B Stett

(Investigator 55, 1997 July)


In his book The Rise and Fall of the Papacy (1696), Robert Fleming, an Anglican minister in London, predicted a revolution in France in 1793, loss of power to the Vatican in 1848, and the start of the Millennium in 2000 AD. Fleming came close with the first two. How about the third?

The "Millennium" is considered by many Christian religions to be a 1,000-year period of worldwide peace which follows the destruction of all evil people at the return of Jesus Christ.

Many Christians have believed, and many still believe, that the Millennium will start 6,000 years after Creation. According to Edward Gibbon:

The ancient and popular doctrine of the Millennium was intimately connected with the second coming of Christ. As the works of creation had been finished in six days, their duration in the present state, according to a tradition which was attributed to the prophet Elijah, was fixed to six thousand years. By the same analogy it was inferred that this long period of labour and contention, which was now almost elapsed, would be succeeded by a joyful Sabbath of a thousand years…
The Epistle of Barnabas of the 2nd century said:
In six days God created the works of his hands, and finished them on the seventh day; and he rested on that day, and sanctified it... What this means is, that He is going to bring the world to an end in six thousand years, since with Him one day means a thousand years… (Staniforth 1968)
In the 17th century the Irish prelate and scholar James Usher (1581-1656) added up the chronologies in the Bible and calculated the month of creation as October 4004 BC.

Allowing for there being no year "0" the end of 6,000 years, according to this chronology, is October 1997 AD.

The Biblical basis for the doctrine of 6,000 years is the direct mentions in Revelation 20 of a 1,000-year reign by Christ, plus the Old Testament Law of a weekly Sabbath day (Exodus 20), and the idea that the Old Testament Law is "a shadow of what is to come." (Colossians 2:16-17)


Numerous individuals and cults have set dates for Christ's return and the Millennium based on their calculation of when 6,000 years ends. Let's consider a few of these:

Harold Norris, in When Will Our Lord Return?(1915), calculated a 2,520-year period which would end in 1919 with the return of Christ. (pp. 32-33; 37; 53; 84; 95-96)

He calculated that 6,000 years would also end in 1919 and says:

"the sixth millenary will end in the year 1919 A.D. (3,495 + 587 + 1919 - 1 = 6,000). Further, if we reckon these years according to the sacred dating, it will end in the month Nisan of that year. This is in accordance with our previous conclusion, that the present age is due to end at Nisan or April, 1919 A.D." (pp. 95-96)
A sect known as the Berean Bible Students wrote in 1922 in their magazine Peoples Paper:
…we see that as a true antitype the great 7th thousand years day must also begin and end in rest and peace. (1922 April 1 p. 28)
…it would appear that the 6,000 years will be complete, and the great Sabbath, the 7th thousand years day, be due to begin about 1992. (p. 29)
In Behold The Bridegroom! Wolston (1920) wrote:
We have, then, God working six days, and He appoints the seventh as the day of rest…
About four thousand years elapsed before Christ was born, and we are now in A.D. 1891, which makes 5891. We are not, however, quite sure of our chronology, and I am thankful for that too, for we may be rather nearer the end of the six thousand years, than people are aware of...
I have little doubt, that the seventh thousand, will be the thousand years of which the 20th of Revelation speaks; for, as six days of labour, are to one of rest, so are six thousand years of sin, and sorrow, under the rule of the devil, to the thousand years, of rest, and peace under the blessed the Lord Jesus.
In Prophecy's Last Word (1947/1969) F A Tatford does not give any specific dates. He does, however, say "the long-anticipated event cannot much longer be delayed" (p. 241) and "The 6,000 years’ struggle between the forces of good and evil there reaches its climax in the victory of right and the defeat of wrong."

The Great Pyramid (1948) by J Elliot-Page calculates prophetic dates by converting the lengths of pyramid passages in "pyramid inches" to years. The writer predicted:

Thus the year 1994 A.D., which is exactly 6,000 years from Adam, will see the full ushering of millennial blessings for all nations.
In 1968 the Jehovah's Witness leaders taught that the last generation began some time before 1914:
…it would still make the youngest of 'this generation' nearly 70 years old today. (Awake! 1968 October 8 pp. 13-14)
The article continued:
There is another way that helps confirm the fact that we are living in the final few years of this 'time of the end.' (Dan. 12:9) The Bible shows that we are nearing the end of a full 6,000 years of human history. (p.14)
The same page says that 6,000 years ends in "the autumn of the year 1975" and adds:
…the first six thousand years since man's creation could be likened to the first six days of the week in ancient Israel. The seventh one-thousand-year period could be likened to the seventh day, of that week.–2 Pet. 3:8.
How fitting it would be for God, following this pattern
to end man's misery after six thousand years of human rule and follow it with His glorious Kingdom rule for a thousand years! (p. 14)
Evidently, God disagrees with the Jehovah's Witness leaders over what is, or is not, "fitting".

Herbert W Armstrong, leader and founder of the Worldwide Church of God, wrote:

…the first 6,000 years were allotted to allow Satan to labor at his work of deceiving the world, followed by 1,000 years (one millennial day) when Satan shall not be allowed to do any of his 'work' of deception. (1979)
Armstrong's book The Wonderful World Tomorrow does not state when the 6,000 years started. However, his Plain Truth magazine said in 1965, "twenty years from now your Creator will have established a world government…" (August p. 48)

Thomas Foster, a prominent member and writer of the sect called Christian Revival Crusade, wrote in 1977:

From Adam to Christ was 4000 years, and from then to the year 2000 A.D. will make a total of 6000 years; the 7th millennia is the "Millennium"...
From Adam to the end of this century will be 6000 years and, as seven stands for rest, the next 1000 years will be a "rest" from the works and evils of Satan.



and the coming



How the Bible reveals the Future

The majority of prophets who argue for seven 1,000-year "days" present a calculation quite close to that of James Usher. Some also accept Christ's birth date as 4 B.C.

This results in pleasingly simple time periods – exactly 4,000 years from Adam to Christ and exactly 2,000 years from Christ to the Millennium in October 1997 A.D.

Points against the seven 1,000-year-days interpretation are:

(a) Some interpreters do not take the Bible chronologies prior to Abraham literally and try to extend them out. If this is successful it would follow that 6,000 years from Adam ended long ago.

(b) Although the New Testament calls the Sabbath law a "shadow", the greater application of the Sabbath is apparently not the Millennium. Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 to me suggest that the greater application refers to forgiveness from sin and becoming a Christian.


Armstrong, H W 1979. The Wonderful World Tomorrow. Everest House. New York. p.47
Elliot-Page, J 1948. Second edition. The Great Pyramid. New Covenant Assembly. New Zealand. pp. 54-55
Foster, T 1977. The Pope COMMUNISM and the coming NEW WORLD. Acacia Press. Australia.
Gibbon. E 1963. The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire. An Abridgement by D M Low. Penguin Great Britain. p. 158
Norris, H 1915. When Will Our Lord Return. Second Edition. Chas. J. Thyne. London.
Staniforth, M (Translator) 1968. Early Christian Writings. Penguin. Great Britain.
Tatford, F A 1947. Paperback edition 1969. Prophecy's Last Word. Pickering & Inglis. Great Britain. pp. 241, 13
Wolston, W T P 1891. Fourth edition. 1920 Behold the Bridegroom! James Nisbet & Co. London. p. 180

Hundreds of religious beliefs are here examined: