ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY YEARS BEFORE the actual events came to fruition in the Middle East, two dedicated Bible scholars predicted accurately several key years in the then approaching conflict for tenure of the holy Land and Jerusalem, involving a long prophesised regathering of the Jews to their Promised Land, after nearly 2000 years of Diaspora.

Doctors Clarke and Guinness pointed well in advance to the coming years 1902, 1917, 1947-8 and 1967 AD, having based their predictions on the 2,500 year old Biblical book of Daniel.

Not only did their advance forecasts prove accurate decades later, but those key 'Signpost Years’ continue to mark events and developments in the holy Land, ever since their occurrence in modern times, that now represent the specific themes of serious contention in the struggle for Peace in that region today.

These following NOTES explain the rational behind the Clarke-Guinness thinking in as fast and concise a form as possible, and elaborations will follow. A second critical aim here is not to prove 'The Signpost Years' correct, but rather to use the scientific approach of attempting their falsification first. You can help either way by passing on any objective comments to this site.

PART 1 Is an Introduction and looks at each of the Signpost Years as they were foretold in the writings of Guinness and Clarke. It looks at many of the side issues and has a number of detailed footnotes.

PART 2 Looks at the period 1901 – 1903, and the first of the Signpost Years predicted by Clarke in 1825. This part explains the huge significance of the period and sets the scene for a further link that comes in Part 4.

PART 3 Begins to address some of the typical questions that might arise in the mind of the reader regarding the Signpost Years. Items are added to this from time to time as new considerations are brought to light. Again, feel free to contribute any comments that will add to those pages.

PART 4 Looks at the Signpost Years in the light of the last 6 months of Christ’s Ministry, and especially the last week of messages He imparted to His followers for the future. It ties directly back into PART 2.




Click on QUICK LINKS to Parts 1 to 4 of the Signpost Notes:
Part 1: Introduction, Timelines, Conclusion.
Part 2: The SignPost Year 1902 AD and Max Nordau
Part 3: Q & A on the Signpost Years
Part 4: Jesus and the Signpost Years

Friday, 11 June 2010


As suggested in previous notes, Jehovah’s witnesses are among a few religious organizations today that employ some aspects of the Clarke-Guinness interpretation of the book of Daniel, specifically applying a prophetic ‘day-year’ or a ‘recent fulfillments in literal days’ meaning to some of the texts there.

Essentially, the view they hold asserts that most of Daniel’s visions of the future apply to themselves as a religious organization that has restored to the world the original form of biblical Christianity and its doctrines, lost for centuries, in these latter end-time days. The exception is the prophecy section found in Daniel chapter nine which they, along with others, interpret as having Messianic significance.


The means by which Daniel’s visions have been supposedly fulfilled in the Watchtower Society of Jehovah’s witnesses started toward the end of the 1800s when a small group of ‘dedicated independent bible students’ in America, under the leadership of Charles T Russell, realized that the 2520 prophetic years of Daniel (4 verse 16) would end early in the new century about 1914 AD. It was anticipated that the year in question would see the visible return of Jesus Christ to usher in his new Kingdom on earth. The fact that the setting of this date was juggled somewhat is less important than what follows.

According to the witnesses, the 1914 insight of Russell was actually validated since World War 1 erupted that year casting the nations, for the first time globally, into unparalleled tumult. But the non-appearance of Jesus, personally, must have meant he ‘returned invisibly’, setting up his Kingdom for rulership in the heavens first, but set soon to govern the whole earth.
This is, effectively, the message that the witnesses are still propagating today when they call at the door or intercept individuals in the street with magazines and leaflets.

It rather follows (in the view of the witnesses) that the other prophecies of Daniel, which are clearly stated in that book as indicating events around ‘the end times’ or days, must also have some contingency in current and easily identifiable happenings around the year 1914. But what could they be?

Originally, Jehovah’s witnesses viewed the prophetic statements of Daniel 8 and 12, for example, from a more orthodox point of interpretation, which we need not elaborate on here in fact. But not far into the 1920s and beyond they began, retrospectively, to apply these bible texts and interpretations to their own organization in the context of ‘significant’ events in relationship to themselves.
Its religious leaders (the infamous ‘Judge’ Rutherford, etc) had been arrested and placed in prison and their ‘kingdom work’ (printing, campaigning, etc) had been slowed down, for example.
They were released in 1919, but now with doubled enthusiasm to get the message out that ‘the end’ was due at any moment. (The view at that time was that it would be signified, in the approaching year 1925, by the return from the dead of Abraham, Noah, Samuel and many other of the ancient worthy ones of old - and in advance of this the witnesses even bought a house in California, called Bethsarim, for all the resurrected ones to dwell in).

Another major adverse event at this time, in the view of the witnesses, had been the setting up of the League of Nations after World War 1, ‘a counterfeit and substitute man-made organization standing defiantly in the place of God’s true Kingdom’ (having started invisibly in 1914 recall).

From the 1920s the witnesses embarked, in the decades that have followed, on a globally-sighted mission of warning the world of the coming Wrath though innumerable books, magazines and leaflets, using door to door layman ministers, and a long series of major ‘Conventions’ held frequently and originally in large national football stadiums in counties right across the world.


The historical and biblical gymnastics that can now follow are based on one of Jehovah’s witnesses recent publications dealing with the prophecy of Daniel and titled ‘Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy.’ (WBTS 1999)

In their zeal to make the prophecies of Daniel apply to themselves, the witnesses, pleased with the outcome of their ‘1914 fulfillment of prophecy,’ cast around to explain the other mysterious numerals encoded in that old testament book. And here, in light of the history of their organization we have just reviewed, is a recent summery of what they have come up with to date; this interpretation has also changed down the years.


1) The 2520 day-years of Daniel 4:16,24 started to run in 607 BC ‘when king Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem’ (page 96)

It was FULFILLED, therefore, in 1914 AD when the Messianic Kingdom was set up invisibly, in heaven.


2) The 1290 days of Daniel 7:25, 12:7 are actually literal days and started to count in January 1919 when the League of Nations was set up and a ‘landmark’ Convention was held at Cedar Point Ohio (page 301). (This is a bit unclear since the witnesses also seem to throw in the fact that their leaders, who were imprisoned in mid-1918, were released in March 1919).

This was FULFILLED, therefore, at another ‘landmark’ Convention held, again, at Cedar Point, during September 5 – 13, 1922 AD.

The forerunner of the ‘Awake!’ magazine was launched here and past misunderstandings (failed prophecies) about the expected visible return of Jesus with his Kingdom to earth in 1914 AD were being cleaned up.

As they put it, “By the end of the foretold 1,290 days, the holy ones (JWs) were well on the way to a cleansed and restored standing. In September 1922, right about the time when this period ended, they held a landmark convention at Cedar Point, Ohio, USA. It gave tremendous impetus to the preaching work. However, there was still a need for making more progress. That remained for the next marked period.” (p 300 – 3. Our emphasis)


3) The next ‘marked period of more progress’, in their words, is Daniel’s prophesied 1335 literal days (of chapter 12 verse 12) that seem, for some reason, to be nothing more than a direct continuation of the end of the previous period of ‘marked progress’ and so merely continue as above, from September 1922.

This was FULFILLED, therefore, in May 1926 at another Convention of Jehovah’s witnesses in which their book ‘Deliverance’ was released. This revelation put right some of the false expectations, failed prophesy and fallacious doctrines held over by the witnesses from the past in books by their founder Charles Russell who had died in 1916.
The witnesses say, “No longer were the holy ones (JWs) looking to the past. They were looking confidently to the future and the work ahead. As prophesied, the 1335 days therefore ended with the holy ones in a happy state.” (p 304)


4) Daniel chapter 8 points to a prophetic period of 2300 evening-mornings. After a 12-year intermission in which no additional back-to-back ‘marked progress’ appears to have been necessary among Jehovah’s witnesses, there appears to have been a sudden further bout, although this prophecy is actually written out of sequence by Daniel to the succession of historical events actually experienced, and proposed, by the Watchtower ‘holy ones.’
However, the new prophetic epoch apparently started in June 1938, according to the witnesses, with the printing of a two-part Watchtower article titled ‘Organization,’ on the first and fifteenth of that month.

This was FULFILLED, therefore, on either the 8th or 22nd of October, 1944 AD.
It is really worth letting Jehovah’s witnesses tell it in their own words since the reasoning here is very typical of that used elsewhere, by which they also arrived at the pervious noted ‘fulfillments.’

They write,

“The 2,300 days constitute a prophetic period. Hence, a prophetic year of 360 days is involved. This 2,300 days, then, would amount to 6 years, 4 months, and 20 days. When was this period? Well, in the 1930’s God’s people (JWs) began to experience increasing persecution in various countries. And during World War II, Jehovah’s Witnesses were fiercely persecuted in the hands of the Anglo-American dual world power. Why? Because [they were contentious objectors in the war]. Therefore, the 2300 days must be associated with that war. But what can be said about the beginning and the end of this prophetic period?
For ‘the holy place’ to be ‘brought’, or restored, to what it should be, the 2,300 days must have begun when it previously was in the ‘right condition’ from God’s standpoint. At the earliest, this was on June 1, 1938, when The Watchtower published part 1 of the article ‘Organization.’ Part 2 appeared in the issue of June 15, 1938. Counting 2,300 days (Hebrew calendar) from June 1 or 15, 1938, brings us to October 8 or 22, 1944.

On the first day of a special assembly held at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, on September 30 and October 1, 1944 (yes, another Convention) the Watch Tower Society’s president spoke on the subject ‘The Theocratic Alignment Today.’ At the annual cooperate meeting on October 2, the Society’s charter was amended in an effort to bring it as close to a theocratic arrangement as the law would allow. With the publication of clarified Biblical requirements, theocratic organization was soon more fully installed in the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses…

As we have noted, during the closing months of World War II, Jehovah’s Witnesses reaffirmed their determination to magnify God’s rulership by serving him as a theocratic organization. It was with this objective that the rearrangement of their work and governing structure was initiated in 1944. In fact, The Watchtower of October 15, 1944, contained an article entitled ‘Organized for Final Work.’ It and other service-oriented articles of the same period indicated that the 2,300 days had ended and that ‘the holy place’ (JWs Watchtower Society) was again in its ‘right condition’ (according with the Daniel 8 verse 14 situation specifically). ”

(pp 177 – 179 Our emphasis again)

In this way, Jehovah’s witnesses make themselves, their books, magazines, Conventions and resolutions, the end point and fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy given 2500 years previously!

The witnesses have been accused of many odysseys in their use and interpretation of the Bible; the use of ‘knight-jump exegesis’, ‘absurd typology’, and so on, are some of the classics. But this retrospective, rear-view ‘find-a-fit’ treatment of Daniel’s mysterious numbers has got to deserve first prize.

It goes without saying that Jehovah’s witnesses were forever holding ‘landmark’ Conventions throughout America, Europe and beyond, with grandiose sounding talk-titles, taking stances and passing high-pitched resolutions on this and that. They also produced then as now, at a phenomenal rate, volumous articles and books, and with themes on the Theocracy, cleansing, the sanctuary, the work, the end and final times, the Kingdom, and so on endlessly throughout the decades of the twentieth century.

Even so, with this ocean of possibility to hand, in which to force a round prophetic wedge into a square fulfillment, it has taken quite some time to secure this latest ‘pick and mix’ episode of prophetic exegesis, since the view presented here has been changed over time anyway and this is only the latest recent re-worked version.

How totally different from the Clarke and Guinness Signpost Year position, arrived at PROSPECTIVELY, consistently and exactingly. The portent Signpost Years they foresaw turned out to be monumental in history and remain so for the middle east and world stability, repeatedly in the news today.

Clarke and Guinness did not jump from ‘prophetic years’ to ‘literal days’ as have the witnesses whenever it suited them, or revert to the Hebrew calendar on the odd occasion, if it helped to secure the only prophetic fit available.

Are we seriously being invited to believe that Daniel was pointing a prophetic finger across a vast twenty five hundred years, to some obscure little item published in the Watchtower of October 15th 1944, or whenever, or to one of their hundreds of publications such as ‘Deliverance,’ and which book the witnesses have never used further in 80 years now?

Clarke and Guinness listened to the messenger who imparted his prophetic vision to Daniel when he explained that the prophecy was about ‘Daniel’s people’ the Jews, not Jehovah’s witnesses or their magazine.

The commencement dates used by Clarke and Guinness can be authenticated easily. The witnesses, counting 2520 years from ‘the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 BC’ to arrive at their pivotal year 1914 AD, cannot be accepted because Nebuchadnezzar quite simply did not destroy Jerusalem in 607, and the witnesses cannot find a reputable historian to back them.

But if Jehovah’s witnesses interpretation of Daniel is indeed absurd and contrived, we have to ask them, and others, what these unusual numbers in his prophecy do, then, apply to? And we will see in time in these notes if the views of the Bahai or Seventh Day Adventists on Daniel convince us any better.


Over 100 years ago, Russell and Rutherford of the witnesses knew of Clarke’s Commentary and of the teachings of Guinness and many others in regard to Israel’s re-gathering. In fact, Russell originally did believe that the Jews were to be gathered back to the holy Land quite imminently. But these ‘witness theologians’ were not keen on the longer-term fulfillment of those prophecies, they wanted the imminence now, in their day. And they wanted the scriptures, ultimate blessing and fulfillment to apply to themselves as the newly elected ‘chosen people’, not to national Israel.

But the question of why that well established view of the times regarding the dispersed Jews, and especially the specific Signpost Years themselves, got abandoned, forgotten or overlooked is another interesting theme for future notes here. Clarke’s commentary was used for many decades after Russell’s time, for example, and saw the periods 1902, 1947-8 and 1967 noted therein, come and go. If they are truly valid prophetically, why were they not spotted down the years, but by a very few such as Victor Pearce? Indeed, even if they are not valid, where has been their refutation or the reason for ignoring them, or a better interpretation?
We can be sure that the endless ‘cries of wolf’ and failed prophetic expectations from groups like Jehovah’s witnesses, Adventists, The World Tomorrow, and so on, dulled people’s reliance or belief in Daniel’s prophetic writings, and that did not help.

But is that the only explanation?


According to the witnesses the

2520 days are actually years
1260 days are actually days
2300 days are literally days (Hebrew calendar only!)
1335 days are literally days
70 weeks are actually 490 years
1290 days are literally days (amounting to ‘about that time’)