Daniel 12:12 begin. (See 1926 CE.) At the convention, J.F. Rutherford urges the audience as follows:

Be sober, be vigilant, be active, be brave. Be faithful and true witnesses for the Lord. Go forward in the fight until every vestige of Babylon lies desolate. Herald the message far and wide. The world must know that Jehovah is God and that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. This is the day of all days. Behold, the King reigns! You are his publicity agents. Therefore advertise, advertise, advertise, the King and his kingdom.

w12 9/15 29 par. 6; w97 6/1 17; w93 11/1 11–12; dp 300–3; br84 18.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Technology): The April 26 article “The Gift of Speech” in The Golden Age magazine makes the following statement about one particular means of communication in the future:

Aside from the conveyance of human ideas by the press, we have the human voice recorded and can reproduce it at will. The question arises, When will these artificial methods reach the climax of their perfection and will the necessity for them ever continue? More marvelous changes than have been wrought in the past await us in the future. Conveying ideas by printer’s ink has furnished the opportunity for much cheating and lying. Much of our news has been false propaganda, in the interest of the few, to control and keep in subjection the minds of the many. But ingenious devices are appearing on the horizon which promise to eliminate opportunity for fraud in conveying ideas.

Some day each human individual may carry in his vest pocket his own private wireless telephone, through which he can receive reliable news from various parts of the earth and communicate at will with private individuals wherever they may be.

g1926 4/26 pages 467–68.

1923 CE - back

Last Days (Great Earthquakes): An earthquake on March 24 in Szechwan Province, China, kills 5,000. An earthquake on May 26 in northeastern Iran kills 2,200 people. The Great Kanto Earthquake on September 1 kills 143,000 people in Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan.

Luke 21:10, 11; w92 5/1 7; gm 141–2; g89 6/8 29; g87 12/22 24–25; g83 12/8 30–31.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Evangelizer W.R. Brown (“Bible Brown”) first goes to Africa this year.

w92 9/1 32.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Christmas): The brothers are still celebrating Christmas, but will soon discontinue the practice. The last Christmas celebration at Bethel will be in 1926. In a personal letter from Fred Franz to Mary Salata [later] Eldridge dated Sunday, February 3, 1924, he writes about their (1923) Christmas celebration at Bethel:

Sister Betler handed me your letter to myself the other day and you can be sure I was very glad to hear from you and also to learn that you had received the Christmas remembrance from us three. So you can be sure that we were thinking of all of you at Christmas time and we would have been very glad if could have been with us. You remember what a wonderful Christmas it was the time when you were all with us. Well, this Christmas just past was even better than that one. It sounds a little selfish I know, but the Christmas presents I received were about sixty in number, and on top of this all I got a trip home to Cincinnati to see all my relatives down there. I was gone from Bethel for six days, leaving Thursday after Christmas and getting back Wednesday after new year’s day. I was privileged to serve as a Pilgrim at Mansfield, Ohio, and Johnstown, Penna., on my way back. But while I can be thankful for all these loving gifts that I received, I was especially thankful at Christmastime that I still had the Truth and was still in the Lord and used in his sweet service.

Photocopy of original letter from personal files of cjb.

See notes at 1927 CE and 1928 CE for why the brothers quit celebrating Christmas.

1924 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Radio): Radio station WBBR begins broadcasting on February 24. (See notes at 1927 CE.)

jv 720.

1925 CE - back

Archaeology (Nuzu): Between this year and 1931, excavations are carried out at Nuzu, or Nuzi, an ancient city in northern Mesopotamia east of the Tigris River and southeast of Nineveh, uncovering an enormous palace and some 20,000 clay tablets. The tablets contain details regarding the legal jurisprudence at that time that reveals many similarities to the customs of the Patriarchs in Genesis, such as adopting a son, whether freeborn or slave, to care for them and be their heir (compare Eliezer, Genesis 15:2); a barren wife’s being obligated to provide her husband with a concubine (compare Sarah giving Hagar to Abraham, Genesis 16:1, 2; 1932 BCE); selling of birthrights (compare Jacob and Esau, Genesis 25:29–34; 1858 BCE and 1781 BCE); the possession of family gods being viewed as similar to holding title deed (compare Rachel’s taking Laban’s teraphim and his concern about retrieving them at Genesis 31:14–16, 19, 25–35; see 1761 BCE).

w80 10/1 7; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Mari and Nuzi); RACHEL; TERAPHIM; F-Light 54–55.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The number of those professing to be of the anointed who participate in the celebration of the Memorial of Christ’s death are reported to be 90,434.

w61 12/1 721.

Sacred Secret: The Watch Tower of March 1 explains that the Kingdom was born in 1914, that there are two distinct and opposing organizations — Jehovah’s and Satan’s — and that the “sacred secret” about that Kingdom must be publicized. (See After 4026 BCE and 1879 CE.)

Revelation 12:1–5, 10, 17; w97 6/1 16 (chart); jv 720; w1925 3/1 pages 67–74.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Watch Tower of July 15 clarifies the previous belief that the Battle of Armageddon would be a human struggle for domination here on earth, nor would it be an anarchistic battle between capital and organized labor, but rather, the article states: “This is the fight of God Almighty; and the fight is led by his beloved Son.”

w66 12/1 730; w61 12/1 721.

1926 CE - back

Bible: For the first time, the Watch Tower Society prints and binds a Bible, The Emphatic Diaglott, at its own factory. (See 1902 CE.)

jv 606.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The book Deliverance is released in May at an international assembly in London. It becomes the first of a series to replace Studies in the Scriptures. God’s people are now looking forward, not backward, and the 1,335 days of Daniel 12:12 are concluded. (See 1922 CE.)

w93 11/1 11–12; w61 12/1 721; dp 303–4.

1927 CE - back

Israel: At the city of Adam on the Jordan River, landslides from earth tremors dam the Jordan and stop the flow of water for 21.5 hours, similar to the Biblical occurrence in 1473 BCE and another occurrence in 1267 CE.

it ADAM 2.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The first Kingdom Hall is built at Roseto, Pennsylvania, although the name “Kingdom Hall” will not come into general use until 1935 CE. The Society publishes the first Yearbook. The Society’s factory at 117 Adams Street begins operation. Sunday witnessing begins.

w01 1/15 20; w72 3/1 158; yb75 167.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: New light flashes forth as The Watch Tower points out that the sleeping faithful members of the body of Christ were not resurrected in 1878 (as once thought), that life is in the blood, and that the matter of wearing somber dress would properly be modified.

yb75 148.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Christmas): The article “The Origin of Christmas” published this year in the December 14 issue of The Golden Age exposes the pagan origin of Christmas. The article “noted that Christmas is a pagan celebration, focuses on pleasures, and involves idol worship. The article made it clear that the celebration was not ordered by Christ and concluded with this pointed statement about Christmas: ‘The fact that the world, the flesh, and the Devil are in favor of its perpetuation and observance . . . is a final and conclusive argument against its celebration by those who are dedicated wholly to the service of Jehovah.’” The Bethel family does not celebrate Christmas this year, or ever again. (See also notes in 1928 CE.)

kr 102; g1927 12/14 pages 178–9; w14 12/1 “What are the facts about Christmas?”.

Regarding not celebrating Christmas at Bethel in 1927, in a personal letter dated February 6, 1928, Fred Franz wrote the following to Mary Salata [later] Eldridge:

You remember how I told you that they voted to have no more Christmas celebrations at Bethel because such things were wrong, and I hear that at the London Bethel and also at the Bern Bethel in Switzerland they did the same thing as we did here. So we all worked on Christmas celebration day, and instead of Christmas we took a holiday on Monday, January 2nd, and had the orchestra from our Radio Station W B B R on Staten Island to come over and play us some music, and after a hour of such music we had a grand dinner and spent the rest of the day as we pleased. We felt and believed that this would be more pleasing to the Lord, rather than to imitate the false Christian churches in their heathen-like celebration of Christmas day. So little by little the Lord is cleansing us from the errors of the Devil’s Babylonish organization.

Photocopy of original letter from personal files of cjb; kr 103 (ftn.).

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Radio): In a personal letter from Fred Franz to Mary Salata [later] Eldridge dated Wednesday, Sept. 14, 1927, he writes about the Watch Tower Society’s use of radio:

And then you know too that Station W B B R over on Staten Island was being built at the time that all of you sailed away from America for Ceskoslovensko, and it was finished in February of the next year. And now at this time that I am writing the Society owns Radio Stations in Chicago, Toronto, Oakland, Vancouver, Edmonton, Cleveland, Seattle, and Saskatoon, and also about seventy (70) classes in the United States and Canada have arranged to use radio stations in their cities to send out the message of the Lord’s kingdom. Brother Barber told me just yesterday that there are seventy-eight (78) radio stations which are now regularly broadcasting the kingdom message. This number also takes in two radio stations in Australia and one station in Honolulu in the Hawaiian Islands, and one Station in Switzerland. Besides this, we sometimes use Station W G B S here in New York City, which is owned by the Gimbel Brothers Department Store; and several Sundays ago I went up to Schenectady, New York, to speak and sing over Station W G Y, which is owned by the General Electric company and which is one of the biggest radio Stations in the world.

Photocopy of original letter from personal files of cjb.

1928 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Christmas): The last celebration of Christmas at Bethel was in 1926. In 1927, after the publication of the article “The Origin of Christmas” in The Golden Age, Christmas was not celebrated at Bethel. On December 12 of this year [1928], Richard H. Barber gives a talk on radio hookup pointing out in more detail the unclean, pagan, unscriptural origins of the Christmas celebration. This talk, “Christmas, Its Origin and Purpose,” was printed twice in the The Golden Age — in December this year and again in December 1929. The article gives credit to various sources for the information about the pagan origins of the celebration of Christmas. It says:

Many others have investigated this subject before I have, and it is to them that I am indebted for such a mass of evidence that it is impossible to doubt its origin and purpose. Both Webster’s and the Standard Dictionary tell us that Christmas day is of pagan origin. So do all the encyclopedias. In its issue of December 26, 1927, the New York World carried a full-page article on Christmas which showed beyond a doubt that the day was observed by various heathen nations for many centuries before the birth of Christ. On the same date, the Chicago Tribune, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the St. Paul Daily News carried shorter articles proving the heathen origin of the day. So did some of the larger magazines of the country. Should anyone desire to investigate the subject further, after reading this article, I would recommend a perusal of the following four books: Kitto’s Illustrated Commentary; Wilkinson’s Egyptians; History of Medieval Drama, by Robinson; and The Two Babylons, by Alexander Hyslop, an English clergyman. The last-named book is specially interesting in its revelations, not only on the subject of Christmas, but also on other holidays and feast days now so popular.

kr 102–3; yb75 147; g1928 12/12 pages 163–69; g1929 12/25 pages 195–201.

1929 CE - back

Bible (Translations): The Golden Age magazine reports the following number of Bible translations:

The Bible in Ten New Languages: While the National Sunday School Union is trying to improve upon the wisdom of Almighty God by getting up an abbreviated Bible, the circulation of the unexpurgated edition continues greater than ever. Parts of it were translated in ten new languages this past year [1928], the total number of translations now standing at 618.

g1929 12/25 page 206.

Archaeology (Corinth): During excavations in Corinth, Greece, a pavement or paving block dating from the first century CE is discovered with the inscription: “Erastus, procurator and aedile, laid this pavement at his own expense.” At Romans 16:23, the apostle Paul, writing from Corinth, sends greetings from a co-worker, saying, “Erastus the city steward greets you.” Although not certain, it is possible that the Erastus that Paul mentions, who was the city steward in charge of the financial affairs of the city, was the same as the one mentioned on the pavement.

w63 11/1 663.

Last Days: On October 29, the US stock market crashes and triggers the Great Depression that affects all capitalist countries. The depression will bottom out between 1932 CE and 1934 CE, but the effects will continue to be felt for years afterward.

re 106.

1930 CE - back

Archaeology (Jericho): Another expedition to excavate ancient Jericho is begun by Professor John Garstang, lasting until 1936 CE. He discovers that during one of the destructions of Jericho, the walls fell as if by earthquake, and the city was completely burned with fire. He dates this destruction to about 1400 BCE. (See 1473 BCE, 1907 CE, 1952 CE, and 1981 CE.)

gm 49–53; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Palestine and Syria).

1931 CE - back

Bible: The Chester Beatty papyri are dug out of a Coptic (Egyptian) graveyard. These are papyrus pages of the Christian Greek Scriptures in codex form copied in the second, third, and fourth centuries CE, and therefore are the oldest substantial manuscripts of the Greek Bible in existence. The papyri designated P^45 (parts of four Gospels and Acts, early third century CE), P^46 (nine Pauline letters, circa 200 CE), and P^47 (part of Revelation, third century CE) are used in the footnote apparatus of the NW 1984 Reference Bible.

w89 2/1 27–30; g88 7/22 19–23.

Last Days: The League of Nations fails to keep Japan from moving into Manchuria.

g88 6/1 26.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): On July 26, in fitting application of Isaiah 43:10–12, the Bible Students adopt the name Jehovah’s Witnesses at a convention in Columbus, Ohio, and thereafter at conventions around the earth. The Witnesses number less than 50,000 in less than 50 lands.

w01 1/15 19; jv 720; sh 359.

1932 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The arrangement for “elective elders” is eliminated, replaced by a service committee, and a service director is chosen by the Society.

The book Vindication, Book 2, explains that the Biblical restoration prophecies apply not to natural Jews but to spiritual Israel. The term for identifying a congregation is changed from “ecclesia” (or “classes”) to “company,” based on the scripture at Psalm 68:11 from the KJ version.

w95 5/15 22; w83 9/1 11; jv 720.

1933 CE - back

Last Days: Adolph Hitler begins his Third Reich, which will end in 1945 CE. (See 800 CE, 962 CE, and 1871 CE.) The first concentration camps are erected by the Nazis in Germany, which will imprison 8 to 10 million persons by 1945, with at least half of them killed. The League of Nations fails to keep Bolivia and Paraguay from going to war.

g89 7/8 21–24; g88 6/1 27; TH 1933.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Germany: Persecution begins against the Witnesses in Germany, as chronicled in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: “In April 1933, four months after Hitler became chancellor, Jehovah’s Witnesses were banned in Bavaria and by the summer in most of Germany. Twice during 1933, police occupied the Witnesses’ offices and their printing site in Magdeburg and confiscated religious literature. Witnesses defied Nazi prohibitions by continuing to meet and distribute their literature, often covertly.”

View a timeline from 1933 to 1946 on the Facing the Lion Web site.

See information about the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Web site.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Witnesses begin to use a transportable transcription machine with an amplifier and loudspeaker to broadcast 33 1/3-rpm recordings of Brother Rutherford’s radio lectures. They are broadcast in halls, parks, and other public places. Sound cars and sound boats are also used. Late in the year, a different method of preaching is begun using a testimony card with a brief message for the householder to read.

jv 87; 564.

1934 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Germany: Persecution continues against the Witnesses in Germany. On October 7, Witnesses in Germany meet secretly, pray together, and send a letter to the government stating their determination to continue to serve Jehovah. On this same day, Witnesses in the rest of the earth meet, pray, and send cablegrams to the Hitler government in support of their Christian brothers. According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (where a copy of the letter can be read): “Initially, Jehovah’s Witnesses attempted to fend off Nazi attacks by issuing a letter to the government in October 1934, explaining their religious beliefs and political neutrality. This declaration failed to convince the Nazi regime of the group’s harmlessness. For defying the ban on their activities, many Witnesses were arrested and sent to prisons and concentration camps. They lost their jobs as civil servants or employees in private industry and their unemployment, social welfare, and pension benefits.”

US Holocaust Memorial Museum; jv 315.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Watch Tower Society begins producing portable phonographs and a series of 78-rpm discs containing 4 1/2-minute Bible lectures. Eventually they will produce more than 47,000 phonographs, with recordings covering 92 different subjects. The use of the phonograph on return visits begins.

jv 87, 565, 721.

1935 CE - back

Last Days (Great Earthquakes): An earthquake in Quetta, Pakistan, kills 60,000.

Luke 21:10, 11; w86 5/15 5.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9 is identified as being earthly subjects of God’s Kingdom. The first meeting place called Kingdom Hall is built in Honolulu, on Pensacola Street. The Witnesses are now preaching in 115 lands and have reached another 34 lands through witnessing expeditions or literature mailings.

w94 5/1 19; yb91 84 (photo); sh 358.

1936 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Kingdom publishers begin wearing advertising placards to advertise Bible lectures. With the publishing of the book Riches, new light flashes forth regarding the cross: Jesus was not crucified on a T-shaped cross, but by nailing his body to a tree.

jv 721; yb75 148–49.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Germany: Persecution against Jehovah’s Witnesses by the Nazis continues, and the Witnesses respond. The following is reported on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Web site: “In response to Nazi efforts to destroy them, the worldwide Jehovah’s Witness organization became a center of spiritual resistance against the Nazis. An international convention of Witnesses, held in Lucerne, Switzerland, in September 1936, issued a resolution condemning the entire Nazi regime. In this text and other literature brought into Germany, writers broadly indicted the Third Reich. Articles strongly denounced the persecution of German Jews, Nazi ‘savagery’ toward Communists, the remilitarization of Germany, the Nazification of schools and universities, Nazi propaganda, and the regime’s assault on mainstream churches.”

www.ushmm.org/education/resource/jehovahs/jehovahsw.php.

1937 CE - back

Bible: The first edition of St. Paul from the Trenches by Gerald Warre Cornish is published. Cornish, who was killed in World War I in 1916 while in action, was a Lecturer in Greek in Manchester University. Found in his effects was a copybook containing “in minute but perfectly legible script” a translation of First and Second Corinthians and part of Ephesians. After being published this year, it will go rapidly into several editions.

E-Bible 212.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Golden Age magazine becomes the Consolation. “Other sheep” are used as presiding overseers. Special pioneer work begins. Use of the phonograph in door-to-door work is introduced. (Compare 1934 CE.) The Watch Tower Society withdraws from regular use of commercial radio. The booklet Model Study is introduced, emphasizing the need to make return visits in order to teach others.

w01 1/15 20; jv 85, 721.

1938 CE - back

Germany: On the night of November 9, which becomes known as Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”), storm troopers attack Jewish homes, synagogues, and businesses, murdering 91 Jews. Wholesale confiscation of Jewish property and expulsion of Jewish children from German schools follow. (NG-20C 152) Protestant clergymen are ordered to swear a personal oath of loyalty to Hitler, and nearly all comply. (NG-20C 152)

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Society has 39 branches throughout the earth to give oversight to the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses; however, due to persecution and war pressures, the number of branches will drop to 25 by 1942. Congregation organization conforms more fully to theocratic rule when in this year “all servants in the congregation began to be appointed more closely in line with the arrangements for theocratic appointment in the early Christian congregation. (Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 4:14),” thus replacing democratic procedures. At an assembly in London, England, the use of “sandwich signs” begins. The second message following the advertisement for the public talk was “Religion Is a Snare and a Racket.” A few days later, due to adverse reaction, another message was added: “Serve God and Christ the King.” (See 1939 CE.)

w01 1/15 20; w71 12/1 722; jv 217–19, 721; yb75 160–61.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and the US Supreme Court: In Lovell v. City of Griffin, the Court unanimously strikes down a municipal ordinance that requires distributors of printed materials to obtain written permission from the city manager. The Court rules that the ordinance “strikes at the very foundation of the freedom of the press by subjecting it to license and censorship,” and that “legislation of the type of ordinance in question would restore the system of license and censorship in its baldest form.”

jv 684; Judg-JWs 183–84.

1939 CE - back

World War II: At the start of the war, 94.4 percent of the citizens in Germany claim to be Christian.

g89 11/8 19.

Last Days: The League of Nations goes into the abyss with the outbreak of World War II on September 1. An earthquake in Turkey kills 32,700 people.

Luke 21:10, 11; Revelation 17:8; gm 142; w88 5/1 26–29.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Street distribution of the Watchtower and Consolation magazines begins. (jv 721; yb75 163) The first Watchtower subscription campaign begins. The Watchtower magazine title is altered. “Information marching” is discontinued after October 1939. (See 1938 CE.) In October, the witness work is prohibited in France, although the Witnesses continue preaching.

yb75 160–61, 163; jv 721; w46 2/1 47.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (The Name of The Watchtower Magazine): The name of The Watchtower magazine since 1909 had been The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. The book God’s Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached explains the two name changes this year:

With the Watch Tower magazine’s issue of January 1, 1939, the title was changed to The Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, and with the issue of March 1, 1939, to The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. 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.

ka 209 par. 54.

Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany: The New York Times reports on 17 September from Germany: “August Dickmann, 29 years old, . . . has been shot here by a firing squad.” The newspaper says he was the first German conscientious objector of that war. Dickmann’s death is commemorated 60 years later, in 1999 CE.

See the September 16, 1939, entry on the following Web site for more information: peacebuttons.info/E-News/peacehistoryseptember.htm.
Also see www.speedylook.com/August_Dickmann.html

w00 5/1 32.

1940 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses and the US Supreme Court: In Minersville School District v. Gobitis, the Court in an 8 to 1 decision upholds mandatory flag salute regardless of religious belief, a decision that allows expelling from public schools the children who do not salute the flag. This decision also unleashes nationwide mob violence against the Witnesses. The Court will reverse this decision in 1943 CE.

jv 684–88.

1941 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Theocratic Assembly is held in St. Louis, Missouri, on August 6–10, attended by 115,000. Release in English: Children (384-page book). A highlight of the convention is that the big issue that should concern human society is the issue of universal domination, or sovereignty, and its related issue: where each individual stands in regard to God’s sovereignty.

w01 1/15 19; jv 86.

1942 CE - back

Bible and Jehovah’s Witnesses: The King James Version of the Bible with marginal references and a special concordance for use in the field ministry is printed on the Watchtower Society’s own presses. This is the first complete Bible printed on the Society’s presses, with 35,000 copies distributed immediately in America.

jv 93, 607; w50 7/15 219.

Last Days: In the discourse “Peace — Can It Last?” given at the New World Theocratic Assemblies, evidence from Revelation 17:7–11 is given to show that World War II (1939–1945) would not lead into Armageddon (as some thought), but would end, and a period of peace would follow. During this peace that will not last, the international world-peace beast will ascend out of the abyss where it had been since 1939. See 1945 CE.

jv 93; w50 7/15 219.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: J.F. Rutherford, the second president of the Watchtower Society since 1917, dies on January 8. Nathan H. Knorr, born in 1905, becomes the third president of the Society. Reporting of Bible studies begins. An “Advanced Course in Theocratic Ministry” school begins in February for the brothers of the Brooklyn Bethel family. The witness work in Poland is banned in July. The Witnesses are also banned in East Germany. There are now 25 branch offices of the Society worldwide, and the Witnesses who preach the good news of the Kingdom number 106,000.

w71 12/1 722; w50 7/15 219; jv 92, 93, 97; sh 359; br84 20.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions):The New World Theocratic Assembly is held in Cleveland, Ohio, September 18–20, with simultaneous conventions in 52 other cities in the United States and 33 other countries. The public address at this convention is “Peace — Can It Last?” English releases: The King James Version of the Bible printed on the Society’s own presses; The New World (book).

w50 7/15 219; 9/15 314–15; jv 92–93; sh 359.

1943 CE - back

Bible: J.W.C. Wand, Archbishop of Brisbane, publishes a translation of The New Testament Letters. In 1946, after he becomes Bishop of London, he publishes a revised edition.

E-Bible 212.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): “Call to Action” Assemblies, April 17 and 18, in the US. The booklet Course in Theocratic Ministry is released, and each congregation is urged to start the new school. The Society appoints instructors to act as chairmen and to offer constructive counsel on student talks delivered by male enrollees. The “Free Nation’s” Theocratic Assembly is held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 20–23.

jv 94; w57 7/1 393.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Witnesses number 126,329 in 54 countries. On February 1, the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead begins its first class to train missionaries. The Theocratic Ministry School is put into operation in all congregations in June.

sh 359–60; jv 95; br84 20.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and the US Supreme Court: The United States Supreme Court rules in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that if it is against their religion, children need not salute the flag in schools, reversing the Court’s 1940 CE Gobitis decision. The Court’s ruling states: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” The US Supreme Court gives decisions favorable to the Witnesses in 20 out of 24 cases this year, in contrast to 19 rulings against the Witnesses during the past three years.

An editorial in the Christian Century states that in reversing Gobitis, the Court had done far more “than to set right a legal blunder which had far-reaching consequences for the freedom of conscience of Americans,” that portions of the Barnette opinion extolling freedom of conscience were so profound that they “should become part of the ‘American Scripture,’ to be memorized and taken to heart by every patriot,” and that “the constitutional guarantees of religious liberty have been reaffirmed; the encroachments of the state in the realm of conscience have received a salutary check.”

TH 1943, jv 197, 685–88, 721; Judg-JWs 230–59.

1944 CE - back

Bible: The Watch Tower Society purchases the right to make a set of key plates for the American Standard Version of 1901 and begins publishing it on its own presses. The ASV uses the divine name of Jehovah over 6,800 times.

w01 1/15 30; w89 3/15 19; jv 607.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): United Announcers’ Theocratic Assemblies are held in Buffalo, New York, with sixteen other American cities linked by telephone wire. Releases: The Kingdom Is at Hand (384-page book), and the American Standard Version of the Bible, featuring the divine name, Jehovah, and printed on the Society’s own presses.

w71 12/1 725.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Watch Tower Society’s charter is revised so that the membership in the legal corporation is no longer based on monetary contributions (see 1884 CE), but is limited to between 300 and 500 members who are all mature, active, faithful Witnesses of Jehovah. This will go into effect on October 1, 1945. This is in fulfillment of the “progressive refinements” in organizational procedures among Jehovah’s people foretold at Isaiah 60:17. This refinement also came at the end of the 2,300 days mentioned at Daniel 8:14, when “the holy place” was “brought into the right condition.”

The Society releases the booklet Religion Reaps the Whirlwind, which exposes Christendom’s involvement with politics. The booklet pointedly asks:

Can any organization that enters into treaties with worldly powers and actively wiggles itself into the political affairs of this world, seeking advantage in and protection from this world . . . be God’s church or represent Christ Jesus on earth? . . . Manifestly, all religionists who make common cause with the kingdoms of this world cannot represent the kingdom of God by Christ Jesus.

w01 1/15 28–31; w96 4/15 12 par. 7; 13 par. 10; w71 12/1 725–27; dp 177–79; jv 229; br84 6.

1945 CE - back

World War II Ends: The hostilities of World War II (1939–1945) end in May in Europe and in September in the Pacific. The defunct League of Nations is reactivated, but is now known as the United Nations. (Revelation 17:8). According to Guinness World Records 2003, the material cost of World War II far transcended that of the rest of history’s wars put together, with an estimated cost equivalent to $1.5 trillion. Also, it was the most costly war in terms of human life, with a total number of military and civilian fatalities of all countries estimated to have been 56.4 million.

w88 5/1 26–29.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and World War II: According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum: “In the Nazi years, about 10,000 Witnesses, most of them of German nationality, were imprisoned in concentration camps. After 1939, small numbers of Witnesses from Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, Norway, and Poland (some of them refugees from Germany) were arrested and deported to Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, Ravensbrück, Auschwitz, Mauthausen, and other concentration camps. An estimated 2,500 to 5,000 Witnesses died in the camps or prisons. More than 200 men were tried by the German War Court and executed for refusing military service.”

US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Brothers Knorr and Henschel begin a tour of war-ravaged Europe in November so as to reorganize and unify the witness work. There are now more than 141,000 Kingdom publishers active in 66 lands.

w79 2/1 23; tour reported in w46 1/1 14 and succeeding issues.

1946 CE - back

Bible: In October, Nathan H. Knorr, president of the Watch Tower Society, proposes that the Society produce a fresh translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures. See 1950 CE.

jv 607.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): The 8-day “Glad Nations” Theocratic Assembly in held in Cleveland, Ohio, with 80,000 attending the public lecture. This is the first time the Witnesses have an international convention of such proportions that it brings together in one city delegates from all parts of the earth. The book “Let God Be True” is released; it will be used as a study aid for about the next 20 years.

jv 96; yb75 210; w01 1/15 20; w46 10/1 294.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The name of the magazine Consolation is changed to Awake! — to awaken people further to the significance of the times in which we are living. More than 1,600 witnesses are now in Russia, including hundreds who learned the truth in German concentration camps before being returned to Russia.

w46 2/1 47; br84 18.

1947 CE - back

Bible (Dead Sea Scrolls): A Scroll of Isaiah is found in Wadi Qumran, northwest of the Dead Sea, and is a thousand years older than existent manuscripts. (See 68 CE and 1952 CE.) For a timetable of discovery and debate about the Dead Sea Scrolls, see virtualreligion.net/iho/dss.html.

w91 4/15 10–13.

Bible: A translation of the New Testament epistles by J. B. Phillips is first published this year as Letters to Young Churches. See also 1952 CE, 1955 CE, 1957 CE, and 1958 CE for additional translations by Phillips.

w79 8/15 14–15; E-Bible 214–16.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): “All Nations Expansion” Assemblies.

w47 12/15 379–83.

1948 CE - back

Religion: The World Council of Churches is formed, composed of almost 150 Protestant, Anglican, and Orthodox churches. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member.

g89 11/22 19–22.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): District Assemblies. This is the first year district conventions are held in the United States.

w51 11/15 694; w48 11/1 331–4; dx 30–85.

1949 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): District Assemblies (three and four days). The catchy title for the public talk is, “It Is Later Than You Think!”

w50 1/15 28–31; 2/1 44–47.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Thirteen missionaries arrive in Japan to help reorganize the work. Less than 10 native Kingdom publishers report.

w92 9/12 19.

1950 CE - back

Bible (NW): The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures in English is released at the “Theocracy’s Increase” Assembly. The translation restores 237 occurrences of the personal name of God, Jehovah, in the Christian Greek Scriptures.

jv 99, 609.

Religion: A proclamation is made by Pope Pius XII that makes the bodily ascension of Mary to heaven (the “Assumption”) an official article of the Catholic faith, as stated here: “By promulgating the Bull Munificentissimus Deus, 1 November, 1950, Pope Pius XII declared infallibly that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a dogma of the Catholic Faith. Likewise, the Second Vatican Council taught in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium that ‘the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things (n. 59).’” (See www.newadvent.org/cathen/02006b.htm.) The New Catholic Encyclopedia of 1967 admits that “there is no explicit reference to the Assumption in the Bible, yet the Pope insists in the decree that the Scriptures are the ultimate foundation of this truth.”

rs 258; w54 8/1 458; 1 Corinthians 15:50.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): The eight days International “Theocracy’s Increase” Assembly is held in New York City, at Yankee Stadium, from July 30 to August 6, with delegates coming from 67 countries and sessions being presented in 20 different languages. Peak attendance: 123,707. Brother Franz delivers the famous talk in which he says: “Here, tonight, in our midst, there are a number of prospective princes of the new earth!” Releases: 40 new publications in 17 languages, including Songs to Jehovah’s Praise Defending and Legally Establishing the Good News, the redesigned 32-page Watchtower, Evolution versus The New World (64-page colored cover booklet), New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, “Regret and Protest by American Convention Hosts over Religious Discrimination Against Visiting Witnesses of Jehovah” (1 million copies of the talk), “This Means Everlasting Life” (book, in both English and Spanish), and a quarter million copies of the public lecture “Can You Live Forever in Happiness on Earth?” in booklet form.

w92 5/1 26–29; w50 5/15 187, 8/15 257, 10/1 361–65.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The witness work in Poland is banned in July. The Witnesses are also banned in East Germany. Beginning with the August 15 issue, the format of The Watchtower changes from a large 16-page journal to a smaller 32-page journal.

w79 7/1 4–8; g89 12/22 20–25.

1951 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): International “Clean Worship” Assembly (five days) held in England (London) followed by assemblies throughout Europe in France (Paris), Netherlands (Rotterdam), West Germany (Frankfurt am Main), Denmark (Copenhagen), Finland (Vaasa and Helsinki), Sweden (Stockholm), Norway (Lillehammer), Austria (Vienna), and Italy (Rome), and also in the United States (Washington D.C.). Releases: “What Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe?” “HELLFIRE — Bible Truth or Pagan Scare?” “Jehovah’s WITNESSES, Communists or Christians?” and “Awake from Sleep!” (four tracts); What Has Religion Done for Mankind? (book). During the U.S. assembly, a brother places the new Religion book with U.S. President Truman.

w56 3/1 136–8; w51 12/1 707, 712; w52 1/1 25, 3/15 185–90, 4/1 217–18.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The term “religion” is clarified. Previously, the term “religion” was thought to be unchristian, from the Devil. (For example, in 1938, the Witnesses carried sandwich signs that said, “Religion Is a Snare and a Racket.”) The Watchtower of March 15 approves using the adjectives “true” and “false” respecting religion.

w51 3/15 191; yb75 225.

1952 CE - back

Bible (Dead Sea Scrolls): Qumran Cave 4 yields nearly 400 manuscripts. All of the books of the Hebrew Bible except Esther are represented. (See 1947 and 1991 CE.)

w91 4/15 10–13.

Bible: The Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible is published on September 30. This version is a revision made by American scholars of the American Standard Version (AS) published in 1901, which had properly rendered God’s name as Jehovah for the almost 7,000 times that it appears in the original Hebrew Scriptures. The archaic pronouns “thou,” “thee,” “thy,” and “thine” have been dropped and “you” and “yours” used instead, except in language addressed to God. The translators of the RSV omit the use of Jehovah because of (among other reasons) their following the practice of Judaism before the Christian era to omit the pronunciation of Jehovah’s name, and also because of the precedent of the KJ to substitute the words Lord and God for the name Jehovah. The Preface in the RSV explains:

A major departure from the practice of the AS is the rendering of the Divine Name, the “Tetragrammaton.” The AS used the term “Jehovah"; the KJ had employed this in four places, but everywhere else, except in three cases where it was employed as part of a proper name, used the English word Lord (or in certain cases God) printed in capitals. The present revision returns to the procedure of the KJ, which follows the precedent of the ancient Greek and Latin translators and the long established practice in the reading of the Hebrew scriptures in the synagogue.

E-Bible 185–200; w53 9/1 529–30.

Bible: The Gospels in Modern English, by J.B. Phillips, is published this year. Earlier, in 1947, Phillips published the epistles in Letters to Young Churches.

E-Bible 214–16.

Bible: A new translation of The Four Gospels by E.V. Rieu is published this year.

E-Bible 216.

Archaeology (Jericho): Another expedition to excavate ancient Jericho is begun by Kathleen Kenyon, lasting until 1958. Her conclusions about the collapse of Jericho’s wall differ from Professor Garstang’s, with Kenyon dating one destruction to the sixteenth century BCE, and another to 1325 BCE. See the Garstang expedition of 1930 CE and also the conclusions reached in 1981 CE.

gm 49–53; it ARCHAEOLOGY (Palestine and Syria).

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): “Press on to Maturity” District Assemblies (three days).

w52 12/15 746–8; dx30–85.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: With the March 1 issue of The Watchtower, it is shown that maintaining spiritual cleanness of the Christian congregation by disfellowshipping unrepentant baptized wrongdoers is proper.

w52 3/1 131–45; yb75 225–26.

1953 CE - back

Bible: Volume I, the first of five volumes of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures translated into English is released, containing the Octateuch, the first eight books of the Hebrew Scriptures, Genesis to Ruth. (See other volumes at 1955 CE, 1957 CE, 1958 CE, and 1960 CE.)

w60 10/1 600; w53 10/1 588; jv 609.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): The second international assembly in New York is held, the New World Society Assembly, July 19–26 (eight days), one of a number of New World Society Assemblies. Releases in English: Leather-bound edition of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures; “Make Sure of All Things” (416-page book); “Preach the Word” (32-page booklet); Volume I (Genesis through Ruth) of the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures; Basis for Belief in a New World (64-page booklet); four new tracts: Do You Believe in Evolution or the Bible? Which Is the Right Religion? The Sign of Christ’s Presence, and Man’s Only Hope for Peace; “New Heavens and a New Earth” (384-page book); and a booklet containing the text of the public lecture: After Armageddon — God’s New World.

w53 10/1 584–95.

1954 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses: District Assemblies (four days).

w54 12/1 713–20.

1955 CE - back

Bible: The Young Church in Action, a translation of the book of Acts by J. B. Phillips, is published this year. Other books of the Christian Greek Scriptures translated by Phillips were published in 1947 and 1952. See also 1957 CE and 1958 CE.

E-Bible 214–16.

Bible: The Authentic New Testament, translated by the Jewish scholar Hugh J. Schonfield, is published this year.

E-Bible 219.

Bible: Volume II, the second of five volumes of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures translated into English is released, containing the books from 1 Samuel through Esther. (See other volumes at 1953 CE, 1957 CE, 1958 CE, and 1960 CE.)

w56 3/15 189.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): “Triumphant Kingdom” Assemblies (five days). Releases in English: Volume II (1 Samuel through Esther) of the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures; Qualified to Be Ministers; What Do the Scriptures Say About “Survival After Death”? You May Survive Armageddon into God’s New World; World Conquest Soon — by God’s Kingdom.

w60 10/1 600; w56 2/15 121–6; 3/15 189; 4/1 222–23.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society becomes known as Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. (See 1881 CE, 1884 CE, and 1896 CE.) In April, the lecture “Christendom or Christianity — Which One Is ‘the Light of the World’?” is followed by the release of a 32-page booklet of the same title. Millions of copies are then distributed in 30 languages in 88 lands, with many copies being directly delivered to or mailed to clergymen.

w88 4/1 24; w56 3/15 189; ip-1 152; jv 229.

1956 CE - back

Bible: More Dead Sea scrolls are discovered. (See 1947 CE and 1952 CE.) Between 1947 and 1956, a total of 11 caves containing scrolls have been discovered near Qumran. A total of about 800 manuscripts have been collected, with about 200 of them being copies of portions of the Hebrew Bible text, plus other manuscripts consisting of non-Biblical Jewish writings, including the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, both being Jewish writings from the third century BCE to the first century CE.

w01 2/15 3–4; w91 4/15 10–13.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): District Assemblies (four days). At these assemblies, nearly half a million Witnesses adopt a resolution to send to Premier Bulganin of the U.S.S.R. protesting the persecution of the Witnesses behind the Iron Curtain and petitioning the Russian government to rectify conditions. But instead, persecution intensifies.

w56 6/1 351–52; bf 538–39; yw 287; yb75 234.

1957 CE - back

Bible: The Book of Revelation translated by J.B. Phillips is published this year. (See 1947 CE and 1958 CE.)

E-Bible 214–16.

Bible: A translation of The Acts of the Apostles by C.H. Rieu is published this year.

E-Bible 216.

Bible: Volume III, the third of five volumes of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures translated into English is released, containing the five poetical books from Job through Song of Solomon. (See other volumes at 1953 CE, 1955 CE, 1958 CE, and 1960 CE.)

w57 10/15 617.

Last Days (Pestilences): The Asian flu pandemic of this year (and 1958) is the second of three major influenza pandemics to occur in the 20th century. It kills from 1 to 2 million people worldwide. (See 1918 CE and 1968 CE.)

Luke 21:10, 11; gm 143; EncBrit “Asian flu of 1957”.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): “Life-giving Wisdom” District Assemblies (five days). Releases in English: Volume III (five poetical books of the Bible: Job through the Song of Solomon) of the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures; “Healing of the Nations Has Drawn Near” (32-page booklet containing the text of the Sunday public lecture).

w60 10/1 600; w57 10/15 617–19.

1958 CE - back

Bible: A one-volume edition of J.B. Phillips’s completed New Testament in Modern Speech is published. (See 1947 CE.)

E-Bible 214–16.

Bible: Volume IV, the fourth of five volumes of the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures translated into English is released, containing Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Lamentations. (See other volumes at 1953 CE, 1955 CE, 1957 CE, and 1960 CE.)

w60 10/1 600.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): The eight-day Divine Will International Assembly is held in New York City, July 27 to August 3. On August 1, the 194,418 Witnesses present from 123 lands adopt a resolution to live up to the prophecy of Isaiah 2:4, not to “learn war any more.” On August 2, the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth” is released. On August 3, a total of 253,922 attend the public lecture. Beginning in December, over 72 million copies of the Resolution adopted at the assembly are distributed in 53 languages. Volume IV (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Lamentations) of the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures is released.

w62 6/15 361; w60 10/1 600; 1958 Report of the Divine Will International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The witness work reaches Cape Verde (islands off the west coast of Africa), although the work will not be legalized until 1990 CE.

w92 3/15.

1959 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): “Awake Ministers” District Assemblies (four days).

dx 86–97.

1960 CE - back

Religion: Membership in various religions number as follows: Buddhists: 500 million; Roman Catholics: 464 million; Moslems: 300 million; Hindus: 300 million; Protestants: 225 million; Orthodox Catholics: 200 million; Jews: 12 million. (Compare 1975 CE and 1988 CE.)

w60 10/1 580.

Bible: Volume V, the last of five volumes of the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures is released, containing Ezekiel through Malachi. (See other volumes at 1953 CE, 1955 CE, 1957 CE, and 1958 CE.)

w60 9/15 576; 10/1 600–1.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): Peace Pursuing District Assemblies (four days). Release in English: Final volume (Volume 5: Ezekiel through Malachi) of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.

w60 9/15 576; 10/1 600–1.

1961 CE - back

Bible: The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures is completed and a revised edition in one volume is released.

w96 5/1 14; jv 609–10.

Archaeology: An inscription found in the ruins of a Roman theater at Caesarea has on it the name of Pontius Pilate, thus confirming his existence apart from the Biblical account.

For more information and a photo of the inscription, click here.

Matt. 27:2, 11–26; gm 63.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): United Worshipers District Assemblies (six days). Releases in English: The complete one-volume New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures; Sermon Outlines; Watch Tower Publications Index, 1930–1960; Blood, Medicine and the Law of God (booklet); Let Your Name be Sanctified (book); When All Nations Unite Under God’s Kingdom (booklet).

w61 10/1 599–603.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Berlin Wall goes up in August, cutting off the Witnesses in East Germany from West Berlin.

w92 5/1 26; g87 6/8 21.

1962 CE - back

Religion (Roman Catholic): On October 11, the largest gathering at any Council in the Catholic Church’s history takes place when the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) opens. As reported in the Guinness Book of the 20th Century: “Pope John has far-reaching ambitions for the Church, aiming to bring it up to date, particularly in the fields of science, economics, politics and morality. One of the Council’s first recommendations will be that people should be allowed to celebrate Mass in their native languages.”

G-20C (1962) 154.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): “Courageous Ministers” District Assemblies (three days). English release: ‘The Word’ — Who Is He? According to John (64-page booklet). The Watchtower publishes the talks given at the “Courageous Ministers” District Assemblies explaining who the superior authorities are in Romans chapter 13 and how Christian subjection to the governmental superior authorities must be relative, not total. (See the w62 11/1, 11/15, and 12/1 study articles.)

w96 5/1 14; w95 5/15 21; w62 10/1 605–6.

1963 CE - back

Bible: The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures is released in six languages: Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

jv 611; w65 11/15 702.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): “Everlasting Good News” Assemblies (four to eight days). Release in English: Pocket-sized edition of the revised 1961 New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.

yb75 220.

1964 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): “Fruitage of the Spirit” District Assemblies (four days).

w64 12/15 765–67.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Violent persecution breaks out against the Witnesses in Malawi due to the issue of neutrality in politics. See 1972 CE.

w94 5/15 31.

1965 CE - back

Religion and the United Nations: When Pope Paul VI addresses the United Nations, he says: “The peoples of the earth turn to the United Nations as the last hope of concord and peace.”

rs 43.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): “Word of Truth” District Assemblies (four days).

w65 160.

1966 CE - back

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): “God’s Sons of Liberty” District Assemblies (five days). Releases in English: “Singing and Accompanying Yourselves with Music in Your Hearts” (songbook); Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God (book, with chart showing that 6,000 years of man’s existence ends in 1975 CE).

w66 10/15 628, 631.

1967 CE - back

Religion: In an encyclical published this year, Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (Priestly Celibacy), Pope Paul VI endorses celibacy as a requirement for the clergy. He says: “We consider that the present law of celibacy should today continue to be firmly linked to the ecclesiastical ministry.” He admits, however, that “the New Testament . . . does not demand celibacy of sacred ministers.” Compare 1139 CE.

g85 11/8 4–5; g75 5/8 27–28; rs 43; 1 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Timothy 3:2, 12; 4:1–3; Titus 1:6.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): “Disciple-Making” District Assemblies (four days). The pocket-sized book for use in the ministry is introduced this year.

jv 593.

1968 CE - back

Last Days (Pestilences): This year (and in 1969), the third influenza pandemic of the century kills more than 1,000,000 people. According to a BBC News report (2 November 2002), of the three flu pandemics in the 20th century (1918, 1957, and 1968), “even though the 1957 and 1968 outbreaks were less severe than the Spanish flu, they still accounted for 40m deaths between them.”

Luke 21:10, 11; Revelation 6:8; w83 5/1 7; g93 7/22 29; BBC News article.

Jehovah’s Witnesses (Conventions): “Good News for All Nations” District Assemblies (four days). English releases: The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life (192-pag