Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chronological Inaccuracies in the 1850 Chart

Edited March 12, 2014

#1:  677 BC – “Israel carried captive, 1 Chron. 33:11”

Here the brief captivity of Manasseh, king of Judah, was selected as a prophetic marker for the commencement of Israel's punishment as foretold in Leviticus 26:18. Evidently the earlier complete disintegration of the northern ten tribes of Israel was not considered significant enough to qualify. The theory goes that since Israel had already been taken captive, the personal captivity of Manasseh represented the punishment of the whole of God’s people, even though this was decades before the start of the seventy years of captivity designated to Judah by Jeremiah.

So, when did the event of 1 Chronicles 33:11 take place? No Assyrian or Babylonian records mention it. The Bible itself gives no clues for dating it. Bishop Ussher's assignment of this event to the year 677 seems to be based on questionable rabbinical tradition (Aggadah) that placed Manasseh's captivity in the 22nd year of his reign.

Edwin R. Thiele, in his well-recognized work, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, concluded by counting back from the death of Josiah that Manasseh's reign commenced in 697/696 BC. The 22nd year of his reign would then be 676/675 by inclusive reckoning. So even if the rabbinical tradition is correct, the earliest possible date for Manasseh's captivity is 676 BC. Thiele's is the most widely accepted chronology among Old Testament scholars.

#2:  538 BC – “Ancient Babylon overthrown”

The actual date was October 12, 539 BC. (C. Mervyn Maxwell, God Cares, vol. 1, p. 75)

#3:  332 BC – “Alexander overcame Persia”

Below are listed the key victories of Alexander over the Persians:

The Battle of the Granicus River in May 334 BC
The Battle of Issus in November 333 BC
The Battle of Gaugamela, also known as the Battle of Arbela, in 331 BC. This battle of 331 BC was the decisive victory from which we date the overthrow of the Persian empire by Alexander.

#4:  158 BC – “Time of the league between the Jews & Romans”

The date I consistently found for this league from secular sources is 161 BC. See also Uriah Smith’s comments on Daniel 11:23 in his book, Daniel and the Revelation.

The date 158 BC came from William Miller’s view of “the daily,” which was tied to his understanding of the number 666. William Miller believed the number 666 to represent the number of years during which Roman paganism dominated God’s people. Believing “the daily” to be paganism, he arrived at 158 BC by subtracting 508 (see on AD 508 below) from 666. From a historical standpoint, the year 158 BC brought no event that was significant to Bible prophecy.

#5:  AD 490 – “Ten Horns arose”

The Alemanni, Suevi, Visigoths, Vandals, Franks, Burgundians, Anglo-Saxons, Ostrogoths, and Heruli were all operating as independent kingdoms within the territory of the Roman empire by AD 476. I could find no significance to the date 490 in relation to the rise of the ten horns.

#6:  AD 508 – “Pagan dominion taken away”

Nothing historically happened in AD 508 to take away pagan dominion. The last pagan emperor, Julian the Apostate, died in AD 363. Paganism was permanently outlawed in the empire by Emperor Theodosius I. During his reign (379-395) he banned pagan sacrifices, criminalized magistrates who did not enforce anti-pagan laws, destroyed pagan temples, forbade visits to any remaining pagan temples, abolished the remaining pagan holidays, extinguished the eternal fire in the temple of Vesta, disbanded the Vestal virgins, punished witchcraft, and prohibited any pagan ritual, even within the privacy of one’s own home.

AD 508 is certainly a prophetic date as the starting point of the 1290-day prophecy of Daniel 12:11. The most significant event of that year was probably the defeat of the Visigoths by Clovis. Clovis had been converted to Catholicism twelve years earlier. With the exception of the Anglo-Saxons, all the other barbarian kingdoms had been converted to Christianity before their migration into the Roman empire. But theologically these other kingdoms were not Catholic, and were therefore branded as “Arian.” Clovis’ victory over the Visigoths in AD 508 represented one form of Christianity employing the power of the state to overthrow another form of Christianity. It really had nothing to do with paganism.


  1. You "could find no chronology that gave 677 BC as the date for Manasseh’s captivity"? The most reliable Biblical Chronology is Ussher's. He gives the date 677 BC. The logic that places Manasseh's captivity in his 22nd year are echoed by Sister White. " Faithfully the prophets continued their warnings and their exhortations; fearlessly they spoke to Manasseh and to his people; but the messages were scorned; backsliding Judah would not heed. As an earnest of what would befall the people should they continue impenitent, the Lord permitted their king to be captured by a band of Assyrian soldiers, who "bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon," their temporary capital. This affliction brought the king to his senses; "he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto Him: and He was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord He was God." 2 Chronicles 33:11-13. But this repentance, remarkable though it was, came too late to save the kingdom from the corrupting influence of years of idolatrous practices. Many had stumbled and fallen, never again to rise." {PK 382.3}
    In the booklet for the 1863 charts Uriah Smith notes, “At the right of the image stands a line of beasts, a lion, a bear, leopard, and nondescript beast in two forms, representing another vision. A view of these beasts was given to Daniel in vision, as recorded in chapter vii, of his prophecy. In verse 17, these beasts are declared to be four kings or kingdoms. The manner of their rise, Daniel describes in verse 2, thus: I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea, and four great beasts came up, diverse one from another. Seas denote nations and peoples. Rev.17:15. Wind denotes war and strife. Hence these kingdoms rose and fell through revolutions and political strife. The Lion standing opposite to the head of gold, is a symbol of the same power, namely, the kingdom of Babylon…. It existed, as seen in the head of gold, from B.C. 677, to 538, one hundred and thirty-nine years. The bear [is] a symbol of Persia, the same as the breast and arms of the image. He raised himself up on one side. The empire was composed of the two elements, the Medes and Persians, and the Persian was the higher and leading element. It had three ribs in its mouth, supposed to denote the three provinces of Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt, which it conquered and grievously oppressed. It existed from B.C.538, to 331, two hundred and seven years. [In the leopard] we have another symbol of Grecia, corresponding with the brazen portion of the image. This beast, unlike anything in nature, has four wings and four heads. The four heads denote the four parts into which the empire was divided on the death of Alexander, and under which it continued, till supplanted by the Roman power. The leopard is of itself exceedingly fierce and swift, but this not being sufficient, four wings of a fowl are added, to denote the unparalleled rapidity that characterized the conquests of the Grecian empire, especially under Alexander, who is said to have conquered kingdoms, more speedily than others could have marched their armies through them. This kingdom is included between the dates B.C. 331, and 161, one hundred and seventy years.” pp. 5,6

  2. Regarding the mistakes, some of these are matters of opinion. No one is suggesting that everything on the chart is correct. What we do claim is that the prophecies that pointed to 1843, that using the same evidence, were then seen to point to 1844. These prophecies were directed by the hand of the LORD. They were altered by inspiration and corrected on the 1850 chart. The other dates were not directed by God, were taken from the best historical sources at the time. For the 508 Ad date see 508 source book by Heidi Heiks before you claim that there is no historical evidence for 508.

  3. There is no historical, biblical or archaeological support for Manasseh being taken to Babylonian captivity in 677. This date came from the Talmudic traditions and it is unsupported. Just read the book "William Miller's 2520 Prophecy" and you will get more information on this point.

  4. There is no historical, biblical or archaeological support for Manasseh being taken to Babylonian captivity in 677. This date came from the Talmudic traditions and it is unsupported. Just read the book "William Miller's 2520 Prophecy" and you will get more information on this point.